The seed of drag was planted firmly in my head a number of years ago when I stumbled across something shocking. Something that rocked my visual aspirations to the core. A living art object whose striking grotesquerie sat balanced within the midst of sublcultural legends in LA’s most famous dive hotel, the Gershwin. This creature, this blood bitch whom I now consider myself lucky enough to call sister sinister, SQUEAKY BLONDE is the very reason I learnt to conceal my brows and don my wreckage… urm, maquillage.
This staple of ultra-chic L.A. We-Ho clubland and alternative rock Ruffhaus DJing, is mother to the latest generation of subversive drag miscreants. Her career has spanned varied projects including short films such as ‘Nightmare on Castro Street’ by Peaches Christ and the upcoming Austin Young collaborative project ‘TBD’, regular performances for Heklina Heklina’s touring Trannyshack shows during which Ms. Blonde has cast spells over the audiences (or is that Hexes?!) gathered by re-interpreting songs as diverse as Bowies’ ‘Wild is the Wind’, Dionne Warwicks, ‘Walk on By’ and Billie Holidays ‘Strange Fruit’. Further collaborations with drag documentarian, Austin Young, have also yielded performances within LACMA for ‘Fallen Fruit’ and the uber-successful ‘Tranimal Workshops’ alongside her equally subversive daughter, Fade-Dra Phey. A range of clothing, 23 Bloody Knuckles, and experimental industrial noise recordings also fall within Squeaky’s repertoire.
So where on earth did this inter-disciplinary demon of drag come from? What does it take to make a Blonde, Blonde?! Read on my darlings, it’s time to take a step, into TRANIMALIA!!!!
Hi Squeaky, I’m gonna jump right in here, brace yourself… How do you describe your interpretation of drag and what has inspired your take on the art form?
Initially my descent into thee world of drag was based on my life long fascination with thee Manson family, I grew up with and was raised by bikers and biker sluts – I married one straight outta the gutter in my late teens… she was my first love and mother to my only child. I lost her in the late 80’s in a tragic trick gone wrong. We were hookers and I showed up too late one nite as we were polishing off a couple johns and I walked in to find her dead. I lost my mind and in an effort to take my life I became her and “Squeaky Blonde” was born. Mind you, I already had a penchant for this darkness, as I was also born to replace my dead sister who coincidentally died in her crib at 6 months old while my parents were on acid and as luck would have it, I came next and was raised in the crib and clothes she died in… so therein lies my history with death and drag. Meeting Squeaky Blonde as a small child left quite an impact on me and I fell in love with her strength, brutality and the slight nod to femininity that I lacked, and, as the story goes, I became a dark bastardized version of her, my wife and my sister rolled up into one hot mess.
So, I never chose this, it chose me. While I fought it for years as a young lil goth queen I had no idea what path this was going to take me on and to this day… when I walk onstage and look at the crowd, all I can do is stomp my heel and look to the sky and call upon these iconoclastic memories from my past and sometimes I don;t know who I’m channelling or dragging from heaven and hell but It is what it is and I have finally learned to own it.
You’ve had a long history in the alternative music scene, working with a variety of musicians such as the now sadly departed Gidget Gein (Ex-Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids) to create music that spans a surreal blend of genres. Can you tell us a little bit about the music you’ve been known for in the past and if there are any plans to release more of your back catalogue?
Over the past few years I’ve started writing a lot of music and usually from a bad place, hence the deathly overtones. Drag as I just mentioned was used to heal a place in my heart and head that I could never understand and while it’s officially run its course spiritually it is through that medium that I came to start making music. my only regret is that I hadn’t started earlier in life, but then again I never expected to be here very long. I started making recordings on my mini cassette recorder in the early 90’s and was obviously inspired by the operatic Schrei of Diamanda Galas and learned everything I know from listening and learning how to shriek and howl from that lovely genius. Once I realized that I didn’t need to kill or be killed and learned that I could scream as though I was being fisted with razor blades… I knew I’d be ok.
No one in San Francisco (my hometown) ever paid me mind. It was only here in Los Angeles that I came to know and work with such amazing musicians. My dearly departed brother “Gidget” and I started working on gorgeous witchy soundscapes while outta our gourd and we played some really bitchin shows together and made some magic before he left us. Some of which is documented in his final release, ‘The Law Of Diminishing Returns’ in 2007. After his departure I came to know and love working with some of the most amazing and prolific spooktards known to man… not gonna drop names but lets just say, it felt good to be loved and respected by the men whose musick shaped and formed my dumb ass…
Your latest project seems to focus more on industrial and noise experimentation, what has driven your focus into this area? Also, when is your full length release to be unleashed upon us?
A certain someone taught me how to use Pro tools and not having to commission tracks from assholes anymore was a welcome reality. Therein lies much of the experimental shit I’ve been working on for the new album this past year… I must admit …I don’t know exactly what I’m doing , but I like whatever is happening so far and once I nail this thing it’s on!
Recently you have been involved with the Machine Project alongside Mathu Anderson, Austin Young, Jer Ber Jones and Fade-Dra Phey to create ‘Tranimal’. A movement seems to have been coined now, how do you feel about that? Is it something you encourage?
All I will say about “Tranimal” is that it is magick and a gorgeous “fuck You” to the establishment. It was originally based on and inspired by the likes of certain geniuses that came before us and in part most of which happened to be an homage to their iconic beauty and prolific madness. I happen to actually be in love with the beauty and trans-formative power of the whole idea… which was really loosely based on the glamorous element of gender non-specific ferocity and, as luck will have it, bitches that cant paint only hate! so fuck you!
Your work with the well-known L.A. based artist and drag documentarian, Austin Young has produced many iconic images, how did you begin your collaboration with Young?
Austin young is my long-time collaborator and dear friend… we’ve worked together since I opened my store/gallery “FILTH” in 2001. He is the only reason I chose to continue making any of this art as his love and passion is so inspiring and the magick we make together is unparalleled and it’s taken us to great places and while I never expected any of this to be brought into the mainstream , let alone “LACMA” ,”The Hammer Museum” and “Berkeley Art Museum” its a welcome surprise and I’m thankful to know, love and work with a beautiful man like her!
Thank you so much for your time and your fantastic answers Squeaks, I can’t wait to catch up with you again! In the mean-time, feel free to take a gander at Squeaky’s Website here: http://www.squeakyblonde.com/
Squeaky Blonde can be caught regularly for the Boulet Brothers in Dragula, DJ’ing for Ruffhaus. Hosting, drowning the locals in alcohol or hexing the residents of WeHo at any number of LA’s infamous clubs such as Mario Diaz’s BFD and Brutus!
Watch Videos of Squeaky singing here:
Transforming legendary club kid, James St James, here:
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And buy merchandise with the Blonde brand seal of approval here:
Bile and Bruises everyone, I promise it wont be so long before I update again…