Intervieuw Juel Resistance

I have been visiting a lot of gigs of Juel,
each time she grabs my soul again.
Her voice, music and lyrics go straight through me.

Each time i listen, i wonder what goes on in inside her,
so one night we sat down, layed our feet on the table,
graw a few beers and started talking.

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So Juel, tell us a bit more about your musical background
Juel
Oh this is the fun question!
My family is French and Native American Indian…
My mother played piano in 2nd grade and took that passion into other instruments, banjo, guitar, and ‘the accordion.’

My mothers father – my papa Jule- played guitar, accordion,
and was also an artist and a painter, woodworking art, drawing…
His mother was a singer when he was a child in the early 1900’s.

On my dad’s side there is a branch or two of French Artists,
from France of course, Germain Pilon was one artist I had found
a little history on years ago.

My grandfathers brother – my papa’ jule’s brother-
made violins in Upper Michigan, and my first guitar was actually hand
made by my grandpa, the year I was born.

I grew up listening to bluegrass, folk, and the modge podge of music
that streamed through the AM radio, until I discovered FM !
The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Melanie Sefka, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan,
Lots of Johnny Cash. And of course lots of ‘waltz’ music
and stuff from Bing Cosby, Frank Sinatra….
my Papa Jule had lots of 8 tracks 🙂

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An interesting list of artists, how did they influenced you
Juel
Looking back, from where I am today….
I can see how Dylan, John Prine, Janis, Joan Baez
and Johnny Cash influenced me.
Since I’ve never taken music theory or lessons…
instead I just did what came natural and looked at books…
Had i HAD the knowledge, I certainly would have gone straight
into the blues, or jazz as much as I’ve gone head first into Folk.
Since my earliest influences were such great story tellers
and my family is full of great story tellers,
it was easy and natural to fall into a ‘john prine, or Dylan’ groove.
Frank Sinatra influenced me only in his showman ship,
and the fact that his music always made me feel ‘Classic and Brilliant’

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When did you started with playing music yourself
Juel
I started playing when i was about 5, on the “Hammond Organ’
My mom played it a lot and had all these song books.
She showed me where the notes were, and how to play
as I watched her blaze across the keyboard.
I didn’t quite get it, but I wasn’t being pushed into anything…

so eventually I just sat down while listening to the radio,
and started playing the songs I heard on the radio, by ear.
The family was a bit impressed with this,
and I didn’t understand ‘by ear’ at that age,
and thought they had all lost their minds, as I said
“I play with my fingers, not my ear !’ ..haaa

The first couple songs I did were ‘Torn Between Two Lovers”
and ‘The Rose” as they seemed to be on the radio a lot then.
I played until we moved…
and then the organ was to remain at my grandparents
in Upper Michigan, where I had lived, and we moved to Wisconsin…

Then I dropped the music, now I had new concerns,
like making friends…which isn’t easy when you switch schools in the
middle of 5th grade. In 6th grade, I was visiting my grandparents,
storming as always through their Fantastic Attic,
and I found this old dusty case, black, like a heavy duty cardboard
with little buckles around the edges.
I pulled it out and dusted it off. Opened it up and inside was a small
Classical Hand Made guitar. I ran downstairs and said “PAPA !!!!!!!!!”
he just smiled and said ‘yes !” it was mine ever since.

Turns out, looking through old photos,
there is a picture of me on his lap,
as he is holding the guitar next to me the year I was born.
guess it was meant to be mine.

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You still have that guitar ?
Juel
I no longer have my first guitar.
Someone stole it when I lived in Minneapolis
and my things were in storage. ASSHOLES they were !
I had a storage unit and I had things in there that I had carried with
me for my whole life…and I mean LITERALLY my whole life.
For example I had a stuffed bunny rabbit that someone gave my mom
when she was still pregnant with me as a baby shower gift.
I had books of poetry, songs, stories, drawings that
‘the management’ of the storage unit CLAIMS was all throw
into a dumpster. Well, such is life….

The guitar…
I had stripped and refinished a few years prior to it being stolen.
I think the manager of the building took it, she was always looking
at it so fondly, she was also a musician.
So the guitar was handpainted by me, and then stolen…
it was a very small guitar and didn’t play the best because
of it being so small and having been stored away for many years.

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But go on …
Juel
I took lessons for less than 3 months,
and my instructor asked me to sing. I packed up my guitar,
put it in it’s case, and left, never to return again.
Was I shy? TERRIBLY! NO WAY. NO HOW was I going to sing.

I continued to teach myself after that, and then took the big leap
one day and packed up my guitar, my bag,
and jumped into the car of a total stranger because I had an
overwhelming URGE to move to Minneapolis.
I had to do music. It drove me. I didn’t WANT to, i HAD to.

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But why Minneapolis ?
Juel
Funny thing, I had never been here,
except on one unfortunate incident that changed my life….
Basically I only saw Minneapolis from Lounge Room Windows in
Golden Valley.

After returning back to Wisconsin after 3 months
of being in Golden Valley, i had a screaming urge to go back…
and I mean SCREAMING. It ate at me.
I wasn’t sure why, to tell you the truth, just one thing kept
saying MINNEAPOLIS over and over, and music.
I had no clue what was going on, only that I trusted
(and still do trust) My gut 100%.
if My gut said GO, i went.
It was so loud that it was impossible to ignore.
Someone offered me a sofa and a ride, I took it,
and have been here ever since.

Minneapolis is rated 2nd in the country for Music and Art.
It’s full of art and music festivals. Uptown Minneapolis is crawling
with musicians playing on street corners.
NY is #1 for the best art/music culture…
Minnesota comes in 2nd…
if you ever get to visit here during the summer, you’ll see why.
Most every local cafe, coffee shop has local artists art on the walls,
local musicians performing in them morning, noon and night.
People on corners playing guitar and of course the Farmers Markets
in the summer ROCKS with live music.
There are 10,000 lakes in Minnesota and 4-5 Spectacular ones
in Uptown that carry Music and Art festivals all summer long in the
parks and near the lakes.

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When did you start with singing ?
Juel
From day 1, but in private.
I never let others hear me….if I could help it.
In high school I was in various Choirs and Competitions,
but it took a LOT of persuasion to get me
to open my mouth on stage and sing.
I did well in the State Competitions,
but I think I could have done a bit better,
had I not been so Painfully shy.

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Shy ? you don’t look shy during a show,
it looks like you are totally in charge of things.
Juel
The shyness never goes away…but it just gets easier.
It’s like when you know you need to do something,
and there is no way Out, so you just have to do it,
no matter how terrified you are…you HAVE to.
So I guess that’s how I get “Through” it.

Every time I do a live performance, it’s one of those things
I just swallow over and over, because there is no way out really…
unless I want to run off stage.
So I’m used to singing in front of people,
both physically in front of me, or in the virtual world
and when I first started singing in the Virtual World here….
that was terrifying as well,
mostly because I never knew what to expect.

Once I get past the first couple songs, I’m much more relaxed,
but imagine 100 people all Looking RIGHT at you….
kinda scarey!!!!

So yeah I ‘seem to be not shy and totally in charge’ as you say,
because a lot of good experience and great audience members
all around the globe, have been my biggest support!
I think if my first ‘second life live show’ had been anything
but ‘Remarkable’, I may have went back into hiding!
I had not played guitar in almost a decade before Second Life.
I was raising 4 step boys and had no time to play my guitar
because everything went into t hem.
Eventually they grew up and became independent,
and the guitar found it’s way back into my hands….
the more I played it, the better I felt…as if I was healing again..

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It seems that there was no other way then a live with art,
ever thought about doing something else ?
Juel
I couldn’t imagine NOT doing art or music.
But I never Planned or considered being ANYTHING for that matter.
In fact I never considered myself a musician, songwriter,
poet, or artist. I just did those things naturally,
because they soothed me, they released the tension inside.
It was others who heard me, or saw my art, or read my poetry
that recognized the underlying artist I guess.
meanwhile I just spent days writing songs or painting or drawing,
because it healed everything in me. I didn’t do it in public,
I never let others see it, unless it was on accident…..and well…
accidents can be good eh?

My CHOICE would have been Psychologist.
I’ve studied Psychology for over 20 years,
and once attempted College for Journalism, as well as Cosmetology
and Creative Writing. Took some Psychology courses as well,
but never finished….just continued to study because it
fascinates me to this day…the Human Mind, Our Behavior, etc….

So my ‘other job’ is in the field of Mental Health, and Sales.
I love them both, but could never do them full time as they are
not quite as “healing’ as the ‘art/music’ etc….

I think we are what we are meant to be, like it or not.
I’m an artist. It’s not the easiest path for someone to choose.
But I am convinced I didn’t choose this, I just embraced it.

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You mentioned you wanted to become a Psychologist,
does this explains your lyrics ? a way of exploring your mind ?
Some lyrics show me someone that gets
smashed around between emotions ?
Juel
I was diagnosed with Bipolar many years ago,
and for those that don’t know what Bipolar is, it’s basically
Very Intense Changes in mood, as well as Spikes in Creativity
that just can’t be matched anywhere else.
t’s often Triggered by a traumatic Event in childhood,
but it’s spiked up in people in adulthood as well through trauma.
It’s also well known to be a “creative disorder’…
So through A lot of research, I combed through every book
about Bipolar, and the Human Mind, and Human behavior
and have come to realize, it’s not an ‘illness’ at all, it’s a Chemical
Imbalance that can’t be helped, those that have Bipolar are often
‘extreme creatives’ with extreme moods dipping from
the lowest of lows to the highest of highs.
These intense mood swings often spike up
highly productive mood swings,
or me…. whatever works for me at the time,
is on the plate of Creativity for me.

I believe my ‘gift’ is the only thing that heals me.
During the 10 years I raised the boys, I was being treated for Bipolar
no matter what ‘medical cocktail’ the doctor gave me,
it had worse side effects than doing any good for me.
I was More depressed, I was absolutely miserable…
this went on for quite awhile. Eventually I said “DONE!”
and quit taking the things that Stopped me from doing
what I wanted.

After a few months of lifestyle changes, I wrote a song,
then another….. then someone I had met in a different
Virtual Game “The Sims Online” told me about Second Life
and I began to explore that.
When I started doing music in Second Life, life just fell into place.
I felt whole again, because I was doing what healed me.

BEFORE I was raising 4 stepsons I was living in Minneapolis
playing my guitar for a living, basically it was my only means
of survival. I really didn’t LIVE anywhere,
I kind of went from couch to couch, playing for tips,
playing at Cafes, performing all over the Metro area to
earn enough money to get bus fare, a sandwich,
a cup of coffee, a notebook to write my songs in…
haaaaaa, life was ROUGH, but I was also very happy.
Without my music or art, I get sick. Simple as that.
For the ten years I was being treated for Bipolar,
I never was healing, because I was no longer playing music
or writing songs…it’s Doing it that heals me.

Second Life did a great big number on my spirit, and just the fact
that I was performing, healed me. The more I performed,
the more I wrote songs, and the More I wrote songs,
the more I performed…great cycle eh?

You say…. ‘Some Lyrics show me someone that gets
smashed around between emotions’….
yes. Absolutely. 100%, no doubt.
Everything I feel, is a bit exaggerated.
I might laugh louder than the rest, cry longer, feel more deeply….
we all go thru these emotions, but the Hypersensitivity aspect
of it all, just gives me the extra feelers. A Curse, a blessing?

I feel like I’m wide open, a hole in the top of my head that goes
right through me, and all those words in the universe go right
through me, like an open vessel, and if I’m lucky….
I catch some of those words that fly through me….
and put them to music.

It’s the emotional ups and downs that just give new perception
to things we feel and see every day. If you ride higher than the rest,
you see things differently. If you ride lower than the rest,
you see new depths. I write about them….people understand them,
because more than likely they have been there
in one sense or another too, eh?

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What song would be the ultimate Juel song ?
Juel
that’s a tough one!!!
Truthfully, they all are,
because each song is based off of some real life experience
or something I might have surfaced the edges of.
Granted there are a few songs that are hard for me to understand
where they came from
(that’s why I say I’m open on both ends and words often flow thru me
if I’m fortunate enough to catch them, I write them down)
Sometimes I don’t u nderstand the songs that are given to me,
but most every song has a real experience embedded into it,
one I had to go through in order to write about it.
So at the moment, I would have to say “Do My Thing” is very “JueL’

Listen to “Do My Thing”

i ain’t tryin to impress you
i ain’t buyin what you got
i ai’nt sellin my In San Ity
i ai’nt watchin you lookin back at me

i ain’t talking, just to talk
and i wan’t walkin, just to walk
i ain’t waitin for your Ok, just to do my thing

i ai’nt prayin,i don’t believe in jesus
i ai’nt waitin, for him to come and save us
if i’m on my knees it ain’t for forgiveness
i ain’t tellin you, my confessions

i ain’t walkin, just to walk
cuz your direction, got me lost
i ai’nt waitin, for you to tell me i can do my thing

i ain’t waitin, anticipating
all your time, procrastinating
dn’t waste my time, on your vanity
don’t try to sell me your PersonAlity

don’t you stand, in my way
don’t you tell me what to say
i gotta do it my own way, when i do my thing

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How are things going in RL when it comes to music ?
you have your gigs, sell your albums ?
any big things coming up ?
Juel
In my life currently with music, it’s always on the stove,
burning up a new brew. In fact as we speak I’m feeling the stirrings
of a song jumpin around like a lil fish in my belly.
Sometimes I’ll feel that for days or weeks before the song comes out.
It’s one of the best most frustrating feelings I can describe.
I call it Mental Constipation.
I can feel the song just kind of floating around in me,
but it’s just not coming out, YET…but it will.

I mix the Real Life up a lot with different art.
Right now I’m doing a lot of work with Black Ink…
tattoo type styles, big pieces that I work on for days.
Otherwise I’m painting….it releases colors/emotions…..
like I said before, it Heals.
Anything that the universe has given me the ability to do,
will always heal me……it will with anyone!
My goal….if my art or music or photography heals others,
then I have truly accomplished a great thing!

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You are playing in SL for a long time now,
how do you look at the musical future of SL ?
Juel
The Musical Future of SL…..OO Good ONE!
Well I believe it’s Mushroomed up about as big as it’s going to get
and then just flow over with a bunch of ‘foam’.
There are hundreds of ‘musicians’ in SL.
Those of us that like the whole Emotional Ride of Live Music,
and the Original Indie’s, we LOVE a good ride, a great story,
the emotional power of the raw original experience.

Everyone offers some fun….but I believe there are few that
grab our souls and we just can’t shake the groove of them,
cuz they Move us to a new level….
Those are the experiences I am a part of,
and continue to seek out. RAW.

I once heard a guy on the mic once,
screaming out curse words at his wife while he played
one of the worst sets I’ve ever heard.
Was an unfortunate hire for the venue that would even put
someone like that on their virtual stage….
SL Has a long way to go. RL is where it’s at.

SL is an incredible platform for those that are willing to
truly sink their feet into it and give it their best experience…..
thus…giving their audience an incredible experience as well.
Grace your stage with something that almost breaks your heart
with emotion…they’re out there!

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How is your relation with your fans ?
you speak to them often ? see them ?
ever meet SL fans during RL shows ?
Juel
My Relationship with my fans, is one I Cherish.
You’re right, I do talk of them often,
without the fans, I am not supported.
I imagine it and often tease about it being a marriage…
if I don’t spice it up, change it around, mix it up
and try new things, they will get bored.
They are the reason I keep going…..
or I would be performing to the birds….
I wonder if the birds would mind? haaa

Yes I have met fans during real life shows….OOoo Yeah!
I have met about a dozen or more fans and
other fellow SL musicians through my small travels.
I’ve met about 5 here in Minneapolis,
and when I went to North Carolina to perform with Cylindrian,
I also met Charles Bristol from SL, an 86 year old Blues Player
who inspired the Pixels right out of me

I met Etherian another Blues musicians in SL,
Charles Coleman an awesome musician in SL …
then in GA I met Spence WIlde, who is a damn genius
when it comes to Creating a crazy, wild and MUCH Loved Sound,
and some fans were also there,
including Cainin Griffith and Shiger Seattle…was a great experience!

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So Juel, some last words of wisdom for us ?
Juel
When you take your last breath in life,
don’t let it be the Frightening Gasp of ‘I WISH I WOULD HAVE…!”
Make sure you take your last breath
with the peace of knowing you did, what you were put here to do.

That’s the most important thing to me.
Anytime you think “I should have’…
you’re 100% correct…You should have!

It is clear to me that Juel is a musician in heart and soul.
Whatever may happen to her, she puts it to music.
I see a woman that didn’t choose music,
music choose her.
She accepted it, dusted of her guitar and started to sing.

Thanks Juel

Love, Peace and Melody
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~ by homelessmartian on January 4, 2009.

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