Originally published in Noise and Color
What happens when you merge one of Vancouver’s most notorious musicians with a rustic punk rocker/biocultural anthropologist from Florence, Montana? A marriage of gritty small town punk meets whiskey-spraying rockabilly. Skyping from Vancouver, Brandy “Bones” Bates discusses her transition from small town rocker to upright bass wielding badass for Big John Bates’ newest musical creation.
Brandy and John first joined forces in Big John Bates and the Voodoo Dollz—a band ripe with sweaty hotrod blues and heavily influenced by dark rockabilly, complete with burlesque dancers in ripped-up fishnets. John approached Brandy after her college band, the Whiskey Wailers, opened for him. She was asked to join the Voodoo Dollz as their bassist during the height of the group’s fame. Thrust into the festival circuit in the summer of 2009, playing for tens of thousands of people, Brandy quickly learned how to beat her upright bass—and the crowds—into submission.
Brandy thumps a sexy upright Höfner bass with white body trimmed in black. As a Voodoo Doll, she’d awe the crowd with bass contortionism, slinging it around the stage, jumping from its sides, and even playing it behind her back, making people ask after the show, “Is that a prop?”