|Three Dollar Bill|
"I've always preferred hard rock and punk rock music over any other type of music because it's such a healthy, aggressive release of energy and emotion...You'd think the anger and aggression in punk and rock music would be more universally felt emotions within the gay community and a way to connect with other homos given our struggle with equal rights, politics and government," says Jane Danger, guitarist and vocalist for local DIY indie post-punk/nu-grunge sensations, Three Dollar Bill.
3DB (as their fans say) is one of the oldest (and, unfortunately, only) queer rock bands in the city. Their slogan "3DB will set you free" promises powerful lyrics and passionate playing, and as any 3DB fan will tell you, they always deliver. Their distinctive blend of rock, punk and grunge is made even more unique by the fact that they have both female and male lead vocalists. Though they write lyrics separately, Chris Piss and Jane Danger often experiment with "call-and-response" style singing vaguely reminiscent of the punk band "X".
Don't expect that to be the norm, though. Backed by the creative powers and natural talent of drummer Chip Lash and bassist G. Rex, each song has its own status-quo demolishing identity with moods ranging from dark and pounding to upbeat and poppy. Some lyrics are political calls for action and awareness, while others are introspective explorations. Rage and optimism make great bedfellows in 3DB-land.
While the members are queer, their music aims to appeal to the broad audience of rock music lovers. As Chris Piss explains,
"I still get tremendous satisfaction from just having a creative outlet. Being in a queer band like Three Dollar Bill only helps me be more free and open in my writing. My first few songs were all about gay characters: Self-loathing Queer, Dud Boy, Retarded Drag Queen. A straight band might have responded to my writing by asking, Does everything have to be gay?!' I would have said, Yes. My first few songs have to be gay.' But with a queer band, my 'gay songs' are a non-issue, and so are my songs that are not gay-themed. We have no limitations on our writing."
Jane Danger echos Chris Piss's thoughts, "There are no rules in Three Dollar Bill!" reiterates Danger. She continues:
"In the beginning, I wrote more songs with queer-themes because that was a major issue in my life at the time. While still coming from a similar perspective, my more recent songs are less likely to be 'obviously gay' just because I've gotten a lot of that out of my system. I am a personal writer however, so there are always common themes recurring in my songs depending on my mood and state of mind. While '4/99' and'American Dream' may have a queer voice, they still deal with issues and events that I think a lot of people can relate to regardless of their sexual identity."
Three Dollar Bill has 3 self-released CDs and is currently working on a fourth entitled, "Parody of Pleasure" due to be released by the spring.
Three Dollar Bill will be performing with The Butchies at this year's Estrojam Fest at Shubas (3159 N. Southport, Chicago) on Wednesday, September 22nd,. Also on the bill is: Apartment, Sleepover, Lickity Split Radical Cheerleaders, and a Dance Party with DJ Ali McDonald (Think Pink/WLUW). Show starts at 8:45pm
The band will also be kicking off Spin's (Belmont/Halsted, Chicago) Octoberfest on Saturday, September 25th at 1PM.
If that's not enough for ya, check 'em out when they open for Bitch (of Bitch and Animal) on October 9th at the Abbey Pub. Show details, mp3s, pics, merch and more can be found at their website, threedollar.net.