Okay, she’s blonde. And she plays guitar.
But don’t conclude bassist, guitarist and singer Jennie Vee is “the next Courtney Love.”
“It’s very easy—‘lazy’ might be a better word—for journalists to compare me to Courtney,” says Vee, who toured this year with Love’s band and Lana Del Rey on “The Endless Summer Tour.”
While she finds the comparison to Love flattering and has “huge respect and admiration” for the veteran Hole frontwoman, Vee considers Love and herself “two very different people and artists.”
Listen to a few bars of Vee’s “Wicked” and you’ll understand why. Her lyrical layering, syncopated rhythms and ethereal vocals share little musical DNA with Love’s raw, roaring song styling.
Currently wrapping up a tour of Italy, the UK and US, Vee recently landed in New York just in time for the October 15 release of her first solo album, Spying.
In between gigs and press interviews, Vee took time to chat via email with The Crest. The down-to-earth rocker shares an insider look at life on the road, her musical influences and her love of fashion—an obsession that stretches back to girlhood.
10 Things You Need to Know About Rocker Jennie Vee
1. A pre-Cambrian rock ’n’ roll childhood influences her work. Vee’s upbringing in a rural Canadian mining town had a powerful impact on her early formation. The town was built on pre-Cambrian rock exposed by the impact of a “two billion-year-old meteorite,” says Vee. The remote, craggy landscape catalyzed Vee’s “quest to escape. Playing music became the vehicle,” she explains. Vee’s father supported her passion by taking her to U2, Crowded House and Michael Jackson concerts.
2. Music was the itch. Then she found The Cure. “I discovered bands like The Cure, Culture Club and U2 at an early age. My biggest bass inspiration has always been The Cure’s Simon Gallup.”
3. Don’t call her a “girl bass player.” Vee bristles when an interviewer questions her on being a female bass player in rock ’n’ roll’s male-dominated milieu. “My gender has absolutely nothing to do with the kind of bass player I am and gender-specific questions... perpetuate the misogyny seen not only in the music industry, but in all industries,” she says.
4. Whole Lotta Love: Courtney Love has referred to Vee as her “muse.” Love styled the bass player and her band for Vee’s video of Lips Like Sugar, an Echo & the Bunnymen cover. Vee has also modeled in photo shoots and videos for Courtney Love’s “Never The Bride” collection.
5. She’s no diva. If you enjoy the schadenfreude of rock stars who raise hell, wreck hotel rooms and rotate in and out of rehab, Vee may disappoint. Late-night gigs and long tours notwithstanding, the musician maintains what appears to be an extraordinarily disciplined, healthy and—gasp—moderate lifestyle. “I like to go to bed early and get up early. In rock ’n’ roll terms that means bed at midnight and up at around 8am.” Post-show, Vee may have “one glass of wine” before taking time to chat with audience members. After that it’s usually back to the hotel and bed.
6. She finds time to exercise. Busy as she is, Vee fits online workouts into her on-the-road routine. “My favorite trainers are Tracy Anderson and Mary Helen Bowers. [Anderson’s] methods are varied, vast and perfect for traveling. And Bowers’ Ballet Beautiful is also great for the road as there is no equipment.”
7. Work is a “labor of love.” Life on the road is “not very glamorous—but completely rewarding and part of what drives a musician,” says Vee. For professional musical artists, “there is the creative phase, where you are at home and in the studio writing and recording,” she explains. “After that comes the ‘sharing’ phase which is all about releasing your work online and taking it on the road.”
8. Vee is a prize-winning cook… When time permits! The longtime vegetarian—and vegan, since 2009—won a ribbon at the East Nashville’s Tomato Fest for her raw lasagna made with layers of zucchini noodles, pistachio pesto and five types of tomatoes.
9. She sewed her own Goth- and Punk-Inspired apparel as a teen. Vee has a passion for style that began in childhood when she “loved to change outfits several times a day,” she says. The 80s movie Xanadu, with its period-dress Muses, proved endlessly inspiring. Fortuitously, her grandfather was a professional tailor who indulged the little girl’s costume cravings with customized, one-of-a-kind outfits. As a teen, Vee learned to sew her own gothic velvet cloaks and metallic slip dresses. Her photo appeared in her high school year book’s Halloween section—though at the time she “was NOT wearing a costume,” Vee wryly recalls.
10. Jennie Vee takes personal style seriously. Today, her wardrobe is dominated by black, white and grey pieces punctuated with jewel-tone touches. While some style mavens covet handbags, she instead collects coats. “I love to wear a simple pair of high-waisted black trousers, a black blouse, black patent leather boots and a wild purple faux fur, glam-rock coat.” No normcore for Vee. “I actually don’t own any leggings or athletic shoes,” she says. “Flats are not comfortable for me.” The musician prefers heels, onstage and off. “I spent one entire tour in five-inch heels,” recalls Vee. “But nowadays, I like to wear three-inch ankle boots during shows.”