Sunday, January 3, 2010

Q&A: Linette singer of the Sweethearts

When I met Linette and her band the Sweethearts, I was instantly impressed and thought they were rockin'. Great music and a great sense of style and swagger. I had the opportunity in 2005 on tour to record one of my songs in Austin at a studio on the cheap (meaning FREE) and invited Linette to duet the track with me. Linette and Ren (guitarist of the Sweethearts) showed up, and Linette sang with me on the choruses, and I released that version of my song "the sweetest kiss" on my album entitled "Sex". They performed a show at the Barley House with me in Dallas once, and Linette got on stage and duetted the Selena song "Como La Flor" with me (and schooled me on singing properly in spanish, haha). We've kept in touch and recently Linette and Ren and Linette's sister Elva and cousin Danica all drove up from Austin and took me to see Gwen Stefani and No Doubt perform at the amphitheatre across from my flat, and it was one of the best concert performances I'd ever seen. We all hung out and had a rockin' time. They are great friends with big hearts and I'm happy she agreed to do this interview!

Q: How's the austin music scene these days? does the reality live up to the reputation?
Linette: There are so many bands in Austin, so many venues to play, and always a show to see, so I guess Austin does live up to being the "Music Capital". Being that there are so many bands in town, it makes it harder to make it big and really draw a good crowd. There is so much competition between bands, and there is sometimes too much going on. I still feel it is easier to find a truly devoted audience in a smaller town.

Q: Does the "keep Austin weird" slogan bug you?
Linette: No, it doesn't really bug me! I like living in a weird city , just kidding! I believe the slogan was intended to promote small independent businesses in Austin, which I think is pretty cool!!

Q: Is it difficult to play in the same band as your significant other?
Linette: Playing in a band with my boyfriend, Ren, has turned out to be pretty cool. We've been playing in a band together since we met. I think it makes our relationship stronger since we have so much in common and we share the same passion. It's also neat that we get to tour together. It's so nice to be able to share our experiences in playing in a band together. The only down side to it is when we disagree on a band issue. We have to remember not take our differences personal, and to treat each other with respect. I'm a strong believer in the famous quote " The couple that plays together stays together!"

Q: How long have you been singing?
Linette: As a singer/songwriter, I've been singing since the age of fourteen. As a little girl, I would sing all the time. I was really good at learning lyrics and I always wanted to listen to music or be around it. I used to watch Grease and Annie all the time and sing along. My dad bought me my first acoustic guitar when I was nine, and began showing me a few chords at a time.

Q: What made you want to sing in a band?
Linette: I fell in love with punk rock music when I was thirteen. I wanted to learn how to play guitar first, and after I did, I started writing my own songs and lyrics. I wasn't planning on starting a band, but eventually I had enough original songs and I didn't need to be in a cover band anymore.

Q: Do you write all your lyrics? what inspires you?
Linette: I write lyrics to the songs I write music to. I usually write the rhythm on guitar and then the lyrics. Ren also writes songs . We've also co-written songs.

Q: Have the sweethearts ever toured, and where?
Linette: Yes, we've done three west coast tours. The first two tours we went out on our own and booked our own shows. The furthest north we've been is Seattle, WA. The second tour was the summer of 2008, we jumped on a two-week west coast tour with Kepi Ghoulie and The Copyrights. We are planning to tour the east coast and Midwest soon!!

Q: I heard you were from brownsville originally. what's it like there, and what brought you to austin?
Linette: Brownsville, TX is a really nice border town. It is the tip of TX, so you have the Mexico border and you've also got the Gulf of Mexico, so it's not far from the beach. It's also got a tropical feel to it with all the palm trees and humidity. The food there is delicious and everybody knows everybody. The Sweethearts love playing Brownsville, since the majority of us grew up there, everyone except for our drummer, Joel. There aren't a lot of music venues to play in Brownsville, but when there is a show everyone comes out to support!!

Q: Have you had any memorable experiences touring or performing?
Linette: Yes, my most memorable experiences are whenever we get to play with our favorite bands. We've been blessed to get to play with so many bands that we admire. We recently got to open up for Screeching Weasel and The Riverdales, two shows back to back, at Emo's in Austin. We've been inspired by their music for so long that this felt like a big achievement for us and we were so honored to share the stage with them!

Q: How hard is it to be "just a girl" in a music scene dominated by aggressive men?
Linette: It can be hard at times, when you don't get respect or people don't take you seriously. Most of the time, I feel that it can also be to my advantage. People might pay more attention to the fact that a girl is involved, or that a girl is demanding certain things. Some of those aggressive men can become a little soft when a girl is asking, or they might continue to be a jerk, because that's how they are with everybody. I once was told by a lousy bar owner in San Antonio " Look, Sweetie! I can only pay you $10!" How's that for a jerk?

Q: Have you been influenced by Gwen Stefani or other famous girl singers?
Linette: Yes, I've been influence by Gwen Stefani ever since Tragic Kingdom came out. When I heard "Just a Girl" for the first time, I knew I wanted more No Doubt. I love Gwen, I think she is such a great performer and singer. She is the real thing. I'm also inspired by Deborah Harry, Joan Jett, Belinda Carlisle ( The Go-Go's), Ronnie Spector, and The Shangri-las. I love girl groups from the sixties!

Q: How many releases have the sweethearts had?
Linette: We have two full lengths which were released on Mortville Records, "L.U.V" in 2003, and "Look Could Kill" in 2005. We recently self-released "Take Note" , a five song EP, in 2008.

Q: What does the future hold for you and the sweethearts?
Linette: We are going to record more music and play more shows!! We're just going to keep doing what we love, no plans on stopping any time soon.

Q: Anything else you want to say?
Linette: Yes, thank you Christy for taking the time to interview me.You rock!

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