Why Venus Bleeding is not the Next Big Thing

Ten years as a band, and still nobody knows who the hell they are. Some acts just can't get a break.

Angelique X decided against “True Love” at the last minute. Instead, the lead singer for the Oakland band Venus Bleeding went for “Rawk” and “Roll.” The tattooed words splay across the tops of her fingers á la “Love” and “Hate” on Robert Mitchum’s hands in the movie The Night of the Hunter. “It’s my life’s purpose,” she says, wrapping the “Roll” of her right hand along a pint of pilsner and taking a polite sip.

The zaftig 29-year-old chanteuse is soft-spoken and doll-like, despite the kaleidoscopic ink work that covers much of her body. She has nearly twenty tattoos adorning it, from the flaming “immaculate heart of Mary” sandwiched between her breasts, to the full set of silver wings covering her back. She has the Bettie Page regalia as well: the bluebird of happiness, a flaming matchbook, skull and crossbones, and a “lady luck” horseshoe tattoo. Each design has a story, like the tops of her arms, which are flanked with his-and-hers pistols, one on each side, with the word “Mom” over one and “Dad” over the other. “These are the exact same tattoos each of my parents have,” she says. “They remind me to stick to my guns.”

No one would ever say that Angelique X doesn’t stick to her guns. She sticks to them so doggedly that, for ten years, she has remained loyal to her band, Venus Bleeding, despite mixed reviews, member turnover, the lack of a record contract, and myriad other disappointments. If ambition were bankable, Angelique and her bandmates would have their own Lear jet by now. “I don’t know, I’ve just always had this feeling that I was destined for something,” she says.

Angelique has possessed this drive for at least a decade, ever since she and the band’s future guitarist, Denise Archibeque, sat in a backyard patio in Modesto and plotted their future. “She asked me, ‘So, how far do you want to go with this?'” Angelique recalls. “And I was like: ‘All the way. All the way. Superstardom.’ “

Most superstars seem to have at least one thing in common: They never gave up, and they never let self-doubt overcome them. That dedication characterizes all of the long-term members of Venus Bleeding, and certainly Angelique. But unlike the stars profiled on VH-1’s Driven, the bandmates are only halfway there; they have the drive but not yet the fame.

They have played the Fillmore, the Great American Music Hall, and the Bottom of the Hill; they have opened for the Fixx, the Fuzztones, and Gene Loves Jezebel. Local-music wrangler Nadine Condon called them “the new, modern Heart” in the San Francisco Chronicle, and Sarah Quelland wrote in San Jose’s Metro that “when it comes to unsigned female rock bands that kick ass, Venus Bleeding is at the top of my very short list.” All four bandmembers get together to practice up to two times a week and plot ways to promote their two self-produced CDs, 9 Volt and Dye and Fakelore.

But the members of Venus Bleeding have watched acts that opened for them move up the ladder of success more quickly, while they have remained behind waiting for their big break. It seemed to come in 2001, when readers of the SF Weekly awarded Venus Bleeding the title of “Best Rock Band.” But the honor didn’t alter their future in the way they had hoped.

If a band has been together for ten years and still hasn’t “made it,” is it realistic for its members to believe they ever will? Usually, musicians who haven’t met with the success that they desire haven’t done so because their ambition exceeds their talent, dedication, or business skills, and some observers of the local music scene would say this is Venus Bleeding’s problem. But Venus Bleeding has a marketable look, a fairly distinct sound, and tons of energy. Lesser talents have pushed many other bands to the fore, such as this year’s winner of the Grammy Award for best new artist, Evanescence.

One thing’s for sure: Venus Bleeding is not the next big thing. In many ways, the story of this band is the story of most bands. They’ve worked their asses off. Spent a lot of cash. Recorded two CDs. Played tons of shows. And yet they can’t see to get anyone’s attention.

If the eyes are a window into the soul of a person, then perhaps the Web site is a window into the soul of a band. Venus Bleeding’s opens with a Flash animation intro of the band’s name filling the screen and then receding, as in the opening credits of Star Wars. Once the scarlet red letters have assembled in the middle of the screen, they shoot back at the viewer one by one, all to the sound of a hard guitar riff. A cartoon drawing of two punky females appears, one of whose boots rests atop a giant striped billiard ball. Then they disappear and the words Venus Bleeding return, beckoning you to “Enter.” Once you are in the site proper, the entire screen shakes like an earthquake, eventually subsiding into a photo of the band. Run your cursor over any of the icons on the screen, and women scream in various pitches. An 8-ball follows your cursor wherever you lead it, leaving acid-trip trails behind each movement.

The “Biographies” section indicates that Venus Bleeding originated in Modesto in 1994, but is now based in Oakland. The band began in Modesto’s café scene, where poetry readings and spoken word drowned out the sounds of soy milk being steamed. Angelique, who goes by the name of Angel, wrote poetry back then, and performed it whenever she could. Denise began showing up to see her. “I became a fan,” the guitarist recalls.

Eventually the two became friends, and started putting Angel’s words to music, just goofing off in a practice space next door to another Modesto band, Grandaddy, that finally broke out big last year. From there, they hooked up with other like-minded women: Sonya Westcott on bass, Sandy Powell on drums, and Justine Miller on electric violin.

“They were never afraid to do their own thing,” recalls Conan Neutron, an old Modesto crony who is now guitarist and vocalist for the East Bay band Replicator. “We used to go see them play at Izzy’s, a motel out by the freeway. They were pretty good. … I had no frame of reference; I still didn’t even know music until I moved to the Bay Area. But there was always a lot of promise in what they were doing.”

The band has described itself as a mix of metal, punk, goth, and indie rock, but, at least for its earlier stuff, Condon’s comparison to Heart wasn’t too far off. It was a hard-driving beat with some solid and not-so-solid hooks and a strong female voice at the helm. When the band played live, the soft-spoken Angel became a female Freddie Mercury.

Back then, Modesto was a town where bored kids watched cable TV, ate fast food, got high, and went to see the occasional show. Conan Neutron wasn’t the only musician to flee for the Bay Area. Rather than stay and take their chances in the Central Valley — a place not exactly known for its music at the time — the members of Venus Bleeding decided that they too needed to move to a bigger city, where they could play alongside other like-minded bands. Sure, there would be competition, but bands could get better shows by networking with their peers. Logrolling of this type can contribute greatly to a band’s success.

Yet Venus Bleeding has never belonged to a specific scene, which is either commendably punk rock or part of the reason it hasn’t broken out — or most likely both. Sure, the band has “band buddies,” other groups that often play shows with it, such as the Angry Amputees and Fracas, but no one in the Bay Area pulls from quite the same variety of influences.

“I know why a lot of the labels haven’t jumped at us,” Angel says with a sigh. “We’re not formula. They have a formula that sells, and we’re not exactly classifiable.”

The band’s members have waited patiently for styles to change, and for their audience to come to them. But for every Pavement or Cake, bands with distinctive sounds that managed to succeed on their own terms, there are ten Creeds or Blink-182s, whose sounds resemble what the recording industry is looking for at a particular moment.

Angel dreams of Venus Bleeding following the same path as The Darkness, that trashy neo-’70s Aerosmith progeny that’s quite a few people’s guilty pleasure these days.

“Rock is back,” she says. “Some of the members wanted to go in an electroclash way and do away with the drums and the regular instruments. I was like, ‘No, man, that’s not us. Rock will come back.’ And now look at it — look! The revival that’s going on right now!”

Over the past decade, Venus Bleeding has changed very little, apart from its lineup. At a show a few years back at the San Francisco club DNA, Angel had busted just about everything — her buttons, her vocal cords, and almost her skull. She was drenched in sweat, probably due to the black leather she was wearing, her chest heaving with each note that she sang. Her voice is the fifth instrument in the band, weaving in and out of Jen Slatten’s violin in a double-helix of sound.

She ended the set the same way she has ended many others: down on the floor in front of the crowd, writhing around with the mic during the final notes of a song. That night’s “crowd” numbered only about twenty-five, but the disappointing turnout didn’t squelch her Courtney Love moment. Anyone watching had to be impressed.

Band members are the first to admit that a lot of the attention they get at shows is due to the fact that three sexy, often scantily-clad women are performing. In fact, at the DNA show, half of the crowd appeared to be appreciative lesbian fans lined up in front for an eyeful.

Onstage, Angel dresses like a fetish model, all tarted up in black. And indeed she is. “I started a whole fetish modeling career to get attention to this band,” she notes, recalling one of many things she has tried to help her band succeed. She gets photographed in corsets, leather, and lingerie for various Web sites and publications, including Playboy and Maxim. “They say ‘Angel from Venus Bleeding,’ so it brings people to my band’s Yahoo group.”

By the end of each show, her hair is usually slathered to her head with sweat, her makeup about to melt into her neck. When people watch Venus Bleeding, they either see neo-feminists unafraid of being sexy, or they see a gaggle of girls trying to get attention by dressing like sluts. Angel is out front, one leg up on a monitor and the mic clutched in her fist. Regardless of your opinion of the band, it’s hard to keep your eyes off of them.

The guitarist, Denise, who now goes by the name of “Three,” is perhaps the most striking member of the band, long and bone-thin, with black hair that juts out in a sort of goth Chelsea. In her free time she designs and makes clothes. During a recent interview, she wore an inside-out Van Halen three-quarter-length T, the “VH” barely visible through the white cotton, onto which she had ironed-on a picture of a pistol. Around her neck was a choker made from a man’s tie; over her shoulders she wore a tight red jacket. Her tattoos were visible around her waist, peeking out of her low-rider jeans. But it’s her face that is truly unique. Without makeup her eyes would be sharp almonds with blazing blue centers, but with makeup she becomes a shadowy, charcoal-drawn Edward Gorey creation.

“It’s the post-Kathleen Hanna thing,” says Joe Mallon of the East Bay label 125 Records, who likens Venus Bleeding’s sex appeal to the sort of neo-feminism championed by the one-time leader of the band Bikini Kill. “The idea that women can be or look any way they want to; that being sexy doesn’t mean being demeaned.”

Of course, bands that want critical respect — even sexy, scantily clad ones — also need the musical chops to back it up. And on that score, the verdict on Venus Bleeding has been mixed. Some music journalists interviewed anonymously for this story didn’t have very charitable things to say about the band, such as “Not very original,” “Not as interesting as the sound of the beer tap being pulled,” and “Who?” The chief complaint of these critics is that the band doesn’t have a very novel sound. Depending on which of them you talk to, the sound falls somewhere between a standard, goth-influenced rock band from the 1980s, and Grace Slick fronting the Damned.

The earlier recordings suffered at times from a not-so-tight rhythm section, some corny wocka-wocka-wang-wang guitar work, and some overdramatic lyrics. But KALX DJ and Alternative Tentacles employee Jesse Luscious believes the band really found its sound on 2001’s Fakelore. “It kind of matched their live show, finally,” he says.

Angel’s voice has always been the real wonder of the band — smooth, clear, and strong. Luscious chalks up most of the band’s appeal to Angel’s sound. “It’s just a great voice, the range and strength of it.”

For that alone, one would think Venus Bleeding would get more attention. Perhaps not surprisingly, Angel herself concurs. “Fat Mike from NOFX came up and was like, ‘Wow, you’re one of the best punk rock singers I’ve ever seen,'” she says, recalling a show from last year. “I was stoked, because that same week Kathleen Hanna came up and she said a very similar thing. I’ve had all these great big people at the front of movements — you know, like the pop-punk movement and riot grrrl movement — come up to me, two diametrically opposed people, come up and tell me I’m great.”

Angel’s voice is beautiful and womanly, whether broadcast over the rest of the group, or delicately woven into the instrumentation of any one of her many country side projects, like her latest, T&A, and her former, The East Bay Drifters.

“I loved performing with her,” says fellow Drifter Wankin’ Wayne, who noted that several of his female friends also appreciated seeing a “regular-sized” woman on stage for a change, referring to her chunky frame. “She stole the show,” he says about her performance of a Glenn Danzig song later covered by Johnny Cash. “She came out and did ‘Thirteen.’ We had tried to find a Cash song that suited her personality perfectly; it was great, it stopped the show. You could hear a pin drop.”

Throughout their decade together, there have been many times when the members of Venus Bleeding thought this was it. The time they played the Fillmore. The time they were “band of the month” at the unsigned-band Web site, Riffage.com. The time they won a Wammie for best indie band.

On the night that she glided into a crowded Covered Wagon Saloon after her band’s SF Weekly Wammie win, Angel wore the face of a plucky, ambitious starlet. She clutched her statuette like a tearful Halle Berry in the pressroom, a look of sheer happiness and maybe even relief in her face. This was it, what the band had desired for so long. The drama was heightened in that it had been barred from winning in the prior year due to a clerical error that described them as previous winners and therefore ineligible. Angel had been heartbroken, and the next year, the Weekly made sure Venus Bleeding was on the ballot.

Angel had worked hard to win, asking all of her coworkers, friends, fans, family, and whoever else crossed her path to vote, even going as far as e-mailing detailed instructions to everyone as to how to submit the votes.

The band won. And nothing changed. “It’s the Wammie curse,” jokes Angel, noting that the previous winners of the same title — Blue Period, the Gun and Doll Show, and Barbee Killed Kenn — haven’t exactly shot through the stratosphere either.

Still, against a backdrop of such disappointments, and the grueling demands of regular practice and performing, how does a performer like Angel hold on so long to her dream of making it?

“Hope,” she says plainly. “A lot of hope. I really believe the universe has a big purpose for me. Not like I’m Jesus Christ, but I am another storyteller. … I have this unshakable faith that I have to do this thing.”

At this point the pizza arrives, and Angel flops a slice onto her plate.

“Excuse me,” says the bartender, who happens to be Val Esway of another long-time East Bay band, Ramona the Pest. “I couldn’t help but overhear you guys talking. What band are you in?”

“Venus Bleeding,” Angel says with a smile.

“Wow,” Esway beams, “is Venus Bleeding still happening?”

“That’s a question we get a lot,” Angel replies, flattered at the interest yet visibly frustrated.

Over the years, Venus Bleeding has played at least one hundred public shows and practiced together hundreds of times more. Which makes hundreds of times that the musicians could potentially get into fights with one another. After all, a band is like any other relationship, in which problems arise and steam is let off. “We’re like a bunch of sisters,” says Angel. “We have the same problems sisters have.” Violinist Jen Slatten concurs. “Like any relationship, your band becomes like your sisters kind of, and you have little spats about things, but part of being able to stay together for so long is that you have mutual respect and you work them out and it’s all good.”

Unlike a real-life family, however, when the members of a band have had enough, it’s fairly easy for someone to just walk away. And through the years, that has happened several times. Jen Slatten replaced Justine Miller on violin in 1996. The drummer has changed three times, from Sandy Powell, to Corey Moore, to the current drummer, Dennis Bostock. But the hardest loss for the band was the departure of bass player Sonya Westcott, in 2003.

Westcott, one of the band’s original core members, left last year after a decade and joined Rogue Wave, an East Bay band-of-the-moment that is rumored to be in the process of signing to the independent Seattle record label Sub Pop. (“I can neither deny it nor deny it,” label publicist Steve Manning jokes.)

No one’s fully open on why she left, least of all Westcott, who was contacted many times for this story but declined to talk. “She had been in it for a long time, nine or ten years, and I think she was just ready to move on musically,” says violinist Slatten. “She just saw it as her opportunity to grow.”

Even Angel concedes that she interpreted Westcott’s departure as a sign that the band was through, a surprising admission of uncertainty for someone who says she rarely lets self-doubt enter into the picture. (“When I have self-doubt,” she jokes, “someone comes along and blows sunshine up my butt.”) But Westcott’s departure was different, Angel says.

“That’s the kind of thing that makes you go, ‘whoa,’ ” she recalls, as if talking about an ex-boyfriend taking someone else to the prom. ” ‘So, my former bandmate is going on tour with the Mates of State.’ But they are a good indie band,” she adds, stiffening her upper lip. “They have a specific sound.

“I’ve read interviews with Sonya and gotten sad, though. I read the one with Rogue Wave, and I was like, ‘Oh, she didn’t mention us.’ Then I realized that the context of the article was people who were in bands that previously didn’t get along, so she didn’t use our band name because she loves us.”

Angel once stumbled across an online diary of one of her bandmates. In it, the writer — whom no one wants to directly identify — insinuated that Angel wouldn’t have a life if she didn’t have the band. “I cried,” she says.

“I don’t think that we thought that she wouldn’t have a life,” says Slatten, explaining the statement without taking responsibility for having written it. “I think that she felt that we felt that it was a huge part of her life; I don’t think that anyone said that she wouldn’t have a life. She put her heart and soul into it, it was her whole life.”

Venus Bleeding, pardon the phrase, certainly has bled into every area of Angel’s life. Her Friendster profile lists her status as “Married,” but look closer and she has written “to my band.” Venus Bleeding has played over the sound systems of many of the offices in which she has worked, including Amoeba Music in Berkeley and her most recent job at the San Francisco boutique Stormy Leather. One co-worker remembers Angel popping her latest demo into his CD player in his car after he offered to give her a lift home.

Some of Angel’s fellow employees at Amoeba found her enthusiasm cloying. “Her nickname was ‘My Band,’ ” says one former co-worker. “Let’s just say that she’s a good self-promoter. Some might say ‘self-absorbed.’ ‘Me me me.’ That’s kind of how she was like.”

But other former colleagues had more sympathy. “People kind of made fun of her,” says one, “but in a certain way, I just thought that she was really into it, and it was one of the most important things in her life. If you want to make a success, even on a modest level, you have to work it and push it.”

Certainly Angel’s unwavering dedication can’t hurt. “I’ve been homeless for this band,” she says, referring to her early days in the East Bay when she claims she lived in her car under the overpass by the Claremont DMV. Maybe the woman who once dreamed of being a nun thrives on self-sacrifice; perhaps she enjoys being a martyr for her art. Yet ten years of watching and waiting have to challenge even the most optimistic of musicians.

With a decade of her own invested in Venus Bleeding, band cofounder Three is just as dedicated to the band as Angel, but somehow seems more open to making whatever changes are necessary to succeed.

Three believes one of the band’s major errors is that it has never had a manager. “Venus Bleeding doesn’t have a leader,” she says, removing her jacket and revealing more tattoos. “We all lead the band. And, speaking for myself, I’m not a manager, a booker, or anything like that. We have always needed another person’s influence, but we’ve never whole-heartedly pursued that.”

Secondly, she notes, the band has never gone on tour. In fact, judging from its actions, the band seems to have clung to an outdated notion of making it big.

For the most part, musical acts no longer get “discovered.” Instead, they cultivate a scene until they become a big deal in it — maybe put out some stuff on indie labels, book their own tours, meet new people, and create a buzz outside of their hometowns.

Most experts cite touring as one of the top things a band should do, right after making a demo and not sucking. Everyone in the band now agrees that they should be touring. Three says she is even willing to consider the opposite strategy — abandoning live gigs and going into a mad recording mode.

Finally, even the name of the band itself is a sore point for the members of Venus Bleeding. “If a band is around this long and they aren’t signed, then you probably haven’t done something,” opines Three. “It’s time to change your name. It’s a strategy. People do that all the time.”

Over the years, Three has lobbied her bandmates to change the name itself. “It sounds like a big, bleeding uterus,” she jokes. “It was cool when we were an all-female band, ten years ago. But that’s not who we are today.”

But any suggestions of name changes were generally met with doubts from the rest of the band. Angel has flat-out rejected the idea. “It’s a unique name that people remember,” she insists.

“No,” counters Three. “It feels like a ball and chain.”

Venus Bleeding is now in its third incarnation, with a new drummer, new bassist, and new material. Angel thinks it just may well be her band’s time. Its members have been approached by an experienced Bay Area producer named Bill Cutler. “He finally pegged us,” Angel says excitedly. “He said, ‘you guys are the Addams Family meets the B-52s.’ “

With the replacement of their drummer and their bassist, the rhythm section is a cohesive, tight unit. Ruben Rodriguez joined the band less than a year ago, and describes his bass playing as “locked in” with the drummer, Dennis Bostock. For some critics, it was the old rhythm section that was lacking in Venus Bleeding, and the new lineup injected a more solid foundation into the band’s sound. It certainly got the attention of producer Cutler, who noticed a marked improvement. “It’s given the band a really strong groove,” he says.

That “groove” was on display during a recently videotaped performance of the band at the Palo Alto club The Edge. The stage on the screen was dark, with pink lights punching in and out of a crisp white spotlight. To the right, Three was posted with her guitar, legs slightly apart, her upper arms firmly pressed into her torso, her lower arms and fingers clanging on the strings like a late-’70s punker. To the left, Jen Slatten banged the tambourine, played the keyboards, and pulled out the violin intermittently, her red-rinsed hair pulled into tight ponytails that gave her the image of a possessed toddler. Ruben, the bass player, was the hardest to see, aiming his sharp features and dark eyes at a microphone to sing backups at times, the rest of the time locking in with Dennis the drummer. Then there was Angel, center-stage, singing into her vintage microphone — the kind Patsy Cline used — dressed in a black, sleeveless Marilyn Monroe dress with her hands lifted up revival style. No one could tell from watching the videotape that the audience was just about as scant as the one at the DNA show. Each member played like they were at Lollapalooza, and the now-stronger rhythm section bounced off the empty walls.

Ruben offers his assessment of the band over Bloody Marys at the downtown Oakland bar Radio. “It has been the most amazing musical experience of my life, so far,” he says without hyperbole, although perhaps under the influence of vodka and tomato juice. “As far as energy, this band and the chemistry that I have with them is almost like I was made to meet them.”

Angel concurs. “We’ve never sounded better,” she says. “I feel really good about this lineup.” She is clear on one point, though. If any other core members of the band decide to leave — Jen or Three — the band is over. It wouldn’t be Venus Bleeding without them.

On a Tuesday evening a few weeks back, members of the band filed into their somewhat ramshackle practice space near Jack London Square. For the last few sessions they had been tightening up their recent material in order to record a new album. Dennis was just happy to be getting together to jam. Ruben had been playing rough demos of the songs on his Walkman each day. Angelique was excited to introduce the new stuff to Cutler, their potential producer. And as for Jen Slatten and Three? Well, they had different plans. They asked everyone to sit down and then made an announcement: They had decided to quit Venus Bleeding.

Jen had some painful things happening in her personal life, and wanting to go back to school and try other musical projects played a part in her decision. But she also hinted at tension within the band. “Over the years things have been said and stuff’s been done,” she says. “Just like any relationship, there’s stuff that doesn’t really heal right or doesn’t feel good anymore. And I really want to stay friends with everybody. I don’t want it to grind to a halt to the point that we are screaming at each other and we don’t like each other anymore.

“I love the band and I think we did really good things,” she adds. “We do this because we love it and it’s fun; none of us are making any money at it, we basically spend money to do it; our time, our effort, our love, our money to do it, and when it gets to the point where it’s gone on too long and your heart isn’t — it’s just not as fun anymore.”

Three, meanwhile, says she had noticed some distance between herself and Jen, and was resenting the strong flirtation that was growing between Angel and Ruben. For her, a band needs to be completely cohesive to work. “We kind of grew apart,” says Three. “Personally, I couldn’t get full blast into it, because I could feel distance from Jenny and something brewing between the two of them.” She plans to concentrate on her clothing design business.

For the newer members of the band, the news was a bummer. Dennis will continue to play in his other band, Flame, while working on another project. Ruben, who will continue to play in experimental and theater projects, admits he isn’t exactly clear why it happened. “I was very disappointed, but being new, I don’t have all the baggage and history that these women do, so I had to understand,” he says. “I don’t really understand the things that Three and Angel and Jen have been through. They’ve been in the band for ten years, and Jen’s been there for seven years. If you think of yourself back at nineteen, there’s a lot of growth in life, not just musically. I guess maybe they just felt it was time.”

All of the older members of the band pointed to the exit of Sonya Westcott as the beginning of the end. “I had a sense that this would happen awhile ago, after she left,” Angel admits. Still, after the other women in the band announced that they were bailing, she says she felt angry, especially since she believed that something good was finally within her grasp. “Well, that’s just typical,” she recalls blurting out that night. “People breaking up on the verge of success.”

But at least for Jenny, that feeling of success has come and gone one too many times. “I feel like we’ve been on the brink of making it and have had that feeling for a long time,” she says. “It’s kind of like, you know, you get pushed down so many times, it’s hard to get back up after some point.”

Then again, perhaps some of the problem stemmed from Angel’s surplus of enthusiasm. In the post-Nirvana, anti-rock star world of underground music, the exuberance of Venus Bleeding’s lead singer turned some people off. Ambition isn’t very punk rock; it’s not cool. No matter how good or bad a band may be, too much self-promotion can put off image-conscious scenesters bent on pretending they don’t care about such things.

Predictably, Angel couldn’t give a shit. She has blocked out all the negative energy coming her way for years, and she doesn’t seem inclined to change now. As soon as her band broke up, she made plans to audition for the SF band Fabulous Disaster. “Maybe I can help take them to the next level,” she said.

Two days later, members of the erstwhile band received one more dramatic bit of news. Drummer Dennis Bostock says that one day after they decided to disband, a label in England expressed interest in putting out a Venus Bleeding record and distributing it as far as Japan. The label, London’s Z Records, already put out Bostock’s other band, Flame, as well as some metal and hard rock acts with names like Black N Blue, Contagious, Femme Fatale, Marc Ferrari, Rox Diamond, and Steelheart.

Would Venus Bleeding finally have a record contract?

So far, the members aren’t exactly scrambling to regroup, but most everyone says that they will probably regroup to record the album, at least, then send it to Z and see what happens. The label has offered them $10,000, plus a possible tour of Japan. Jen Slatten is still not going to return to the band, though she says she may appear as a session musician on their recorded work. Three, however, seems completely reinvigorated and ready to take one more grab at the ol’ brass ring. “I guess maybe it takes explosive destruction to create change,” she reflects. “I have good feelings about this.”

“We’re changing the name, though,” she adds. “That’s a definite requirement.”

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