Geminii Dragon released in February their second album, “Equinox.” She delivers a heady mix of blues, rock, and soul with a great sense of humour. This interview attracted us because we noted new talent, and in the US blues scene, Geminii Dragon is making waves. In this interview, we find out about the new album (which can be downloaded here), the band, and news going forward.
Geminii Dragon Band: New Orleans Trauma Unit-
Geminii Dragon (vocals)
Christian Simeon (guitars)
La La Thomas (vocals)
Doug Venardo Jr. (bass)
Chris McHale (drums)
Of course, although Geminii Dragon have been working hard for the last few years, a good few readers may not be that aware of them. We asked for an introduction to the lady and her music.
Geminii Dragon- My stage name is Geminii Dragon, and the genre of music that we play is blues rock, and we swing the pendulum towards the blues side of rock. We are looking toward an AOR sound with a nod to Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, and BB King. We are a mixture of different things as we seek to create great music.
At the magazine, we noted how Geminii Dragon has a solid regular group of musicians alongside her on the videos and the album. So it is clearly a unified effort.
Geminii Dragon- There is a core band that plays with me, we are looking to solidify things, but the guitar player, Christian Simeon, is a core member. The singer who you see with me, La La Thomas, has her own things going on. Then there is Doug, our bass player, and he is kind of new to the band, and then Chris is on drums. He is an awesome drummer, newer on the scene. We are looking to solidify, but I hope these are the people I want with me going forward.
We had to raise our hands at how much Geminii Dragon seemed to enjoy what they did. One example would be “Give Me Back My Wig,” a wonderful blast of music with a smile. It is amazing fun, and presents the pop side of the blues.
Geminii Dragon- That was actually a cover, it was written by Houndog Taylor. So it is actually his song, and his story about someone he was having trouble with. But it is an extremely fun song to do. The story is funny, and I like it too, because he is making fun of something that probably was not fun at all if you were going through it.
Of course, the blues are always entertaining. The great bluesmen, such as BB King, were great entertainers. BB, for example, was often on variety shows, and he would get up on that stage and entertain. The songs may have been sad, but he never was! There may be an image of the man on the lonely bench singing about doing his woman wrong, but that was never the case in reality.
Geminii Dragon- I agree fully. The blues is a storytelling art form. It just so happened that the stories the mothers and fathers of the blues were telling were sad stories, but maybe they had hard lives. But that doesn’t mean I always want to tell a sad story.
One story on the “Equinox” album that does tell the tale of a bad man is “The Ballad of Willie Mae and George.” It is one of the standout tracks from the album and has a strong video to accompany it.
Geminii Dragon- Now that is an original track, but we wrote it in the style of the older blues songs. Now he is, I agree, a bad man, he has done his woman wrong, and he will pay for it. The tongue in cheek element plays back to the earlier stories.
Those original bluesmen gave so much to modern music, where would rock music be without BB King or Lead Belly? And who are the influences behind Geminii Dragon in the blues world?
Geminii Dragon- I listen to a lot of music! Not necessarily from the Lead Belly era, but I like Koko Taylor, and I like the blues guitarist Freddie King. There is also Memphis Minnie and the advent of a risque side to women in the blues. It really fascinates me that they were writing that material back in the 20s and 30s, and they were so daring.
Absolutely, and we do cover some jazz here sometimes in the magazine, and there was a cross-over between the great jazz age and the advent of the blues. Of course, black musicians were at the forefront of the jazz and swing movements as much as they were to the forefront of the blues.
Geminii Dragon- I agree, and it amazes me how raunchy and tongue-in-cheek that music often was. But the music was always good, the rhythm and melody were always great, and that is what I want to get into now. Go and listen to Big Mama Thornton.
We thought in the magazine that Geminii Dragon had a great gospel voice, and we wondered if she did have training in that, or if we had gotten that wrong.
Geminii Dragon- I grew up singing in church. I was a Catholic, so we sang gospel rather than traditional Catholic hymns. I did grow up singing in church, and I went to college later in life for music education, so I do have some formal vocal training.
The vocals on the single “Good Thang” are much more poppy than the more blues sounding vocals on “Give Me Back My Wig,” and they show a depth of style that is impressive.
Geminii Dragon- To me, that is the fun part of singing, to have diversity. You use your voice to add the different colours to the song and change the direction of the song. You can sing the same words in very different ways and change the meaning, that is what is so much fun—the heaviness of the vocals, the runs, the level. Does it have that gospel feel? Even a word can change the feel of a song. That is why I love what I do.
We wondered how Geminii Dragon felt her album “Equinox” (2022) had developed from her first album (Fighting Fire with Fire), released in 2021.
Geminii Dragon- We have tried to develop from the first album. “Fighting Fire with Fire” was a far more blues based album. That is where we set out home, in the blues. But “Equinox” sees a lot of 60s era elements, more AOR, and some Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. It is intentional, and we have a rock track, a Joan Jett cover. The blues is still in the roots, but we sent it more toward the rock sound. Now, the heart of all music, in every good song, is the blues. It started there, and it spread out. Modern western music, in my opinion, began with the blues. And to me, I hear those old blues songs, but they still sound modern. And in my songwriting, you can’t tell a story if you haven’t lived it. In songwriting, it is my story, and you put the ingredients in, it depends on the song.
And to finish, we wondered about future plans.
Geminii Dragon- Well, the album is fairly new, and we are about to hit the road as soon as possible. So we are working on new material, promoting ourselves, and hitting the road. The fan base is growing, and we are out there!
By Benny (the Ball) Benson
MArk C. Chambers
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