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Perpetual Change: Music — Drag rockers Jodi Jolt and The Volt

| Nov 17, 2014
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The Volt

The Volt

Jodi Jolt and her band mates, collectively known as The Volt, hail from Providence, Rhode Island, and while they’re new to TGForum readers, they’ve been making a dent in their local music scene for some time. While some bands and acts with trans musicians find it hard to break out of the LBGT club and event circuit, Jodi Jolt and The Volt have managed through a lot of work to establish themselves in mainstream venues as well.
The band is comprised of Jodi Jolt (guitar, vocals, trombone), Christina Jay (guitar, vocals), Amanda Wayne (bass), Emily M. Rose (keyboards), and drummer Jacqui Madrigal.

Jodi Jolt and The Volt are a serious, hard working band that has goals and is in it for the long haul. It’s with great pride that TGForum presents this interview with Ms. Jolt about the ups and downs, trials and tribulations of putting a band together and what it takes to keep focused while making great rock and roll — in drag, of course.

TGForum: Jodi, first of all, thanks for doing the interview. Would you care to give some background on yourself and your band mates?

Jodi Jolt: Jodi Jolt and The Volt came together in June of 2011 at Rhode Island Pride, performing for the first time at the old Club Gallery in Providence, RI. We’ve been rocking the greater New England area ever since. Jodi was born to rock. Met Christina Jay on a dance floor. Saw Amanda Wayne grooving at a block party. Emily became our keyboard player and Jacqui became our drummer. The universe threw us all together.

bandfullbandTGF: I read that before you had a real drummer, you used a drum machine for gigs. What was the audience response to that?

J.J.: When we started out, we used a drum machine, as dedicated drummers were hard to find. the crowd response was great, however, so we kept rocking with the drum machine. the band had to really listen to the drum track to stay with it, as a drum machine can’t adapt to whatever the band may be doing. Also, I had the task of controlling the drum track with foot switches, while simultaneously playing guitar and singing. After some rehearsal, it became second nature to have the machine rocking steady with us.

TGF: Now that you have a drummer, makes a difference, doesn’t it?

J.J.: Adding a live drummer gave a new dimension to the dynamics of The Volt. It is now easier to vary the energy of the performances. Fans who have been following us for a while love the sound even more now.

TGF: You play a mix of covers and original material, right?  What kind of audience response do you get from your own material?

J.J.: We played all covers when the band first formed, mostly high energy dance music. As the years went by, I started writing fun rocking songs for the Volt. The crowds love our originals, especially Crazy Cat Lady, as everybody knows somebody with too many cats. Our songs are written with good doses of humor.


TGF: You first started out playing mostly LGBT venues, right? Was it difficult to branch out to other venues>

J.J.: Our first gigs were at LBGT clubs and fetish events in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Over the past few years we have played mostly mainstream clubs and events. The crowd response has been fantastic. People love the fact that our music is rocking high energy with a clever twist of humor to it. Oour philosophy is to smile, show our legs, and rock. the crowd picks up on that right away. Many mention they admire our stage presence and feed off our irreverent attitude and energy.

jbandTGF: Any recording plans, or for that matter, any future plans you can share at this time?

J.J.: Some of the band gals are also tekkies, and we have been recording our live performances whenever possible. The Volt’s web page went up last year We also have been webcasting some live shows worldwide. Future plans include CDs and DVDs, but nobody is in a hurry. Having just added new members, rehearsal and rocking the clubs are the present focal points. We also go unplugged and an acoustic gig around the holidays may be a fun idea.

TGF: Any advice for bands/artists just starting out?

J.J.: To any bands just starting out — first, k.i.s.s., as in keep it simple superstars. The more complicated the music, the more time in rehearsal and the tougher it is to add new band members. Second, turn your instruments down when the vocalist is trying to sing. Too many bands have one volume — LOUD. Nobody can hear the singer, and after a few songs, LOUD is just noise. Third and most important, have fun on stage. Lots of things that come with a band aren’t that glamorous, from rehearsing when you’re tied to hauling the equipment allover the planet. The reward is when you get on stage, the lights come on, a chord is struck, the drums kick in, and the place explodes. So smile, show your legs, and rock. Or just smile and rock, if you’re modest.

TGF: Any final words in closing?

J.J.: It’s hard to believe that Jodi Jolt and The Volt has been rocking since 2011. Where does the time go? Besides rocing the clubs, The Volt has appeared live on the Tony Joe’s Radio Show, ahs been featured in Transformation Magazine and Frock Magazine, and was in the Rhode Island Pride 2014 Parade. We’re taking things one second at a time, as the future will never be here since it’s always right now. But when it’s show time, we will smile, show our legs, and rock!.

Along with the aforementioned website, Jodi Jolt and The Volt are also on Twitter and Facebook, as well as having some YouTube videos out there.


There is a new radio station in Portland, OR, KPQR, that is entirely devoted to LGBT programming. Called Wild Planet Radio, they were granted their FCC license to broadcast on 99.1 FM. The station still needs a few pieces of equipment, and along with the cost of installation, it’s going to be expensive. So, they are asking for support. Wild Planet Radio is fiscally supported by Portland’s LGBT Center (called The Q Center), which is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit. Donations are therefore tax deductible and a receipt will be provided. Their mailing address is: 4115 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland, OR 97217 contact


SkeletonCrewCoverSkeleton Crew by Chameleon Red

Back in February of 2008, this column posted a review of a two disc CD project called Transposition from the band Chameleon Red. Without backtracking to that review, briefly, the entire project dealt with being transgendered. Chameleon Red’s newest release, Skeleton Crew, doesn’t, but it does continue with their ability to deliver well written and played material.

Chameleon Red is basically just two guys. Brian Hearl — vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, electric sitar, keyboards, hammered dulcimer, bowed psalter and percussion, and John Franjione, vocals, bass, keyboards and percussion. Hearl also produced the project, with both Hearl and Franjione credited with arrangements.

One thing that becomes apparent almost immediately when listening to Chameleon Red is that it’s easy to tell what their musical influences are. Large doses of Beatles and Steely Dan, along with sundry bits of country, jazz, funk and anything 1960s.  And that statement is by no means a criticism.

The Beatles influence is found in the new CD’s first track, The Inner Life. This tune is practically a cover of an obscure George Harrison song, The Inner Light,  that was a B side for a 45 (back when there were 45’s.). Very true to form East Indian sounding with electric sitar.


The Steely Dan influence is found on songs such as Paragon, Turn It Around, and the harmony work on Westwood.

The standout tracks are Revolving Door (funk/light jazz, with good keyboards); Small Name, Big Ego ( a song about someone we all know, once again jazz influenced with excellent keyboards), and the CD’s title track Skeleton Crew (probably the best production moment on the entire project.)

All in all, great new work from Chameleon Red that doesn’t wear out the listener by sounding the same all the way through.

city_belowThe City Below (EP) by Mackintosh Braun

Mackintosh Braun is the duo of Ian Mackintosh and Ben Braun. They’ve been together since 2006 and share all songwriting, musical and vocal work on this, their debut EP. It’s only found songs long, and while it’s hard to get a firm grip on an act’s sound with just four tunes, the music presented here is what would be described as “infectious pop.” Very reminiscent of mid to late ‘80s haircut bands (think Human League, Spandau Ballet).

Of the four tunes, all of which would work on the dance floor, In Reverse is the most musical. A tune called Outline is the most rock moment.

Produced by Lars Stalfors, there’s a lot of old school analog recording techniques used, and everything is mostly keyboard dominated. Should be interesting to see what Mackintosh Braun can do when given the opportunity to do an entire album. Visit their website or check them out on Twitter and Facebook)

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dillon_francisMoney Sucks, Friends Rule by Dillon Francis

Dillon Francis is a producer/remixer/DJ who is stepping into the role of artist with the release of his first solo project, Money Sucks, Friends Rule.

This is all danceable material, including the now almost obligatory insertion of rap into otherwise good songs. Francis pulls in different vocalists and players on each track, which does give it some diversity.

The best tracks are Set Me Free (mostly instrumental with Martin Garrix); Love In The Middle of A Firefight (very intense vocal by Brendon Urie, and perhaps the best overall musical moment on the project); We Are Impossible (very musical, with The Presets); and Hurricane, with the only female vocalist on the project, Lily Elise, who actually gives this song a lot of power. Visit their website and they’re also on Twitter and Facebook)

kiesza-sound-of-a-womanSound Of A Woman by Kiesza

This is Kiesza’s debut album and it’s not at all what I expected. I’m familiar a little with who she is and was expecting to hear mostly dance material. However, along with producer Rami Samir Afuni, Kiesza utilizes her considerable vocal chops to delve into R&R and soul with tunes such as So Deep and Piano.

She also has the pre-ordained rap inclusion (by Mick Jenkins) in Losin’ My Mind, but in this case it actually adds to the song’s overall sparse feeling. Another really interesting moment is the cover of What is Love, the early 1990s Haddaway tune that got a second life due to a Saturday Night Live skit. Kiesza’s version is very laid back, and one of the more musical moments on the project. It’s definitely something I wasn’t expecting to hear.

 The best overall production moment is found on the projects title cut, Sound Of A Woman, It’s the one really full sounding tune on the CD, very powerful. Her website has more and she’s also on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


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Category: Music, Transgender Fun & Entertainment

Pam Degroff

About the Author ()

Pamela DeGroff been writing for TGForum since the start of 1999. Her humor column, The Pamela Principle, ran until 2005. She started the Perpetual Change music column in May of 1999, and in 2008, Angela Gardner came up with the idea for the Transvocalizers column and put Pam to work on that. Pamela was a regular contributor to Transgender Community News until that magazine's demise. While part of a support group in Nashville called The Tennessee Vals she began writing for their newsletter, and also wrote for several local GLBT alternative newspapers in Tennessee. Pamela is currently a staff reporter for a small town daily paper in Indiana, and is also a working musician.

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