I met Drew Blood a couple of years ago when I was working full time. When he walked towards me with Aaron; a writer, director, activist, and comrade Aaron Weiss, Our SchoolI was surprised with the way Drew looked and carried himself. I was not sure if Drew was a rock star or a 1061.
Aaron introduced us thinking I would be interested in the music of his childhood friend. Drew attempted to sell his style of playing and writing. I was not convinced, though I was impressed with his look and charisma.
Working in a conservative, corporate environment, it was seldom that I met a person who identified as male and heterosexual wearing dark eye liner and mascara in the day. I discovered that Drew was not glam rock or hair metal but a blend of rock, punk, and metal with keyboards.
Drew’s grace with conversation and respect for feminists (though, like I said, he is charismatic and so he may have said he “loved feminists” so I would listen to his album) did help convince me to put the CD in my computer and listen. I was sold. Immediately I wanted to deconstruct the lyrics.
Drew would not join in the deconstruction of his lyrics. He said: “Dee, most of my lyrics are autobiographical”. That was all I needed to know. A possible piece authored by me would read like a sexual diversity studies / women and gender studies paper. Where would I release this? How could I share it? Do I want to do this because I relate to the lyrics so much?
Drew’s lyrics impress me. They are as radical as the work of queer feminist artist Peaches. One of my favourite songs “Normal” speaks of the impossibility surviving “on the outside” when one does not fit in the mainstream.
The lyrics challenged my own understanding and assumptions of gender, class, and sexuality in the music industry. I heard stories that spoke of struggle with a gender that was not my own, yet, the stories are familiar. The expression is brave. I wish I had the courage to write like that.
When I saw the Drew Blood live I was amazed at the ways in which Drew’s performance; his lyrics, body language, piano playing and confidence, would send the hegemonic masculinity crowd heading for the door. I witnessed men leaving the floor from where they stood, giving me dirty looks due to my obvious joy from what I was hearing.
I did not feel safe (the vibe in the air was very familiar for a gender and violence student, a space that is safe for expression that smashes hegemony, but not so for the mainstream rock crowd that penetrated Lee’s Palace in Toronto this night).
Just the other day in class, one of my professors who is an anti-oppression activist, shared this quote with us regarding work around equity: “if you are not a little bit uncomfortable…then you are not doing it properly” (Dr. Patrick Solomon).
Now the Drew Blood live performing “Nasty Bad Habits” from Train to the Bottom: