By David Kenney
Being a 15-year-old is hard enough without trying to fit an image.
TV portrays youth in many ways and reality is even scarier for some. A particular horror is when your poster child "role model" is pop music’s high priestess Britney Spears. And while Eminem types diss the Spears types, punk/pop group Live on Release is instead diffusing such pop culture.
The Vancouver quartet’s amusing first single and video "I’m Afraid of Britney Spears" is a smirky counter-cultural statement. Lyrics like "It’s slick they way they dress/I hear they all have fake breasts" and "They’re so worried what we’ll think/They took the time to learn to lip sync" accompany a video where teen boys dance around wearing little schoolgirl outfits. It’s a riot.
"The song’s mostly about us pointing the finger and saying ‘this is funny stuff,’" says vocalist Colette Trudeau. "Especially with Britney Spears, she’s the head person of this big clan of people who are trying to be sexy and young and dance and not sing."
Drummer Leah Emmott concurs.
“It’s just about dignity too, because I mean we didn’t try and sell our bodies because we know we’ve got something way better going on which is our music,” says Emmott. “When we look at Britney Spears and other artists like that, and we just feel sorry for them because it’s degrading.”
It’s not that Live on Release wouldn’t have an image to sell. All four girls–aged 15 to 16–are attractive, except they don’t do sexual exploitation. Instead, they dissect social cliques. In the song “Hardcore,” they boast “Maybe I don’t wanna live/With my anger 24-7/And maybe I don’t wanna give/Into those trends they’re setting.”
The group is surprisingly their own trend. Formed by placing ads for band members in The Georgia Straight, the band is no marketing department egg. Since then, they’ve signed for and recorded their debut album Seeing Red, completed the dancing boys video and are touring with Bif Naked. Oh–and they’re all still finishing Grade 10.
“You have to grow up real fast,” says Emmott. “The industry is so weird that you have to have a balanced head and know what’s going on because you don’t want people to take advantage of you.”
Trudeau nods in agreement.
“Since we’re young females who are in the music business, you have to make sure you put on what [you] could be like if you were a guy,” she says. “You have to show them up because [we] want people to take us seriously, obviously, and the only way to do that is play as hard as we can.”