White, Wrench, Conservatory’s Dixie Jacobs and Jane Wiedlin–in one band! Wtf!

Dixie Jacobs onstage with jane Wiedlin at Capital Brewery in Middleton Saturday

Dixie Jacobs onstage with Jane Wiedlin at Capital Brewery in Middleton Saturday

Words by DJ Hostettler

In Milwaukee, it’s required of local media to have the journalistic equivalent of an epileptic seizure whenever a local musician makes noise with someone famous (see: that bozo in Chester French and Pharrell Williams; Eric Benet and Halle Berry, etc.). So it is Fan-Belt’s duty to report that local singer/keyboardist/accordion squeezer Dixie Jacobs (whose band–white, wrench, conservatory.–happens to be playing their second-last Milwaukee show ever this Friday at the Cactus Club) has been spotted lending her talents to none other than current Madison resident Jane Wiedlin (yes, that Jane Wiedlin. From the Go-Go’s. The Singing Telegram Girl from Clue. Joan of Fricking Arc! Wooooah!).

Wiedlin and her backing band (an all-star lineup of local musicians including members of Madison bands Whore du Jour, Skintones, and Screamin’ Cyn-Cyn & the Pons, among others) performed this past Saturday at “Dogtoberfest,” a benefit for the Humane Society and ground zero for PUPPY OVERLOAD. As I entered the Capital Brewery grounds in Middleton on Saturday afternoon, my brain nearly exploded from the cute. Puppies everywhere! A hot dog eating contest! For puppies! Musical Squares—for puppies! So much butt sniffing! It was enough to distract from the reggae band while waiting for them to finish and for Wiedlin’s band to set up.

Jane’s band breezed through a crowd-pleasing set consisting of Go-Go’s classics (“Vacation,” “Head Over Heels,” “Our Lips are Sealed”) and new jams (like the Steel Bridge Songfest-penned “Push You Off the Bridge”) that flowed seamlessly between the hits. There was even a ripping version of Lou Reed’s “Foggy Notion” that got an enthusiastic response. Jacobs was perched on stage right, contributing backing vocals and then playing keys on “Speed of E,” a ballad about a recently deceased friend of Wiedlin’s. But mostly, the set was light, uptempo, poppy party music—exactly what you’d expect from a Go-Go.

After the set, Fan-Belt fired off some questions to Jacobs to figure out exactly how the hell she and a bunch of other local musicians ended up backing “Alien Communications Officer Trillya” from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home:

Fan-Belt: So how the frack did you meet Jane and end up in her band?

Dixie Jacobs: I met Jane up in Sturgeon Bay for Steel Bridge Songfest back in 2007, but we didn’t actually start collaborating together until 2008 when I went up for the construction zone songwriting workshop. We wrote a song together called “Transmission Twist,“ about aliens that speak Engrish. We found our singing voices to blend ridiculously well and, since she had started working on her Lady Robotika album that year, she had me contribute harmony vocals and then synth lines at Steel Bridge. Suddenly I was on a Jane Wiedlin record. This year for Steel Bridge she asked me to join the live band and obviously I said yes. I love working with those dudes (Whore du Jour) and it’s rad to have friends in Madison and a reason to go there, see shows, explore various haunts, etc.

F-B: Tell us more about Lady Robotika.

Jacobs: The album is a companion piece to the comic book done by Bill Morrison, who works on The Simpsons!

http://www.myspace.com/wiedlinjane
(I’m on “Trans Twist” and “Brain Inside a Jar”)
http://ladyrobotika.com/

F-B: Any other shows in the works?

Jacobs: No shows as of yet. Shows are tricky when she goes back and forth to LA so much for work. (She most recently did a voice for a new Scooby-Doo movie and a female prison movie with Karen Black and Mink Stole called STUCK!)

We do however want to do a show in Milwaukee before Jane and (boyfriend and Skintones guitarist) Trav move to San Francisco, so keep your ears to the ground…

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