rags and riches I made three wishes
I've been a bad girl and I kissed the witches
I dance naked with animals
I've seen more than you ever dreamed possible

I have seen her
I've breathed inside her
I have seen her

Queen Adreena (sometimes known as one word, "Queenadreena") is a heavy metal band from London, England, which is signed to One Little Indian Records. Vocalist KatieJane Garside (b. 1968) and guitarist Crispin Gray had previously collaborated in the celebrated but short-lived band Daisy Chainsaw in the early 1990s. After the demise of Daisy Chainsaw in 1995, Garside said in an interview that she could no longer stand the sound of an electric guitar, which led her to move into relative seclusion in an unspecified, isolated town in England's West Country, where she remained until her memories of, ahem, hot licks brought her back into the rock n' roll world in 1999 to form Queen Adreena. She and Gray were joined by drummer Billy Freedom and bassist Orson Wajih and then released their first album, Taxidermy, in 2000, on the Blanco y Negro Records imprint.

the world is watching as I take my last breath
the world is watching as I get undressed
'cos I'm pretty like drugs

The band signed with Rough Trade for their sophomore effort, 2002's Drink Me, featuring the roaring lead single "Pretty Like Drugs." The song's video features a lot of KatieJane writhing around, barely covered, while she introduces an interesting and, IMO, highly arousing concept; being as sexual as the euphoria from a particularly potent drug. She definitely possesses the "heroin chic" look, but she utilises it to great effect (as opposed to, say, Kate Moss or Brett Anderson, who just seem to waste away and wither; Garside's sexuality is potent enough to sustain her indefinitely).

The band has dabbled in cover songs, releasing their version of Dolly Parton's oft-covered standard "Jolene" as a stand-alone single in 2003, and a twisted rendition of the traditional Appalachian ballad "Pretty Polly," which appeared on Taxidermy in 2000.

Rough Trade dropped them shortly after the release of Drink Me, and Freedom and Wajih left the band at that time. They were replaced by drummer Pete Howard, formerly of The Clash, and bassist Paul Jackson (not to be confused with the legendary jazz fusion bassist of the same name) before the band signed with One Little Indian Records, who released 2005's The Butcher and the Butterfly. Jackson exited quickly and was replaced by KatieJane's sister, Melanie Garside, who also exited abruptly; she was replaced by Nomi Leonard in 2006.

Like the music of many great British bands, all of Queen Adreena's recordings have been released in England only, although recently, distribution in mainland Europe has happened, leading to several small tours of France. For the intrigued readers of this writeup who don't have access to hard copies, the band's output is available on iTunes, and samples can be heard on MySpace.

I load the gun
the world is watching with a pregnant pause
the world is watching as I fuck to applause
the world is watching as I plant the last seed
the world is watching me watching TV
'cos I'm pretty like drugs

Queen Adreena has a small but dedicated following in England, their home country, but are little known elsewhere. Their sound could perhaps be described as a loose crossing or perhaps the bastard offspring of Daisy Chainsaw and Bikini Kill. Garside's raw and extremely extroverted sexuality, or sexual persona (depending on the viewer's perception) has done much to further the band's image, as have her similarly sexual and sore-throated vocals, which are sung in a mild Portsmouth accent. Even as she rolls gracefully towards her forties, she's a hottie in the extreme, and isn't afraid to show it off; this is mostly obvious by her largely transparent stage attire—usually ripped, trodden upon, muddy ragdoll dresses. Their primary musical style is heavy metal, though they are sometimes lumped in with gothic, pseudo-gothic, and industrial music because of their image.

KatieJane, who has been called "one of the original riot grrrls" by Courtney Love, put out a largely home-recorded solo album, Lalleshwari / Lullabies in a Glasswilderness, in 2005. She's also a visual/performance artist of some repute, with her first gallery showing occurring at the Institute On Contemprary Arts in London in 2005. "Darling, they've found the body," her second large exhibition, was shown for several months at WOOM in Birmingham in late 2007. Her art consists of disturbingly dressed/situated dolls, film, photography and performance art.

She has also collaborated on a side project with Chris Wittingham called Ruby Throat, which put out its limited edition (500 copies) debut album, The Ventriloquist, in November 2007. Queen Adreena itself is working on a double album tentatively scheduled for a mid-2008 European release date.

Albums discography:

Live at the ICA was recorded at the Institute On Contemporary Arts in London, where, in 2005, Garside had her first non-musical art exhibit. The DVD, Queenadreena Live, contains the video recording of the ICA show, plus a shorter show recorded at the Astoria Ballroom.

Singles discography:

  • Pretty Like Drugs (CD single) — 2002 — Rough Trade Records
  • Jolene (maxi CD) — 2003 — Rough Trade Records
  • Medicine Jar (CD single) — 2005 — One Little Indian Records
  • Fuck Me Doll (CD single) — 2005 — One Little Indian Records


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