If you don't recognize the name, Dana Forrester, let us here at the DRB clue you in on the premier, Detroit rock and roll superwoman. When she isn't playing bass in Crud and 60 Second Crush, she's operating her two local businesses. Her PR firm, On The Rocks Detroit, which handles industry events such as the upcoming 'Get Plowed With Sponge' pub crawl, and Ann Arbor's Lucky Monkey Tattoo Parlor, which was recently nominated for WDIV Channel 4's BEST OF DETROIT Award in the category of Best Tattoo & Piercing.
At the Orbitsuns/Drunken Bingo Wednesday night at the Four Green Fields Pub in Royal Oak, this whirlwind of musical energy, sat down with DRB's own St.Aubin to discuss the intricacies of balancing family, career, and rock and roll.
What was the inspiration, especially coming from a music background, to start On The Rocks Detroit, your Public Relations company?
I've been playing in bands since I was 15, and was fortunate enough to tour nationally in a rock band called The Vertical Pillows when I was a teenager. Paula (Messner) the lead singer of that band who's now in The Candy Band (www.myspace.com/candyband), was a great do it yourself publicist and we would end up in the papers all over town. I really took a page from her in terms of learning how to promote yourself. We went our separate ways musically, and I started to get requests from other bands to do publicity for them. The demand got to be so great I started my own company, Aural Pleasure Music. Well I was fortunate enough to partner two years ago with Kathy Vargo who is the marketing director for the Detroit Music Awards and the Detroit Sales Director for Billboard Magazine and we formed On The Rocks Detroit together.
How has performing with CRUD been different than your other experiences playing music?
I think CRUD is really . . if you've seen the show, it's a multi-sensory experience, in that it's not just sound. There's a lot of visuals, there's some real high fetish, sexual dynamic with Vinnie and Danielle in the band. We usually have a crazy light show, although not all the time. It's like Fight Club. You've gotta be on your toes. And also I'm a huge fan of the band so it's like I'm playing, I'm trying not to get thrown off by everything that's happening on stage, and getting distracted, but at the same time just rocking.
Over the course of your career, what is the most memorable performance for you and why?
Wow, there's been so many memorable performances. Can I name two?
I think with CRUD it was the two times we played Theatre Bizarre. For anyone who's ever gone to that, it's the greatest masquerade on earth and to be able to rock that stage, that carnival atmosphere sold out two years has been amazing. With 60 Second Crush, we toured Germany and Amsterdam a few years ago and we were fortunate to play some of these huge festivals in Germany. One was called the Free and Easy Festival with just rabid, rabid fans who love Detroit Rock and Roll.
How do you balance being a businesswoman, artist, and wife?
Oh my God, it's hard. First of all, the only way I could really do it is . . I feel like you really have a passion for what you do. So, I have a passion to rock and roll, I have a passion for promotion and publicity. And, I don't know if you know this, but I own a tattoo parlor. And, I have a passion for my husband. So, do at times some things take over more than other things. Yes, today is one of those days where I still have a huge to do list. But you got to keep it in perspective, it's all about prioritizing and of course the family always comes first.
What circumstances involved you in the tattoo business?
On Your Facebook profile you list one of your interests as gardening?
The garden has been neglected this summer, but my husband and I, one of the things were really into is vineyards. We are growing our own grapes to make our own wine. He's a home brewer, he makes his own beer, and we want to make our own wine. He told me “honey we can just go buy some grapes and I was like “No, we've got to go roll them ourselves”. They haven't bared yet, but were really into it. We want to have Chateau D' Ferndale vineyards! It relaxes us.
How do you balance your faith with the music industry.
I have referenced the fact that I'm Jewish, but in terms of faith or religion, in terms of Judaism, I'm less about that spiritually and more about it culturally. I value education and hard work and those kinds of cultural values. But at the same time, I do consider myself a very spiritual person Faith in the terms of 'having faith' and creativity in this great Detroit rock and roll community is very important to me.
You're a successful, respected musician, not just in Michigan, but throughout North America. You've toured the world. What is about Detroit that holds the most meaning for you as an artist?
I'm continually impressed. I've lived in San Francisco, I've traveled the world, spent a lot of time in L.A., New York, and Detroiters . . there's this determination, there's this heart, this soul, this authenticity, realness and grit. Digging in your heels to express yourselves creatively and that appeals to me. In addition to, and I've had this conversation with many of my friends who live in California or New York, it's so affordable here. When I lived in San Francisco to rehearse with the band we had to rent a place, I didn't have a car. We can do it here. Anything is possible here and I am very happy to be a Detroiter and be part of this music scene.