Music Blog

{June 1, 2007}   Jody Bleyle

Jody Bleyle is an American multi-instrumental musician, songwriter and independent record label owner.

Jody Bleyle first gained public attention in the Pacific Northwest music scene of the 1990s, in the Portland, Oregon-based band Hazel. The group, formed in 1992, released two albums on the Subpop label, to critical acclaim. Jody Bleyle played drums and sang for the band.

In 1993, Jody teamed up with Donna Dresch and Kaia Wilson to create the band Team Dresch, in which she played guitar and sang. The group’s first release was a single on the Kill Rock Stars label, which immediately garnered them much attention and they quickly became one of the defining bands of the Queercore scene. Their first LP, Personal Best, was co-released on both Dresch’s label Chainsaw Records and Bleyle’s label Candy Ass Records. Candy Ass Records went on to issue recordings by a number of bands including Hazel, Cypher In The Snow, and New Bad Things but is best known for the 1995 release of the double album compilation Free To Fight.

Free To Fight was a multi media project incorporating both recordings by artists such as Lois Maffeo, Excuse 17, Heavens to Betsy, Fifth Column, and Bleyle’s own band Team Dresch, as well as a seventy-two page booklet featuring writers and artists such as bell hooks, Bridget Irish, and Roberta Gregory. The recording and booklet featured self defense instructions for women, and Team Dresch toured with instructor Alice Stagg, who demonstrated defensive tactics onstage before the band performed. Jody Bleyel was interviewed for the film She’s Real, Worse Than Queer by Lucy Thane, in which she speaks about her record label and in particular, the Free To Fight project. This recording was later followed by a Free To Fight split single by the bands Sleater-Kinney and Cypher In The Snow.

In the late 1990s Team Dresch broke up after releasing a number of singles and another LP, Captain, My Captain. After the breakup, Jody joined with Tamala Poljak of Longstocking and Whitney Stillcorn of The Little Deaths to form the band Infinite Xs. In 2002, the group released a recording on Chainsaw Records. Also in the early 2000s, Jody began performing with her brother in the group Family Outing. The band played at the Homo-A-GoGo festival in Olympia, Washington in 2002.

In 2004, Jody toured with Amy Ray, playing bass. She left during the tour, since she was pregnant. In the summer of 2004, Team Dresch reunited for a one night only concert at the biannual Homo-A-Go-Go festival. Afterwards, the band members decided to reunite for a series of concerts and Team Dresch has been touring and recording again since then.

In 2004, the group Lesbians On Ecstasy released their first album, Lesbians On Ecstasy featuring a revamped cover version of the Team Dresch song “Screwing Yer Courage”, retitled “Summer Luv”; Jody Bleyle remixed this version for the followup Lesbians On Ecstasy album entitled Giggles In The Dark, released in 2005.


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