Juliette Lewis

by Mike Huberty
October 2009

Juliette Lewis

Juliette Lewis

Actress and musician, JULIETTE LEWIS, knew she wanted to be an actress from the time she was six and she was nominated for an Academy Award before she was twenty years old. Known for roles in films like Cape Fear, Natural Born Killers, and The Other Sister, when she took the leap from acting to fronting a band, known as JULIETTE AND THE LICKS, in 2003 it might have been dismissed as a Jennifer Love-Hewitt or J. Lo-type vanity project. However, instead of sugary pop, she opted for a straight-up rock n’ roll and punk style and has since collaborated with the impressive likes of Dave Grohl from The Foo Fighters and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez from The Mars Volta. Earlier this year, Lewis let go of The Licks and has released her first completely solo album, Terra Incognita.

“We toured the world three and four times over with the Licks.”, Lewis says, talking about her old group. “Around the same time, I had a breakup with my band and a breakup with my love and I was contemplating my existence and the future… I figured if I wanted to evolve, then I should make music now as my own name. It was the first time I really created a record by discovering who I was musically and all the contrast .There’s so many kinds of songs and so much flavor.”

Exploring those flavors and new sounds (the album is a lot more genre-bending than her previous work) is what she’s going for.  “Deeper is the whole word for this album,” Lewis says. “Terra Incognita meant for me where I wanted to go sonically. It wasn’t about hooks and singalong choruses. A song like ‘Ghosts’ is about a friend who’s no longer a friend and they become a ghost and you’re haunted by the relationship. “Hardloving Woman” is a key track, it’s a key song we play live. It’s my blues, it’s my truest song. It fucking squeezes everyone’s heart live. It’s a really wild song. And it came from a sentence that I wrote two years ago that was a declaration of who I was. And Chris Watson started writing this blues riff and we wrote it in ten minutes.“

The transition between acting and music wasn’t easy, but it was necessary for her. ”What was happening is that I was denying this truth“, she says. ”I was almost trying to put it down and not let it out. It was growing like this lion’s roar and I couldn’t get rid of this desire I’ve had since I was a kid. I didn’t know how to start a musical career, and to me it was all about the live show. The music in the beginning was very simple, but it’s high energy, and from there I’ve been evolving my sound lyrically and sonically. It was to start the journey, to go the distance. I didn’t just want to be a weekend warrior, just like I’m in my acting, I’m in it to delve deep. I’m into discovering the humanity and emotion of everything.“ And for the difference between the two disciplines, ”One is directly connected to me, Juliette, it’s about my longing, fantasies, or my secrets of emotion. It’s a direct visceral connection to my pulse Movies, I’m using a writer’s words and filling the part with my emotion. They’re similar energies because you’re trying to invoke emotion, but music is more spiritual.“

Juliette and her band will be on the road for the rest of the year and she’s currently using all of her time not performing to help promote the new movie she’s in with Drew Barrymore, Whip It. ”We’re on tour until December, out in the US, and then we’re out in Europe and even Russia. And then we’re going to do it all again next year.“ As to what fans can expect if they come to the October 4th show at The High Noon Saloon in Madison, ”it’s always more than people could possibly imagine or expect“, she says. ”Sometimes we become people’s favorite new band, Music is life, it’s living. Everyone should get away from their computers or their television sets and do something interactive. And I say that as a music fan. Come into the room and get lost in the jungle. My band and I will butter you up until you lose your mind. You’ll end up giddy, sweaty, full of smiles and glad you came.“

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Juliette Lewis
CD: Terra Incognita Record Label: The End Records
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