Samantha Stephenson (“Frenchy”) is the lyricist for the duo. I suspect that Ms. Stephenson could relate to Johnny Cash who once sang, “I’ve been everywhere, man” for she certainly seems to be a citizen of the world. She’s lived in France, England, Brazil, and West Africa and is currently in the US. Her formal training included studying art at The National Academy of Design and Art Students League in New York City as well as dance training at the Royal School of Dance in England. Stephenson has performed in dance troupes in Boston and New York.
Scott Helland (“the Punk”) was a co-founder and the bassist of the Massachusetts hardcore punk band Deep Wound. He later played with the Outpatients who jammed with legendary underground bands such as Black Flag and Agnostic Front. Over time, Helland decided to explore various alternative forms of music. In 2002, his Earthbound CD made the New Age charts and in 2004, the Opera Winfrey show licensed his music. In 2005, Helland returned to his Punk roots when he joined with Stephenson to form this fantastic musical duo.
Let me say that their CD “Hey Hey Cabaret” is an overall excellent production and clearly shows why Frenchy and the Punk are so loved. They described their music in their interview with Audelia Flint for her Trial by Steam blog as “Gypsy Cabaret Folk Punk” and I believe that is a very good description of this CD. It’s well made, fun, and full of high-octane songs with creative lyrics.
Since this is a Dieselpunk blog, I would like to spotlight the four songs on the CD that
I think have Dieselpunk elements to them.
Hey Hey Cabaret
Their title song is extraordinarily catchy and stays with you long after you listen to it. Stephenson’s sultry voice along with their hard driving Punk sound is very appealing. The song certainly captures the spirit of the wild party atmosphere that one would have found in a German cabaret during the uninhibited days of the Weimar Republic. You can listen to the song Hey Hey Cabaret here.
When I listened to the song Silent Movie, I got the impression of a 1920s era flapper’s dreaming of living the culture of the Jazz Age through the images of a silent movie. It's very creative and entertaining.
Confession of Jack Bonnie and Sally Clyde
Not only are the lyrics interesting in this song, which references to feeling “like 1929,” but also the title is a tease because Bonnie and Clyde were actually the first names of the famed bank-robbing duo rather than their surnames. I found the wordplay of this song along with the subject matter fascinating.
I found myself visualizing someone dancing the Charleston to this song, which most closely fits the style commonly associated with Dieselpunk music. Birthday Fanfare turned out to be a lot of fun.
Their new CD is a very entertaining with its combination of minimalist style and high-octane pace. The lyrics are creative and it’s well mixed. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
You can visit their web site here.