On beyond Blondie

Female-fronted Lost Lakes showing what they can do

Christine Taylor, Colin Williamson, Andrea Atwood, John Ptak, John Cheesebrew. photography by Theresa Thompson

While there’s a thriving music scene in Fort Wayne, here – as through much of the world – the rock ‘n roll voice is typically male. There are signs that, slowly but surely, that may be changing. Heart’s sold-out appearance at this summer’s Foellinger Summer Concert Series and Blondie’s inclusion in this year’s “Down the Line” have shown women may finally be getting their due. The band that covered Blondie at February’s “Down the Line,” Lost Lakes, has seen the double standard firsthand.

“It’s amusing to me that even though we’re a predominantly female band, we always have at least one male in the group, but we still get labeled a ‘girl band’,” said vocalist Andrea Atwood.

In fact, Lost Lakes is no more a girl band than Led Zeppelin is a boy band, but what is somewhat atypical is that it’s a band fronted by women who were ready to step to the plate instead of staying in the background. Atwood and keyboardist Christine Taylor have known each other as colleagues for more than a decade, with Taylor working for Punch Films and Atwood for Boyden & Youngblutt. Atwood was busy musically but kept mostly in the background. Wanting to spread her wings and lead her own band, she sought out her friend Christine.

“Before Lost Lakes, I hadn’t been in a band before,” Taylor said. “And I hadn’t played out in public. I’d played keyboards for years, but I liked the idea of writing my own music and sharing original music with people.”

Both agree that in order for women to lead a band, they have to take the initiative since no one is likely to offer the opportunity. Atwood noted, “There’s a saying that women are always told to fall in love with the lead guitarist rather than being the lead guitarist.” Atwood and Taylor decided to change that equation and in 2014 formed Lost Lakes, a band which now includes bassist Colin Williamson, guitarist John Ptak and drummer John Cheesebrew.

“I think slowly it’s starting to change,” Atwood said. “There are some female musicians around now like Courtney Barnett that give us something to aspire to. And there’s a magazine called ‘She Shreds’ that highlights female bassists and guitarists. It’s wonderful to see women portrayed as musicians and not just about how they look.”

Describing their brand of indie-rock as “songs you can sing when you’re crying in the shower,” Atwood and Taylor, who co-write the band’s original music, say Lost Lakes sings songs of raw emotion, which isn’t necessarily how one would describe the band Blondie, led by Deborah Harry. Still, they saw the opportunity to cover that music for Down the Line as a way to promote women in music.

With an EP already under its belt, Lost Lakes plans to take a couple months off this summer to write material for a full-length album later this year. Plans after that break include Bands on the Bank in August and a Halloween gig which will allow them to provide the soundtrack to a silent film at Cinema Center, another chance for them to show what they can do.

“This is a chance for us to stretch ourselves creatively and not just write a three-minute song, but actually compose something,” Atwood said.

First appeared in the August 2016 issue of Fort Wayne Magazine.


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