District Fray sat down with the band to talk about their music ethos, how their career unfolded and what to expect from their last show.
After over a decade of performing, D.C./Baltimore-based band Misbehavin’ Maidens are closing the door on their nerd-folk comedy group – but not without one last bang.
For their final performance, “So Long and Thanks for All the F–ks,” Misbehavin’ Maidens are performing a sold-out show at Jammin’ Java so they can say a formal and final goodbye to their fans. While their time together is coming to an end, they have had years of performing, writing and growing together.
The band sat down with District Fray to reflect on their time together and look toward their final show.
District Fray: Tell me a bit about your band.
“Lucky” Annie LeBlanc: It’s funny, filthy, feminist fandom, folk. We have tight chorals and loose morals. That’s the other tagline.
Saber Tompson: The band kind of started off as sea shanties and parodies and we slowly made our way over into fandom, nerd cons, anime, Doctor Who, etc. because we’re all nerds as well as feminists. The music took that kind of bend, but it still has underpinnings in sea shanty and folklore.
I saw that [some of] you are from different states. How did you all meet?
Rouge O’Malley: It was actually through a pirate-themed bar that Saber and I were working at. And at the time, Lucky and Flint were in one of the pirate-themed bands that would come in and perform live there on certain Friday nights, so we met that way. Saber was the one who had the idea of creating a specifically feminine pirate [group].
How does it feel being one of the first bands like this on the East Coast?
O’Malley: I think very early on, we realized what was important to us was less about the ability to make “teehee dirty jokes” and more about our ability to fully express these adult ideas and in some ways, adult sexualities, and not have to censor ourselves at all. We quickly came to realize that was one of the most vital things we wanted to keep true to with the band.
Tompson: I have this fond memory of this filthy music at the Ren Faire that I didn’t see at the Ren Faire when I started going back as an adult. I was working at this bar at the time where there were a lot of fun filthy jokes. But again, having the female side is important, because a lot of the dirty songs that were written in the era of older folk songs were by men, so they were songs about wenching and going ashore and these funny things happening to men, and it was like, well, what about the women? What is happening to the women in this case?
You often reference sex-positive and representation topics in your music. How do these ideas come into play when you’re songwriting and performing?
Flint Locke: A lot of things we talk about come directly from us because a lot of times we’re like, “I’ve never heard a song about this.” I don’t see my identity in most music I hear. Especially me, as asexual, I wish I’d had our music and a lot of the music people are doing nowadays back when I didn’t understand my identity. And I wish I’d had that because, at least for a lot of asexual people, we feel broken or think something’s wrong with us and you never hear that word until later on, like, “This is a thing?” At least for me, I try to bring a lot of that idea into our songs because I wish I’d had that, and I have been very humbled by the other people who are like, “Yes, people are seeing asexuality in music, finally!”
What do you think the biggest change for you personally and as a band has been since your first performance?
Tompson: A lot of other faire groups specifically alter the lyrics to songs, so it was always straight. Maybe they were singing about dirty things and being like, “Oh, yes, I’m a promiscuous woman,” but it always was in the context of, “I’m a promiscuous woman with men.” And we just didn’t alter the lyrics. It was like, “Is this song originally about a person having sex with a woman?” Well, just because I am the gender that I am doesn’t mean I have to change it to a man. I’m just going to sing about a woman instead. I think one of the funny things is that we started as the Misbehavin’ Maidens, and now two of us are no longer maidens. Not maidens in the sense of an actual maiden, but in the sense of gender identity and exploring ourselves. The band and writing music helped me explore these concepts of being a woman and realizing that it’s like, “Oh, I’m gender-bi; I’m not 100% a woman.” That’s a big thing that changed for me personally. For me it was, “I am in no way the same person I was when I started this band.”
What about your last show are you most excited for?
LeBlanc: Our band besties [the PDX Broadsides] offered to fly from Portland, Oregon to come and open for us, which is amazing. And the venue is really great. Jammin’ Java has great sound engineers and great ambiance, and we’ve performed on their stage once before as the opening act, but it’s really cool to have our own show. And having the tickets sell so well is very gratifying.
O’Malley: We’ve done some shows since we’ve been trying to come back after the pandemic, but this is absolutely going to be the biggest show we’ve done since before the pandemic. And in some ways, that’s kind of what I’m excited for — that chance to see so many people we have known and enjoy having at our shows over the years and have them all in one place again.
Tompson: I was like, “We’re doing one more show.” I want to have a big goodbye party. I want to give the people a chance to see us one last time, because I had several people specifically message after our last show in November saying, “I’m so mad I missed the show. I really hope I get to see your next one.” And meanwhile, I’m sitting there thinking, “There might not be another show…”
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