Dirty Laundry with rock drummer Jennifer Ellison
Our series of Dirty Laundry interviews continues this month with the stylish and cool Jennifer Ellison. Jennifer is the drummer in Nashville rockers Bearing Torches, favs in the Laundry office and tipped for great success in 2018 with their latest releases Come On and Summerbreak.
The group was formed about 5 years ago by Jennifer and frontman ( also her husband ) Jon Ellison along with Jon’s younger brother Joseph on guitar and friend AJ Babcock completing the line-up. They have a true rock heritage sound driven by Jon's strong songwriting backed up by Jennifer driving the beat, holding everything together. They have a strong following in Nashville and with a bunch of releases due in 2018 they certainly will be expanding their fanbase way beyond globally. This is rock 'n' roll rooted in sweat and soul. Catching them at one of their live shows is a must this year.
The characters in their songs are universal. They fall in love, make sacrifices, go to work, and struggle to reconcile the realities of adulthood with the dreams they once had as children. Some persevere. Others falter. It's an iconic storyline that's run through some of the most defining albums in rock history, and Bearing Torches proudly carry that torch forward — hence the band's name, which evokes just as much firepower as their music.
The band now have a large following on the indie scene and beyond as the message spreads and you can hear the latest singles on Spotify. Check them out so you can tell your friends you heard them first !
1. You are the drummer in the band, what was your inspiration on taking up drums ?
It’s an instrument you get to play sitting down and basically perform a full body dance at the same time - what more could you want?! I’ve always heard drums in music first and they light me up inside like no other instruments. I wanted to play grooves that I could never get out of my head - It felt like freedom in creativity to me. No tonal notes just rhythms.
2. Who was / is your inspiration and fav drummer ?
My first inspo for drums is John Bonham - for obvious reasons - he flies around the kit like he’s coming off the rails but never does. Sheer enjoyment and power in his playing - no rules - just playing his spirit.
3. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
First I wanted to be a Meteorologist until I realized how much math was involved and then I just wanted to be a rockstar drummer - ha
4. What do you do when you are not drumming?
I teach ballet barre classes and ride motorcycles. I have a Harley Iron 883 and a 1976 Honda CB550 that keeps me rollin to my fav destinations. I also like to take my English Mastiff on long walks and soak up the sun whenever I can.
5. What did you do on your last day off?
I’m basically a lizard in the summer - I sat out by the pool ( SPF50 of course ) and ate popsicles with booze in them - read magazines and hung out with great people.
6. What's your greatest ambition?
For Oasis to get back together so I can go on tour with them as their drummer - then we can have Arctic Monkeys open up for us and cancel on them last minute.
7. Who do you most admire?
My husband and lead singer Jon - he grew up in a religiously zealous family and all he wanted to do was play music. When he became old enough he moved out and started living the life he wanted for himself. He experienced the world very quickly as an adult. He has survived homelessness and depression and fought through this life for what he wanted. He could have easily given up but not only has he not given up he has made a new life with a new legacy and writes amazing songs with meaning and soul. We have been there for each other every step of the way - music being our glue - I admire his relentless strength to never give up for the life he wants.
8. What's the last dream that you can remember having?
The last one I actually remember is being on my motorcycle and for some reason popcorn was coming out the exhaust.
9. What would you most like to change about the world?
More empathy and peoples ego investment in being right - if this could somehow be changed we would learn to be more understanding - not pride ourselves on why certain religions are better than others - and not judge people based on race, color, creed, or sexual orientation.
10. What would you most like to change about yourself?
I’ve been on the road to changing a lot about myself recently. Always a work in progress on many things.. which is kinda the thing I’d like to change. Being open to things but also saying screw it on some of it and just living. Perhaps not thinking about always being better.
11. If you could ask anyone a question, who would you ask, and what?
I would ask Arnold Schwarzenegger “who’s your daddy - and what does he do?” — kindergarten cop
12. Describe yourself in three words
adventurous / grateful / driven
13. Favourite song ?
Live Forever by Oasis
14. Fav group / artist ?
15. Favourite colour?
16. Your perfect night out?
I love it when my man takes me out on his bike - then we go grab a great dinner somewhere and split a bottle of wine. I do love a good sunset also. Catch some local rock n roll in Nashville after that with some friends and laugh the night away.
17. Who’s the coolest person you know?
Well I don’t know him yet - but I’m a pretty huge fan of Jimmy Pages’ level of coolness.
I believe he obtains. I've read books, watched interviews and I’m pretty convinced the man is the coolest ever.
18. One thing you can’t live without?
Coffee - lots of coffee.
19. Favourite thing to eat?
20. The best advice you've ever been given?
I had an old man who was married for 65 years tell me once the key to his long marriage was that they never stopped learning about one another - I thought that was pretty cool. It applies to a lot of situations and people. Taking time to understand one another - all you have to do is keep talking - communication - learning - staying tight with people.
21. Your fav fashion designer?
Right now Gucci is killing it.
22. Your fav item of clothing you currently own?
Off White Bomber Jacket - I can dress it up or down with my tom boy chic style.
23. Your fav beauty product?
Currently - I love the James Read Tan H20 drops - few drops in your moisturizer and you get a nice natural tan. No smell and stays on strong. No need for makeup.
24. Your fav vacation destination?
Palm Springs CA
25. Who or what inspires you?
Generosity of people - everybody wants and everybody needs - but that one person from time to time that is selfless - and gives selflessly without needing anything in return is such a powerful statement.
Interview by Victoria Surtic