Darcy Malone

Vocalist, Bandleader

June 22, 2016


How old are you?

I just turned 38.

Where are you from originally?

New Orleans, Lousiana.

Why are you still here?

New Orleans is embedded in who I am. I grew up in the music community which to me is the soul of this city. It’s really important to me. My husband and I went to Austin after Katrina and when you leave here, you realize what’s so special about New Orleans. It’s not weird to talk to the grocery store clerk about your day. It’s not weird to go out and get a beer in your pajamas. I always said that we were way too dirty for Austin. Nowhere else is like New Orleans. Nowhere. There’s no dancing in the street, there’s none of that. So we came back and started our family and revamped what we were doing musically. I don’t think I could ever leave here again.

In what capacity would you say you are a part of the music community of New Orleans?

My dad and mom are part of the rock history of New Orleans. My mom was in a band called The Pfister Sisters and my dad was in The Radiators. They were the biggest rock band in the city because everything else was kind of funky. You had The Meters, The Nevilles, Dr. John, and then you had The Radiators. I grew up in that. From birth all I’ve ever known is being around music. I used to go to bars with my parents. I used to go to all the gigs with them. I’ve been to every Jazz Fest since I was born. I know all these incredible people but to me, they’re like aunts and uncles. They were my babysitters. It’s the community I feel most comfortable in.

Do you remember being told or taught anything growing up regarding your behavioral expectations as girl?

Those behavioral expectations were never instilled in me by my family because we were so free. My parents are hippies. They said just be who you are and don’t be afraid to express yourself. I grew around people like Little Queenie who had absolutely no problem cursing on stage and letting people know what she thought. So I never felt that way but then you enter the “real world” where not everybody lives freely. I went to Lusher for elementary school and got sent to Sacred Heart. My step-mom is an amazing woman and mom but is more conservative and while that worked for her, my step-sister and I were very different. We were into The Sex Pistols and punk rock and wore Doc Martens and fishnets and that was not the way of a Sacred Heart girl. I was really into Tori Amos at the time and I used to have her lyrics written all over my backpack and the girls were vicious. We were forced into being that way and I remember it feeling really degrading. I was feeling molded by people I didn’t want to be molded by. But in order to have friends, I had to choose to be ok with that or not. Long story short, we both ended up being asked to leave the school because we rebelled against all of that. We were done. We told our parents, “If you don’t take us out of here, we’re gonna get out.” And they didn’t do it, so we got out.

Can you define sexism as it presents itself to you?

There’s so many different levels of sexism because it’s not only against women. It’s against men, too. It’s anything discriminatory against a certain identification of who someone is. At least that’s how I see it. Someone thinking they are better than that other person or that they deserve more or that they will get more than someone else. It breaks my heart that we still even deal with this. It’s obvious that’s it’s going to be here forever. Luckily, these days we have more people standing up to it than ever before. The entertainment industry, the music industry, anywhere in the arts there is obviously a heavy line of male representation. But I am a fortunate person in that I grew up with a male majority and I never saw anything but acceptance. I grew up always feeling supported by my male peers and people I looked up to. That’s not to say I didn’t see it in other ways. I think there is a definite difference between the behavior of a male singer and of a female singer. A female singer tends to use her outer appearance and her body to sell the music to the audience whereas a male can just stand there with a guitar and play. I don’t know why that still is necessary but it is. I think a lot of the big mainstream women are coached. We read about it with Ke$ha. They’re put out there like these pieces of meat and they’ve lost what it is that they’re doing. It’s terrible and I do think that there are people in the mainstream music community that make them do that. You don’t see the guys having to do that. I like seeing women who can go up there and not care what they look like and just sing and it’s amazing. I miss that about women of the 60s and 70s. They didn’t give a shit. They were just singing. I wish that we still had that.

How does being treated in a sexist way make you feel?

Horrible. It makes me feel unappreciated, devalued, and pissed. I have a sharp tongue so if anybody makes me feel that way I have no problem with letting them know how I feel about it. It shouldn’t happen. I hate it when it happens to friends of mine. It’s degrading and it’s wrong. It’s really wrong.

Do you always notice when individuals are acting in a sexist way?

There is an element to it that has become so normal that you start to think that it is normal. When you really look at it you know it’s not right but you don’t think about it at the time. There have been times when something happens and at the time it’s fine but later I think, “Wait a second, that was really messed up.” Or something like that. There is a way that people speak to you or compliment your music where they aren’t actually complimenting your music but you and your body instead. Unfortunately it has become so normal that people miss it. It’s so sad to me. I don’t know why we still have to go through this.

Do you recall any specific occasion when you experienced sexist behavior against you that may have stuck with you?

When I came home from college, I wanted to be a musician and I know a lot of people through my dad but I had a really hard time putting a band together because no one wanted to be in a band where a girl was the lead singer. They thought that the girl would be the only one noticed. It bummed me out because I’m an equal. But flash forward to now and I see what they were scared of because it happens in my band today. We used to be called The Tangle and I was happy with that but the guys decided to change the name to Darcy Malone and The Tangle. They thought it was better. I was the only one who didn’t want it because it would put me on a different level from the rest of the band. And sure enough, now there have been things that have come out with just my name listed and it makes me feel terrible because I didn’t want that. Why is it like this? I’m so grateful for the band I’m in because even with things like that happening, they’ve got my back one hundred percent and I’ve got theirs and that’s all that matters. But those people who weren’t even willing to give it a try? They shut me down before they even gave me an opportunity and that was a horrible feeling. It felt like if I was a guy that wouldn’t have happened and it sucks. To this day, it still really hurts my feelings when I think back on it because I can’t help what I am. I would never do that to anybody. I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t abandon my dudes because I am ones of those dudes.

Are there any particular stereotypes of men or of women that drive you nuts?

I can’t stand when a woman can’t see her own worth and doesn’t try to. I can’t stand when women feel like they have to use their body to get attention. I can’t stand when they judge other women who don’t. I loathe men that think that women or gay men or gay women or transgender people are nothing. I can’t stand the catcallers and the people that will openly offend you on the street. I was once walking with my husband and my friend who is a bigger girl but is completely gorgeous. She’s gorgeous! But then these frats guys—and I know there are a precious few but I am way more scared of walking into a frat party than I would be of walking into a house full of guns and cocaine. Anyway, we were walking and these guys started yelling at us and calling her a pig. I was so mad. And my husband was shocked because my husband is a gentle soul. I was livid and I started screaming at them and I told them everything I thought of them which I won’t repeat. I’m a firm believer in standing up for yourself because especially in public because. If you don’t stand up for yourself then those people are going to continue to think that’s ok and it’s not ok. I felt good knowing that I made them feel like shit about it. I did what I could. We need to stand up for each other, right?

Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

I have a lot of friends that are female in the music industry here. This city and this music community are so supportive of one another, male and female. There’s something really special about the musicians here and they really love and care about one another and I feel very lucky to be a part of this community. The New Orleans music community, male and female, is wonderful. It really is.