The Roar of Clementine Creevy
On January 20, 2017 the band Cherry Glazerr released their last album “Apocalipstick” and performed in Cambridge, MA. On a black stage decorated with colorful felt vaginas and a gem for the clitoris, they performed with high energy and purpose. Asking her audience to think of the show as a resistance, Clementine Creevy, lead singer, stopped the show halfway and quieted the crowd to read the short story “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid, a narrative portraying the oppressive views imposed on how women should live and present themselves. To go even further, Creevy threw an improvised song into the show in which she praised women, singing “Vaginas are awesome!” according to Highlark Magazine.
Clementine Creevy, singer, guitarist and main composer of Cherry Glazerr, started her musical journey with strong and unique instincts, weaving feminist objectives into intense riffs and alluring song structures. A goal of hers since the beginning has been to challenge the music of contemporary bands and what it means to be a critical and politically aware person. Whether it be writing songs about women solidarity, speaking on the ingrained gender roles in our country, decorating stages and clothes with anatomical references or messing with band set-ups, Creevy and her L.A. band have been adding a fresh edge to the played-out sounds of contemporary bands while using their music as a platform for social advocacy.
Creevy started making music in 2012 when she was fourteen, uploading her songs onto Soundcloud under the name Clembutt. Her song “Teenage Girl” (with everybody’s favorite line: “Rob Kardashian is a tool”) was found by Burger Records, an independent music label who promptly urged her to record a tape. Her first conception of the band was to have a male lead singer as a pawn with no creative input, backed by all female musicians to break the traditional make up of a rock band. Questioning and challenging the status quo was always a large component of the band. She formed Cherry Glazerr in 2014 with her two friends, Hannah Uribe, a drummer from her high school, and Sean Redman, a bass player who played with her during her Clembutt period. Together they released the album “Haxel Princess,” a compilation of old songs from Creevy’s bedroom as well as new creations. The band has taken many forms since 2012 and changed sounds considerably between their two albums. In 2016, keyboardist and synth player Sasami Ashworth and drummer Tabor Allen joined the band, bringing along with them more musical knowledge and excitement than the prior set-up. Together they wrote “Apocalipstick,” the eleven track album that exceeds “Haxel Princess” in creativity and technicality, launching them into a new level of music.
Creevy expressed her disappointment with many of the bands she found in DIY clubs and around L.A., stating, “I saw so many singer-songwriters who would just play a G and an E chord on an acoustic guitar and sing about the ocean.” Creevy makes sure this is not what she is doing—the evidence is in the music. Lyrically, themes of personal and societal barriers that need to be broken are common throughout the album. Lines such as “We don’t see through our eyes, we see through a lens” and “She’s a wild one, she’s a wild one in a land that’s supposedly free. Supposedly me” are metaphors for the societal views imposed on Americans, including herself, and her realization of this. The first track and single “I Told You I’d Be With The Guys” is a song about women solidarity and Creevy’s experiences without it: she is the lone wolf who “lost her pack,” who wasn’t there for her “ladies” because of the innate sexism she finds within herself, explaining, “It’s something you have to work on and be aware of every day.” Musically, the tracks are each diverse in structure, subject and mood, using advanced tools to create enticing songs. The third track, “Moon Dust” starts with an intertwining of two leading melodies between the guitar and synth, known technically as counterpoint. The synth hits high notes with a gothic tone, while the guitar hits lower grounding notes. This generates an interesting variety of sounds, and makes for stimulative listening. The use of bridges and outros in the songs is heavy, adding another side of emotions towards Creevy’s words and bringing more depth to the complexities of her internal experiences. Every song is a roar of expression using lyrical and musical tools.
Creevy explains her daily struggle to not fall into the subconscious sexism that creeps up on her when unaware, stating “I wish I could be as emotionally free as men. Men are conditioned to be emotionally free. Dude, sexism is so deeply ingrained. It’s so deep and everyone deals with ingrained sexism.” In an interview with She Shreds Magazine, she also goes on to say how feminism needs to be radicalized and the election proved this. Deeply influenced by Simone De Beauvoir, Creevy quotes her frequently, like in an interview with Bullet Magazine when describing the differences between female and male competitiveness—men fight for the world while women fight for men—similar to what De Beauvoir stated: “Women move clumsily through this world because it doesn’t belong to them.” When asked if she is a feminist, she doesn’t see it as a question as much of an obvious ideal for anyone with “half of a mind.” Her definition of feminism is the straight definition of feminism: political, social and economic equality between men and women, so in response to the question she says, “Of course, aren’t you?”
As a woman, writer and music composer, to see a great woman musician soaring in creativity and writing music better than most of her peers in the field is one of the strongest examples of feminism. Creevy has engineered her music into a sophisticated form of expression and social platform. To see such an educated and aware spokesperson in an industry as influential as the music industry is refreshing and exciting. Clementine Creevy is a musician to watch out for, and one that I know is going to keep excelling.
Illustration by Shelby Adams