JOAN AS POLICEWOMAN
Wasser began her career during her studies at
Boston University where she was an early admittance student studying with
the renowned Yuri Mazurkevich, who himself had studied under Russian violin
David Oistrakh. She played with the Boston University Symphony Orchestra
before joining local bands the Lotus Eaters, Hot Trix with
Mary Timony, and the
During her time in the Dambuilders, Wasser first began to make a name for
herself in the indie rock world as she developed her aggressive style of
playing, which led to work outside of the group. In the late 1990s, Wasser began
to explore more musical paths than those limited only to violin playing, adding
guitar and keyboard parts to the Dambuilders recordings, singing vocals, as well
as co-writing several songs. Examples of these new explorations can be heard on
the Dambuilders' Against the Stars; on both Luster and Itch It, Wasser wrote the
lyrics and handled the lead vocals. Due to disillusionment, creative malaise,
and a need to expand their respective musical horizons, the Dambuilders
disbanded in October 1997.
In May 1997, her boyfriend, musician
drowned accidentally, in
Memphis, Tennessee. She continued to play with the
Those Bastard Souls, a solo project started in 1995 by an old friend, Dave
The Grifters. They made a record entitled "Debt and Departure". In 1996,
Wasser also made a record with
Nathan Larson called Mind Science of the Mind. In late 1997 she created a
band with the remaining members of Buckley's band called Black Beetle and
finished an eponymous album which was never released. This was the first project
where she was writing as well as fronting a band.
In 1999, Joan joined
Antony and the Johnsons. She contributed to their
Mercury Prize-winning album,
I Am A Bird Now. Joan has stated in interviews that being part of this band
saved her life because of the nurturing effect of Antony and his singularly
The end of Black Beetle in June 2002 brought the beginning of Wasser's work
as a solo artist and the creation of a new band, Joan as Police Woman. Wasser
formed this new trio in New York City, with
Ben Perowsky on drums, percussion and backing vocals;
Rainy Orteca on bass and backing vocals; and songwriter/vocalist Wasser on
violin, keyboard, and guitar. Other musicians working with the group have
included Maxim Moston and Charlie Burnham. The group self-released an eponymous
EP in 2004.
In February 2004, Rufus Wainwright asked her to join his band, tour
extensively and open the shows with her new project. Her intimate songs and
relaxed stage presence gained her notoriety and new fans.
In December 2005, Wasser signed a distribution deal with
Reveal Records, a British indie label, and subsequently released a 7" single
as well as re-released Wasser's debut EP. Joan As Police Woman's full-length
Real Life, was released in the UK on June 12, 2006 and released in EU, AU
and Japan through
based out of Brussels. It was released in the USA on June 12, 2007 on Cheap
Lullaby Records based in Los Angeles. The music video for the single
Eternal Flame, directed by
Leah Meyerhoff, is currently airing on MTV Europe.
In 2006, Wasser supported the
Guillemots on their spring tour, as well as contributing backing vocals and
violin to the track "Redwings" on their debut album
Through the Windowpane.
Joan Wasser provides vocals and plays the violin on the song' Ballad of a
David Sylvian on Steve Jansen's album 'Slope' which was released in 2007.
Her second album, To Survive, was released in June 2008. It was recorded with
Rainy Orteca and
Parker Kindred, old friend and drummer of her previous band,
Black Beetle. The album reached #43 in Uncut's review of the year 2008, same
as in Q Magazine's top 50.
For Joan As Police Woman's European tour in 2008, Wasser and Kindred were
Timo Ellis on bass guitar.
THE GURDIAN - "Her emotion-rich songs have become tender
affirmations, such as the hope-sprinkled 'Honor My Wishes.' And the needling
guitar, soulful brass and gothic piano of her "punk rock R&B" are more evocative