Remember Poe? The erudite singer-songwriter burst on the scene in the late-’90s, scoring a massive hit with the single ‘Angry Johnny,’ the catchy track with the refrain, “I wanna kill you/I wanna blow you … away.” She followed that up a few years later with the critically-acclaimed album, ‘Haunted,’ a superb concept record about her relationship with her late father. With two albums, a hit single and strong reviews, Poe seemed to be on her way. And then, poof — she seemingly disappeared.
So what happened? “What I would say, in a nutshell, is very short and sweet: Myself as an artist was purchased as if a slave by a Texas oilman,” she tells Spinner, adding her first contract was bought out by this businessman. “I have not gone a day without doing music. I’ve just done it anonymously. It’s not like I haven’t been playing — I’ve played parties and this and that — but anything that was way under the radar. I lived like an illegal immigrant for 10 years. I couldn’t make any money, couldn’t do anything.”
Nearly a decade later, after a legal battle to match any music industry horror story, she is finally ready to re-emerge. “I feel as though I have been in a grave, not dead, but I’ve been spitting dirt out of my mouth for 10 years. I would say a month ago I saw the first ray of sunlight,” she says. What was that sunlight? “Honestly, the key element [is] out of complete accident I played with my old band again. I’d been in the studio writing and recording and it was like that missing piece of ‘I got my bros back, I remember what this feels like and I’m alive again.'”
She will reunite with her original ‘Hello’-era band at L.A.’s Club Lingerie on Thursday, Jan. 28 as part of a benefit, ‘An Evening of Higher Consciousness,’ where she, Ben Lee and others will gather for an organization run by the Gyalwang Drupka. What is the organization? “Essentially the foundation was created by this guy called the Gyalwang Drukpa, which in a small part of Tibet this guys represents their Dalai Lama. He’s a Buddhist,” she says. “What I like about him is his focus is education. He’s created a school up in the Himalayas, providing an education particularly to girls, which I love.” The night will also donate money to Haiti relief through Live to Love International.
For Poe, though, it means just getting to play again in public. “It feels good to be playing again. The fact I can shortly be doing this with new material is pretty damn exciting,” she says. And while she won’t play new material tonight, she does say, “I’m not gonna give a firm deadline, but within the next month or so we’ll create a release date for something new.”
On top of that, she promises to explain in much greater detail where she’s been for the last decade. “I could give you 10 years of facts and figures, but my job as an artist is to show you the footprints that were left on my soul,” she says. “And that I can show you in music, so the best recount of really what transpired is ultimately in these songs.”
Oh, how I love her. I was fortunate enough to see her on her last tour for Haunted and she was absolutely spectacular. In fact, Haunted and Hello are probably two of my favorite albums of all time. They’re with those albums that I instantly add when I get a new MP3 player. I’ve been scouring the internets for years, finding bits and pieces…her few tracks with Conjure One, “Do You Wanna Go My Way” with Fastball (remember them!?), spots in movies like Gossip, Anywhere But Here and Repo: The Genetic Opera. She’s out there, folks, and it’s a shame that a talented artist like Poe has been in the shadows for so long. Well, I sincerely hope that that’s about to change. And she’s back with the old band, no less! So, today, in honor of Poe’s triumphant return to the music industry, I give you a shit-ton of Poe videos. Welcome back!
“Hello” God, mid-90’s videos were hilariously terrible! Love it!
“Trigger Happy Jack” Looooove this one. See those white head things in the back? She had those at the Pittsburgh show, too. When she pressed down on them, they were samples of her father a la Haunted and it was absolutely incredible. I’m trying to find some video of her using them and not succeding. Boooo.