Jen Dot (aka Jennifer Larson aka Imma Dot aka Mystery Teacher of the Year) won my heart when, after our show together in Chicago last April, she gifted me a stack of her various band's many cassettes and a homemade zine.
It was the first night of my first ever Midwest tour and, as usual, I was a perky fish out of water (wearing a one-piece swimsuit) in a city that I’ve never been to before. But I was comforted to meet this industrious, quirky and kind person who I had previously only known as “having a lot of bands.” I quickly found her to not only be a great guitar player, but also warm and funny and sweet. Dare I say she felt like a California girl?
Up until then I had foolishly thought I was the only one who lamented over having too many musical ideas or who was still tragically obsessed with sending out paper fliers to venues or hand-stapling booklets till my hands bled. Of course that's just patently not true. You just don’t meet these true die hard DIYers every day!
As Jen reminded me, it’s TOTALLY OK to have 99 projects.
It’s true: Jen hasn't met a punk project she didn't want to tackle (although sometimes finishing is another matter). In fact, she has so many exciting ideas (including a really cool book on 70s punk female musicians that I personally cannot wait to devour), she can actually procrastinate on one project merely by switching over to another project (which really isn't procrastination, it's pre-crastination...or something). Either way, it’s fucking impressive.
I know a lot of artists who deal with these same kind of struggles (not bad struggles to have), so I hope our conversation helps to inspire you to finish that thing you’ve been putting off or maybe even start a new thing, if you’re so inclined. Jen also talks about what really drives her: the desire to DO while she CAN and to BE HERE NOW. It’s easier said than done, don’t you think?
Jen is, of course, the reluctant leader of a few really good rad Chicago area bands, including Beastii, Das Dotz (formerly known as Jen and the Dots), and Swimsuit Addition. You’ll hear from the first two on this episode, so listen till the end! I also found that Jen is somewhat mythologized on the internet because—like most people who work in the education field—she doesn’t really want her real name getting around too much.
Case in point, the bio for Das Dotz (formerly Jen and the Dots):
“In 2016 or 2017, no one can be sure, Jen Dot died on the planet of Earth. She died of stresses & complications of human relationships, usual things that will kill a person, if not immediately, but over time. She was reincarnated on Venus as a cat & after 659 years, sent back to Earth in 2018 by Venutian witches to repent for the mistakes & sins of her past life. Her mission: to inspire a band. Naturally, the band, named Das Dotz, was populated by a brigade of talented musicians. You can see her, if only her tail whipping in the shadows, at every show. Das Dotz consists of members, Oliv Dot, Mikhael Dot, Raul Dot & Imma Dot. Their cat, Jen, the alien witch, is a soothsayer & muse whose intergalactic energy inspires them to write and play shows around town.”
Yeah. That just about sums it up!!! ; )
TODAY’S EPISODE SPONSORED BY CASSETTE TOILETS, DC COMICS LADY COP, AND BLUE DIAMOND COLORADO ROAST DOG FOOD!