Kendall Jane Meade, also known as MASCOTT, has been making music for a few decades now. First with the band Juicy and she then, in the 90’s, began making music herself under the name MASCOTT. The debut ep, ELECTRIC POEMS was released in 1998 on the Le Grand Magistery label. Since then she has released several records under that moniker, all worthy of your time (and don’t forget the Anders & Kendall record released earlier this year, WILD CHORUS, which she did with Anders Parker). I wanted to find out some history so here you go…..
Did you grow up in the Detroit area? What was that like?
Until I was seven we lived in Port Huron, MI. My parents bought a ranch house on the lake. I remember snowmobile rides in the winter and sailing in the summer. In my mind, all the guys looked like Burt Reynolds from Smokey and the Bandit and the ladies dressed like Carol King on the cover of Tapestry. We later moved to Grosse Pointe, which was a culture straight out of the Preppy Handbook. Lots of Van Morrison, gin and tonics and navy blue blazers. My sister Shelby was a rebel and had multicolored hair. She and her friends would go dancing or see bands in downtown Detroit. When I was old enough, I did it too. It was interesting to experience both worlds.
When did you first start playing/writing music?
When I was about 21, my friend Jen & I started a band as a summer fun project. I had some musician pals show me some chords and then we wrote some silly songs. That was Juicy. Even though it was a joke, I started to really love writing and expressing myself. Making melodies. After Juicy broke up, I started Mascott.
Why the name Mascott?
My mom always called me the “mascot” of the family. Jeff Baron suggested I add another “t” at the end, so I did.
First record you ever bought with your own money?
I think it was a Madness ’45. “Our House” with a B-side of “One Step Beyond” maybe?
When/why did you move to NYC?
I moved to NYC in 1994 because my Juicy bandmates, Jen and Meggean, both got jobs in the city. We wanted to keep playing, so I moved down from Boston. It’s kind of crazy to me that I’m still here. I always saw myself living in Seattle or somewhere smaller.
What would be your 5-band dream bill?
Tell us about your new record, COST/AMOUNT on Kiam Records. Did you change your approach to writing and/or recording for this one?
Well, it kind of happened naturally. I had written “Cost/Amount” for a songwriters’ night Jennifer hosted awhile ago. She wanted to release it as a single with a B-side of one of my favorite cover songs, so I got the band back together to record “Cost/Amount” and “They Don’t Know” by Kirsty MacColl. It was blissful to play with everyone again. We decided to record two more and make it an ep. It was really fun finishing the song “Our Life” with Jennifer. I had the melody and some lyrics kicking around, but she really helped it take shape in a way I wasn’t able to do.
In addition to Mascott and Anders and Kendall , what other musical projects are you involved in?
Those are my main projects! I’m hoping to write and record an acoustic record soon. I’ve always wanted to do that.
What’s next for the Mascott? Any touring?
I would love to tour if someone asked! Consider this an APB.
If push comes to shove, what is your favorite record of all time?
It would have to be Court and Spark or Blue by Joni Mitchell or Blood on the Tracks. Sorry, that’s three.
When not playing music, what are some other hobbies of yours?
I like walking around the city, watching music documentaries, hanging out with loved ones. I don’t really collect things. I’m most interested in feeling good and inspired whenever and wherever I can—increasing my positive vibrations by living an authentic life. Just keeping that in check is like a hobby!
Is Red Panda still an active label?
Well, it exists at this point as a place for my self-released Mascott records to live forever. I’m so proud of the records I released on it and my instinct in wanting to sign Jennifer O’Connor and The Naysayer. Both of those gals are powerhouses, still active in music and two of my dearest friends. It’s really cool that Jennifer has kind of returned the favor by releasing Mascott. It warms my heart.
Tell us one thing about you that might surprise us?
I went to finishing school in Atlanta, GA for one week when I was 16. I learned how to say “breakfast is served” in French, how to properly sip soup, how to descend into a chair like a lady, how to make small talk. If anyone needs to brush up, just ask me.
Final thoughts? Words of wisdom?
Let your freak flag fly. Be honest. Run far away from drama. Make art. Encourage goodness. Return favors. Surround yourself with positivity and love.
Let the bad-feeling stuff go so better stuff can come your way. I know I sound like a wanna-be Yoko Ono, but if we all focused on these simple things the world would be such a better place to exist.