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Megan Washington - Queen Of The Radio Rodeo

Author: Polly Esther
Monday, April 6, 2009

Megan Washington’s career horse has bolted, but 3D’s Polly Esther chaps caught up with the impressive gal in the saddle, discovering a singer bucking against being fenced in.

She may have studied jazz and recorded an album with maestro Paul Grabowsky, but Megan Washington isn’t a vocalist happy to stay in one paddock. Three years ago she hot tailed it out of childhood hometown Brisbane, relocating to Melbourne. After a bunch of notable collaborations spanning jazz to pop, she’s now launched her own band, Washington. The bio talks of many adventures, but something about the name rings another bell.

Hang on. Didn’t she provide vocals on a recent single by Melbourne funksters, The Bamboos-

“I did,” says the singer matter-of-factly. Oddly, the collaborative reworking in question – a cover of King of the Rodeo by alt-rock band Kings Of Leon – is missing from Washington’s bio. Admittedly it was an odd cover choice for The Bamboos – but the results were masterful.

“They were originally going to do this Foo Fighters cover…” advises Washington. Thankfully, that idea was put out to pasture. “I just happened to be in the studio and [The Bamboos] were like:  ‘You wanna sing on it-’” says Washington, adding: “I did it in like half an hour – that whole vocal track is live.”

Amazingly then, King of the Rodeo was the album’s pinnacle; something the record company also recognised, picking it as lead single. Somewhere between Nancies Sinatra and Wilson, the sassy Vegas cowgirl shimmy conjured by Washington, is like soul-funk dressed up in knee-high tassel boots and a suede mini.

“Now it’s had 60,000 YouTube views,” she advises almost incredulous. “All the girls in the clip are the band’s girlfriends – who all just happen to be really attractive!” Washington laughs. “Quite a stroke of luck. I hate to say this, but I didn’t even fucking know the song!”

Not everyone is a newcomer to the band’s songs however. “Kings of Leon have so many die-hard, insane fans,” admits Washington. “The YouTube responses to the clip have been really polarised. Some people are like: ‘This is the biggest piece of shit I’ve ever seen, I hope you crawl into a hole and die, you horrible bitch! KOL rule!’”

With around 25 songs recorded, Washington the band are now narrowing down the choices to settle on an album of strong songs. In the meantime there’s radio-friendly debut single/EP Clementine to put through its paces.

‘“People [ask]: ‘What made you wanna be a musician-’ And I’m like, ‘fuck man, I can’t do anything else. I’m so shit at everything [else.] I worked in hospitality and dropped a fucking $300 bottle of champagne on someone’s head! I’m shit at everything except for music.”

WHO: Megan Washington
WHAT: Play Annandale Hotel / Hamilton Station, Newcastle / Brass Monkey, Cronulla
WHEN: Thursday 16 April / Friday 17 / Saturday 18