Big Dyke Energy, just released its first single and it’s 100% about punk, protest and reclaiming Pride. In fact, I hear the single and I come away like: Reclaiming my Pride. Reclaiming my Pride. Reclaiming my Pride. What they failed to tell you, is that IT IS MY Pride… And I CAN reclaim it! And that’s the feeling we really need more of right now. This week, I caught up with Amy Dyess, of Big Dyke Energy, to talk musical influences, the Riot Grrrl movement, and the so-called “Equality Act.”
What inspired you to start Big Dyke Energy?
Basically, I was tired of the blatant and systemic lesbophobia and rape culture that modern “LGBTQ+” organizations and media are encouraging. They’re also lobbying to legally take away sex-based rights, protections, and services from girls and women all over the world. The misleading “Equality Act” that’s currently being debated in America would end women’s rights. Out of anger and a need to stand up for my lesbian community, I started writing protest lyrics and posting them to social media. Some of those lyrics were directly lifted for “Get the L Out.”
My Twitter and Facebook posts inspired Celena Hyena to work out the guitar instrumentals. She was already in another Seattle rock band, but she’d wanted to make a song with me for months. Lesbian persecution was frustrating us, and we had to do something. When Celena told me she’d started recording music, I knew the song was really going to happen. At the end of the first day we recorded my lyrics, I decided we sounded like Big Dyke Energy.
Who are some of your musical influences?
I listen to lots of music styles, but Billy Joel and Jello Biafra were definitely inspirations for “Get the L Out.” I got the howl idea from Billy Joel as Dodger the dog singing “Why Should I Worry?” from Disney’s Oliver & Company. It was my favorite movie as a kid. There’s nothing cooler than a streetwise dog in sunglasses.
Elvis Presley, Belle and Sebastian, Sheryl Crow, Third Eye Blind, Oasis, Jeff Buckley, Kid Ory, and Thirty Seconds to Mars are some of my all-time favorites. I hadn’t listened to much punk rock before recording “Get the L Out.” I researched what makes a good punk song, such as building the anger throughout the track and highlighting a political message that matters. My brother recommended I check out the metal band Kittie, and that helped me figure out where to lay down the lyrics in my song. It was a challenge, but I’m proud of the end result.
Your first single is reminiscent of the Riot Grrrl era, the underground feminist punk movement which started in Washington State, where you currently reside. It’s awesome that you’ve brought that vibe into what you’re doing. Tell me about the politics behind your debut single “Get the L Out.”
“Get the L Out” is a call to arms for the lesbian community. I wanted to remind lesbians that the gay and lesbian rights movement started with the L, and I aim to inspire our community to reject corrupt, commercialized LGBT organizations and media. I used to donate to the HRC, and I bought DIVA off the newsstands. It’s a shame that both of them now campaign to take away my rights, and they promote rape culture that tells lesbians we’re bigots for being same-sex attracted. This song is an act of rebellion.
“They don’t do anything but steal our resources and gaslight us for condemning their misogyny and homophobia. Lesbians are the only sexual orientation that excludes penis, and modern LGBTQ+ orgs and media hate us for that…”
Lesbians started it all, but the patriarchal alphabet soup has always had a parasitic, abusive relationship with us. I’m urging lesbians to prioritize ourselves and break up with the penis-focused LGBTQ+. They don’t do anything but steal our resources and gaslight us for condemning their misogyny and homophobia. Lesbians are the only sexual orientation that excludes penis, and modern LGBTQ+ orgs and media hate us for that… for being homosexual women. We’re living in Bizarro World now. These are Orwellian times.
“They don’t listen to us, and they directly attack lesbians who raise concerns. Actual lesbians have never been welcome in the ‘community,’ but today, even so-called dyke marches are vehemently anti-lesbian.”
When your cousin, Jared Leto, did the movie Dallas Buyers Club, there was blowback. When Scarlett Johansson wanted to play Dante Gill, there was blowback. The first article you sent me to publish on AE, was on the ScarJo drama. The blowback was over casting, rather than the rewriting of actual butch lesbian history. Lesbians are fed up with the revision and erasure, and our voices are drowned out. How do you think this feeling—of being drowned out—has driven the need to separate from the mainstream “LGBTQ?”
I don’t see how any self-respecting lesbian can stay silent or keep supporting the institutions and events that want to erase us. Alliances can be useful at times. I’m not opposed to that, but it’s obvious the mainstream “LGBTQ+” is now a regressive, anti-reality monolith. They don’t listen to us, and they directly attack lesbians who raise concerns. Actual lesbians have never been welcome in the “community,” but today, even so-called dyke marches are vehemently anti-lesbian.
Lesbians want out for so many reasons right now… It’s overwhelming. You capture that feeling—overwhelmed with rage & ready to take action. What are some of the issues you tackle in your single?
Modern LGBTQ+ culture is more dangerous than the religious right ever was; it’s a threat to lesbians because disingenuous organizations and media make their modern brand of lesbophobia appear legitimate to the uninformed public. We’re having to “come out” all over again, but this time the message is “LGBT ain’t workin’ for me.” That’s true, both literally and metaphorically. LGBTQ+ is actively working against lesbians.
They tell us we’re bigots for being homosexual women. They say we don’t deserve boundaries or the right to a word that describes our reality. It’s rape culture and erasure on steroids, and lesbians have had enough.
“Pride started as a protest. We have to rebel and disobey, and that can come in various forms.”
Music inspires political action. What kind of action are you hoping to inspire?
“Protest is pride” and “do something” are two lines in my song, and I hope it sparks a lot of action. Pride started as a protest. We have to rebel and disobey, and that can come in various forms. In addition to boycotting and calling out disingenuous “LGBTQ+” organizations and media, it could mean running for political office or joining a campaign to raise awareness about lesbian persecution. It could mean suing your high school or university over discrimination. Maybe some lesbians will be inspired to create more culture, such as artwork and music.
We need to strengthen the resources we have left and establish new ones to replace those that failed. For example, we need to form a new organization to replace GLAAD, who now gives awards to homophobic showrunners instead of condemning them. I’m working on an original lesbian drama TV series, and I’m asking for sponsors and general help. I’m also working on a whole album for Big Dyke Energy, and I plan to go on a world tour in 2020. We need more things like that, protest as well as positive cultural expansion.
Some lesbians hold local meeting groups to nurture community. Perhaps a lesbian listening to this song will be inspired to start a new group for lesbians. Real world meetings and events are important.
“Women typically don’t have much money, but those who do need to support the women doing the work for our community, especially women using their real names and putting it all on the line. Everyone else can support through amplifying lesbians. Numbers can help when it comes to activism. Other lesbians creating content say it can be demoralizing how women take what they’re doing for granted but swoon over anything mediocre that men say or do.”
What’s crucial is support. Women typically don’t have much money, but those who do need to support the women doing the work for our community, especially women using their real names and putting it all on the line. Everyone else can support through amplifying lesbians. Numbers can help when it comes to activism. Other lesbians creating content say it can be demoralizing how women take what they’re doing for granted but swoon over anything mediocre that men say or do. This is why I’m focused on celebrating lesbians and sharing the work of women doing great things, and I want to see more amplification and general involvement happen. Everyone can do something.
I love that your band name doesn’t obscure who you are and what you’re about. Why is that unapologetic vibe so important right now?
I used to shy away from using the words “dyke,” “butch,” and even “lesbian,” but I stopped being ashamed of being a gender defiant woman the older I got. LGBTQ+ culture portrays the word “lesbian” and everything about us in a negative light. That’s why there was a show called The L Word; they were too ashamed to make a show about visible lesbians: dykes. They couldn’t even spell out the word “lesbian,” which implied it was dirty or taboo.
Big Dyke Energy is bold and unapologetic. We aren’t ashamed to show real lesbian culture and address issues that matter to our community on an international level.