Artists and Bands

Plastic, Queen and Musical Suits: An interview with Visqueen’s Rachel Flottard

Rachel Flottard, lead singer of Seattle-based rock band Visqueen, recently sat down to talk to R&RR about the band’s latest album, Message to Garcia, fighting bioterrorism, Bugs Bunny as inspiration and much more…

Q: As you probably know, Visqueen is a plastic material that was thought to be useful against a bioterrorist threat, so was there a particular message that you wanted to send by using that as a name? How did you come up with it?


A: Well, it had “Queen” in it. We are all Freddie Mercury addicts. Technically, the fabulous Kim Warnick, our bassist at the time, actually picked the name. It was a word she’d always liked as a kid and it resonated with the rest of us. Only by default did we turn out to be fighters of bioterrorism. It actually made me feel bad for Anthrax. Especially Scott Ian’s beard.

Q: Message to Garcia sounds a lot more rock and roll than your previous albums -What made you go in that direction?

A: I think our first two records are pretty rock. It’s funny, this new album has electric Wurlizter, pedal steel guitar, and banjo on it! A first for me, and for our straight-ahead guitar situation. But thanks for thinking it’s even more laden with rock. A-la mode.

Q: How do you go about writing songs? Is it an individual thing or done as a band?

I start singing a phrase then, if it’s not completely stupid (or is), I’ll start sewing guitar chords around a story. Like a little musical suit. Then I take it to The Cleaners: Ben Hooker, my drummer/band/friend/song tailor. After a while it becomes a Visqueen song.

Q: If you had to pick your favorite song on the album, what would it be?

A: I sure do like “So Long.” I think it’s unique of all the numbers and has a special place because of it’s connection to my father. He was my best guy and I lost him during the process of this record. I started a record label after him and his NYC Steamfitter’s union, which I released the album on – Local 638 Records. Even though he’s not here, his support and unconditional belief in me still give me a boost when I need it.

Q: Who would you say are your major influences?

A: Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny, Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, Harvey Corman and Tim Conway.

Q: After nearly 10 years as a band, what is the thing that strikes you most about the music industry?

A: That it’s not really all that industrial. And that it’s like one big game of dodgeball.

Q: What advice would you give to women who want to get into music? Is it easier to be part of a band than to be on your own?

A: None of it’s easy, but compared to ditch digging it’s a breeze. And thank God for that. What seems to make it interesting is the fact that there are billions of people expressing themselves through music and you’re in that sea. And you just do what you do regardless. What’s “hard” is thinking you’ll reach some level where it gets “easier.” That doesn’t exist. Try to enjoy the rock along the way, you’ll be a lot happier. But that’s just me. And it’s a constant balancing act.

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