"Punk Rock's Answer To Patsy Cline"
by Samantha Janette
Right now in London, Tara Rez is The premier punk diva. She can really sing, plays a bit of guitar and writes incredible songs with collaborater Andy Thierum. Her band is The Duel and it consist of Tara Rez (vocals, guitar), Paul Laventhol (guitars), Chris Macdougall (bass), Ed Sonsino (guitar) and Seb Frey (drums). They are stupendous, very loud and they are not unlike seeing The Animals or The Kinks on Ed Sullivan, or Julie Driscol with Brian Auger and The Trinity on Playboy After Dark. It doesn't hurt things that Tara could pass for Marianne Faithful's kid sister. Another plus is that Tara resembles Gabrielle (Renee O'Conner) on Xena: Warrior Princess. She's got a distinct look with her bleached blonde hair, jewelry, leathery clothes, tie dyed T-shirts, boots, heavy makeup. She sometimes tints her hair red, orange, purple, green.
Tara was born in Iran and came to London with her family when she was 7 years old. She grew up in Camden and went to English public schools where I am sure people tried to make her eat shit from time to time because she was Iranian. A diversion of hers was to do living room impersonations of a popular Iranian TV Character for her siblings at home. While she's Iranian, Tara is also very, very Cockney. Time went by and she started to sing rock and roll and go to clubs and concerts. She became further absorbed in punk rock. She was in her early teens when a friend gave her a leather jacket. Manic panic and earrings came along soon. By that time, she had been listening to The Ramones, PIL, Siouxsie Sioux, The Clash, Blondie, The Damned, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, The Dead Boys, Lou Reed, The Undertones and a whole slew of others. No less than Angela Bowie supplied the above quote about Tara and Patsy Cline.
Tara and The Duel have recorded 10 albums since 2001 and they are all available on Soundcloud. The Duel have been in America a few times over the years and the American audience's reaction to Tara and the band has been enthusiastic. I can say she's not stuck up or snide and I find she goes out of her way to be cordial to fans- I interviewed her in 2017 and I first heard her music in 2015. She's a street person like Jim Morrison or Tom Waits. Nikki Palomino, Poupee Knox. She could be described as jovial, almost benevolent. That doesn't mean that she's a cream puff or a pushover. One thing I respect about her, and I'm not saying she ain't a nice person, but well... did you ever have to go to the social security office, the bank, an insurance agency and you get bullshitted with textbook responses, rhetorical answers, office formalities, etc.. Suffice it to say Tara doesn't hand you a printer copy of rehearsed statements when you talk to her.
From the start, she has written lyrics that are very brainy. She reads all kinds of very heavy duty stuff. The songs are about serious topics. And she has been playing guitar on some of the tracks for several years now. Tara and The Duel have many songs which could be Top 10 hits in some sort of parallel universe of The Yardbirds and garage rock radio programing. And talk about brushes with fame, Ray Davies aproached Tara just to say "hi" and have a couple of drinks and talk for a few minutes in a London bar a few years back!
Tara Rez is active in a wide range of social causes such as mental illness and the homeless. She's participated in events like the "sleeping in the streets" get together where an area of 3 or 4 London City blocks were closed off so people could sleep outdoors in the street for the homeless. I'll admit it, I'm a sissy, a Tranny, actually, and my heroes have a tendency to be women.
The Duel was on hiatus for much of 2022. Tara had a bout with COVID last summer. They got back to doing a few live gigs last year.
Rez, who is getting more and more successful, lives in Brighton, England which is a resort town and she DJ's a Radio Show on Reverb Radio. The show features punk rock and other styles too, plus some cool guests while people call in about all kinds of political stuff. Tara herself is very politically minded and socially consious. The show is on Radio Reverb.Com 97.2 FM (Sunday & Monday 8PM & Wednesday 11PM in The UK) which is simulcast on Xstream Radio.Net in The US (weekdays at 6PM PST).
If there was some sort of universe inversion (by some sort of mechanism) and 1964-1965 re-manifested itself like in the Star Trek Holideck with Kenneth Pitt, Joe Meek, Brian Epstein, Simon Napier-Bell, Kit Lambert, Tony Stratton-Smith, Robert Stigwood, Larry Page were walking around like they never croaked, the whole kit 'n' kaboodle would be after Tara Rez so they could sign her up for the major league fantastics blow-out. She'd be signed to Plywood door for a huge advance. Soon her singles would top The charts. She's the one to send the entire production and office staff of MTV and VH1 to hide in the restroom in terror! Next thing you know, it's The covers of 16 and Hit Parader and then Ed Sullivan.
Tara Rez videos and audio
Tara Raz Band Live at Punk 4 Memtal Health Dublin Castle, 2006
"Shadow of Dreams," 2017
TARA REZ INTERVIEW WITH SPIKE POLITE 2022
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