jen dot gets shit done
Catching Up With the Beastii Mastermind
“I know I am very lucky. I get to play shows. I get to play with people who want to play with me and write songs. I record. I get to do a lot of things others don’t.” Jen Dot of Beastii is many things. She’s a singer/songwriter and a self-taught guitarist. She’s a frontwoman, a bandleader, and a part time DJ. You can add comic strip creator, newspaper printer, website editor and punk rock historian to the list as well. She’s also designed her own card game, Douchebag CEO, and dabbles in zine publishing. Luck doesn’t seem to have much to do with it, but hard work, talent, and drive sure do. Oh yeah, and she’s been a Chicago Public Schools teacher for six years now.
Originally from Lansing, Michigan, Dot found music the way many do, alone in her room. “I moved in the middle of seventh grade and didn’t have any friends. That’s when I got a guitar.” She was never interested in learning covers, though, so she began writing songs immediately, teaching herself chords along the way. After high school, she attended Loyola University in Chicago and she’s been here ever since. Working, writing, teaching, and always playing music.
She is best known as a musician with her former band, Swimsuit Addition, her current band Beastii, and her latest band, Jen and the Dots. However, music is only one part of her artistic life. As a young child she was heavily involved in theater. Her early experience in songwriting lead her to study poetry and creative writing in college. She loves comics so she makes her own. She loves science fiction so she writes her own. She publishes much of her writing on her website, Disappearing Media. There you can find everything from her newspaper, Pulp Oddyssey, which reports the news of outer space, to her female punk rock history blog, Punkette Respect. “I’m not sure where I find the time because I do sleep a lot. A lot. But I just want to get stuff done, so I do it. Finishing a project is the most important aspect to me. I want to get shit done.”
She definitely gets shit done and all of Dot’s artistic endeavors come together with her current band, Beastii. Not only is she recording music, she’s performing live. Not only is she writing their songs, she’s written their sci-fi backstory as a trio of lost space travelers that have landed on earth to party and make music. “Being Eternal from Alternate Space Terra II,” or Beastii for short, is the culmination of all her talents and concepts. Their 2017 LP Can’t Wait is nine tracks of power fuzz pop for earthlings ready to party. Their latest single, “Got the Van,” brings the same big energy while encouraging the earthlings to believe in themselves and stay strong, no matter what others may say. Dot has an infectious brand of confidence that’s as hard to resist as it is for her to contain.
That positive energy runs through everything she touches too. Not only does she want to make art, she wants to make art with everyone. “Jen and the Dots came about from a Facebook post. I pretty much just asked if anyone felt like jamming. After a few times, I saw who was serious about it and we started to practice and play a few shows.” She uses Disappearing Media in similar fashion. Inviting everyone and anyone to send her their comics, essays, videos, or, whatever they like to create. “We can all be artists. We can all support each other’s thing without being competitive or worrying what others think about it. There’s plenty of room for everyone to create and be successful.”
Look for Dot to continue to create and be successful this summer as CPS goes on their summer break. Beastii and Jen and the Dots will be playing the shows, Disappearing Media will be posting content, and Dot will get a much-deserved vacation. So, what else will she do this summer? Without thinking she says, “I don’t know. I could get a job.” Yeah, because, you know, idle hands.
Beastii plays Reed's Local in Avondale, Chicago on Thursday July 12 at 9 pm. Lollygagger, The Lopez and Swampwalk share the bill.