Jesika Von Rabbit is a legend in the High Desert. Although not a native of the area, she found her dream place after first moving to LA from Wisconsin at the end of the 1990s. She first worked as a stylist for the likes of Debbie Harry and Gwen Stefani in Los Angeles, but this wasn't fulfilling enough; she wanted to be the one behind the microphone. About that time, she first visited Joshua Tree and found there the artistic freedom that would enable her to become the avant-garde, genre-bending, electro - rock n' roll queen she has become since.
« Joshua Tree was a good place. It was still close enough to Los Angeles, where I’d still be able to perform there and make my mark there. But I didn't have to live right in Los Angeles, when which can be a little, you know, treacherous. »
In Joshua Tree, she and Todd Rutherford Johnson formed Gram Rabbit. They released five albums together before she branched out and released her first solo album in 2015. With Dessert Rock, Jesika Von Rabbit confirmed her status as « Queen of the High Desert » in 2018. At the center of her work is her continuous exploration of musical research. One track is country, the next is techno:
« I can't really stick to one sound, I guess. I mean, it all kind of sounds like me, because it's my voice. But yeah, I don't know, I kind of bend genres you could say. »
She is back this year with a cover song by the 80's English band Boys Don't Cry. The song dates back to her early days with Gram Rabbit.
« Todd Rutherford Johnson, the co-founder of Gram Rabbit, he was part of the original production of this I want to be a cowboy track. But I kind of dug it out of the archives because it had been like on some old ProTools hard drive for years and just maybe like a year and a half ago, I was looking at looking up old sessions and I'm like « oh yeah, this » and I listen to it. I'm like « this has to come out ». So, I put Jessie Hughes (Eagles Of Death Metal) vocals on it cuz him and I are friends and we always talked about doing a duet. »
The universes of Jesika and Jesse complement each other. Both goofy and a little menacing, they embrace total artistic freedom, regardless of good manners. We like them for that particular reason.
Even with the recent gentrification of the area, local fans can rest assured Jesika won't be moving anytime soon from Joshua Tree:
« If I drove around the country looking for new places to live, I'd probably be seeking out something similar to where I'm at. »
- Vincent Walter Jacob
Jesika Von Rabbit live at the Red Dog Saloon, Pioneertown, Ca. By Vincent Walter Jacob