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Lozen - Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Monica Topping
For the Times-Standard (originally published Aug. 6, 2009)

The book “Warrior Woman” is about an Apache woman named Lozen. Lozen was a tomboy, always running and playing games with the boys of her tribe, one of the fastest and best horse stealers.

Someone gave a copy of “Warrior Woman” to Hozoji “Hozi” Matheson-Margullis, who then lent it to Justine “Juice” Valdez, and as both women identified with the warrior, they off-handedly discussed naming a band after the her, some day.

In 2004, Valdez was living in Bellingham, Wash., about two-and-a-half hours from her home of Tacoma, and she got a hankering to learn to play drums. She took lessons for a few months, before starting to jam with guitar player Matheson-Margullis, with whom she’d been friends since high school. Matheson-Margullis helped Valdez buy the first pieces of her drum kit and within a couple months of jamming together, the two were booked for their first show.

“I think people are often caught off-guard at the aggressiveness of our music,” says Valdez. “We’re not just strumming guitars — not that there’s anything wrong with that — but we just kind of play what we feel, and it’s really raw and natural.”

Both ladies write the music for Lozen and sing, but lately, during the band’s live shows and on the recently released full-length album, “Oona,” Valdez has taken on most of the vocals, via a headset microphone.

“It does feel crazy sometimes, like an octopus,” says Valdez, about drumming and singing together. “It’s kind of like a zen thing. One of my favorite things is to be all arms flailing and be singing at the same time.”

There’s a dynamic that’s exuded through the duo’s music — a no-holds-barred energy, that new and old fans seem to appreciate, especially in places like Arcata, says Valdez. Show-goers tell the band that they’ve got kids at home and rarely get out of the house for shows, but they always find a babysitter, when Lozen is in town.

Recently, Lozen was voted “Tacoma’s Best Metal Band,” in a scene where Valdez says there are a lot of bands who play that type of music, but Valdez theorizes that maybe people like them so much because they are hard rocking women.

“I always forget that dynamic — that it is just two of us and we’re both women,” she says. “I don’t think we really set out to be a two-piece, but now that you see other two-pieces, it’s rare that you see two female, and then two female with our style.”

This will be the second time that Valdez and Matheson-Margullis tour through Humboldt with their “Oona” album, which was released last April on a Tacoma record label that only pressed it onto 10-inch vinyl, though it also comes with a bonus digital download, for those without a record player.

Lozen and Bellingham, Wash., band Sugar Sugar Sugar (whom I wrote about here) will play tonight at the Lil Red Lion in Eureka. Tonight’s show will start around 9:30 p.m. and is 21-and-over.

This is the second of two Humboldt dates on the month-long tour, which will take the bands over the border into Mexico, up into Austin, Texas, and back through the Midwest on their way home.

Listen to Lozen's song "Rumbles," from their album, "Oona."

(Submitted photo)

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