• COLA Records

the bear don’t like to be poked

So I feel like a poked a TikTok bear, and now the website‘s redesigned.


to all y’all that came through while i was getting typos worked out, is hopefully like semantically correct now but do message me if something‘s off - shoutout to Drake, CO!

- or rather thousands and thousands of bears, astounding numbers bristling in support of the concept of the democratic republic with life liberty etc for all, and a meager but vocal portion who were quite unhappy about my opinions, and how I look and sound like I do while saying them.


I remain surprised at the surprise aroused when I held up a rubber bullet and stated that the semantic branding around it is wrong - it’s semilethal, or at best Less Lethal, not LTL - and that it’s a damn good way to demonstrate the need for police reform to shoot people at peaceful protests. I was informed viscerally of these things because my partner experienced it, and was nearly maimed because of it.


So for lack of a better plan I just kept being myself. Continuing to lean into the way, even though I’d grown up around multiple languages and dialects, my casual mannerisms of speaking sunk into the honey twang of my gramma, as a self soothing mechanism. Continuing to freely avail myself of then 1st amendment rights. After stating that I’m just the background vocalist in creature feature films, a spaghetti western redneck; to suddenly get attention cuz my partner got hurt is not what I’ve intended to do with my life. But, continuing to be pissed off, opinionated, and not camera shy while my partner’s body slowly heals from unjust, unpunished injury.

Continuing my day to day as a musician but with a lot more protest songs.


I‘m surprised that one morning in the garden while getting irrigation going, I did a bikini characature of the flag waving folks I grew up with who seemed deliberately ignorant of the contents of the Constitution beyond or before the 2nd Amendment - and that also seems to have surprised people. That I don‘t actually think that way, yet wave an American flag bikini -


and I realized that the whole schtick I’d developed for the last couple years was useful for a good cause right now. I’d given in and started playing the sort of music that people supposed I‘m sposed to play given my looks, to a pretty warm reception. it remained frustrating that doing jazz seemed to break people’s heads, but it was giving in like a relief to years of George Strait on the radio in my daddy’s semi truck.


As Bette Southern Band, the whole premise was to walk into a bar, play Friends in Low Places and Jason Isbell and my originals and gradually let the cat out of the bag - we’re queer, but look how we’re getting along right now. Y’all have applauded and two-stepped and look we like the same music as you, and talk like you, and would genuinely be your friends if you’ll have us.


I admit and regret, some nights in some towns we were louder about this than others. It seems I’m being given another chance to stand by what I think is right.


I realized I had a superpower to get bigots to listen to me for about 12 seconds, so I started researching and listening to voices from the BLM movement on what really needs saying, tailored by conversations with trolls and friends alike.

This could all die out in a week. Folks could easily get tired of the schtick and so far my path in music seems to have been more on the ghostwriting side - it’s fascinating watching. It‘s still surprising that I say stuff on my front porch and it emboldens people across America and the world, hopefully in directions that are healthy for the revival of the American soul away from bigotry.


We need to break the echo chambers. We need to get away from insult culture politics. We need to get louder for what we think is right, prepared to back it up with the best information available on the nature of consensus reality.


Please do check out the y’allidarity store or just research and donate to an org that’s doing good work right now like Unicorn Riot of SPLC.


blm, y’all 🖤🇺🇸

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© 2023 by Veronique Van Pelt updated July 4, 2020