IN Fashion Magazine
"The ultimate glamour that anyone can posses is free will," says Wendy James, 25 year old front woman for British band Transvision Vamp, "That's what glamour is, an expression of freedom."
As the only female in an all guy rock 'n' roll outfit (the other members are guitarist Nick Sayer, bassist Dave Parsons, drummer Tex Axile ) and a particularly provocative one at that. James not only embodies her definition of glamour, she gives it a tweak or two. Ever since Transvision Vamp rocketed into the musical map two years ago with Pop Art, followed by Velveteen a year or so later, James - tiny, talented, beautiful and rebellious - has caused a Goliath sized stir. At the onset the brouhaha centered around her relationship with then boyfriend Sayer, the pair hooked up when James was just 16. As Transvision Vamp evolved, the euro press made much of James obvious attributes. Labeling her exploitive. All of which is true enough, but her sexuality is more than just skin deep. It's who she is, no apologies.
"Everytime someone slags Madonna off," says the blue-eyed blonde, "I see they're doing it for the same reason they'd slag me off - they can't stand a woman who is full possession of her facets. There are so many women out there who deny their femininity in order to achieve certain goals in life and that's not being a feminist," she continues, the picture of cool in her bra top, cut off's and lace up boots. " Surely a feminsist is a woman who is proud to be a woman and still get what she wants?"
Little wonder that she cites bad-boy rockers Joe Strummer and The Rolling Stones as sources of inspiration. " It's their inner strength, their commitment. It's having conviction in ones self and in what you do." she explains. Which is why she also finds Patti Smith and Chrissie Hynde - women with elements of male in them - completely compelling. "I'm proud that there's male in me, too, because there is nothing more insulting to a woman than other females who act coy and submissive." she says with derision. Just in the sphere of pop stars. I see so many who put on their nice dresses and look cute an I think it just perpetuates the stereotype that women should be seen and not heard - like pretty children. That's not what woman is about. Females are mothers of the planet. We bear everything on our shoulders. We're tough talkers, you know, and if there ever has to be a stereotype, that's what it should be. That women are a force to be reckoned with."
James' view on sexuality and glamour will soon take a more literal turn as she prepares for today's photo shoot. But right now her freckled face is completely without make-up : she's free in other words of the trappings of, Wendy James, the bombshell. But beneath both exteriors lies a desire to succeed first and foremost as a rock 'n' roll star. " Later when I look back at my career, I won't be looking at the photos thinking, "Didn't I do well." It's the music I want to be proud of."
James' defiance comes through loud and clear on vinyl, as does her drive and female appeal. While Sayer is the predominant songwriter in the band, James shares 5 co-credits on Transvision Vamp's third album, "Little Magnets vs. The Bubble Of Babble" ( MCA ). " In the early I was insecure about voicing my ideas in case they were laughed at," she admits, " but these days I'm more confident." Aptly enough in "Pressure Times", a hard-driving, punk-laced rocker James sings-talks. "As I get older, I get a little bolder, I speak my mind, I dont waste my time, gonna generate some heat yeah keep on my feet." In "Ain't No Rules", a blues-tinged tune, she tells us, "Got my pen and my pad, gonna get it all down, cause words are a road that leads out of town." As in "(I Just Wanna) B With U," the first single, her breathy voice is at turns hard and sexy. "When you're young trying to escape your environment, you become a boxer, a footballer or a pop star," James concludes, "and 'pen and pad', that's an analogy for finding a direction: finding where your real life is."
James for one did fall into a George Jetson-like routine of standing in place. Faced with two paths as a teen - finish her advance levels in Drama or form a band with Nick Sayer - she chose the alternative route. "The idea of succeeding on my terms, which meant working with Nick, with no back-up support, or educational authority, was exciting. It was two years of angst. Then one day, we knew we couldn't get the demo tapes any better. We started toting them around. It took nine months to get a record deal and viola, the rest is history..."
Having won fans throughout Europe and Asia with their past two releases and fever pitch shows, the band sees America as the land left to conquer. A sampler cd was released this summer to whet US appetites. In Late August look for Little Magnets vs The Bubble Of Babble, and the 'piece de resistance' and if all goes to plan a US Tour. "Performing," James reveals, her blue eyes now in dream land, "is the one thing that makes everything else worthwhile... to see a capacity crowd cheering is the best, best, best..."