text: ed verosky, photography: ed verosky
“I want to be buried in this dress,” says Patricia Vonne as we set up for our first few shots in the Imperial Room at The Belmont in Austin.
The dress, a favorite of hers, was purchased at a vintage shop awhile back. Vonne is proud of her find–a Bob Mackie, she explains–one of a couple of dresses she brought over to show me a few months prior to our shoot. Recently, our schedules lined up, a location and stylist were secured, and we were about to finally give those dresses some camera time.
Vonne is a driven professional, and a natural in front of the camera. Put that together with a set of long limbs, great looks, and a fearless approach to performance, and you’re bound to capture something intriguing with a camera. It probably helps that she’s no stranger to being in front of the lens. Vonne’s done a little modeling, appeared in videos, and played a some interesting characters in movies–like the deadly Zorro Girl in Sin City.
Anyone who’s seen Patrica Vonne perform live can attest to her dramatic and dynamic stage presence. But she’s also a talented songwriter, actress, dancer, and has even gotten into video directing. For our interview, I asked her about the new album she’s working on, how she met musical partner and husband Robert LaRoche, and about her experiences with her busy touring schedule.
Can you tell me a little about the new CD you’re working on? Who’s producing, playing on it, scheduled release date?
My fourth CD will be called Worth It and it’s being produced by Carl Thiel. He produced my last two CD’s Guitars & Castanets and Firebird. I first worked with Carl recording my song “Traeme Paz” which was featured in the film Once Upon a Time in Mexico.” My band members are Robert LaRoche on electric guitar, Scott Garber on bass, and Dony Wynn on drums. We just layed down basic tracks so we’ll be writing our wish list of guest musicians. Release date is spring of 2010.
Is this a continuation of the Patricia Vonne sound, should we expect any surprises or changes to the sound?
Like my previous CD’s it will be a bilingual/roots rock album. The difference will be the content, the songs themselves. “Cowskulls and Ghostowns” is my first songwriting collaboration with Shawn Sahm of the Tex- Mex Experience. “Cut From the Same Cloth” and “Austin Rocks” are two songs on the album that I wrote with my fellow San Antonio Rose, Rosie Flores. The Spanish songs “Fuente Vaqueros” and “El Marinero y La Sirena” were co-written with Michael Martin, also from my hometown of San Antonio.
What has been the highlight of working on the recordings?
The effortless nature of working with Carl Thiel, the camaraderie with my musicians, and hearing the songs come to life with the instrumentation is always a highlight.
You have a very energetic and dramatic stage presence. What do you draw from for this? Dancing background, acting? Where do you think it comes from?
I love incorporating dance in my performance. I love drama and theatrics, so my interpretation of my songs seem to be just that. I like to put on a show and have fun! My mom gave me ballet lessons and she would take the family out to watch the MGM musicals, so that impressed me greatly. Everything was cinematic and in Technicolor!
When we first met to discuss a photo shoot, I had no idea that you spent some early years in NYC doing some modeling. What was that experience like for you? Did you have aspirations of getting into music and acting at that time?
I moved to NYC at age 19 to pursue the arts. Working in NYC allowed me to work with amazing photographers. I still fly back to NYC when opportunity knocks. Modeling also helped me realize I had a desire to express myself with words and music not just movement in front of a camera. It was an extension of itself. I worked at venues that allowed me to perform, like the China Club and The Lonestar Roadhouse. I just loved being around music.
You recently came off a tour with Rosie Flores. Are you still enjoying touring, or has it become less enjoyable over the years?
I love touring because of the generous fans out there. We are about to embark on our 17th European tour this October. The fans inspire the music and the opportunities do as well. And any chance to tour with Rosie Flores, well I thank my lucky stars I learned to play the guitar and to write songs because these opportunities would have been given to someone else! ▲