Remember the good old days when every pub was filled with people catching up with…
Jade Thunder: Alchemy
It gives me great pleasure this month to write about my daughter, Jade Thunder, nee Tremarco.
From a very early age it was evident that Jade had a talent for music. She would sing at every opportunity, no matter where we were, even in a church (uninvited I may add) at the age of two!
Jade has been on the local music scene for 24 years starting out with me, singing the odd song here and there and developing into a great musician. She is best known for her work with The Gary Murphy Band, Eclipse – The Pink Floyd Experience, Court & Spark – The Joni Mitchell Experience, and gigging as a cover artist throughout Merseyside in various acts, most notably Next of Kin with me and Glade with Glyn Williams.
Jade has also worked with local legends such as Liverpool Express, Gerry Marsden (RIP), The Swinging Blue Jeans, The Undertakers, The Searchers, The Connie Lush Band, and has had the honour of being a backing singer for Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band when they came to Liverpool in 2016.
When the pandemic hit back in 2020, Jade crossed the line between cover and original artist, and embarked on a new musical adventure creating emotional, raw music that often incorporates nostalgic, real-life experiences.
Drawing from, and blending elements of folk, pop, rock, prog-rock, and jazz, her songs reflect on her feelings about disenchantment, womanhood, romance, trauma, and recovery.
In an interview with WHERE ARE THE GIRL BANDS? Ella Fradge said “Jade Thunder’s music feels like a hug wrapped up in a 70’s crochet jumper, filled with soulful melody, and lyrics from the heart”. Helen Maw from Liverpool Acoustic predicted that “the album is sure to cement Jade Thunder as a true songwriting talent of Liverpool”.
‘Alchemy’ was released on 22.2.22 on CD only, via Jade’s website: www.jadethunder.com
Obviously, I love the album because Jade is my daughter but actually, I have a new-found appreciation of her as an original artist. I asked her the meaning behind her songs on the album:
This is a song about falling for someone when you don’t really want to. Wearing rose-tinted glasses and being in love – which any fool can do (thank you, Louis de Bernieres) yet not being completely happy within yourself. It’s about learning to love yourself enough so that you can allow others to love you.
There’s a subtle nod to ‘higher’ times and the earthy, spaced-out lifestyle one experiments with in their 20’s; “numbing the mind”, “climbed higher and higher”, and that blurred vision the next morning as you’re crashing back down to reality, facing how you feel, and delving deeper into that tinted lens.
Most of us (at least in 2022, post-pandemic) have sadly been through trauma. When I experienced something painful in the past, I used to bury it until I felt ready to deal with it. That day never came and somehow, I lost sight of who I was. I wrote this song to remind myself that talking about trauma is a key healer.
Learning to open-up to someone about everything, not feeling stupid for it, and then ultimately forgiving yourself for everything you’ve done that you’re not proud of, was powerful. Holding on to anger and hate just spreads more anger and hate. As Elsa said, let it go.
Self-acceptance is something that’s hard to do in our instagrammable, Kardashian world. We are constantly striving for perfection and ultimately, people are looking more and more like clones of Kylie and Kim.
I’ve struggled with my image for years and this song is about me celebrating my imperfections – the wobbly bits, the scars, the hyperpigmentations, the dark circles, the hooded eyes, and my beautifully scarred lip and stomach. Learning to love myself was a huge challenge and so I wanted to share my feelings on it in, with the hope that it helps someone out there learn to love themselves too.
Oof. This is a toughie. I was brought up Roman Catholic and went to a Catholic school. My paternal grandfather was heavily religious, and I remember going to church every Sunday as a kid. God was part of my life for the longest time. I went on retreats with the school, and I prayed all the time, privately.
As I got older, I questioned my faith – as many do – and found that it didn’t sit with who I was any more. There were too many unanswered questions, too many inconsistencies with what I was being told. I was to blindly follow this “God” without question? No, sorry, not my style. I learned that the only forgiveness I ever needed was my own – “…and all will be forgiven, anyway”.
During the writing process in 2020, my husband asked me “Do you ever write anything happy?”.
I sat with that for a while. “No” was my answer.
I wrote over 80 songs that year and almost every single one was sad, traumatic, painful, and broken. Is that really all I have to give?
Most songwriters start writing from life experience. Most of my album is just that – an autobiography of sorts, and for me to move forward, I had to document the past. All the pain, anger, frustration, hurt, upset, and trauma wrapped up in a beautifully packaged piece of reflective, clear polycarbonate plastic substrate, affectionately known as a CD. Through it all, I always had a smile on my face, even as I walked away from it.
Ah pills. Those glorious happy pills that we take. To forget. To numb. To cope.
I was prescribed antidepressants in my mid 20’s and I took them until I was 32. They got me through some hard times, and I really did need them. They served a purpose.
Pills was originally written to be an upbeat number like “I Serve Only Me” and “Storm” but it didn’t reflect what it felt like when I was taking them. I always felt kind of glazed and not myself. A half-present version of me.
I knew I needed to come off them but the fear of not having that crux far outweighed the idea of being fully present.
One day, I decided I didn’t want to take them anymore and I stopped taking them cold turkey (I would NOT recommend this, it’s not safe to do it and you must always seek medical help when weaning yourself off any medication). After weeks of sweats, nightmares and violent mood-swings, my body settled, and I could see clearly again.
The pandemic isolated everyone. We struggled, collectively without interaction, without hugs, without goodbyes. I then started to think about people who couldn’t escape any more. There was no relief for those suffering domestic abuse.
What happened to them?
Was their situation worse now?
Were they getting the help they needed?
How were they coping?
I had more questions than I had answers.
Then there’s what happens afterwards. After they escaped their situation. After the suffering.
What was happening to them now?
Were they getting the help they needed?
How were they coping?
A cluttered mind full of demons. Would they ever truly escape it? All they’d need is some kind of relief… somewhere… quiet.
The first love song I’ve ever written. Initially it was supposed to be a generic love song i.e., not personal to me, but as I wrote the words it was easier to draw from my own feelings. It makes me feel warm, like I’m driving down Sunset Boulevard in LA, in a pink Cadillac, with the top down. I smile every time I hear it, not because it’s a love song but more because of how it makes me feel. It’s a sweet song that’s close to my heart. It’s also the title track and first single from the album so it will forever hold a special place in my heart.
I remember writing this song before lockdown. My husband and I went to the Lake District to stay at Whitbarrow Village (highly recommended) in Penrith. We were standing on the balcony, wrapped up in blankets and looking at the night sky, chatting about random things and winding down. It was a moment of peace and reflection for me, and if you hadn’t guessed by the lyrics, it was February; “Aphrodite love me, constellation’s dance, the belt of one Orion, tells the timing of romance, centre stage this time of year he wears it oh so proud, the flames of one blue running man, will arc a thundercloud”. It’s a reference to the Running Man nebula, or what’s commonly known as Orion and that it was around Valentine’s Day. A time to renew our love and forgive the past.
Picture this: August 2005, lying in the middle of a corn field, alone, in Poland. It’s 35°C and I’ve got Metallica’s “S&M” album on full blast on my Walkman. I am 17 years old, and I am confused. I’d just started my driving lessons and I was eager to prove to the world that I was growing up. I was excited, nervous, and itching to just get out there and be an adult. I’d split up with my first serious boyfriend after a whopping 18 months, and I was struggling. How I wish I could talk to my seventeen-year-old self now and say, “stay at home, save your money, and take your time. There’s no rush. You will love again.”
I wrote Storm that night when I got home. Since then, it’s had many guises – it’s been a country song, R’n’B song, and even a full-on dance tune. It was never quite right, until now. I’ve finally found a composition that I like and that works well. I never changed the lyrics – they’re exactly as I wrote them in 2005. I love the innocence in them, and the song reminds me of a simpler time.
Can’t Let Go:
At 19 I fell for someone I couldn’t have. It was a tragic time because I knew he wanted to be with me too, but he was already in a relationship with a child on the way. I wasn’t prepared to split the family unit up as I’d come from a broken home myself, and I knew the pain that would inflict on the children, so I walked away. When writing songs, you often look back and write about things that seem poignant and relatable – this song shows the anguish and pain surrounding a love you can never have.
Loving In Sin:
A song engulfed in the flames of adultery. Inspired by a couple I know who have recently gone through a divorce, I found myself wondering what it would be like, why they would risk their relationship for a fleeting moment with someone else. You see it on TV, in movies, and in ‘real life’ all the time. ‘Loving In Sin’ is a story of lust and attraction, and the agony one can go through if you fall for that person when you’re already committed “A tear for the shame and a smile for love, now moving forward as below, so above”.
I Serve Only Me:
This song is a little weird. I’ve always played a jester-type roll on stage, an entertainer. I guess I learned that from my mum (as you’ll have read in last month’s issue). This was about me taking my power back: “Oh! Lucifer, I serve him not, though echoes surely show, that I serve only me, my dear, I put on quite a show”. There are so many hidden meanings within this song that it would simply be too much to write here.
It makes me laugh. It’s playful and fun and represents freedom. Whilst I play the harlequin and perform for others, I no longer seek their approval, and I do it for me.
I have never felt confident enough to release a personal record before, but the pandemic gave me the autonomy to sit and physically write the album.
‘Alchemy’ is a piece of my heart and soul and a space where no one has been before. It’s an intimate record; a cathartic process where I wrote songs that sign off the past and give me permission to move on.
I am excited to tell you for the first time ever, Jade and her band will take to the stage, launching and performing her debut album ‘Alchemy’ on 2.4.22 at Thornton Hough Village Club & Bar, performing some of the songs above. I cannot wait! Jade will be supported by the wonderfully talented Cal Ruddy, who will showcase tracks from his previous album ‘Ellison Place’ and his new EP ‘The EdenHurst Sessions’.
Doors are at 7pm, the show starts at 8pm and it’s a 12am bar.
I am really hoping to go – it will be my first night out in as long as I can remember. If you see me, I will be the mother in a complete pool of pride – be sure to say hello!