Meet The Parents: Sadie Dupuis’ Mom Is Cooler Than You

Meet The Parents: Sadie Dupuis’ Mom Is Cooler Than You

If you’re a fan of Speedy Ortiz or Sad13, front woman Sadie Dupuis’ mom Diane might follow you on Twitter. In addition to being her daughter’s number-one fan, Diane is also an accomplished artist and the co-founder (with her daughter) of a new label called Wax Nine.

TIDAL spoke with Diane about what it’s like to have a musician for a daughter, and to Sadie about everything her mother taught her.

Tell us a little bit about your label with Sadie and your role in it?

Diane: I designed the logo and will do some graphics. Wax Nine was the pen name I used when I entered a trivia contest Punk Magazine had in its first issue. Wax for records, nine as a power number. When John Holmstrom (cartoonist and Punk editor) answered the phone, I said I entered the contest. He said ‘You’re a girl? You won!’ Sweet and funny that it’s the name of her imprint.

What is your musical background?

Diane: I’m a painter. Artists and musicians are like kinds, so I’ve always had musician friends. I started going to shows when I was a young teen, Murray the K’s Easter show was probably the first big one in 1966. Back then all the bands would play high school gigs so we saw a lot of great shows in small venues, then the Filmore and other places. I worked for Punk Magazine when it first started and was part of the New York scene from 1974 on; we all (bands and artists) sort of grew up together and many of us are still friends today.

I managed a couple of bands and booked clubs in New York City during those years. I had a record label, Rock Steady, in England in 1979. We did pop and reggae records, and went on tour with the Slits, Prince Far-I, Prince Hammer and Bim Sherman through northern England. When I came back to New York, I worked for Waylon Jennings.

Funny, that’s the way my radio is set up: indie, reggae, country ha! I’ve worked stage managing for a festival called Tibet Fest for the past decade. Tibetan musicians from around the globe perform; this year Patti Smith’s daughter Jessie played with Tenzin Chogal. Kind of full circle I thought.

What’s it like having a musician as a daughter?

Diane: It’s a magical thing. Sadie was not yet one when she stood on her tiptoes and figured out a little one-fingered tune on our piano. She’s sung and toured in professional children’s choruses since she was a little girl, so she is hardwired to have high standards and work hard. It’s been great watching her success, from the first gigs with a handful of people to the big shows and critical acclaim. I love having her band friends here and hearing her songs develop when they
rehearse in the basement. I only have one child, so I suppose I have nothing to compare it to, but I know I’m blessed and couldn’t be happier that she is doing what she loves.

What advice would you give to parents of aspiring musicians?

Diane: Buy a set of drums for your basement, and try not to watch the weather channel when they are on tour through hurricane alley.

Sadie: My mom always played music in the house and in the car, and got me listening to college and public radio before I hit elementary school. I remember listening to WFMU and WFUV in the early ’90s when we drove to visit her parents’ in New Jersey; Meg Griffin was a household name before I could reach the stereo.

She took me to the first concert I can remember asking to attend (No Doubt at Roseland Ballroom) and only as an adult can I appreciate how cool it was to spend holidays as a kid with Bob Gruen and Lenny Kaye, her friends from her days in New York’s punk scene.

When I first started writing songs, I would always workshop them for my mom, who would drive me all around to play at coffee house open mics and church basements in front of, like, eight people. She’s had all these amazing experiences befriending and supporting the artists that defined New York in the ’70s and ’80s, and yet she’s always enthusiastic, never jaded, and extremely supportive of my work.

She bought me my first guitar and my first 4-track when I was thirteen, and at age twenty-eight, I still go to her house to write and record new songs in her basement. Although she doesn’t play music (at least not in front of me, at least not yet), she has always avidly followed what’s new; we got into Outkast at the same time when I was in middle school. She continues to write down names of artists she likes from the radio and is always texting me to ask about them. It’s extra cool when she asks me about bands I’m already friends with, because I feel like some of my mom’s cool cred has rubbed off on me.

(Photo credit: Sad13/Instagram)

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