Spectacular Spectacular plays songs from ‘Blur’ in Great Falls on Wednesday
When Spectacular Spectacular comes to Great Falls on Wednesday, it will be doing something that probably would not have been possible not too long ago.
Going back five to six years ago and not only was lead singer Isley Reust struggling through her own demons that forced her out of music, even if she wanted to come here, she’s not so sure people would be as accepting of a transgender rock performer as they are now.
The band plays at Machinery Row starting at 7:30 p.m. Nosight with a surprise guest musician will open.
Before releasing their debut album “Blur,” Reust sat down with The Advocate to speak about her difficult journey toward outing herself as a transgender female musician.
She said some of the darkest moments involved getting arrested for drunken driving and another incident getting arrested for drug possession while traveling with her band.
“I wasn’t happy. I saw my transition (to a woman) so out of reach,” she said. “I was on a path of destruction and knew I’d end up dead if I didn’t fix it soon.”
After the second arrest, Reust left her band at the time and quit playing music for almost three years. She moved to Los Angeles and started the slow road to recovery.
She said “Blur” is in part a reflection about her self-discovery and the way she slowly started to regain her self confidence as a woman.
“I started to realize, like, I wasn’t being true to who I was. I wasn’t doing stuff I love, I wasn’t loving what I was doing,” she said. “But I feel like coming back to music was a healing process. It was sort of this cathartic comfort where I could let it all out. And now that the album’s out, I feel so much better, it just feels awesome again to be playing shows.”
Reust said she’s excited to come to Great Falls and was pleasantly surprised to hear how the LGBT movement has evolved here in recent years. She said she’s played here a while back in her former band, but this would be her first time with Spectacular, Spectacular. She said she feels like people from all over have been much more accepting of her than even a few years prior.
“I feel like someone in my position coming to Montana, and I am not from Montana so I could be wrong, but I just I feel like back then, like five or six years ago it would be harder, than you know, now. People seem to be more positive about trans people, but there’s still a lot of work left to be done, too,” she said.
As for the music, Reust describes their sound as “dark, dream rock but like with a particular sound, kind of like Garbage. Shirley Manson is personally one of my biggest inspirations for writing so you can probably hear their influence in our stuff.”
She said the band takes a democratic approach to songwriting and performing. Along with Reust, Spectacular Spectacular features Jessica De Grasse and Millie Chan.
When anyone has an idea for a song, Reust said that person will bring it to the others and they’ll work together to make it into a workable song. She said some ideas end up on the album, some don’t, but they all carry the same weight no matter who presented them.
“We all contribute and do our own things with the songs,” she said. “At the end of the day, we’re still a band. So, if I have an idea for a song, I’ll bring it to the table and see what we can all do with it and we go from there. Sometimes it ends up being a band song for all of us, sometimes we scrap it, it just depends on how we all feel about it and if we can work with it.”
Finally, Reust said she’s still not quite used to the attention she’s received from fans, some of whom are transgender folks going through similar problems that she did.
“I never thought I’d be in the position I am now, it’s a surreal feeling,” she said. “When people tell me that my journey inspires them, I feel like ‘whoa, really? You know about that? I feel blown away, but it feels good to know that I can help people in any small way.”