One of the great things about college towns like Bowling Green, OH is the constant stream of new performers. Rock bands, actors, comedians, dancers—they all find a good starting place in towns like these, and with help from local venues like Grumpy Dave’s Pub and Howard’s Club H, these artists can build their fan base in a relatively short period of time.
Dragon Constitution is a rock band led by vocalist Jessica Barker (who, incidentally, looks like a dead ringer for Miley Cyrus). The band also includes William Bowersox, who does backing vocals while lending his decade-plus of guitar-playing talents. Bowersox and Barker recently added bassist Knowa Patterson to the band’s lineup, and as they prepare to record their first demo, they’re quickly becoming noticed by concertgoers all across Ohio.
CryptTeaze recently had the privilege of sitting down with Dragon Constitution…who may or may not be sacrificing barn animals to their mascot, Kukulkan…
CryptTeaze: Thanks for making the time to talk! So, you guys have been playing the BG music scene for a while now. How did Dragon Constitution come together?
William Bowersox: For me, I basically graduated college, and I started going to Grumpy Dave’s around the time Jess was working up there. Fast-forward by about six months to a year, she started doing karaoke, and we were hanging out enough by that point that I knew she was a good singer. She was complaining sometimes that they didn’t have the karaoke songs she wanted to do, so I pitched it as, ‘Well, if you just play in a band you can sing whatever you want.’ Eventually I convinced her to come over to my place, and we started playing songs, and after a few months we went to the Village Inn with my friend Frankie May. She was a little bored with what we were doing at the time, so I said we should try something different, but she had this thing where she didn’t want to sing in front of people, at least not in a band format. Basically, I knew my friend would have us up there, and I decided we’d just sort of poke her up there to do it. At this point we had about five songs that we could perform passably and whatnot. So, we did that, it went well, and it kinda just snowballed from that. That’s pretty much the abridged version.
CT: How did you come up with the name Dragon Constitution?
Jessica Barker: So, we were playing a show in Toledo, and it was about five minutes before we had to go on. I said to myself, ‘We don’t have a band name yet.’ So I went to Google and found a band name generator, and when it asked for keywords, I typed in ‘dragon,’ and the first one that came up was Dragon Constitution. And that was it!
CT: And vocally, Jess, you’re influenced mostly by Taylor Momson (of The Pretty Reckless)?
Barker: Yeah; Taylor Momson, Green Day, Alice Cooper, Michael Jackson…everyone!
CT: And how did Knowa get involved in the band?
Knowa Patterson: I saw these guys at Howard’s doing a show, and I was impressed. I’ve been in and out of bands since I started playing guitar and I never really felt like I liked all the music I was playing, I was just filling a part, you know? I heard what these guys were doing, and my influence by The Pretty Reckless and Green Day made me think, ‘I’d like to be a part of this!’
Bowersox: I quit playing guitar for fifteen years, too. I was just done with it. After the family thing and whatnot, I tried to do a couple other bands, and I can’t even remember the guy’s name anymore. This was the last thing I had to do. A friend who did music went and tried the Fentenol thing, and he O.D’d and died, and I associated playing music with that, and I just quit doing it for the longest time.
CT: What’s the story with the family band you were part of before all this?
Bowersox: I started playing when I was 12. My sister and my brother were about 10. So we kinda started doing that, our first gig was at a bar called Jimmy’s Tavern that doesn’t exist anymore. And that was after probably about three months of playing. After that, for probably about a year, we were a regular weekly at Jimmy’s Tavern. We did that for years. We played up in Detroit, we had a show down in Atlanta once. It’s kind of a funny story, there was this country bar we played at out in Port Clinton as kind of a one-off thing. So, playing in the band was kind of my main source of income for quite a few years, and my sister Crystal went off to do her own thing.
CT: Is she the one who was on American Idol?
Bowersox: Yeah. And that was probably about two years after she moved to Chicago and we were done as a group. She took second place in season nine of American Idol and has been doing it professionally ever since, and now she lives in Nashville and all that.
CT: Talk a little bit about your debut song “Snakeskin.” Is it going to be on your upcoming demo?
Barker: Yeah, we’re looking at a few names for the demo, and we’re primarily thinking of just calling it The Snakeskin EP. It’s going to be three or four songs. The story of “Snakeskin” is, I was at Nate & Wally’s Fishbowl just sitting at a table by myself, and I had this idea for the song because I saw all these college girls who were just wearing the skimpiest clothes you could find, just showing their shit off. I got this idea of someone who thinks that they have to look like that and act like that to get attention. So I started writing the song, and it eventually turned into this girl who wants to be a rockstar, but realizes it’s not all it cracks up to be, and she doesn’t realize that sex sells and eventually you’re going to wear yourself down because you’ve sold your soul to the devil, pretty much. The title just came because they were wearing snakeskin pants.
CT: Where’s the band going from here? Do you guys have any upcoming shows planned?
Barker: We’ve sort of become a regular act at Atomic Signal in BG.
Bowersox: Yeah, Atomic Signal is a bit of a hootenanny variety show. It seems like we’re the only traditional band that plays there, and they’ve had a few events and we’ve played four. I think I’ve seen a few solo acts and acoustic acts. They’ve got a lot of upbeat stuff like that, they’ve had drag shows, so it’s not strictly a music thing. It’s basically, I guess, a “gothic hootenanny.”
CT: And how did you get started in music before joining the band, Noah?
Patterson: I actually played guitar since I was fourteen, but I’ve played bass in more bands than I’ve played guitar. I’m actually in a band right now full-time called Rustic Waters, and we play just about every weekend around this area. I’ve been trying to do stuff that’s more rock and heavy rock-oriented rather than just playing in jam bands. When I was in Cincinnati I played in a country band, and that was the first band I played bass in, and that feeling was kind of that I was playing the music and enjoying jamming out to it, but I wasn’t particularly feeling the music the way I wanted to.
CT: Does Dragon Constitution have any pre-performance rituals? Like…do you sacrifice a chicken or anything?
Barker: I mean…we can’t talk about it…
Bowersox: No one’s going to say anything if a chicken goes missing in Bowling Green, OH…