Local ’90s sensation Jane Doe reuniting for one night only

Tammye Nash | Managing Editor
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Back in the mid to late 1990s, if you were looking for the best in all-girl rock-n-roll, you went to Sue Ellen’s, because that’s where you were gonna find the best. And one of the bands who helped create Sue Ellen’s reputation for top-notch live music — a reputation that remains in place today — was Jane Doe.
Jane Doe — quartet made up of Susan Carson, Deborah Drouin, Gloria Cortez and Vicci Stewart

Carson explained that she and Drouin were in a band called Bratz together in the early 1990s, and after that band dissolved, “we still wanted to make music together. Lucky for us, the band [Cortez] was in — Liquid Velvet — had just broken up, too. We just needed a drummer. Then we saw [Stewart] play, and we knew she was perfect.

“We didn’t set out to be an all-girl band that all liked girls, it just happened,” she said.

That was 1994. In 1995, Jane Doe became the first group to perform live at Sue Ellen’s, starting on Wednesday nights then moving to Sundays. Soon they were in demand in Deep Ellum, too.

The band dissolved in 1998, but the women remained good friends and their legacy in Dallas lives on. Jane Doe reunited in 2010 in Los Angeles when Carson, Cortez and Drouin surprised Stewart for her birthday, and then again the next year, in August 2011, when they regrouped in Dallas to be the opening act for another Dallas girl, Deborah Vial, at House of Blues.

But if you missed those two gigs, never fear: Jane Doe reunites this weekend, for one night only, back where it all began. The band will be playing at Sue Ellen’s on Sunday night, Sept. 16, at the 35th annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade.

Here’s a little bit of info to help you catch up on where they’ve been and what they’re doing now:

Susan Carson is the only one of the four who still lives here in Dallas, and said she has been taking singing lessons, writing music, playing open mic nights and sitting in with local musicians.

Carson said she believes she and her fellow Jane Doe members are “forever sisters in music and life,” and that “all of us take Pride in each other’s musicianship and friendship.”

Gloria Cortez, guitarist, has been living in New York City for four years, teaching guitar in Times Square Broadway District. She is studying classical guitar with Maestra Virginia Luque from Spain and performs with the New York Classical Guitar Society Orchestra. She performs solo at several gallery openings in Montclair, including the MontClaire Museum of Art, and in NYC accompanying various vocalists. She also sits in with rock/funk groups on occasion.

“Can’t wait to perform with Jane Doe!” Cortez said. “We old-timers are gonna rock it out!”

Deborah Drouin, lead singer and songwriter, currently lives in Santa Fe, N.M., where she guest sings with local bands, as well as hitting the road “whenever Jane Doe gets a gig.” She also continues to run her advertising agency and works as a mentor for young girls at Girls Inc. of Santa Fe.

Drouin said, “Vicci, Gloria and Susan are my family, and we have stayed very close. I’ve never found such a powerful group of women I connect with creatively. We can write a new song in two minutes. I can’t wait to rock the house in Dallas again!”

Born in Los Angeles and raised in Lubbock, Texas, drummer Vicci Stewart moved back west and has lived in Hollywood for 18 years. She moved there after Jane Doe disbanded to continue her musical career. And that career includes playing with Pink and drumming in her video “Just Like a Pill,” as well as with various original bands as well through the years. She also “dabbled” in TV, she said, appearing on a couple of games shows and doing a motorcycle stunt in a movie. Stewart currently works in the entertainment lighting industry and continues to write and play music daily.

“Jane Doe is family,” Stewart said. “We will always be family. We always take up where we left off, and we are never lacking in the collaborative writing process. We can write and create music at the drop of a hat. We love each other dearly, and we are always making each other laugh.

“It’s so awesome to get to play with these amazing women,” she added. “We will probably continue to play from time to time when we have the chance. It’s tough, since we are all spread out, but that doesn’t keep us from our music. Jane Doe music will live on forever.”