An early injury nearly sidelined this queen before she could claim the spotlight. Now Wesley brings live music, theatricality and deft makeup to all the drag stages she’s on, and is the lead vocalist of NYC’s dominating drag band The Bad Judies!
Wesley: The show was fantastic! Great turnout, and we had a lot of fun — got to perform some new numbers, too. We had people up and dancing, which makes it all worth it!
What’s your favorite number that you all do?
My favorite song we do as a band has to be either “Cuz I Love You” by Lizzo — because I get to sing freely and soulfully, and the instruments we play are perfect for the song — or “God is a Woman,” because of how sick the harmonies we sing in it are.
Before we talk more about the Judies, can you tell us a bit about your fine self? Where are you from originally, and how did music and drag enter your life?
I’m originally from the DC suburbs (Bethesda / Potomac, MD). I’ve been singing since I can remember; I grew up in the church choir (ew, religion), and then started theatre in eighth grade because my best friend dragged me to the musical audition with him. I got a role, and my friend realized I was good… and then he dragged me to the show choir audition for incoming freshman at our high school. I made it to the top choir as a freshman, and the rest is fuckin’ herstory, lol!
Since then, it’s just been obvious I was going to be a performer. I studied musical theatre at Emerson college because I didn’t know what to decide between singing, acting, and dancing. I got very into dancing while in college, and then ended up injuring myself badly after I graduated… resulting in needing back surgery, which at the time I thought was a career ending situation. Low and behold, drag came from the really deep low that came after surgery, and helped me find what I was truly meant to be doing.
When I first tried drag at DragCon 2019, I realized that it combined all of my passions in the arts perfectly. It was also a form of self-expression and freedom, which was exactly what I needed in life.
Is Wesley your Government Name?
Wesley is my middle name and my drag name.
WorshipHer I met through the first drag competition I did called “Hot Mess” at House of Yes In 2019. It wasn’t until after the pandemic that we realized we were both really musical, and should team up. After a couple months of gigging together, we wanted to get a third member in our music group and we found Lyra through social media. She was and is just such an incredible pianist, as well as a gorgeous and seasoned queen… we knew we wanted her. So we reached out to her, I believe, around May or June of last year, and went from there.
What‘s your role in the band?
I’m the lead singer. I also play the bass guitar, and any additional electronic or percussion things such as the tambourine, and if needed we have a pushboard that we can program sounds onto. Basically, whatever the song needs to have filled in.
There aren’t many drag rock bands out there!
I wouldn’t really classify us as a rock band; we really play music from all genres and decades right now. We try to cover the gamut of music, and make everything accessible for everyone at our shows.
Who are your fans, if you could sum them up?
We are such an eclectic group of queens with different styles and tastes, so I would say our fan base is the same: just people who enjoy good drag and good music. I wouldn’t even put age on it either, since we’re playing things from “Gypsy Woman” to “God is a Woman.”
The Judies have been playing a lot of different venues lately. Next up is Stonewall on August 28th!
Yes! It’s so exciting. We’re a relatively new band just trying to get our names out there, and it really feels like now like things are starting for us this summer. To play at Stonewall has been a dream for so long, and I feel like we’re finally ready! Such an honor.
What else is coming for Wesley and The Judies?
Any interest in performing or recording originals?
We have definitely been talking about it. Like I said, we are such an eclectic group… and to create original music as a band, we would need to find the perfect blend of all of us. But things are in the works!
All exciting and amazing, have great shows! Okay, to close… what’s a song you’re excited for the Judies to do that you haven’t done yet?
Ooh, great question. We’re working on “Bills Bills Bills.” Cannot wait for that one: it’s going to involve harmonies, bass, a great beat, and some noice sound effects.
Can’t wait to hear it! Thanks, Wesley!