Jane singer now sizzles in L.A.
By JACI WEBB
Of The Gazette Staff
Egnew likes to joke that West High in the mid-1980s
was like the "Julliard of Montana."
graduated from West in 1987, after singing in choir
with jazz vocalist Kristin Korb and acting in plays
with Venture Theatre founder Mace Archer.
talented musician with a charismatic personality, Egnew
helped found the all-female rock band Pope Jane in Billings
in 1994, and even though the band dissolved two years
ago, people are still talking about it. Egnew said much
of her success is due to her days as the lead singer
and guitarist in Pope Jane. The music is still so vital
that most of the songs Egnew is using in the musical
score for the new film "Changing Spots" are
director Susan Turley liked the songs so much she wanted
the entire soundtrack to be our music. The score is
like a Pope Jane greatest hits," Egnew told The
Gazette in a recent telephone interview from her home
in Los Angeles.
landed one of the leading roles in the film, a drama
about relationships. She spent most of 2006 involved
in the filming of it and is in the final stages of finishing
its score. The movie, which is expected to be released
in 2007, includes a large live music sequence where
Egnew is lip syncing to her own songs.
was crazy busy in a good way. I thought L.A. was going
to be a lot tougher nut to crack," Egnew said.
and the rest of Pope Jane, including Kristen Coyner
on drums and Holly Shawver on bass, moved to Los Angeles
in 2002 to pursue a record deal.
radio talk-show host, Sheena Metal, wanted to play Pope
Jane music between her talk segments," Egnew said.
"She was L.A.'s Howard Stern at the time. I sent
her music and she said, 'You have to come out here.'
We played a couple of shows and were immediately booked
on Sunset Strip, which is great because there are so
many bands out here."
MCA and Universal record companies were all interested
in signing Pope Jane. Then the bottom fell out of the
record industry and all three deals went sour.
was really disappointing," Egnew said. "That's
when Pope Jane ended."
moved back to Billings and Coyner moved back to Washington.
Plans are in the works to record another Pope Jane album,
though we weren't playing music anymore, Pope Jane just
kept going and going with digital downloads,' Egnew
is also wrapping up a solo album named after one of
her favorite places, "Red Lodge." Also in
2006, Egnew was invited to be part of a celebrity cast
of a production of "Vagina Monologues" in
New York City, with among others, Ally Sheedy.
did get a blush or two reading the script and I thought,
'How am I going to say this out loud?' But when they
put it all together, it was such a healing experience.
We were in New York for seven days to produce this and
we stayed at the St. Regis. I've never stayed at a five-star
hotel before. It's the kind of place where you call
the butler to bring you coffee in the morning."
first love was musical theater, and she studied theater
at the University of Arizona and Montana State University-Billings.
Now she feels fortunate to combine all of her talents
by writing movie scripts, acting and playing music.
Her first script, the sci-fi thriller "Thunder
Walk," has been optioned by a film company.
went into the writing vacuum of hell," Egnew said.
"I did 16 rewrites on that script. Light Renegade
Entertainment had optioned the script, and I had meetings
with them. They would read it every week then have me
re-write it. It was like getting paid to go to screenwriting
script she wrote, "Imogene's Waltz," is set
in Montana, and Egnew hopes to shoot it here someday.
biggest thing is you just can't quit," Egnew said.
"At the end of the day, you'll be the one standing
out in the wheat field and you know how far away you
can see someone standing in a field."
is also co-hosting a radio show, "The Music Highway,"
where she plays all-independent music. And, lastly,
one of Egnew's biggest honors was when she was named
Best Pop Alternative Female Guitarist in 2006 through
a nomination process that included L.A. music business
executives and online voting. She won a custom Minarik
guitar, which led to an endorsement by the guitar company.
that award was a testament to everybody who believes
in my music and everything they did to help me get here,"
• To hear Pope Jane's music, visit popejane.com
To check out Danielle Egnew's music and career, go to
To submit independent music for consideration for airing
on Egnew's L.A. radio show, "The Music Highway,"
contact the show at musichighwayradio.com
To view a trailer for the upcoming film "Changing
Spots" starring Egnew and featuring a soundtrack
with Pope Jane tunes, go to changingspotsmovie.com
To listen to music by Egnew's new band, Junkie Cousin,
with L.A. guitarist Paul Houston, go to junkiecousin.com