Back together again

Fondly known as the talented front woman for Fur Patrol, Julia Deans is getting the band back together for a reunion tour this August. Georgia Summerton catches up with the rock and roll star ahead of the tour.

Born right here in Christchurch, Julia Deans was always destined for a creative life, with her father Paul Deans the well-known sculptor, and grandfather Austen Deans a painter. But it was music that would steal Julia’s heart. She was given her first guitar at age 15 and the rest is history.

After a move to Wellington in the 1990s, Julia soon joined Fur Patrol, which would go on to become one of the most well-known New Zealand bands of the early 2000s.

Julia made her mark in the music industry with her killer vocals, super-cool and effortless guitar style and deep, intuitive lyrics. She was and still is a musical force to be reckoned with.

And now, after having to reschedule three times due to the pandemic, Fur Patrol is finally getting back together to celebrate the 21st birthday of their much-loved record, PET.

Julia will be joined by bandmates Simon Braxton (drums) and Andrew Bain (bass). The tour will be visiting Christchurch, as well as Dunedin, Nelson, Napier, Mount Maunganui, Auckland, and Wellington.

Looking back, her memories of the years performing with the band were some of the best. A particular favourite stands out.

“Standing on stage at the Kings Arms (RIP) with Simon and Andrew, surrounded by sound, simply lost in the music with my band brothers.”

It is this exact feeling Julia can’t wait to replicate on the upcoming tour.

Since her Fur Patrol days, Julia has clocked up a long list of musical projects, collaborating with other Kiwis including The Adults, SJD, and Neil Finn. She has performed in an impressive array of art festival shows paying tribute to the likes of Jacques Brel, Joni Mitchell, and Shakespeare, as well as releasing her solo albums Modern Fables and We Light Fire.

Julia is looking forward to the upcoming tour not just to be back on stage with her bandmates, but to also visit many of her favourite places around the country.

She’s most excited to visit “everywhere!” and wishes they could make the tour even bigger than it already is.

“It’s been such a long time since we’ve done any shows, let alone an actual tour, and we seriously wish we could be doing more. We’ve had so many people leaving sad emojis and the names of their towns in our social media feeds, but we only have so much time.”

Getting prepared to tour and play multiple shows to crowds of people is a mix of excited and nervous emotions. Even more so after going through the last few years of not being able to perform or travel, Julia explains.

“It’s been strange, stressful, and kind of relaxing at times. After two years of having very little to do, suddenly having lots going on is challenging – my time management has never been particularly great, and it’s become even worse following lockdowns! I am a work in progress.”

With more time away from performing over the last few years, Julia found herself picking up a new hobby. “I took up paddleboarding a few years ago. I just love being on the water, and I’m not rich enough to own a boat, haha.”

Fans of Fur Patrol will be familiar with all of the hits and looking forward to seeing them live once again. Favourites include Lydia, Andrew (I’m Sorry), Pet, Spinning a Line, and Collider. As for Julia’s favourite to perform? It’s a tough call to make…

“That’s a bit like asking someone to name their favourite child, but yes. Well, actually, there are a few. There’s an obscure song called “Counting Upside Down” that’s been floating around since “Pet” days. It’s frenetic and at times chaotic, but super tight – I just love the rhythm and energy of it, and it’s one of those songs that always takes people by surprise when it ends.

“And of course, anything that people sing along with. That’s like the greatest compliment when people know the words to your songs.”

There is no doubt the crowds will be singing along, as fans have patiently waited for the time they would see this iconic band back on stage.

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