The Mawlee Jones Band + Shandi Evans Meet at the Eagle in Portland

Exclusive: Music Video Debut – Meet The Queer Portland Band You Should Know

The Mawlee Jones Band is a queer, country/rock band based out of Portland, Oregon and fronted by the sexiest, kinky cowboy in the Northwest. We had Portland, Oregon’s beloved drag queen, Shandi Evans (they/them @rainbowwhale), sit down with Mawlee Jones (he/him) at Eagle Portland to discuss growing up queer in Montana, fronting a queer band, his love for kinky sex and his new music video for “Bloodhound Boy”. 

Mawlee Jones (left) gets comfortable with his “sit down” with Shandi Evans (right) Photographer Cai Indermaur

Shandi Evans (SE): Hi Mawlee. Thanks for being with us today. Can you tell readers about yourself and why they should be listening to your band?

Mawlee Jones (MJ): Sure. I’m Portland, Oregon’s own queer, daddy, cowboy and front The Mawlee Jones Band. I honestly feel like we’re doing something that goes against the grain of actual “country music”. To me country music is more about the attitude than it is the music itself. I feel like we establish that attitude very boldly and very bluntly. 

SE: How does that separate you from other queer country artists?

MJ: We are not afraid to get into the down and dirty of the queerness. There are a lot of queer artists that are either extremely explicit or not explicit at all. There’s not a lot of middle ground. Of course our stuff is pretty explicit at times but we also do very beautiful songs. Growing up in a small town, I enjoyed country music as a kid but as I got older I rebelled against that and I found classic rock, rock and roll, and punk. Eventually I came back to country music in college. Having that well rounded musical taste really informs our style. 


SE: That leads into my next question. What was your experience growing up queer in small town Montana?

MJ: Growing up in a small town sucks as a queer person. 

Photographer Cai Indermaur

SE: I know that’s right.


MJ: It’s awful. It’s definitely not something I would recommend. You’re forced to fit into something that you’re not and as cliché as that sounds, it’s true. You’re forced to fit this straight, white paradigm. 

SE: You’re also told a lot that who you are is wrong. Not only wrong but bad.

MJ: And shameful. A prime example… I was born into a very athletic family. All my brothers play baseball, they play football, they play basketball, they play soccer. And I wanted to paint and listen to music. I do appreciate my mom for saying “OK, yeah, you can do all that stuff” but it still felt like I was not a part of the status quo. 

SE: Would you say that your mom was always supportive of you?


MJ: Yeah. Yeah.

SE: We love that!

MJ: I remember her saying, when I was kid, “I just want you guys to be happy”. That resonates throughout my life. I feel like the point of life IS just to be fuckin’ happy. 

SE: Would you say that growing up queer in Montana influenced a lot of your music?


MJ: Yeah. I would say so. A lot of my music is anti-religion because I grew up choked by Christianity. I guess there is still some residual anger that comes out in my song writing… against God, Christianity, the upbringing, my dad. Plenty of songs are about my dad because why would I not have fucking daddy issues coming from that? The songs are a great way to get all that out in a safe manner. Songwriting to me is pretty much my therapy. It puts words to things in my subconscious and brings them into reality. Half the time, I’ll write stuff and I don’t even know what it means until months later and I’m like “Oh. That actually makes sense now”. 

Be sure to check out the band’s Instagram @themawleejonesband

SE: You moved to Portland a couple years ago. Why did you choose Portland and not somewhere like Nashville or Seattle that is more typically known for their music?

MJ: I took a road trip in college and we drove the entire 101 from Seattle to LA. Portland was one of the places I loved. It’s so great. So queer. So rich. So vibrant. It’s close to the ocean. It’s not as big as Seattle so it was an easier move than being thrust into Seattle.


SE: Would you say that it’s been beneficial to your music to move to Portland?

MJ: Oh yeah for sure! This city really helped me find who I am as an artist AND who I am as a person. It was the first time that I was away from the bondage of Montana and I was like “Oh. I can do whatever the fuck I want now and I can do WHO I want now”.

SE: I know that’s right. You have had other bands in the past. What makes The Mawlee Jones Band so special?

MJ: I’d say this is the first time I understand who I am as an artist and a person. Also I’m surrounded by other queer musicians which does EVERYTHING. We all know how to talk to each other and we all come from the space place’ish. 

Photographer Cai Indermaur

SE: As a queer musician yourself, why was it important for you to have an all queer band?

MJ: It’s important to have people who share your experience, especially in art. It’s such a vulnerable process and such a vulnerable state that you’re in when you are creating music. You really want those people who are on your side. Straight people are great, but they never truly know what it’s like to be a part of the queer experience. For that reason, it’s hard to connect with them artistically. Being in a band, you really need to connect with the people you are playing music with or else the product won’t be good. It will be lifeless and shallow.

SE: Was it hard for you to find queer musicians that you vibe with?


MJ: Honestly, this band kind of fell into place really easily. It just kind of clicked. Madison Rose Bush (she/her), lead guitar, is actually from Montana too but we met in Portland. We grew up 3 hours away from each other which is kind of crazy and wild. She has the same type of upbringing so she gets it. With James Triola (he/him), our bassist, he saw me and Maddie play a gig and wanted to join. Our new drummer Blair Coppage (she/they) moved to Portland from Durham, North Carolina. She was looking for a band to play with that was also queer. I heard her play and asked her if she wanted to join. It’s hard as fuck to put together a band but i feel like when it all clicks, it clicks. Don’t fuckin’ question it. Just go with it. I chose them but they kinda chose me as well.

SE: Can you name a few of your musical inspirations and the role they played in your progression as an artist?

MJ: SURE! The Beatles. I love the Beatles.

SE: You have a whole Beatles tattoo sleeve.


MJ: Correct. Their songwriting literally laid the groundwork for a lot of the music we hear today. It’s incredible. In such a short amount of time too. Nirvana. Kurt bleeds passion and charisma. Lucinda Williams. My ultimate queen. My everything. The way that she sings. I take a lot of inspiration from her. Her songwriting as well. Very simple, true, fresh, effective. Shania Twain. She definitely molded my brain into the gay country boy I am now. And Johnny Cash. The charisma. 

SE: Let’s talk about the Bloodhound Boy music video which Portland’s favorite drag queen… me, Shandi Evans.. Is featured in. 

MJ: It actually should say Bloodhound Boy music video featuring Shandi Evans.

SE: I agree. Give us a little introduction to the song and the inspiration behind it. 


MJ: This song is an unabashed, blunt, primal yell to kinky sex. I love sex. I love kink. I love bondage. I love all that shit. There really hasn’t been a song to glorify that. Sometimes I feel like a sad cowboy and sometimes I feel like a horny cowboy that just needs to scream. 

SE: Walk us through the thought process behind the music video.

MJ: The music video is directed by Cai Indermaur.  I really wanted to model the video after Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana). That video is so iconic and simple. I wanted a live show in a dirty, grungy basement complete with chains and leather and sex. 


SE: This song is very sexually charged. Kink is a part of your identity. Can you talk about how kink came into your life? 

MJ: It’s always been a part of my life. I remember being six or seven and playing cops and robbers and being like “Oh no. I fell. I gotta get tied up now.”. I’ve always liked being in bondage. I find it extremely comforting. In Montana, I did as much exploring as I could but when I got to Portland is when I really started to explore what I really wanted to do sexually. 

SE: Can you talk about how writing about this in your music can be liberating?

MJ: As I mentioned, songwriting is my own personal therapy so when I put it out into the open, it feels great. It feels really good to let people know who I am as an artist, as a person and as a queer person. We need to not be so uptight in treating sex as a taboo thing. We need to explore. We are here on this earth for a fucking short amount of time and we are meant to explore this earth and this realm. Sex is powerful. Sex is very fucking powerful. The more that we can explore it and understand it, the more liberated we shall become. 

Photographer Cai Indermaur

SE: Are you hoping that people listen to your music and watch your video and feel more empowered to pursue some dark, sexy thoughts that they are having in their brain (in a safe and healthy way)?

MJ: Sure. Yeah. I want them to see this and think “Oh. I’ve never thought of that. That sounds kinda fun. I want to try that.” That… as in bondage or kink or whatever you’re into. I want people to get out of their shells when they listen to my music and realize that life is not so fucking serious and that we need to explore and we need to have fun. 

SE: What do you have to say to all the daddies and sirs that will see this video?


MJ: Hit me up. Find me on the socials. 

SE: Thank you for sitting down with me and Instinct Magazine today. Wishing the best for your music video debut. Any parting thoughts you want to add?

MJ: It was such a chore. You’re welcome. No but really… have fun, do sex.

Photographer Cai Indermaur

Rapid Fire Questions


Top 3 Music Girlies

  • Lucinda Williams
  • Janis Joplin
  • Shania Twain

Top 3 Books

  • Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon
  • A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Book 4 by Aleister Crowely 

Top 3 Movies

  • Requiem For A Dream
  • Harold and Maude
  • Scream

Top 3 Snacks

  • Hot Cheetos
  • Regular Cheetos
  • Gummy Bears

Top 3 Kinks

  • Sensory Deprivation
  • Rubber/Latex
  • Gags

Top 3 Drinks

  • Jägermeister
  • SunnyD
  • Capri-Sun

Top 3 Portland Bands

  • Lee Walker & The Sleep Talkers
  • Ashleigh Flynn & The Riveters
  • Kassi Valazza’s Band (technically formerly Portland)

Top 3 Games

  • Scattergories
  • Code Names 
  • Monopoly (NOT with Shandi Evans)

Top 3 Things About Montana

  • Wide Open Spaces
  • The Hikes
  • The Storms 
  • Sunsets (Bonus Answer)


Photographer Cai Indermaur

Mawlee Jones is THE queer, kinky, rock and roller, cowboy of Portland. OR. Originally from Butte, Montana, Mawlee has lived in Portland the last 5 years. He is the frontman and songwriter for The Mawlee Jones Band, a reverberating queer country rock band in the Pacific Northwest. His gang of queer bandits have a twangy, swamp-witch sound that is bathed in the blood of rock and roll— from belly-aching ballads to fruity cowboy rendezvous tales – they’re confessing the reality of backwoods queer love and eroticism.


The Mawlee Jones band consists of Madison Rose (lead guitar), James Triola (bass/vocals), Blair Coppage (drums), and Mawlee himself (rhythm guitar/vocals). Their third single in the past year, “Bloodhound Boy” is followed by “Trucker Witch” and “Upside Down Lovers feat. Ashleigh Flynn”. Now available on all streaming platforms.


Instagram:    @themawleejonesband


Headline: Exclusive Music Video Debut – Meet The Queer Portland Band You Should Know – The Mawlee Jones Band

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