This Gilbert judge is also the lead singer of a punk rock band

By Phil Latzman
Published: Thursday, September 29, 2022 - 11:39am
Updated: Friday, September 30, 2022 - 4:44pm

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Nicole Laurenne
Nicole Laurenne
By day, Nicole Laurenne is a Gilbert judge.

We all have our dream jobs, but rarely do we get a chance to actually do them.

Nicole Laurenne does. She presides over a courtroom by day. But at night, she transforms into something completely different.

But many in her courtroom don't know about her other gig.

Laurenne is also the lead of the Valley-based and self-described all girl garage psych rock quartet called the Darts.

Before departing on a tour that will take her and her band across Europe, Laurenne dropped by our studios to talk about a career that balances rock and roll with the law.

Interview highlights

Did you think about being both a judge and a musician when you were growing up?

Well, no, it was the music. It was the music. That was the first love for sure. The music came very early with early piano lessons and all that good stuff that kids start out with. And my parents are both scientists and didn't really get the whole music thing and at first, but they were pretty supportive of it.

Eventually took a lot of classical piano lessons and competed with classical music throughout high school and everything, and was really serious about it came time for college and my mom was like, "No, I don't think so. I think, I think we need to do something that might pay the bills or at least have a backup plan."

So I studied psychology at the University of Michigan and still played in bands. [I] played in the Michigan marching band, actually. [I] did a lot with, with the music all throughout. And then when it came time to, you know, get serious about a career, I came to the [University of Arizona] down in Tucson and went to law school down there and still pursued the music on the side.

You're a classically trained musician. Then you played in a jazz band. And then you became part of a rock-and-roll quartet. How did that transition?

I hate to say it, but the less time you have in life, I think, the more you gravitate towards the three-chord music. So you end up in punk rock because cuz it doesn't take a lot of time. You can play those three chords like a champion. You can scream into a microphone, and it's very cathartic.

How do attorneys or other people in courtrooms react when you tell them you're a punk-rock musician?

The attorneys aren't surprised at all because a lot of them are in bands, too, to be honest. It's a very common release. And in Arizona, I would say especially, we have a really amazing, solid group of lawyers and judges who I have tremendous respect for. I mean, I am really proud of Arizona's bar and bench. I think we are very lucky. So, I don't think the lawyers are too surprised about what I do. In fact, a lot of them come to the shows and are very supportive of it.

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