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Hey, Ho! Let’s Go! The New Girl Rock’N'Roll Underground

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Singing and playing Youth Arts (Rain City Girls Rock Camp)

By Joyce Raskin

First, I must tell you that I am not a journalist, just a musician who happens to write on the side.

As much as Everett likes to stir things up in the music world, I also know him as a person who likes to inform about things that are happening, music and people, that you might not know about if it weren’t for his rattling around and making them known. And for that I am thankful for Collapse Board being out there, and for the honesty it provides readers. Music is about the experience and the writers on Collapse Board are sharing their experiences with you — a virtual word of mouth. So here is my experience to share…

I just completed an east and west coast tour with my band Scarce to promote a new novel I wrote titled My Misadventures As A Teenage Rock Star. On our tour we stopped at several Girls Rock Camps and did many book events that included a reading, Q&A, and a performance for girls, ages 9-16 years. What I discovered on our tour was a new underground movement of seasoned and burgeoning female musicians that are beginning to change the face of rock’n'roll, one girl at a time.

Our first stop on the east coast took us to Girls Rock Rhode Island in Pawtucket. There the girls asked Chick Graning, the guitar player in Scarce, to show them a solo up close, and the girls studied him like a good book. Then they asked Joe to break down a drum solo, and they air drummed along. The girls at the camp wanted to talk to us about guitar strings, what music we listened to, what drums kits were good, what it’s like to tour, and bass playing styles. The camp is run by volunteers who are equally as enthusiastic about teaching the girls — as the girls are themselves about what they are learning. Walking around the camp you could just feel the excitement and energy emanating from the place — pure rock’n'roll for the sake of rock’n'roll. Chick Graning said of the camp, “They’re teaching them to be like The Stooges and the Ramones”.

Hilary Jones, who started Girls Rock Rhode Island, shared with me experiences in witnessing the transformations that the girls go through at the camp. One of the stories she told me was about a girl named Aubrey.

Aubrey was 11 years old and the vocalist in her band. She had expressed a little nervousness about performing earlier in the week, but seemed OK the day of the Final Showcase. Her band was supposed to perform second. But when it was their turn to play, the rest of the band appeared on stage, sans Aubrey, who was on the floor with tears in her eyes, being comforted by her band coach and some other campers. She was totally frightened to get on stage in front of 400 people. So, volunteers tried to bide time to see if she changed her mind and get up on stage. We decided to have the band go on last to give Aubrey a little time, and finally just before the last verse, she put one leg up on the stage, took her sunglasses off her head and walked to the microphone and finished the song with her band. At the end of the song, the audience roared, many with tears in their eyes. It was an amazing experience for everyone who witnessed it. After the showcase, Aubrey was interviewed by the local NPR station and was quoted saying that “If there’s something you think you can’t do … you should do it!” We agree wholeheartedly.

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5 Responses to Hey, Ho! Let’s Go! The New Girl Rock’N'Roll Underground

  1. Patrik October 12, 2011 at 2:31 am

    “They’re teaching them to be like *The Stooges*(!) and the Ramones”.

    Woah! How times have changed. I would not think of those bands as role models for children. A lot of used paraphernalia and dead musicians left in their wake. I’m not so sure that Iggy hasn’t been replaced by an android, either.

    Nevertheless, these camps sound like a lot of fun and something positive for the girls. Even as a boy, I would have appreciated *any* encouragement to make music. Keep rocking.

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  3. Bianca October 12, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I wish they had this when I was growing up! Such a positive thing for young girls… I have an interview I did almost a decade ago with Misty McElroy about Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls in Portland, Oregon for my old zine that never ended up being published because I stopped doing it (but that’s a whole other story)… I’ll see if I can find it to put on CB :)

  4. Everett True October 12, 2011 at 10:42 am

    The Oly aesthetic isn’t very Iggy!

    Oh, I don’t know …

    Two degrees of separation.

    Iggy Pop -> Lux Interior -> Calvin Johnson

    You can get there other ways, too.

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