Music has always been a huge part of my life. I started playing guitar and saw my first punk show (this was it!) when I was 14 years old. I have been playing in bands and booking shows since I was 16. I have released records and toured the East Coast, West Coast, and Midwest and I continue to play in bands today.
I have worked in record stores and music retail and was a partner in a music store, as well. In my early twenties, I was brought on as the first woman guitar salesperson at Marguerite’s Music, the largest independent music store in the upper midwest. When I moved to the East Coast, I became a partner at B Sharp Music in Providence. I LOVE music gear and technology and spend a lot of my free time thinking about and researching ways to get the best sound possible.
When we founded Girls Rock! Rhode Island, I was excited about the marriage of so many interests. And I, along with many of our board members, staff, and volunteers, wished that we had the opportunity to be a part of a program like Girls Rock Camp when we were younger. We also heard about all the myriad reasons why girls, women, and trans and non-binary folks didn’t participate in music when they were younger or challenges they currently faced. We heard experiences of women of color who spoke about how frustrated they were that despite the fact that rock music was invented by a queer black woman, they often didn’t feel like rock shows or music stores were spaces for them. Other frequently recounted examples of challenges include:
going to music stores and being misgendered
being asked, “Is this for your boyfriend?”
wanting to purchase a piece of gear, but choosing not to because the advertising was so demeaning
working in music stores and being asked, “Like, did your brother play music or something?” (as to infer, “you are a weirdo, or an anomaly”)
being hit on by customers or other employees
being the only woman, person of color, trans, or non-binary person (or one of few) in their workplace, on stage, in music gear stores
being constantly interrupted in meetings
not having a space to use their breast pump after having a baby
being pigeon-holed into traditional gender roles in the office (secretary at meetings, cleaning kitchen, ordering food, etc.)
participating in online gear forums and receiving offensive comments
seeing videos of women posted by gear companies with hundreds of comments about the woman’s appearance and assumed lack of skill
being at shows and assuming they are a “groupie” until they get on stage
playing shows and having men follow them around after their sets
These examples could go on ad nauseum… but you get the idea!
That’s why Girls Rock! RI feels like a very different kind of space— one where the focus is on creativity, self-expression, and support, rather than on wankery, competition, or playing music to get dates. I am so happy that the space of Girls Rock Camps exist as a way to help girls, women, trans, and non-binary folks grow into the musicians they want to be and will need to be in order to weather the storms of their gender in the world. But, I would be even happier if there were no storms at all.
That’s why I am so excited to work directly with YOU to make real change in the environments of your spaces and in your work, as a music gear manufacturer, store, venue, studio, or other music-related space. Making these changes has worked for some folks already. It’s the right thing to do for your employees, customers, bands, and audiences AND it will help your bottom line. It’s the future. If you have wondered how to make your workplace safer, more diverse, equitable, and inclusive let’s talk!
What cool new/old gear are you using? What’s the last record you kept on repeat? Who’s the last amazing band you saw live? Drop me a line and share— I’d love to hear more! When our new band starts playing out I’ll share more about that, too!
My current signal chain for shows: Guild S-200—> Polytune Mini 2—> Boss PD-1 Rocker Distortion—> EQD Palisades—> EQD Hoof—> Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor—> Boss CE-3 Chorus—> EHX Memory Toy Delay—> Boss DD-3 Delay—> DOD Rubberneck Delay—> DOD FX40-B EQ—> Source Audio True Spring Reverb—> 1968 Fender Bassman Head / matching 212 cab
My current listening: Anna Calvi- “Hunter”, Lizzo- “Cuz I Love You”, Otzi- “Ghosts”, Depeche Mode- “Violator”, Fleetwood Mac- “Rumors” (always!)