So the prolific music writer and all-around badass Jessica Hopper asked me to write some stuff for her new blog, THE GIRLS GUIDE TO ROCKING, which aims to give advice to girls just starting to play music. Pearls of wisdom include:
PLAYING GUITAR IS A CON GAME.
LEARN HOW TO PLAY WITH BOYS.
IT’S OK TO FAIL.
There’s a lot more on the site, including some gear talk, the first time I smashed a guitar, and me trying to explain why I like conceptual work to a presumably teenage audience. Check it out here.
What’s funny is that one of the most controversial things I did last summer was volunteer at the Rock n Roll Camp for Girls. In case you aren’t familiar, the Rock n Roll Camp for Girls was founded in 2001 in Portland, and has spread worldwide with the mission of offering summer camps and after school programs to help girls ages 8-16 form bands and learn about music. It’s pretty posi. But it was really interesting how everyone I told about it felt the need to offer their opinion about the validity of a gender-segregated environment. And I could understand that, because I have ambivalence about it too. But I have to say that working at the camp was fucking awesome. It was so much fun. I mean, all theoretical debate aside, can you really hate on this?
The singer was in my vocals class, and you can hear me inadvertently teach the girls the classic heckle, LESS TALK MORE ROCK! before I “shush!” them at 00:15. That part always cracks me up.
Here is another one taken during my “vocals” class. (I asked to teach guitar, but I guess they needed vocal instructors more. That’s funny because I’ve never taken a vocal lesson in my life! Can you tell? There was a lot of karaoke.) During this exercise I’m teaching the girls how to improvise by just playing some basic chords and having them sing something off the top of their heads. Here I totally geek out like such a nerd. I’m so stoked for her that I’m grinning like an idiot the whole time and actually get misty-eyed whenever I watch the footage. Maybe it’s all the estrogen 😛
Find out more about the Bay Area Girls Rock Camp.