Friday, July 27, 2012

Girls Rock Camp Austin, Session 2, In Pictures

by Zoe C. and Gabrielle P.

Girls Rock Camp can be looked at from tons of different angles: empowerment through music, a chance at self-expression,a good time to rock out, a opportunity to meet new people, and the opportunity to be on stage in an encouraging environment. These pictures, taken by Zoe C. and Gabrielle P., provide another angle into the program and the space this year, Trinity United Methodist Church, while it was inhabited by hard-core rockers. The vibrant colors of the camp's personality were captured in the activities and beautiful stained glass artwork.

[Note: Slideshow and photos are the work of Zoe C. and Gabrielle P., not Cindy Widner, despite what the slideshow credit says. Cindy W. doesn't know how to remove that byline.]

My Musical Experience: A Personal Essay

by Olivia V.

I wanted to play the drums because they have a lot of rhythm and are very loud. I’ve had a little experience from playing the keyboard when I was little and because me and my family all love music. I even have cousins who have their own band. Music is really important to our family. Music is in my soul. I love to go to live concerts and see people perform. Music is something I can’t live without. I always play my stereo really loud and dance and just have myself some fun. Sometimes, my family and I make up our own songs. My mom will be the singer, I’ll play the keyboard, my sister will play bass, and we will just have fun making our own songs. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to go to Girls Rock Camp. Now that I have more experience with the drums, I’m going to start going every year as possible. I’m so thankful for Girls Rock Camp. It’s so fun, and I’m really looking forward to next year.

Notes of a Blue Streak Blonde

by Lily M.

I have created a music blog at GRCA in the music blogging workshop. I would like to share my hard work with everybody. It has a great Q&A, some of the campers' top five favorite bands, interesting facts on music that you would have never thought about and I'm adding more. If you have a minute, check it out at

Friday, July 29, 2011

Camper Review: Ume’s 'Sunshower'

by Gabbie Paweler

I have to say, this band is certainly a lucky coincidence. The first time I listened to Ume’s Sunshower EP, I was in the car with my dad, and he pointed out that the silver Volkswagen in front of us had an Ume bumper sticker on it. Talk about a trippy experience. The album itself is memorable – well, I mean, I definitely won’t forget it. The music isn’t dynamic enough to be in my comfort zone, but it is still good music. I like the melody that says “Nothing really happening here” in "Sunshower," and I’m digging the dominating bassline in that track as well as in “The Conductor.” “Pendulum” is put together well and relaxes despite its heavy guitar and ever-present drumming. In the third track, “The Conductor,” says the guitar, is a scary person; the riff feels threatening. The music puts me in a lush place, much like the scenery displayed on the cover. I definitely recommend listening to the record – at least once. 3 stars (out of 5)

Camper Interview: Undergrowth Bassist Rachel Gonzales

[Note: Be sure to check out Mylena Guerrero's bonus video tribute to Undergrowth the end of this article!]

by Mylena Guerrero

At first, I was shocked when my music journalism teacher told me we had to do an interview. From the second she gave us our assignment, I knew I would interview Rachel Gonzales.

I first met her at Polvo’s Restaurant, where my Mom introduced me to her.

There is where I learned that she was in a band called Undergrowth and played bass like me.

Rachel Gonzales is not your typical rock ’n roll bass player. She has been in Undergrowth since high school. She started out playing guitar but then moved on to bass.

A year had passed since our first meeting, it was my aunt’s birthday party, and Undergrowth was invited to play. The party was a lot of fun because I got to hear Undergrowth play live and see Rachel Gonzales again.

Q: How does it feel to be in a band?

A: Fun! I enjoy myself and the reactions of people.

Q: How old were you when you started playing bass?

A: I started when I was 22 years old.

Q: What’s your favorite gig you’ve played at?

A: Fire Base Charlie’s Bar (my aunt’s birthday party).

Q: When you play at a gig do you feel nervous?

A: Yes, usually all the time.

Q: What genre of music do you think ya’ll are?

A: Definitely aggressive rock.

Q: When you play, do you want people to be moved by your music?

A: Yes! It would get me to be a little loose.

Q: What’s the best road trip story, if you’ve ever been far from the gig?

A: When we went to the valley area, where I from. It was fun, nothing major.

Q: What do you think about being in power within music?

A: I won’t listen to anybody say, “you can’t do that because you’re a girl.” I can do anything!

Q: Does it make you happy when people dance to your music?

A: YES! At Fire Base Charlie’s, it was awesome!

Q: How did Undergrowth come together?

A: Well it’s a long story. We started in high school, and at that point I was in guitar. Sadly we separated a little bit, while I was still in the Valley they were in Austin. So I decided to come to Austin to play bass. The bassist before moved to Michigan. I got a little help from a friend, and he gave me bass equipment.

Camper Interview: Drummer Mel Zapata Does Her Own Thing

by Kelsey Ward

Mel Zapata is a female drummer who has been teaching me everything I know so far. I came to interview her after my music journalism teacher told us we had a project to do. I thought Mel would be the greatest person to interview. She has been the drummer of many bands, including Adrian and the Sickness and Hell’s Belles.

Q: What made you want to stick with drums over everything else?

A: Actually, I wanted to play sax, but my mom couldn’t afford it. My school provided drums – that’s the only reason why I chose it. After I played for about a year, I fell in love with it.

Q: What do you want to do in the future?

A: In the future, I’m planning on going back to school for academic purposes –because I didn’t finish college – so I can get my degree. Then after that I’m probably going to look for jobs overseas either in Europe or Singapore.

Q: Aww, so you’re leaving?

A: In about four or five years … probably for a while. I’m sure I’ll still play drums.

Q: I think it’s pretty cool that people often mistake you for a guy, because of your amazing skill. I would take it as a compliment. But I want to know how you feel about it.

A: I have mixed feelings. I do take it as a compliment, because they’re basically saying I’m a good drummer. But on the other hand, it bothers me a bit that they’re so surprised that a girl could have talent or smarts.

Q: How long did it take you to learn double kick?

A: It’s weird, because I didn’t work on it: I bought it and started doing it. I’m not a typical metal double-kick drummer. I have my own style.

Q: So you don’t have to be a pro to learn double-kick?

A: Nope, you don’t have to be a pro at all. You just have to get the equipment and do it. I do have to do it and practice and copy things other drummers do that I like.

Q: How long have you been playing in bands?

A: Well, if you count school bands, I’ve been playing 30 years. The first rock band would be about 23 years ago.

Q: What inspired you to start drumming?

A: My older brother. He played drums. He played when he was 12 and I was 8 – like I said, I wanted to play sax and be different.

Q: When you’re not drumming and teaching awesome students like myself, what do you do in your free time?

A: In my free time, I like to see other bands and musicians, ride my bike. I like to ride motorcycles, although I don’t have mine because it’s in Seattle, but I will have it. I like to play video games, and I like to travel and go places.

Q: How do you feel about being an inspiration to so many young ladies like myself?

A: I think that’s one of the coolest things about playing music – it’s a nice thing to know that sometimes I can make people have confidence, and that’s pretty cool.

Q: Describe yourself and your creativity in one word.

A: [Thinks really hard.] I think “unique.” I definitely do my own thing

Q: What would you really like us to take out of this experience?

A: Probably, most of all, joy. I’m really hoping that this is something that will make you feel happy about yourself and give you confidence. I guess to make you guys think about what it feels like to accomplish something and to establish some sense of accomplishment.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Ladies Rock Camp 2011 dates are official!: February 19- 22
(President's Day weekend) at The Khabele School.

Register by NOV 29, 2010 for $250
Register by DEC 25, 2010 for $300
Register after DEC 25,2010 for $365

Space is limited to 50 participants per session and registration is
done on a first come, first served basis.

Ladies Rock Camp gives adults the chance to experience the powerful,
creative, supportive environment that Girls Rock Camp offers to girls
every year. With no musical experience necessary, women of all skill
levels form bands, write songs, and perform live at the final
showcase. Proceeds benefit Girls Rock Camp Austin. Our goal this year
is to raise $10,000, which will provide scholarships for thirty girls
to attend camp.

Register @

Monday, November 8, 2010

Screaming Siren Turns 60: An Interview with Rosie Flores

Rosie Flores is the ultimate musical pathfinder.

In the late 1960s, when folk music was the assumed genre for female guitarists, Rosie went electric. She started an all-girl band in her parents’ garage and went on to become part of the L.A. punk scene. A few years later, she was the first Latina artist on the Billboard country charts. Never one to neglect the rock-n-roll ancestresses, she’s toured with rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson, and, in 2007, she recorded the final album of rock matriarch Janis Martin.

For the past four years, Rosie has also volunteered her time as a coach and teacher at Girls Rock Austin. Now, in honor of Rosie’s 60th birthday, Girls Rock Austin is establishing the first annual Revolutionary Rocker award. We’ll be celebrating with a rock show and award ceremony next Saturday, November 13, from 1-3 pm at Jo’s on South Congress. Rock camp alumni Schmillion and Charlie Belle will play.

In preparation for the birthday celebration, I asked Rosie a few questions about how she got started and what it’s like to rock at age 60.

Paige: I think I’ve told you before that, when I was a teenager, I had a picture of your old punk band, the Screaming Sirens, on my bedroom wall. So I was wondering, what bands did you have on your wall when you were a teenager?

Rosie: Oh, I had the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Before the Beatles, I didn’t pay attention to the instrument, the guitar. I thought that the way George Harrison and John Lennon played the guitar was just so cool. And back then, the idea of a girl doing that was just unheard of.

I remember, when I was in my class, I was fourteen years old, it was 1964, we were doing kind of a show and tell thing, and this young girl in my class had brought in a guitar. She brought a guitar to show the class. And I thought to myself, “wow, she’s a girl. That’s kind of odd. She must be a tomboy.” But what it did for me was that it totally got me used to the idea that girls could play.

And so, by the time my brother started playing and starting a band, I had become so enamored with the instrument—the electric guitar especially. And folk music was starting to come in, and there was Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell and it was like, “oh, folk girls play guitar,” you know. And so my first guitar was a folk acoustic, nylon string guitar. And my brother started showing me how to play, because I was already really into singing, and my brother started showing me how to accompany myself.

By the time I was sixteen, I started borrowing the gear from his band with my girl friends from school that I started hanging out with and singing with and asking them if they would like to be in the school show with my brother’s band’s instruments. They were all really into it. So that’s when I started playing electric guitar—so I could be in the talent show as the Very First All-Girl Rock-n-Roll Band EVER. Like we had never even heard of, this was way before the Go-Gos. And there were no, I didn’t know who Bonnie Raitt was. As far as I was concerned, I was the very first woman ever doing it. This was sixteen years old. And, you know, you come to find out years later that Rosetta Tharpe was playing guitar and Cordell Jackson, and I’m not even sure who else was playing electric lead guitar, but of course there were a lot of acoustic guitar players back in the early blues days. And certainly Mother Maybelle Carter was always on an acoustic guitar and playing some lead things too.

But for me, it was so cool to be at a young age and feeling like I had the whole world in my hands, and I felt like I could just be the innovator of females playing the electric guitar and playing lead. So I jumped on the bandwagon when I was sixteen. My father brought us to the music store. He was blown away by our performance at the school show, and he got us—he signed for—about $5,000 worth of gear—you know, drums, bass, P.A. systems, amplifiers, microphones, music stands. And he set us up in our garage; we had the equipment that we needed to start practicing. And it was like Girls Rock Camp in my garage every day, you know. He gave me that. I’ll never forget my father. When I think of him and talk to him in heaven, I always feel so grateful for him giving me that gift. He didn’t put me in college, my parents didn’t have a lot of money to afford to send us kids to college, but he gave us other tools to work with. My brother was also a guitar player and in a band. So we were able to find a career early on. And it was, gosh, it was invaluable. You can’t put a price on it.

Paige: That’s a good Dad!

So that’s how I got started.

Paige: Do you think about that when you’re working with the girls at Girls Rock Austin?

Yeah, when I am working with the girls, it’s real easy to visualize me standing in their shoes. It takes me back, and I can totally relate with them. I can feel the excitement mixed with the frustration mixed with the feeling proud, feeling the empowerment, you know, feeling the…sometimes it can be frustrating getting your point across, because you’re not exactly sure that you’re learning how to say what it is that you want with your music. And you’re, like, trying on your creativity shoes for the first time in music. And you’re learning that you can actually create your own sound, and be unique, and have your own voice, and it’s all yours. You can do whatever you want with it. And that’s really exciting, but it’s also very frustrating at first because you’re just learning how to go about it. And so I always feel compelled to be partly a fly on the wall, but also to be there to go, “oh look, it’s just this easy,” and to help them simplify the problems that they run into.

That’s what I try to do, because I had to learn all by myself. Actually, the second time we did the school show, we did have some coaches working with us for a couple of weeks. And I was able to work with a woman who helped me with my singing and with some harmonies. I never, ever forgot her coaching. So, I think back to that woman too, and I think, “I could be that person for this band.” And I hope that someday the girls will remember me, when they’re in their thirties, forties, fifties, and they’ll think, “oh yeah, I had this really great coach. I can’t remember her name…” Or maybe they will.

Paige: I think they’ll remember your name.

Rosie: I don’t remember this woman’s name, but I remember her face and her kindness and her willingness to share with me some shortcuts to what I do now.

Paige: How is turning 60 different than you thought it was going to be when you were younger?

Rosie: Oh, I’m a whole lot younger than I thought I was going to be.

I’m still younger than the Rolling Stones, and they’re still out there rocking. I’ve watched them stay in the music business and keep rocking and keep reinventing themselves. And I kind of feel like, as long as they’re still doing it, and as long as Wanda Jackson is still doing it, then I’m good to go, because I’m younger than them! And as long as I feel healthy and I’m enjoying it and loving it, then I can keep touring.

Certainly there are other things that I’d like to accomplish in the next ten years. I’ve got a children’s book that I’m writing, with a CD, and I’m writing my own memoirs--a book that I’ve been working on for a while about my experiences as a woman in rock-n-roll and on the road. And I’ve also gotten back into painting. So, I’ve got a lot to keep me busy besides my songwriting. I’m going to be pretty busy in the next ten years. And after 70, we’ll see what happens. We’ll see what’s down the pike!