Saturday, November 7, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Win a cherry red guitar signed by Debbie Harry and The Donnas, benefiting Girls Rock Austin!
Meet the bloggers, tweeters, movers and shakers of Austin!
Thanks to Richard at Ultra8201 and Tolly at Austin Eavesdropper for asking us to participate!
Hope to see you!
Friday, October 2, 2009
We’re excited to host our second session of Ladies Rock Camp. We are looking forward to having fun and raising money for a great cause. Thank you for your interest!
Ladies Rock Camp (LRC) is a weekend day camp in Austin, Texas, that provides an opportunity for women ages 19 and over to let loose and play rockin’ music together. You’ll start to learn and/or practice your instrument of choice* on Friday, then keep receiving instrument instruction all weekend. Also, you’ll form a band and work together to write an original song that you will play together on stage on Sunday. The Ladies Rock Camp showcase is an unbelievable experience! In addition, you will have the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops** with topics related to being a woman rocker. Proceeds from Ladies Rock Camp go directly to Girls Rock Camp Austin.
*Choice of instruments includes bass, drums, guitar, vocals, and keyboard.
**Specific workshops TBD. If you have any suggestions or questions about workshops, please include them on the application.
WHO MAY APPLY FOR LADIES ROCK CAMP
Any woman age 19 and over may apply. NO MUSICAL EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY; all skill levels welcome.
The cost of camp is $375 and is not tax deductible. THIS FEE MUST BE INCLUDED WITH YOUR APPLICATION.
Please note: LRC is a fundraiser for Girls Rock Camp Austin. Tuition ($375) has been set at the absolute lowest amount possible for us to cover our costs and meet expected fundraising goals for our programs. Because it is a fundraiser, we will offer only 10 “starving artist” spots at $275. Campers can pay in installments, if necessary. Please contact Emily Marks firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Donations above the tuition fee (in-kind and monetary) are tax deductible and much appreciated! Whether you can give $5 or $5,000, every little bit helps. Our Tax ID number is 26-2554207. We thank you for being a part of Ladies Rock Camp and helping young girls find their voices.
MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO: Girls Rock Camp Austin
PAYPAL: Payment by PayPal is accepted, but an $8.00 fee (that goes directly to PayPal) will be charged in addition to tuition.
APPLICATION TO LADIES ROCK CAMP
Apply online here and pay with a paypal or a credit card here.
Download an application and pay with a check here.
Monday, August 3, 2009
by KAT, ANDREA, REYNA, MONSE, and P.J.
photos by Monse and Shelley Hiam
On Thursday, July 30, 2009, Girls Rock Camp Austin writers interviewed band Girl in a Coma after an amazing performance for the camp at Austin Studios in Austin, Texas. Girl in a Coma is from San Antonio, Texas, and is made up of three members: sisters Phanie Diaz (drums) and Nina Diaz (guitar and vocals) and bassist Jenn Alva. The band got its name from a Smiths song called "Girlfriend in a Coma"; other bands they like include Smashing Pumpkins, the Beatles, and Sonic Youth. All of the group members are vegetarians, like shoes (especially Doc Martens and Vans), and are Latinas – they even plan on recording an album of songs in Spanish someday. In the meantime, their mix of punk, garage, and rockabilly can be heard on their new album, Trio B.C. Writers Reyna, Monse, Andrea, P.J., and Kat conducted an interview with the band after their performance for GRCA.
Girls Rock Camp Austin: What drew you guys to the Smiths?
Jenn: Phanie was into them first and showed me a CD. It was a great CD – it's called Louder Than Bombs, and it has all these great Smiths songs. We got into it.
Phanie: What drew us was the lyrics
Jenn: We got into the lyrics ...
Phanie: The lyrics and the melody was what got me. I don't know about you [laughs].
Jenn: Yeah – the way he sings and – everything. The music is pretty intense. We try to play it ourselves, but it's so complicated. They're just great musicians.
GRCA: What kind of other music do you like?
Nina: Right now, I'm really into Jeff Buckley. He's always been around, but just recently I'm really getting back into him. Björk. Stereolab. Old-school, like Billie Holiday, Nina Simone.
Phanie: Jenn and I tend to listen to – well, we all tend to kind of listen to the same stuff – but Jenn and I grew up listening to bands like Babes in Toyland and Bikini Kill. Recently, I've been kind of going backward – listening to 90s music. Nina got into Smashing Pumpkins, and now I'm into Smashing Pumpkins. Superdrag. Jenn's a big Elvis fan.
Jenn: I love Elvis Presley, and Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash. I like a lot of rockabilly.
Nina: And the Beatles. You gotta like the Beatles.
GRCA: What influenced your style of music and your appearance?
Nina: The music is more about whatever we're feeling at that moment – that kind of influences the way we write. Like when I start a song – I really got into Sonic Youth, and I wrote a song called "Baby Boy" on the new album that really kind of has that kind of vibe and same style. We really don't go for a style – it's just whatever pops up. When it comes to clothing, we don't really have much fashion sense [laughter]. I love wearing my Docs, I like wearing boots.
Jenn: Yeah, we're into shoes. I think, if anything, we care about the shoes. We like Vans, and –
Phanie: We shop at thrift stores.
Nina: We go to thrift stores. I do like Forever 21, though. I do like that store. [laughs]
Jenn: WHAT???! [laughter]
Nina: Purple pants, man! ... Kick me out of the band! [laughter] No, it's only thrift stores!
GRCA: It’s cool that you buy your stuff at thrift stores. It’s all about helping the earth, and you are, too.
Jenn: We're vegetarians, too!
GRCA: What is your cultural background?
Phanie: We're Latinas. Our grandfather came from Mexico, and we grew up in Texas. [looks at tape recorder] Did you hear? We're Latinas.
Jenn: She's talking to herself!
Nina [louder]: We're Latinas! [laughter]
Jenn: Phanie, she's real soft-spoken.
Nina: She's quietest, but she's also the loudest.
GRCA: Did being Latina affect your music?
Nina: Well, recently it's been working its way into it. We did this show two years ago in Los Angeles – it's a Mexican-rock show – and we did a bunch of songs in Spanish – covers of these songs. "Ven Cerca," which is actually the second-to-last song we played [in the Girls Rock Camp set] is a cover by a band called Los Spitfires. We kept that with us, and we took it on to our new album. Eventually, we'd like to do a full album of songs in Spanish.
GRCA: So do all of you speak Spanish?
Nina: Phannie speaks the most out of all of us, but we got – we have Rosetta Stone.
Jenn: [laughs] Yes, we have Rosetta Stone! ... We're in the learning process, basically.
GRCA: How did you all get into rock music?
Nina: It started with them [points to Phanie and Jenn].
Phanie: Actually, this is a funny story. The reason I started listening to rock is that our grandfather-in-law gave me a headphone set with a cassette already in it, and it was Guns 'n' Roses. So I started listening to only that tape.
Nina: Why did he have that? [laughs]
Phanie: I don't know why he had a Guns 'n' Roses tape! He didn't listen to rock or anything. Then I started exploring rock. Then I got into Nirvana. Jenn was already listening to – [asks Jenn] how did you get into rock?
Jenn: Well, when I was in sixth grade, there was a girl who was all into Nirvana and stuff. This was when they had just come out. I was cool, but then I kind of put it to rest for a bit –
Nina: – and brought out your Boys II Men tape [laughs] –
Jenn: [laughs] Yeah [laughs]. I'm like, "okay Nirvana, I'm gonna go back to Boys II Men." No, but my brother was like, he's kind of nerdy but I kind of looked up to him. He had a cool car and he listened to Pantera and White Zombie, and I was like, "Cool, I want to be like that!" So when I moved to San Antonio and met Phanie I was wearing, like, White Zombie T-shirts, and I thought I was all cool. Then Phanie and I learned, you know, not better music, but we got into our own kind of rock, basically. Because, you know, White Zombie and Pantera are really cool, but –
Nina: I got into rock because, being the younger sister, you listen to what your older [siblings do]. For a while I was listening to what my brother was listening to, and he was listening to a lot of Korn and Pantera and stuff. And then I moved on to Nirvana. I remember when I was putting up a poster – there was a Korn poster, and there was another poster for this band called Travis. I was like, "Which one do I want to follow????" because they're two different genres [laughs].
Phanie: They're completely different.
Nina: Yeah, completely!
GRCA: What convinced you start band?
Nina: I either wanted to be an actress, a singer, or a waitress. [laughs] I don't know why waitress was in there somehow. I would play air guitar and listen to bands and pretend I was playing their music. And [Phanie and Jenn] were in bands, so it was always around me. I thought, "Hey, I could do it, too." So I picked up the instrument and started going for it.
Phanie: I just wanted to be in a band. I liked seeing performers, and our grandfather played in a band and my dad drums, so ... I just wanted to do it, too.
Jenn: I liked the way it looked. I've always liked being onstage with a guitar and performing in front of people. Since I was real, real young, I wanted to be in a band. Finally, Phanie came into my life and made it possible. [Laughter.] "Came into my life." I mean, it might sound cheesy, but it's kind of in you. It's like, you want to play. When Phanie and I stopped being in a band for a little bit and were doing other things, I just didn't feel right. It's like you just want to play. It's in your heart, and you want to play music. And it's good to go for it! Because if you don't, you'll always live with, like, "Man, I could have been in a band," or "What if I was doing this?" You really just don't want to live with "what ifs." You'd rather just do it, and if it works, it works. It's just: You did it.
GRCA: Were there any barriers in your way when you were trying to start the band?
Nina: There were a lot of sacrifices we had to make. I dropped out of high school my junior year – I got my G.E.D., though!
Phanie: You always have to tour. We're broke a lot because everything that we got, moneywise, we put into the band.
Nina: Lots of little arguments because, you know, at one point you think "Should we just give up, or should we keep going?" or "Should I get a real job?" But then we'd just keep going and we'd push each other along. Whenever one was down, we would attack them, and say "no, come on, do it!" It's a lot of hard work.
Jenn: It's the greatest job in the world, I'd say but, yeah, it's tons of work.
Phanie: You have to really want to do it.
Jenn: Yeah, definitely. We miss our families back home, and we're on the road a lot, driving miles, and you get tired. Going from city to city, playing, you kind of get little a tired, exhausted – but it's all worth it.
GRCA: What's your favorite song that you wrote?
Nina: Favorite song I've written, out of all the songs? It would have to be "Their Cell." When I wrote it, it just completely flowed out. The lyrics just came out on their own. It kind of wrote itself. I don't know how. Before, I didn't really have an idea of what I wanted to write about, and on that one, an instant story came out. It felt really good. Every now and then a song comes along, and it just makes me feel like, "Whoa! I'm doing something!"
GRCA: Do you want to add anything?
Phanie: Don't get discouraged!
Nina: Yeah, there's going to be a lot, I don't know why, there's a sense of competition with other female musicians or something – I mean, anybody can be rude, but whenever you see another fellow musician, never see it as competition. Just see it as, "awesome, you're playing music, too" and embrace each other's talents. Respect everybody who has the guts to get up onstage and play.
GRCA: I hear a lot of rockabilly sounds in your band's music. When you guys first started out, did you ever intend for it to sound that way?
Jenn: No, no. Most of the songs start with Nina. We just kind of do whatever feels right at the time. All of us listen to everything.
Nina: There's lots different bands and music lingering on and then when you play, it's whatever flows out. Of course, we love Elvis, Patsy Cline.
Jenn: There's no rules with music, no matter what people say, like with the structure. It's good to have dynamics in a song, because I think that's great, instead of it just being flat – to have changes and stuff like that. Music is an art, and in art, like painting, there's no rules. People throw things together all over a canvas and people are like, "whoa, that's amazing." There are no rules with music. I just say, stay in tune, and have fun. Write whatever you want. You don't have to follow a pattern. That song we did, "Vino": It was kind of this slow song, and then we decided to make it all rockin'. And then all of a sudden, we do this little rockabilly line just because we want to. You know, just – no rules!
Sunday, August 2, 2009
So we're riding high last night, after the big finale to GRCA 2009, the 11-band showcase at the Parish. (Can I get an "amen" for the Parish? They treat us so well.) The girl says, "I think now I could go to [name-brand "school of rock"] and be a feminist there."
On the one hand, I think, Oh, no. Stay in the world we've worked so hard to create for you, a place like no other. But on the other, I think, We have done our job. The fact is, the vast, vast majority of women musicians will not have the luxury of working with only women in their bands. In fact, they will mostly be outnumbered by men in their bands. Maybe programs like ours will encourage girls to tilt the balance. I hope so.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Wish you had Girls Rock Camp when you were a girl? Ever wanted to start a band but were not sure how to do it? Do you want a fun and empowering weekend rocking out with some other awesome ladies?
No experience necessary!
Dates: Friday, July 17, Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19 (Showcase)
Venue: Hosted by The Griffin School and Sri Atmananda: 710 East 41st Street and 4100 Red River St., Austin, TX 78751,
Contact Number 512. 809.7799
Application Fee: $350 (The camp for women 19 + includes instrument instruction, food, parties, and workshops, culminating in the Ladies Rock Camp Showcase on Sunday, July 19, where camper bands perform!) Remember, this is a benefit for Girls Rock Camp Austin, so your application fee enables us to give financial aid to kid campers who need it!
For an application and FAQS, go to the Girls Rock Camp Austin home page.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Fans who attend Spoon’s show on Thursday, July 9, at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater (featuring opening acts Quasi and Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears) will have a chance to enter a special drawing presented by Girls Rock Camp Austin to win an Epiphone Dot guitar signed by all members of the band. Tickets for the drawing are only $5 each. Girls Rock Camp will display the signed guitar at the event, and will post the winner on http://www.girlsrockcampaustin.org/
This is an opportunity for a Spoon fan to grab a very special piece of memorabilia and help out Girls Rock Camp Austin at the same time. Girls Rock Camp Austin, the only nonprofit all-female summer music program in Central Texas, is devolted to empowering girls through musical education and performance. Fifty percent of GRCA's campers receive financial aid through the organization.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
They write and perform an original song. No learning covers or so-called "classic rock" chestnuts. And we are a rock camp, not a Camp Rock.
We know that a single-sex environment for girls enhances and improves their learning. This, combined with the camp's dedication to helping girls explore an authentic expression of themselves, is what makes us different.
That's not to say you won't hear the kids' influences in their performances. The tiny, firecracker vocalist for camp band Supernova may have been channeling the voices she hears in today's radio pop, but her sincerity, confidence, and ability to hold the crowd is what we'll remember. And the band Akward (coached by board member/musician Melissa Bryan) added a little surprise coda to their performance: eight or so bars of "I Wanna Be Sedated"!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Unfortunately for the general public there is just too much going on at rock camp this year to really convey it all. The array of talent is truly jaw dropping and, initially, I have a difficult time deciding which of the dozen or so new bands to profile. Ultimately it comes down to a lottery. I walk down the hall and go into the classroom emanating the loudest noise. The chosen band is made up of Zoey Graham on guitar, Chandler Lindsey on keyboard, Frankie Blue on drums, CiCi Blackwood-Cross on bass, and Natalie Shey on vocals. The still un-named group is one of the four groups of older girls (they range from 13-16), about middle school age. I expect at least a little bickering, but the lack of friction between the new band mates is immediately apparent. It’s amazing how cooperative and smooth the song making process is--there are no arguments, no hurt feelings, and minimal bossiness. A palpable air of excitement fills the room.
After a couple brief tangents, multiple feedback-induced squeals of pain, and a few snatches of Michael Jackson's "Beat It," they get down to work. After just a few days they’ve already got the foundation of their eventual performance laid down. It’s a roller coaster of a song incorporating both heavy distorted riffs and a pretty ethereal chorus with lots of cymbals and bluesy throaty vocals. Overall its pretty freakin' great if they do say so themselves.
They diligently practice transitioning to the bridge for a while before deciding to break for a snack and choose a band name.
“All Things Freckled” is dismissed as much too Irish. “Freckles” is too short. “The Mitch Mitchell Jamboree Experience” is too long...and so on... until they hit on “Schmillian.” Which goes through a a number of evolutions—“Straight Up Schmillian,” “A Schmillian Ways,” “The Schmillian,” and eventually reverts back to the original Shmillian. The exact origins of the word are unclear but the whole band can agree it is just about perfect.
As I leave the newly christened Schmillian to their work I’m still humming snatches of their song. It’s catchy beyond belief, and I can't wait to hear the finished version at the showcase on Saturday (at the Parish starting at 2 for those of you who don't know).
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
It’s the second day of camp just after lunch and band practice and time for the afternoon workshop/seminar-there’s some general milling around and the younger half of the girls, ages nine through eleven, pile into a classroom and sprawl on the carpet.
Dr. Mary Kearney, Associate Professor of the Center for Women and Gender studies, a guest speaker from U.T., takes the stage. She starts with a general discussion of gender roles and women in music and immediately the Joan Jett and Patty Smith factoids begin to fly, there are outbursts of song and multiple grim discussions of the "industry"--these girls know their chops.
Prof. Kearney explains the gaze (the way women in music videos are seen through the eyes of the (usually male) directors, producers, writers and cinematographers as she flips through a series of ads for everything from yogurt to cars, all of them objectifying women. She pauses the slideshow on a particularly striking ad for some sort of mixed drink--in it a faceless man straddles a buxom bikini clad woman lying on her back.
"Who's in control here?"
The answer is deafening "THE MANN!!!"
"Why?" she asks.
"Cause he's wearing pants!" one camper crows.
"Because he's a jerk!" another vehemently declares.
"Because he's standing over her!"
It’s a pretty clear consensus. She moves on to the Lita Ford video "Kiss Me Deadly.” Indignant and just ever so slightly red faced the girls explode in protest.
"They're more interested in how her body looks than her music!"
"You can barely see her play guitar!"
They're right of course--there's a lot of blond hair and hips but the shots of her playing guitar are brief and very vague. She stands a good ten feet away from the camera and in deep shadow, hands and guitar hidden. The group goes on to discuss how hard it is to fit into the young blond haired blue-eyed big breasted white girly girl stereotype. It’s an indication of the solemn mood that the word “breast” induces no giggles. not a one. these girls are dead serious.
As the seminar winds down the topic, of course, turns to challenging the male gaze. Music videos by Ciarra, Keri Hilson, Bjork, and Courtney Love play on the projector as Dr. Kearney explains how these women desexualize and empower themselves through their videos and in some cases even reverse and draw attention to the gaze. There's a great deal of nodding and determined looks and as the girls file out of the room many of them thank their teacher for the afternoon.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Check out Nikki's great anthems "Girls Like Me" and "Let's Go!" This video has a cool slide show of the women of 80's punk.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
What a great week! Not only do we have all our fantastic SXSW events, but we've also been chosen by Friday Night Lights/Heroes superstar Brea Grant to receive money raised in the social media Charity Smackdown (sponsored by Mashable and Paypal). We are so honored that Brea would reach out to us -- she totally wanted to compete for an Austin based agency that supports women in the arts. We think we're a perfect fit, too (and we've loved you since you first walked on the Dillon High campus). Thank you, Brea, for supporting us!
The fundraiser just went live tonight. While we know that every charity will win in this competition, we do take pride in the fact that our Brea is in first place!
Here's the tally so far:
Team Brea $240
Team Elevenmoms $175
Team Kyle $160
Team Mashable $160
Team Alec $140
Team Corbin $75
Team Hayden $45
Team Ernie $30
Team Linkin Park $10
Click here to support Team Brea. Please, circulate this far and wide. This is a great opportunity to tell all your friends about GRCA and the fabulous work we do. Remember, we have an extensive scholarship program that enables girls to come rock who might not otherwise be able to afford to. We have more programs in the works that will benefit the girls of Austin and our community as a whole.
Go Team Brea!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Lots going on next week in Girls Rock Camp Austin land! Please join us!
We'll have tons of new GRCA swag for sale - shirts, hoodies, bags and more. Also, tax deductible donations, supporting camp scholarships, will be accepted!
SXSW/ BMI Benefit for Girls Rock Camp Austin
Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 7:00pm
Maggie Mae's, 323 E. 6th Street
Free for wristbands/badges. Or, slight cover charge benefits GRCA.
7:30 - Ume (Austin, TX) (featuring GRCA guitar teacher/band coach Lauren Larson)
8:30 -The Besties (Brooklyn, NY)
9:30 - Zolof The Rock-n-Roll Destroyer (Philadelphia, PA)
10:30 - Girl In a Coma (San Antonio, TX)
GRCA SXSW Day Party (Sponsored by Daisy Rock Guitars)
Friday, March 20, 2:30-7pm
Whole Foods rooftop patio, 525 N. Lamar
FREE! Open to the public! All ages! Family Friendly! Face painting!
Enter to a WIN a sparkle pink Daisy Rock Rock Candy guitar! RAD!
2:45 Fabi Reyna - former camper! (Austin)
3:00 Peggy Sue (UK)
3:40 BO-PEEP (Tokyo)
4:20 Rank + File - former camper! (Austin)
4:30 Follow that Bird! - featuring band coaches/instructors Lauren Green and Tiffanie Lanmon (Austin)
5:10 Hesta Prynn (from Northern State)(NYC)
5:50 The Coathangers (Atlanta, GA)
6:40 Adrian & the Sickness - featuring band coaches/instructors Heather Webb and Adrian Connor) (Austin)
Hope to see you at the shows!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Hello and welcome to the new Girls Rock Camp Austin blog! We’ve been planning this for a while and we have some catching up to do, but we’ll start with some pictures from the First Night Parade in downtown Austin. A bunch of our intrepid volunteers and campers got together and made a huge drum for our “float”. They hooked up a generator, strung the drum with lights, and plugged in amps for the electric guitars and basses. New Year’s Eve revelers were treated to a marching rock band rendition of Joan Jett’s “I love Rock ‘n Roll,” and a medley of songs written by GRCA bands last summer. It was pretty amazing see the big smiles and pumping fists of the crowd! Check it out!
Band coach/guitar instructor Lauren Larson (Ume) and camper Celeste rock out.