Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rock Camp Diary, Day 3

Here's another account of day-to-day life at Girls Rock Camp Austin, brought to you by Eris Tock, a veteran camper and GRCA 2009 intern.

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).

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