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!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How cool is this?  GRCA alum and Charlie Belle guitarist/singer Jendayi is featured on Amy Poehler's web show, Smart Girls at the Party, giving a tour of our fair city.  A little bird told us that Jendayi shot the video (except when she's on camera), edited, and added the voice, music and text. My favorite part of the video is in the Austin City Limits Studio, where the guitarist points out some amazing women who have graced its stage, and strums and sings a few bars Charlie Belle's song, "Uros Buros".  Way to go, Jendayi!

Find more videos like this on Smart Girls at the Party

Friday, June 18, 2010

Blog on Blog: Rockers Write About Music

Every summer, Girls Rock Austin campers not only write songs, rehearse, and play live after only a week together, they also tackle – and finish – additional creative projects while they're doing it.
In Session 1's Music Journalism workshop, three incredible rock & rollers discussed ways of writing about music, learned about finding their writing "voices," and wrote, created, and posted original pieces about music and culture. Their blog entries are posted below. Check it out – they did some great work!

Monica Skinner's profile of musicians who promote vegetarianism and fight animal cruelty on her blog Head First (
Popular belief: vegetarianism isn't ideal, it's unhealthy, it's too much work. Most non-vegetarians say that what's stopping them is the accessibility to vegetarian-friendly foods, but I find that to be
an easy excuse out. I believe it's just a lack of inspiration. What's the point anyway?
I was lucky enough to be inspired into vegetarianism at a young age. I was nine years old, and in third grade. None of my friends were vegetarians, nor were any of my family members. The Korean half of my family ate lots of red meat, as did the strictly Texan side, so it was a bit of a stretch. I decided to be come a vegetarian because of my dominant role-models, the members of my favorite bands. My idols. Many of them had taken their personal time to speak out against animal testing, the meat industry, the dairy industry, and countless other issues that must be faced. Music is what led to my vegetarianism, and I am positive that it's led to many others in this urgent generation.
Jepharee Howard of The Used speaks out against cruelty of animals for commercial purpose out of compassion for the defenseless animals hurt in the process. This is the same as countless other known musicians, such as Colin Frangicetto of Circa Survive, Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy, Kathleen, J.D. and Johanna of Le Tigre, and even Members of Anti-Flag. Vegetarianism and animal awareness are spreading, thankfully. It's great that bands with such impressionable audiences have began to join the cause. For the younger crowds, it probably isn't the greatest idea to put PETA videos and cold hard statistics in their faces, because they won't take it as easily as older folks may. Seeing why these musicians were so passionate about their vegetarianism (the practice of following a diet without meat) and veganism (the practice of following a diet without any animal products, no milk, eggs, etc.) is what made me want to see what it was like.
I'm hopeful that my generation and generations to come will see vegetarianism as I have, through the eyes of music and who I want to be. As I've grown older I've backed my beliefs with more and more facts from the horrors that go on behind the scenes of the animal industries. For instance, on many factory farms raising chickens for food, arsenic (a harsh chemical used in pesticide) is added to chicken feed to stimulate growth. This chemical stays with the chickens, and in result is taken into the bodies of the consumer. In the fur industry, animals are put in cages that don't even give them enough room to take a step to the left or the right. They spend their whole life burdened by stress, disease, and psychological hardships. “If you have to murder another creature to be cool, you're not very cool to start with.” Says Kathleen of Le Tigre.
As said by Colin Frangicetto guitarist of Circa Survive, “If you can save anything from suff
ering, it just makes sense.” Vegetarianism, cruelty free consumerism, it's all been a normal part of my life since I made the decision to switch six years ago. Its was the most worthwhile decision I've ever made, and it wasn't even hard. So go ahead and try-- It's what the cool kids are doing.

Here are some sites with nice tips on adapting to a vegetarian or vegan diet:

And here are some videos of popular musicians for Peta2:

Nina Soza's record review on her blog, Shark Bait (

Vampire Weekend's new album, Contra, consists of ten songs that have a sort of an African vibe to them. I think this is an album everyone will enjoy because it's full of upbeat and unexpected melodies. I enjoy this album because it's such an unusual and happy music and lyrics like “In December drinking horchata.”

LaRessa Quintana's thoughts on music, conformity, and style (look for her blog soon):

MGMT, once a very original band, has come out with a new video and song, “Flash Delirium.” If you haven’t seen the new MGMT video, you’re not missing out on much. While watching this video, I interpret it as MGMT saying, “The record company wants us to change our sound, but we’re trying to stay original.” Which I think this very ironic because, the song itself and the music is very mainstream – and the idea of not conforming is not original, either.
In fact, the idea of not conforming is conforming. People are conforming to the idea of individuality and not being like everyone else. I've noticed people are starting to wear flannel shirts; and not just a small number of people, but a lot of people. These people are trying to be different by going to the mall or a store to buy something that everyone else is wearing, thinking that they're being different. These same people are listening to MGMT and the new songs and liking them, maybe even more because their new songs are more mainstream.
When looking around town when I'm out, I see people wearing very funky things, and shirts I've never seen before and shirts probably no one has seen before. But when you put a group of people together who are all wearing unique and different shirts, what do you get? A group of people who are all different … in that they're the same. The music they listen to is unknown, and they go to all these little shows here and there. All of these people are doing what society considers not cool or hip – together.
Even now, my speaking out about how everyone is conforming has been done before and will be done again. But until you read another blog about people conforming, remember, I'm original.
P.S: If you would like to see the new MGMT video and critique it yourself, here it is:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Session One starts in 8 hours!

We are so excited!  We’ve been setting up the space all weekend and it’s amazing – 15 drums kits, 15 bass rigs, 25 guitar amps, 10 vocal mics, 6 PAs,  a couple of keyboards, and lots and lots of cables!    Our volunteers have been working their sweaty butts off to make it all happen.  Today we had orientation for all the volunteers -- band coaches, instrument instructors, roadies, floaters, counselors, and more -- together  over 40 women eager to make the world a better place and support this generation’s girl rock revolution. 

What will you be doing at 9AM Monday morning?  We’ll be dancing!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Best Little Guitar Giveaway in Texas

Thanks to all for participating in our first online giveaway. Your support means the world to our organization, especially our girls. We were able to raise funds to provide six full scholarships to our summer camp. The winner of the Takamine guitar is Caroline Kenny. Congratulations, Caroline.

A special thank you to Jody Williams of BMI music and Girls Rock Austin Board member for making this fundraiser possible.

Finally, thank you to Ms. Dolly Parton. Girls Rock Austin will always love you.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Buzz of Transgression: Viv Albertine

Sometimes the fact that more people don't know about the Slits seems like a crime.

The late 1970s in Europe (mostly England) practically were a girls’ rock camp. In the pared-down blur of punk and its aftermath, girls picked up instruments, formed bands, wrote songs, recorded, and played – regardless of their levels of musical skill or experience. What's interesting and exciting is that these girls often didn't aspire to play like boys, or at least like the famous ones; they ignored the rules of classic rock (of which the rules of punk rock were often a simpler, but no less constricting, form), taking new and weird approaches to almost every aspect of rock music, including song structures, chord progressions, scales, melodies, and instrumentation.

Even as they grew more experienced, bands like the Slits, the Raincoats, X-Ray-Spex, the Au Pairs, and Kleenex continued to push the boundaries of rock and pop. Most also embraced some form of feminism (as well as other political positions), but their approach was personal, their outrage and refusal based on their experiences as young women and girls rebelling at expectations about what kinds of lives they were supposed to lead. To some, the resulting music was unbearable; others felt like it was something they'd been waiting all their lives to hear.

If the Slits were one of the most raucous and unschooled of what are sometimes called "post-punk" bands, they also seemed to have be having the most fun, possibly because they didn’t seem worried about being chaotic, caustic, or obnoxious. Viv Albertine was already a fixture of the London’s punk scene when she joined vocalist Ari Up (then 15 years old), drummer Palmolive, and bassist Tessa Pollitt in the Slits in 1977. Albertine, then a novice guitarist, credits her friend Keith Levene (of PiL) for teaching her that “any sounds can go together,” among other things; her sound has always been and remains distinctive, sometimes challenging, and the opposite of predictable.

After the Slits broke up in 1983, Albertine went film school and became a director as well as a mother. She didn’t play a guitar again until she was asked to join in a Slits reunion in 2008. Practicing for that event, she found herself writing new songs. She played a few shows with the reunited Slits, then left to perform and record solo. (Somewhere in there, she also started making ceramics.) She recently opened for the (also) reunited Raincoats on tour, and her Flesh EP was released this week.

Winging her way toward SXSW, Albertine graciously answered a few questions for the Girls Rock Austin blog via e-mail:

It seems like there's a through line from the politics of the time you started playing music and your new work, but this time it's expressed more emotionally, unguardedly. How has your view of the expectations of women and girls changed as you've experienced some of the traditional milestones of womanhood?

Expectations of girls and women are the same as they were in Victorian times! I know this now. From being a mother and a daughter and a wife and a girlfriend.

The thing is that motherhood and child-rearing are either undervalued or deified. Neither is right. It's a hard, lonely slog. Yes, there are good bits, beautiful bits. But to do it right – something so important – it's very, very hard. If you don't work so you can give your children the love and attention that they would like from you, you lose status in the eyes of your partner, your peers, and your children.

Let's be honest about this: If you want to do it right, you'll sacrifice a lot. Too much, I think. You have to do it not so well and be a bit of a disappointment. Tough. They'll get over it. You have a duty to live your life.

The song "Confessions of a MILF" reminds me of a documentary a friend of mine worked on called Who Does She Think She Is?, in which female artists talk about having to make a choice between being all-out artists and having children. Do you think women have to choose, in a way that men don't?

Guilt guilt guilt coming your way if you are an artist and a mother. Everything I've read on the subject, every woman feels she's let her kids down – from Yoko Ono to Louise Bourgeois and Niki De Saint Phalle.

If you have a partner who does not support you in your work, it is impossible. You cannot function as either an artist or a mother. You have to get out.

What is your songwriting process?

I write songs in different ways. Sometimes they slide out ready done. Two drafts and they are there. This type of song comes from the unconscious. I didn't know it was there. It's bizarre. Like someone else wrote it. It will start with words, a flow of thoughts that I don't analyze or edit. Every bit of rubbish, I write down. No judging. I will have a pain or burning feeling in my chest. Or a flutter of excitement or buzz of transgression. I won't look at it again for a couple days. It's too embarrassing, I think. Then, when I go back, I take out the bits that repeat or pad. It has to be succinct. This can be painful – losing sections that are heartfelt – but you have to be brutal. That is the legacy of the Seventies for me: strictness, directness, honesty, and meaning. I still find the song embarrassing, but i have learnt to live with this feeling. These are often the songs that touch people most.

Do you have any advice for girls in the arts?

Find out if you really are compelled to do it. To express yourself creatively.

If you are this sort of person and you deny it – by trying to conform, trying to fit in, trying to please, trying to impress, trying to be rich. By being too scared to fail, to look stupid, to make mistakes, to be criticised, to be ridiculed, to look ugly, to look unfeminine, to be lonely ... you will live a long, slow, and painful death of a life. Good luck with that!

Monday, March 15, 2010

I support bands who support rock camp and who, of course, make good, fun, interesting music.

Rock Camp has been around long enough that it is not just about the girls anymore. While the girl campers who sign up for Rock Camp all around the country (and the world) are the fire that keep it all going, Camp is just as much about the adult woman who support it: whether it be the staff, volunteers or the bands who play.

Girl in a Coma and Those Darlins are two bands that I have become a fan of due to their involvement in Rock Camp. It’s a musical symbiotic relationship. Women have a history of solidarity and this is no exception. BUT, and hear me on this, it takes GOOD music to hold my attention as a fan, it doesn’t matter who makes it.

Girl in a Coma played the Girls Rock Camp 2009 SXSW Showcase and I have been a supporter since. This band has a signature sound revolving around little sister Nina Diaz’s powerful voice. Her guitar skills are pretty awesome too. Big sister Phannie Diaz keeps a mean beat and high school friend Jenn Alva is the tough of the group, with her snarky and hot stage banter with hecklers and fans.

Girl in a Coma takes an active role in their various communities. In an interview with Nina last year, she told me “It just so happens that we have a lot to stand for: we are vegetarians, we are a band with two lesbians, we stand up for things, we are happy to help out and we are happy to ask for help when we need it.”

As San Antonio natives, they have already conquered Texas as Latinas. They opened for Morrissey and gained fans through his community. They are ardent supporters of the LGBT community playing festivals like Homo-a-Gogo in San Francisco. After all, solidarity is not just something that women practice.

Those Darlins I discovered through a Rolling Stone e-newsletter, happening to notice in the tagline that the three front women of the band met through the Rock Camp of the South. Of course that sparked my interest. Kelley is one of the founders of Southern Girls Rock Camp in Tennessee, Nikki’s boyfriend was a volunteer (Rock Camp of the South encourages men to volunteer) and Jessi was a camper (she now teaches workshops). They keep busy by continuing to volunteer for camp in the summers and tour right before and after.

I love Those Darlins for their humor and authenticity. They are from the South, and they write their songs and dress accordingly, drawing their inspiration from nature and growing up in a rural area. It’s not just any band than can get away with writing a song about eating an entire chicken on the verge of going bad (“Whole Damn Thing”).

The Darlins are firm in their belief of being aware of how they are seen as female musicians. “It’s important that any woman who’s in the music business, especially one that’s on stage, are going to scrutinized a little bit more so than males,” Jessi told me in an interview. “People are going to be paying attention to their musicianship a lot more. People will just consider it differently. It’s important to remember that if you are a woman you can take advantage of that. Just keep it mind that people are paying attention to for a reason that is unfair but you can still lead by example. You don’t have to sell your soul or whatever. You just have to remember that you’re always an example to others, other women and young girls. You have to remember what you’re doing.”

One of the things that has always bothered me about the gender imbalance in popular music (other than the gender imbalance itself) is that women who are popular music artists tend to be solo artists, rather than in bands. Male musicians, of course, come both as soloists and in a band. So, when I do see bands like Girl in a Coma and Those Darlins that has female musicians, or is all female, I take special notice. If that band takes an active role in their communities and above all makes good entertaining music, that is a band worth supporting to the end.

Girl in a Coma will be playing the Girls Rock Camp day party at 4:10 Friday, March 19th at Café Mundi, 1701 E. 5th St FREE

Those Darlins will be playing at 1am Wednesday night, March 17 at Submerged, 333 E. 2nd St. Show is open to the public with priority access for SXSW registrants with badges. $10 at the door.

Link to Girl in a Coma interview with Nina Diaz

Link to Those Darlins article/interview with Jessi Darlin

Written by Jamie Freedman

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Girls Rock Austin volunteers ROCK!

Last night the Mohawk hosted two bands fronted by Girls Rock Austin volunteers.  Carrie Clark, below,  helms noise popsters Sixteen Deluxe, who played their first show in over a decade.  Carrie volunteered as a band coach in the summer of 2008 and hopes to return this summer, schedule permitting.  She's recently been sponsored by Daisy Rock and is shown here playing her silver glitter Rock Candy Classic -- so Carrie!

Ume, featuring GRA band coach and guitar instructor Lauren Langer Larson, is playing the GRA official SXSW showcase at Submerged this Wednesday.  Both Ume and Sixteen Deluxe are playing several free day parties during SXSW.  Check their web sites for details.  

Our thanks to both bands for supporting GRA.  Thanks also to Todd V. Wolfson for sharing these photos.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Charlie Belle

Jendayi is a singer, song-writer, and lead guitarist for the band Charlie Belle, a local group comprised of four members – Jendayi, Gyasi, Maya, and Michelle – their ages ranging from 9 to 16 years old. Jendayi and Gyasi are sister and brother and had already formed a band when they moved from Philadelphia to Austin. The pair reconnected with a family friend after which Maya joined the band. The lineup was complete once Jendayi and Michelle met at Girls Rock Camp over the summer. They changed their name to Charlie Belle and have been together for over a year. You may have seen them perform last year during SXSW or in the documentary Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnet Fields. Proving that you’re never too young to have a music career, their website notes: “Yeah we're kids, but we rock. We are Charlie Belle.”

Charlie Belle will be performing at the SXSW Girls Rock Camp Austin day party on Friday March 19th. In anticipation of the day party, we caught up with Jendayi and asked for her thoughts on writing her own material, performing on stage, and what advice she would give to girls who want to rock.

What or who inspired to you to start making music? Was there a particular album/artist/band that inspired you?

When I was seven, I went to the Paul Green School of Rock Music. I was the youngest guitarist there so I had a lot of people to look up to. I especially admired one guitarist named Gina. She was the best guitarist I’ve ever met in person.

You’re a singer, song-writer, and lead guitarist for Charlie Belle – do you prefer one of these positions over the others? If so which one and why?

Out of those three, I prefer being a songwriter because my music is still out there. And anyone can stand up and sing a song, or anyone who practices enough can be a lead guitarist, but once your singing and playing is your own, nobody will take it away from you.

Tell me about your song-writing process. How do you come up with ideas for songs?

First I fiddle around and come up with a good riff. And instead of waiting to write the lyrics I immediately start making things up as I go along. If I have paper in front of me, I write it down. If not, I try to remember it.

What is it like performing in front of a live audience?

At first, it feels scary every single time, but when I play my first song, my fear turns into energy that I send out to the audience.

You’ve been to Girls Rock Camp three times now, once in Philadelphia, and twice here in Austin. What have you learned being a camper at Girls Rock Camp?

I would say anyone is out there. People who go to Girls Rock Camp could be [part of] your future band. Sometimes it could even be the girls you would never think would be in a band with you.

What advice would you give to a young girl who’s thinking about picking up an instrument, writing a song, or forming a band?

I would tell them that if they kind of like what they’re doing, they should keep doing it, because it’s going to get better, and they’re going to grow to love it.

For more information on Charlie Belle please visit their website (please link this:

Article By Kristen Lambert

Exene Cervenka

Really, Exene Cervenka doesn't need an introduction. "Punk legend" should suffice.

In 1977, she co-founded X with John Doe. Fusing Chuck Berry riffs and Beat poetry about Los Angeles's decay and unrest, X went on to become a seminal band for the oft-overlooked West Coast punk scene. Cervenka co-fronted the group, writing much of their material. While guitarist Billy Zoom may have more to do with fans picking up an axe, Cervenka assuredly influenced several boys and girls to scribble poems, fit it around some chords, pick up a microphone, and let it rip.

In addition, Cervenka intermittently records with Doe and X drummer DJ Bonebrake as a member of country group The Knitters, a side project formed with Dave Alvin and Jonny Ray Bartel in 1982. She also formed Auntie Christ with Rancid's Matt Freeman in the late 1990s and The Original Sinners in the 2000s. She has released a few books of poetry, recorded spoken word, and put together several art exhibits.

Cervenka has also struck out on her own. Last year, she released Somewhere Gone on Bloodshot, a collection of political songs that fuse punk and her country roots. Her SXSW performances in support of that album were highlights for me last spring. As a lead-in to her free West Coast record store tour in April, I can't wait to see her take the stage next week at the Girls Rock Camp Austin SXSW day party.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Official SXSW showcase

Our official SXSW showcase on Wednesday, March 17, is sponsored by BMI.  SXSW Badges and wristbands are admitted free (and first), or you can pay a small cover charge which supports Girls Rock Austin.  Totally worth it!  Get there early!

Watch this space for information on the bands playing our official showcase and day party!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


(333 E 2nd St) (21+)
Girls Rock Austin
Kitten8:00 p.m.Los Angeles CARock
Cocktail Slippers9:00 p.m.Oslo NORWAYRock
Ume10:00 p.m.Austin TXAlternative
Beaches11:00 p.m.Melbourne VICRock
The Coathangers12:00 a.m.Atlanta GAPunk
Those Darlins1:00 a.m.Murfreesboro TNRock

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Girls Rock Austin SXSW Day Party

We are thrilled to announce our 3rd annual SXSW day party on Friday, March 19 at Cafe Mundi.  Bands start promptly at noon and end at 6PM.  No badges or wristbands.  We're FREE, all ages, and open to the public.  So put your dancing shoes on and join us!  

We're featuring an international lineup of rock campers (Charlie Belle), awesome volunteers (Darling New Neighbors, Akina Adderley, Rosie Flores), punk and rock rock legends (Exene Cervenka, Viv Albertine, Rosie Flores), underground heroes (Girl in a Coma, Bo-peep, White Mystery) and the literally big-in-Japan (Chatmonchy). Jessica Hopper will read from her book The Girls' Guide to Rocking.  Rock Your Face face painters will be on hand to give your mug that special something extra.

Girls Rock Austin is proud to be sponsored by Blackheart Records. WIN a guitar signed by Joan Jett. Pick up swag from the new movie "The Runaways."

After eleven years of vital service to the Austin arts and music community, Cafe Mundi will be closing its doors on March 21. We're thrilled (and somewhat saddened) to be a part of their final weekend celebration. We thank them for their support.

12 noon Charlie Belle - (Austin, TX)
12:30 Darling New Neighbors (Austin, TX)
1:05 Jessica Hopper reading from The Girls' Guide to Rocking (Chicago, IL)
1:20 Exene Cervenka (Los Angeles, CA)
2:00 Akina Adderley and the Vintage Playboys (Austin, TX)
2:35 Chatmonchy (Japan)
3:05 Bo-peep (Japan)
3:35 White Mystery (featuring Miss Alex White) (Chicago, IL)
4:10 Girl in a Coma (San Antonio, TX)
4:50 Viv Albertine (of the Slits) (London, UK)
5:30 Rosie Flores (Austin, TX)

Proceeds from the guitar giveaway and merchandise sales will benefit Girls Rock Austin. We are proud to organize Girls Rock Camp Austin, the only nonprofit camp in Austin where accomplished women musicians teach girls at all skill levels—from absolute beginners to rock-n-roll prodigies—in an all-female learning environment. See for more info about Summer 2010 camps.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Best Little Guitar Giveaway in Texas

Yesterday Girls Rock Austin launched its fundraising season with The Best Little Guitar Giveaway in Texas, an online promotion using social media. Behold! A brand new Takamine "Jasmine" guitar, and it is signed by Dolly Parton! Ten dollars enters your name twice in the drawing, which will be held March 16.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A random sampling of SXSW 2010 performers

Late last year when we published the blog that tallied the male vs female performers at Austin's Fun Fun Fun Fest, a lot of people wanted to know how FFF compares to other festivals. I was curious as well, but a bit daunted by the thought of doing the research for SXSW or ACL (keeping it local, for now). Somehow, I thought, we should do a random sampling. Turns out Austin360 did it for us, providing a photo gallery of SXSW 2010: Notable Artists. Obviously, this isn't totally random.  Someone selected the pictures, which include press photos, live shots from Austin American Statesman archives, and others pilfered from MySpace. I don’t know what criteria the editor used to select the photos. Maybe they were selected based on the quality of the photographs or the musical tastes of the editor. It is possible that there weren’t a lot of photos of women to choose from. It is also possible, but unlikely (we hope!), that the editor intentionally focused on music made by men. I simply have no idea. But here’s what I do know. 

Out of 68 photos, a woman (Sharon Jones) doesn't appear until the 11th picture. There are 155 men in these pictures and 15 women, representing less than 10 percent (by comparison, FFF was 8% women). Once again, Girls Rock Austin wants to know: What does this say about the state of women in music? About the booking policies of SXSW?  About the need for Girls Rock Camp?

Our goal is to start a dialog. We think that unless this stuff is talked about, it'll never change. And we know that one way to make it change, at least for future generations, is to support Girls Rock Austin and other programs throughout the country that empower girls through music education and performance. Get involved, talk to people, be conscientious when booking shows, start a band, be a badass! If we can, you can!