Flight of Fire

Introducing: Flight of Fire!

Comprised of four vivacious, accomplished women, this dynamic and passionate band explores the musical textures of upbeat hard rock, emotional folk rock, and intricate progressive rock, creating the fresh sound that is Flight of Fire. Highly influenced by classic rock artists such as Led Zeppelin, Journey, Rush, Heart and The Who, as well as modern rockers like Halestorm, Paramore, The Foo Fighters and Evanescence, Flight of Fire has varied inspiration contributing to their unique sound – rooted in time-tested rock with a fresh, modern flavor. Equipped with a dynamic lead vocalist, belting beautiful melodies with power and passion; identical twin sisters creating a harmony of electrifying guitar leads and gritty bass grooves; and a woman of mind-blowing rhythmic inspiration keeping the pocket tight, Flight of Fire is a force to be reckoned with. They have opened for Bon Jovi, The J. Giles Band, The Michael Allman Band, Fitz & The Tantrums, The Strumbellas, Joywave, Alestorm and Lita Ford. Their awards include: Winners of Limelight Magazine’s “Opening Act Contest” 2016, Winners of Radio 92.9 Earthfest Battle of the Bands 2016, Winner of Limelight Magazine Music Awards’ “Band of the Year” 2016, New England Music Awards’ “Last Band Standing” Boston Finalists 2015, Hard Rock Rising 2015 Boston City-Wide Champions and Winners of the 2013 Fox Rocks Bon Jovi Contest to Open For Bon Jovi At Ford Field, Detroit.

QWIMB sent Flight of Fire some questions about Boston and Queerness and here’s what they had to say:

What brought you to Boston?

Our lead singer, Maverick, and our guitarist and bassist, Tanya and Tia respectively, moved to Boston in 2009 to attend Berklee College of Music. Our drummer, Kat, is from Dracut, MA

Have you experienced a strong scene for Queer women in the city in terms of music/performers etc?

We’ve been inspired by so many of the amazing queer organizations in Boston! We’ve been involved with the Dyke March, both in their fundraisers and at the Dyke March itself, and our good friends Unstraight and Mad Femme Pride put on the badass Big Queer Show, which is always a great community of people!

Do you have any sense of a history of a Queer scene in the city?

We’re relatively new to the scene, so we can’t speak to Boston’s queer history as well as others could, but as newbies, we definitely feel that there’s been a strong queer musical community here for a while. We love volunteering for the Ladies Rock Camp Boston (& Girls Rock Campaign Boston), which, while not an exclusively queer movement, is certainly a feminist, empowering org that has been inspiring women to break barriers and make noise!

Flight of Fire
Flight of Fire

What made you decide to join a band?

We’ve been committed to music since we were little, writing songs, studying and performing as much as we could, which brought us eventually to Berklee! Once we were there, we shared a dream of forming an all-female rock band, and Flight of Fire was born.

Are there any artists that you look up to or who have inspired your own music?

We have been greatly inspired by bands such as Led Zeppelin, Rush and Heart in terms of their instrumental/musical prowess and variety. Lzzy Hale from Halestorm inspires us with her leadership skills as a woman in the modern rock industry.

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Do think things are getting better for Queer performers or are there still barriers to overcome?

Both are true! Boston is one of the best places in the country to be a provocative person, and female queer musicians are breaking barriers just by being themselves! That being said, as an all-female band, we’ve received our share of persecution, from casual condescension and pigeonholing to outward harassment. There’s still hard work to be done.

What has been your proudest moment as a member of a band or as a musician in general?

A couple years back, we won a contest to open for Bon Jovi at Ford Field Stadium in Detroit, and that experience was one of the proudest and most motivating opportunities we’ve had!

What advice would you give to a woman thinking about starting a band or learning an instrument?

Do it! Don’t worry about being great, or even good. Just follow your inspiration. Don’t filter yourself too much – as women, especially queer women, we’re socialized to hold ourselves back every second of every day! Music and performance is about throwing off the status quo and disregarding anything that gets in the way of expressing your most powerful self.

Are there any other current or former bands or solo artists you would like to see featured by QWIMB?

Carissa Johnson, Unstraight, Viva Gina

Flight of Fire recently released their first music video! 

You can check it out HERE

The Legend: Thalia Zedek

Thalia Zedek was born and raised in Washington DC and Silver Spring, MD. She moved to Boston in 1979 and shortly thereafter began performing and recording with bands on the local punk/post-punk scene. In the 80’s she played with White Women, Dangerous Birds (Propeller Records), Uzi (Homestead Records, reissued on Matador) and the New York based Live Skull (HomesteadRecords, Caroline Records). After her stint in New York fronting Live Skull she returned to Boston in the 90’s and formed the band Come. Come lasted until 2000, releasing records on SubPop, Matador, Beggars Banquet and Domino and touring with Nirvana, Pavement, Dinosaur Jr., Hole, Swans and many others.

At the turn of the century she formed her own group, the Thalia Zedek Band (Matador, Kimchee Records,Thrill Jockey) who are still active to this day and whose 7th release will be out this August on Thrill Jockey. She also recently formed a new band called E, who are currently recording their first LP for Thrill Jockey and she performs live as a member of Dyr Faser and Animal Hospital Ensemble.(Bio courtesy of Thalia Zedek)

Thalia Zedek by Lana Caplan - TZ9260bwcrop
Thalia Zedek by Lana Z. Caplan

Thalia Zedek is truly a living legend and one of the finest voices in rock music today. Boston is lucky to have such a talented musician gracing its many stages. Thalia took the time out of her busy schedule to answer QWIMB’s questions on Boston scenes, Queerness, and being a musician. 

What brought you to Boston?

I initially came to Boston to go to school at Boston University. I lasted all of one semester before deciding that college was not for me, but in the meantime I had already joined 2 bands.

Have you experienced a strong scene for queer women in the city in terms of music/performers etc?

My very first band was called White Women. The other 2 women in the band Dolores Paradise and Judy Jetson were both lesbians and in a relationship together. Dolores Paradise was also the wife of, and had a child with, the infamous Lou Miami of Lou Miami and the Kozmetix, a well-known Boston queen who fronted a great rock and roll band.

Thalia Zedek by Lana Caplan
Thalia Zedek by Lana Z. Caplan

Do you have any sense of a history of a queer scene in Boston?

Because of my association with White Women and Lou Miami I was thrown right away into the queer punk scene. The music scene that was based around Cantones and Maverick’s was full of queers, trannies, lesbians etc. Human Sexual Response, Plastic Warsaw, Mark Thor, Lou Miami to name a few. I also kind of remember all of those bars being managed and booked by lesbians. Joan Martin who later managed my band Dangerous Birds booked The Space, and Marlo MacDonald Nagy managed Cantones, to name a few. When I first saw Nan Goldin’s book “The Ballad of Sexual Dependancy” I recognized a lot of those people. I think those photos were from that same scene but probably 5 or 6 years before I was there.

A few years later Marianne Peacott and some others started Rock Against Sexism as a response to the Rock Against Racism movement that was happening in England. I would go to their monthly Tea Parties that were held at a gay bar called the 1270 and loads of local feminist bands would play and the DJ would play punk and post punk music. Most of the women who went were lesbians and there was a really big punk lesbian scene that came out those “Tea Parties”

E by Hanna Rose Shell
E by Hanna Rose Shell

What made you decide to join a band/start performing?

For as long as I can remember I always loved playing music and wanted to be in a band. So I was always trying, but hearing Patti Smith sing Gloria on the radio at 16 was a HUGE moment for me! I went to high school in Silver Spring and I started a band with a girl I met in high school who is now known as Azalia Snail. We bonded over Patti Smith in art class. She was also a huge punk fan and she also turned me onto a ton of other cool bands like Xray Spex and Sex Pistols.

Are there any artists that you look up to or who have inspired your own music?

Patti Smith, Leslie Woods from the Au Pairs, The Raincoats, Pat Place (guitarist for the Bush Tetras and The Contortions) Lydia Lunch, Nick Cave, Velvet Underground, The Birthday Party, Circle X…

Thalia Zedek by Lana Caplan
Thalia Zedek by Lana Z. Caplan

Do think things are getting better for queer performers or are there still barriers to overcome?

I think that things are a lot better these days for queers in general, but of course there are still barriers and prejudices to overcome. Especially for women, because there is till SO much sexism in “rock” music.

What bands are you currently performing in?

Thalia Zedek Band, E, Dyr Faser

Thalia Zedek Band by Tamara Bonn
Thalia Zedek Band by Tamara Bonn

What has been your proudest moment as a musician?

There has been a lot of them, but there have also been some embarrassing ones!

What advice would you give to a woman thinking about starting a band or learning an instrument?

Do it because you love it and not for any other reason. But if you really love it don’t give up, even when it gets tough. There will be a lot of ups and downs if you really want to do this music/band thing, and you just have to learn to roll with them.

 

2-25 The Lizard Lounge
2-25 The Lizard Lounge

Check Out Thalia on Tour In 2016:

  • Feb. 25th at the Lizard Lounge, Cambridge- Thalia Zedek Band with Brian Carpenter and the Confessions
  • Feb. 27th at Troost, Brooklyn NY- Thalia Zedek Band
  • Feb. 29th at Charlies Kitchen, Cambridge- E with Far Corners
  • March 12th at Midway, Jamaica Plain- E with Fur Purse, Geoglyphs and Medical Maps
  • March 15th at The Sinclair- E with Tortoise and Mind Over Mirrors
  • March 18th at Cake Shop, NYC- Dyr Faser with Minibeast and Platinum Vision
  • March 26th at Out of the Blue Too, Cambridge – Dyr Faser with a zillion others!

For More Info:

Say Hello to Solo Sexx

Bio:

Forged deep in the psychedelic undertow of UMass basements, sticky floored queer clubs, house parties, porches, and backyards, Solo Sexx has been serving rude and riotous Salt-n-Pepa-meets-Buzzcocks-meets-Shangri Las realness since 2008. Since then, they’ve glittered and grinded all up over New England and beyond, performing at the Boston Freedom Rally, touring the East Coast, rocking festivals and events for the likes of Girls Rock Camp Boston, the Human Rights Campaign, Yes All Women, and more–all while bringing their unique brand of fearless flavor to audiences who leave wondering how they ever survived sans-Sexx. With a fearless sense of humor and a no-holds barred attitude, Solo Sexx turns the hip-hop hypocrites on their head and leads fans to a whole new horizon: with home cooked beats and outta sight rhymes covering everything from being broke (not for long), being white (last they checked), and being free to perform the self pleasure their name is shouting, Solo Sexx proves that the alternative to the add-water-and-stir rap chumpitude is funkier, fresher, and just plain sexxier than ever before.

QWIMB Q & A

What brought you to Boston?

Heather Mack: I grew up in the ‘burbs, moved out to Wild Western Mass to get weird for 5 years, then when I graduated from UMass decided it was time to take my chance on the “big” “city” of Boston. I’ve been here ever since!
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Have you experienced a strong scene for queer women in the city in terms of music/performers etc?

Heather Mack: I think Boston is incredibly lucky to have a fierce faction of queer feminist badasses involved in all aspects of artmaking, from promotions to production to burlesque to punk rock and everything in between. The best part is, although the queer scene is relatively small, people are LOUD about it–in one week you might have Queeraoke, WTFQueerlesque, and Pink Noize, all unapologetically loud and raucous queer, feminist events happening at all different parts of town. And for the most part it’s pretty inclusive, like a big weird rainbow family you just might not have met yet. We freaks tend to stick together, and it makes a big difference.

Do you have any sense of a history of a queer scene in the city?

Heather Mack: The first “queer” event I ever attended in the city was probably Rocky Horror back when it was in Harvard Square–I was just a little tyke back then! Since then I’ve felt incredibly blessed by all of the opportunities I’ve had to be involved in the queer scene, as a performer and as a fan. I’m not so sure about the scene’s “history”, since I didn’t really start identifying as queer until college out in W.Mass where I frequented queer events for the first time, and only since coming to Boston about 5 years ago have I gotten really involved in this scene in particular. Either way, I’m pumped to be out here making new queer history with so many awesome artists and visionaries, and I gotta say, the future’s looking bright!
Julezcloseup

What made you decide to join a band?

Julez:Being around creative people during those crucial college years who were also experimenting with music and constantly producing art of all genres. For me, the beats came first and I owe a lot of my early inspiration and motivation to that core group of creative friends.

Heather Mack: Julez really says it best, we were just incredibly lucky during our college years to have been part of a chaotic cotillion of psychedelic musicians, artists, visionaries and weirdos that had our own unique culture and community where everyone was not only free, but encouraged to experiment with everything, especially art. I had started a punk band when I was in high school called The Bush Administration and even though we didn’t take ourselves seriously I was really addicted to the feeling of shocking people onstage with something they didn’t expect, or would otherwise dismiss. I also already had an instinct for having a fully female fronted band performing songs that were filled with innuendo, and that riotous, raunchy energy provided the foundation for my later music.  In college I was part of a crew of dudes who were into hip hop and freestyling, then Julez transferred to UMass and everything got kicked into overdrive. She went home for winter break and taught herself to make beats, by the time she got back we were writing songs for just the two of us. That’s when we created “Solo Sexx”–the name is a reference to going solo, pleasing yourself first, and knowing that sometimes you just gotta do it on your own, you know?

Are there any artists that you look up to or who have inspired your own music?

Julez: DJ culture has always been a big influence on me. I was always trying to recreate the way DJs mix different sounds and samples together. So our beats reflects that.

Heather Mack: AAAH! So many. Rupaul, Kate Bush, GG Allin, TT The Artist, Rye Rye, Santigold, MIA, Buzzcocks, 90s house divas, Cakes Da Killa, PWR BTTM, David Bowie, Amanda Palmer, Missy Elliott, Downtown Boys, Mykki Blanco, Big Freedia, the Shangri-Las–bands who challenge the status quo, defy gender roles, and just make badass music that challenges you to think critically while also having an absolute blast on the dance floor.

Do think things are getting better for queer female performers or are there still barriers to overcome?

Heather Mack: The internet is bringing things to a whole new level in a really positive way–I think queer female performers are getting much more visibility, and more and more celebrities are coming out as genderqueer and trans and sexually fluid, so that’s helpful in terms of breaking down old narratives and stereotypes around gender and sexuality. I also think there’s been a push to create intentional queer DIY spaces where those artists are not only welcome, but explicitly sought out and celebrated. The more visibility there is, the more we are able to give permission to other queer female or trans or genderfluid artists to be fully, wildly themselves–and to support one another in the process. I’m also pumped that venues tend to be really open to having queer events or having queer identified bands perform, and I’m happy to be able to host events like that too–like our upcoming Queer Women in Hip Hop night.

closeupHeatherYAW

Are you in any other bands?

Heather Mack: Nope! But I am in the Boston League of Women Wrestlers.

What has been your proudest moment as a member of a band?

Julez: Performing on stage at the weed rally in Boston a few years back! Such a huge crowd- felt like a rockstar.

Heather Mack: My favorite part of being in a band is the reactions we get from the crowd. Although every single show we invariably have some crew of (usually) dudes come up and say some version of “I thought you were gonna suck, but you were amazing!” and it’s always satisfying to know that you smashed a stranger’s perception of you, that’s not what makes me proud. What’s really incredible is when young women come up to us and tell us that we showed them that it’s possible to be a woman who raps and rocks crowds, and that we inspired them to try to make music too. As much as we do it for ourselves (hence the name, again), those moments are what sustains us and make us really proud of what we’re doing. That’s why we also love to do events for badass organizations like Yes All Women, Human Rights Campaign, and Girls Rock Camp Boston–because we know we’re offering up our art to help contribute to a positive, supportive community where people of all genders and sexualities have the resources they need to rock out in whatever way they choose.

What advice would you give to a woman thinking about starting a band or learning an instrument?

Julez:YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE! Seriously don’t be afraid to take that first step, and don’t doubt yourself too much. And if you’re lucky and the ideas and creativity starts flowing early on DON’T SLEEP ON IT! Make the most of it- it’s a precious commodity.

Heather Mack: DO IT! Make mistakes. Write a song, then scribble it out and start over 20 times. Then stop scribbling things out and embrace every flaw as a foundation for something fabulous. Go see local shows and discover new heroes. Make friends with your heroes. Book shows with your heroes! Don’t wait for other people to do things for you–learn everything you can by throwing yourself into it. If you feel like there aren’t enough cool venues in Boston, create one. If bookers don’t want to book a hip hop show, bypass them and book shows yourself. Make other amazing friends who create weirdo art and love you for it and hold you accountable to your aspirations. Be reckless, fearless, and bold–even if you’re terrified. There’s no time like the present–and life’s too damn short to be boring!

Are there any other current or former bands you would like to see featured by QWIMB?

Heather Mack: Check out Afro Panther (iamafropanther.soundcloud.com) and Billy Dean Thomas (facebook.com/billydeanslist), two artists who will be performing along with us at our upcoming Queer Women in Hip Hop showcase at the Lilypad, January 30th!

For more from Solo Sexx:

Meet Leigh Cheri’s Kelsie Hogue!

Leigh Cheri is a Boston-based noise pop band. Vox: Kelsie Hogue, Guitar: Mike Levinsohn, Bass: Chris Centeno, Drums: Billy Nichols

QWIMB gave Kelsie some questions to answer about Boston and queerness. Here’s what she came up with:

What brought you to Boston? 

I came here for Boston University’s BFA Acting program which I just graduated from last Spring.

Have you experienced a strong scene for queer women in the city in terms of music/performers etc? 

I’m still in the discovery process of that. I’ve experienced great spaces in JP, Somerville, and Allston, and awesome festivals like Smash It Dead and takeover nights like Queeraoke (which we’re playing Halloween week!!). Always on the boi scout for more, never too many queers in one room!!

Leigh-Cheri-bostoncalling

Do you have any sense of a history of a queer scene in the city? 

That’s something I’d like to know more about. Tutors/den mothers welcome!!

What made you decide to join a band? 

Lisa Simpson whispered to me through the television via her saxophone  when I was five.

Leigh-Cheri-cuisineenlocaleAre there any artists that you look up to or who have inspired your own music? 

Yoni Wolf of Why? is my favorite lyricist of all time. I think Gerard Way is my generation’s misunderstood Freddie Mercury and was in retrospect my third femme boy crush (behind Axl Rose and Peter Pan). I bless the satin-lined riffs of kweens like Mariah, Christina and Whitney (RIP queen). Big Boi is the most underrated rapper, Kendrick is just plain important, Mykki Blanco is fucking shit up in the best way, and Missy Elliot is the most powerful bulldyke in the game. Comedians Tim and Eric and Tig Notaro made high school and college better. Queer/Trans activists/artists Darkmatter and Kat Blaque continue to teach me a lot.

 

Leigh-Cheri-lasthausDo think things are getting better for queer female performers or are there still barriers to overcome?

I think in large part to the Riot Grrrl Movement, things have gotten fairly better for white queer girl/genderqueer performers. As one myself, it’s a constant conversation understanding the layers of privilege I benefit from in performance settings. I have easily performed nude/barely clothed in both music and theatre spaces. The degradation I receive is in the form of sexualization or my queerness being written off as a trend/experiment. While those are still things to challenge of course, that’s nothing compared to the every day micro-aggressions towards QPOC to the rapidly rising murders of Trans Women of Color (a matter nearly neglected by mainstream media). I’m interested in listening and supporting Q/TWOC musicians specifically, as I think there is work to be done with creating a safer and more visible space for everyone (both in the music scene and in general). I would love to see the conversation begin with intersectionality, instead of sidelining it as can tend to happen in white-centric queer spaces.

Are you in any other bands?

 I have two queer as hell side projects in the works called Pillow Queen (with Birthing Hips’ Carrie Furniss) and CHOIRBOI (with Anjimile’s Anji Chithambo), Mike (guitarist) and Chris (bassist) play with gRAD pARTy, and our drummer Billy Nichols has a solo project under his name.

What has been your proudest moment as a member of a band?

Playing our first live show this past April; file under “v tender.”

What advice would you give to a woman thinking about starting a band or learning an instrument? 

Let me know if you need to borrow my bass or guitar!! Find allies in the scene (swipe right on me bb)!! Let’s make this scene too queer for its own good!!

Are there any other current or former bands you would like to see featured by QWIMB?

I’m gonna give Anjimile and Birthing Hips a #double #shout #out

Wanna get to know Leigh Cheri better? Check out the links.

You also catch them at The Midway on Oct 29, 2015 before Queeraoke and November 19, 2015 at O’Briens. 

An Interview With Kristen Ford

What brought you to Boston?

I had moved back to Western Massachusetts, (where I grew up) to work on an album on Many Doors records. I would commute 2 hours to Boston to go busking, and was dating a girl out there. Eventually it was like, this is ridiculous, let’s pull a U Haul and move in. It didn’t work out with the girl but it did with the city. That was 6 years ago, and I’ve been on the road full time the past year.

Have you experienced a strong scene for queer women in the city in terms of music/performers etc?

kristenfordportrait
Photo credit: Menelik Puryear

I think the answer to that is yes and no. There is a really big DJ scene with the weekly dance parties, and I find certain musical genres are really friendly to queers and you’ll find your people at those shows. However having a specific place to go and see queer women play, or a consistently gay ladies live music scene is not something I’ve encountered.

Do you have any sense of a history of a queer scene here?

Boston is the land of history! Depends how far back you dig how far into the closet they may have been, but there are vibes.

 What made you decide to start performing?

kristenford
Photo credit: Menelik Puryear

I didn’t have a choice. Just loved being a ham and getting attention since I was tiny. When I was 16 I saw an Ani Difranco show at the Avalon (now the House of Blues) and something struck me like​ a lightning bolt. That’s it. That’s what I have to do. She wielded so much power over us all with just her voice and a guitar. One of the greats.

Are there any artists that you look up to or who have inspired your own music?

I was mentored by June Millington; she was in the first all-female band to be signed to a major label called Fanny- absolute bad ass and she has transformed my music and my life. I also am a huge Radiohead fan, and recently as a one woman band I’ve been very inspired by Audrey Ryan and the way she changed the game.

Do think things are getting better for queer female performers or are there still barriers to overcome?

kristenford
Photo credit: Menelik Puryear

I was at SXSW recently, and it’s pretty appalling how few women there are onstage or working the technical aspects of the show. It’s not even a queer issue, it’s a women’s rights issue. And I do think there is a lot of external pressure for gay performers to be “pretty” and stereotypically femme in order to get ahead. I mean even Ellen has a makeup sponsorship. Long way to go- but that’s why we must fight for the kind of performers, clubs and scenes we want to have, until the mainstream is ready.

Are you in any other bands/performance acts?

Currently living out of a van and touring full time keeps me busy only playing my own stuff. But in the past I played drums in Tilt-A-Whirl and The Grooves Moons- you can find us on Spotify and iTunes.

What has been your proudest moment as a performer?

Hard to choose just one, so many great experiences. Last summer I played mainstage at National Women’s Music Festival, and that was pretty grand. To have this incredible (all woman) tech staff making us sound and look great, a huge stage to bound across and being given the space to be really appreciated as a rock star from the audience was huge and really fun.

What advice would you give to a queer woman thinking about starting a band or learning an instrument?

Do it! Work hard and make friends with other people out there in Indy bands. I think too many people get caught up in being competitive, how many Facebook likes do you have and such, and come to my show blah blah blah, without going out to support other local acts, nurturing your own scene and giving as much as you hope to get.

Are there any other current or former bands/solo acts you would like to see featured by QWIMB?

Bethel Steel, Laura Grill, What time is it Mr Fox, Jonny Blazes, Jade Sylvan and as a promoter, Kristen Porter.

Thanks for the interview!

I also would like to say I’m having a very gay show at Club Passim Sunday August 16th, with Bern & the Brights from NYC and What Time is it Mr Fox. You can get your tickets at http://clubpassim.org/

Yes All Women Boston to put on its biggest show ever – as a benefit for Girls Rock Campaign Boston!

Here is the press release:

Yes All Women Boston is presenting its third show in an ongoing series of live music events featuring
female musicians from the Boston area.

Yes All Women Boston is a movement formed in response to the #yesallwomen conversation on Twitter about women’s experiences with misogynistic violence and harassment, and seeks to unite people of all genders in creating safe, supportive environments where women’s voices can be heard through music, art, spoken word, and in their everyday lives. The organization aims to cultivate awareness of gender inequality and form a support network within the greater Boston community. The upcoming show will feature seven bands, and is a marker of continued success for the new organization. Yes All Women Boston is entirely volunteer-driven, and has gone through a series of member changes since its inception in June 2014. Since then, the group has put on three events, and aims to expand beyond musical performances to include visual art, spoken word, and much more.

All show proceeds will be donated to Girls Rock Campaign Boston. The show will be on Friday, January 30, 2015, 7pm at TT the Bear’s Place in Cambridge, and the lineup will feature local musicians Magen Tracy, Ladymob, Drab, Viva Gina, Awaaz Do, Solo Sexx, Lizzy Pitch, and Band Without Hands. Networking begins at 7pm, music begins at 8pm. Artwork donated by Frank Germano of Man on Fire Design.

For more information about Yes All Women Boston, please visit www.yesallwomenboston.org

Profile on Pinko

KC Mackey  also known by her dj name Pinko brings brings the dancing fever not only from behind the tables but on the floor itself. Spinning booty bumping positivity and conscious foot stomping, KC strives to create an environment for the survivor, the outsider and all those longing for community free of assumptions and cat-calling. KC organizes RESISTDANCE, a survivor centric, anti-prison, all ages dance space which seeks to promote local djs. All proceeds go to benefit abolition efforts.

Hey KC, what brings you to Boston?

I came for school, which was great… but I really stayed because of the  various activist efforts I had been involved in. I really fell in love with the way community struggled and came together in a city which is so racist and oppressive in many subtle ways. So I made all these beautiful connections and stayed.

How did you get into dj-ing?

It had been something that I had wanted to do for a long time. I’m really into the idea of facilitating a collective dance experience and understanding people’s need to dance. When I dance, my inner dialogue shuts off and I really get into the music and that’s an experience I want to give back to people. I didn’t really have the means or the confidence, but by serendipity or something I found MMMMAVEN an DJ and Production school near my work in Central Square. I learned so much in a short amount of time and now it’s almost all I think about. I definitely think my dance move skills and my attention to changes has contributed to my taking up DJing.

What is RESISTDANCE?

Well, I can’t really talk about RESISTDANCE without talking about Black and Pink which is an amazing organization founded by a formally incarcerated queer anarchist minister Jason Lyden. But it is a prison abolition group supporting queer and trans prisoners. So we are anti capitalist, feminists, anti-racist, we demand a society without prisons.. police.. we want to address harm without causing more harm. So the first RESISTDANCE was held for my pen pal to help him buy a word processor to continue his legal work while in prison. It was originally going to be called ELECTRO QUEER TRANS RESISTDANCE but…. it is an ongoing event that basically strives to do three things, provide a safe supportive space prioritizing the needs and experiences of the marginalized, tho support local DJS, and to ABOLISH PRISONS. It is a space where people feel good and are able to embody their body without the fear of being harassed as a queer/trans person.

What is the relationship between music and social change/empowerment for you?

I think that music, dancing, and community can provide us that glimpse of liberation from these false barriers of gender and capability. It can be part of the healing process for souls in physical and mental cages in a society which prioritizes disposal.

What are tour plans for the future?

My hope is that I can devote a lot more time to RESISTDANCE. I have no idea what it will turn into but I am working on it becoming more of a collective effort… I’d also like to be identified by the genre electro-communism.

What do you think about the queer scene in Boston?

I mean there’s a lot of female electronic artists holding it down in those dude dominated spaces. There’s a thing out there where we get misguided compliments about our capabilities like “OMG ur a girl, but ur so good!” So what these guys don’t realize is that they aren’t complimenting you at all, they are commenting with a heavy does of sexism on our capabilities. BUT… I mean I’m from Texas and there is no queer scene. So for me, I just think there are so many beautiful talented people in my community who all wanna do cool shit. And I try to focus on that.

Who are some of your favorite artists and inspirations?

Well of course Leah and Bianca and all the djs who have done Zusdays. As for artists to spin I’m down with Janelle Monae, DJ Uniique (the queen of Jersey), fuckin Peaches, Crass, The Bloody Beetroots are just some that come to mind.

Article and interview by Dana Nolan.

Call Me Doxy

Call Me Doxy is an angsty, feminist interpretation of classical motifs in a Cabaret coated, rock n’ roll context. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Call Me Doxy may be better described as the musical equivalent of an unlaced corset, or a cacophonously sultry orchestra of ne’er-do-wells. Prompted to action by misogynists everywhere, Call Me Doxy often explores (and dispels) the concepts of gender roles, sexuality, and empowerment with the combined musical forces of five unlikely partners in crime.

What brought you to Boston?

Initially, college. But good friends, good music, and the warmth of the Boston community have kept us (Call Me Doxy) here.

Have you experienced a strong scene for queer women in the city in terms of music/performers etc?

Yes, to a certain extent. Most people in Boston are incredibly welcoming and tolerant. That being said, I don’t personally feel like I have enough of an awareness of/connection with other queer musicians. I would like that to change. Our band has been playing together for a little over a year at this point, but we rarely play shows with fellow members of the queer community. We would love to play a stronger role in advocating for the freedom to express sexuality and gender in less binary ways: it’s a huge part of why we make the music we make.

What made you decide to start performing?

We share the same ideals and the same message: people are people. All of us have been pigeon-holed at one time or another because of our gender or sexuality. All of us (regardless of whether or not we all identify as queer) want to advocate for social change, feminism, and a heightened awareness of the way bigotry has crept into cultural normalcy (and how to stop that.)  And it just so happens that all of us wanted to communicate this through classically influenced, cabaret-rock music.

What has been your proudest moment as a band?

Honestly, every moment we play together is the proudest moment. We rehearse twice a week, we play at least once a month, and yet the novelty of being able to share space with each other has yet to wear off. Just being in the same room as them makes my heart feel all warm and fuzzy, it’s pretty gross.

What advice would you give to a queer woman thinking about starting a band or learning an instrument?

Do it. If you have the slightest inkling to do it, DO IT.  Music should be music, regardless of your gender or sexuality. So do it. Worst case scenario, you’re learning something new. That’s a pretty innocuous worst case scenario.

In Thrust We Trust : Q&A With Thrust Club

Thrust Club is a four piece band hailing from Boston, which band member Sally Bunch describes as:

Thrust Club’s sound is a garage dance party where everyone is invited—a kick-drum that lifts you out of your seat, crunchy guitar chords under a layer of keys that’s sometimes smooth, sometimes ominous, and vocals that coo, scream, and everything in between, warning and complaining about but also celebrating the experience of being a woman. Thrust Club formed in February 2012 at Ladies Rock Camp, a 3-day fundraising event for Girls Rock Campaign Boston where women pick up instruments they have likely never played, form bands, write a song, and perform it live. After rocking the showcase at TT the Bear’s with “In Thrust We Trust,” singer Bethany Leavey, keyboardist Bonnie Joyce, drummer JC Climent, and guitarist Sally Bunch decided they were having too much fun to call it a weekend.

In spring 2012, they began practicing in a JP basement and pulled together a 5-song set to play at their first show, at the Middle East Upstairs in July 2012. Since then, Thrust Club has performed at Great Scott, the Midway, Milky Way, O’Brien’s, Precinct, and elsewhere, and in July 2013 released the EP Greetings from Mt. Thrustmore, available by download at http://thrustclub.bandcamp.com/. All members volunteer at GRCB’s summer sessions for Girls and Ladies Rock Camp, and believe in demonstrating and promoting girls’ and women’s to express themselves through music and other means.

The ladies answered some questions for us about Boston, queerness, women, and rock n’ roll.

What brought you to Boston?

Bethany: I was born and raised in the Boston suburbs and went to college at Northeastern University. With the exception of a short six-month stint in Chicago, I’ve never lived anywhere else. I’m what you’d call a lifer 🙂

Bonnie: My family moved to Ipswich when I was 16 and I bopped around throughout Massachusetts then finally moved to Jamaica Plain when I was 25. My brother’s girlfriend at the time had a room in her apartment that needed subletting, and I had a wad of cash in a tissue box rather than a bank account. I stuck around!

Sally: I came here in the 80s to attend BU and after graduation I made Boston my permanent home. I knew I wanted to attend college in a city, to be near cool radio stations, clubs, and bands, though I didn’t start venturing out to the Rat or TTs and other clubs until I was a senior.

JC: I moved here on a whim with my boyfriend 12 years ago for absolutely no reason other than we had a brief discussion one night where I said, “I’ve always wanted to live in Boston…” and he said, “me too…” and then we just did it! We move here in the middle of a blizzard in February 2003 with $500 savings, no job prospects and no friends here. I think we’ve done pretty well for ourselves.

Have you experienced a strong scene for queer women in the city in terms of music/performers etc?

Bethany: Ladies Rock Camp Boston and Girls Rock Campaign Boston have introduced me to the HUGE number of queer women involved in the Boston music community! It seems like I hardly ever go to or play a show where there isn’t at least one queer woman on the bill.

Bonnie: Thrust Club has been living in a bubble of it for the past two years, so I’ll have to say yes, because it’s something we’ve gravitated towards. We’ve been mentored and supported so well by the Girls Rock Boston community. We’ve played exactly one show where there weren’t women in any of the other bands on the bill and I’d like to keep it that way.

Sally: I do, and feel part of this growing community of bands I go see and play on the bill with, including Fur Purse, Weather Weapon, Viva Gina, Sleep Crimes, Kitchenettes, etc.

JC: I hadn’t paid attention until I attended my first Ladies Rock Camp (LRC) in February of 2011 and met the most amazing group of women I have ever known! I have since done LRC twice more and now consider myself a retired camper. I still volunteer for LRC and Girls Rock Campaign Boston (GRCB), where I teach bass and coach bands.

at rock camp officialDo you have any sense of a history of a queer scene here or is the past a faded memory?

Bethany: Like Bonnie said, the queer scene wasn’t something I really knew a whole lot about until I became involved in GRCB/LRCB. I was aware of a handful of queer women in the folk and singer/songwriter scene, but I didn’t really have a sense of a queer presence in the Boston rock scene until the last few years.

Bonnie: I don’t have a sense of it, but I wasn’t so keenly paying attention until a couple years ago.

Sally: I don’t have a sense of it; there may have been stuff going on that I wasn’t aware of, particularly in the nineties and early 2000s when for various reasons I wasn’t paying attention

JC: There is definitely at least a mini queer scene happening here! Bands like Viva Gina and Unstraight are definitely holding it down.

What made you decide to join a band?

Bethany: I joined my first band in high school (Holla, LittleMatchGirl!) I’ve always felt like being in a band was an inevitability for me. I knew that I wanted to make music, but I didn’t know quite how to go about it. I was lucky enough to have a few friends who felt the same way, and we decided we’d figure this whole “writing music” thing out together. We were an all-girl band by default because none of the guys we knew wanted to play with us.

Bonnie: Man! For a while there I was going out to see bands play like every dang night. I knew I wanted to do it but I had this really limited view like all the people who were in bands probably started out when they were wicked young or were so much more talented than I could ever be or whatever. I was hanging around with Radio Control and Streight Angular a lot, both bands with lady drummers–Kristina Otero and Theresa Polk, and was really inspired by them. Kristina blew me away with this story about playing a show on a Brookline Community Access TV show after having only a very brief experience of playing drums. My memory is fuzzy but it was something like a few weeks or months. (NOTE: I have contacted her asking for details but it’s early on a Saturday morning so I haven’t yet heard back)

When I heard about Girls Rock Camp I had a reaction you hear about a lot of women having, like, “Ugh! I wish they’d had this when I was a kid and then I’d be living in this alternate reality where I’m in a band!” And then the next year they ran it for adult ladies but I was too shy to do it. I became friends with Charlotte, Stud, and Tam, who were involved as campers and counselors and they urged me to sign up. I’m so lucky Thrust Club wanted to stay together!

Sally: I had these opportunities through Ladies Rock Camp that I never thought I would have. I just thought I’d come away with some friends to see other bands with. But in 2011 two of my rock camp band mates invited me to join the band they were forming. And then the following year Thrust Club wanted to keep going, and though at the time I didn’t really think of myself as a guitarist in the long term, I’m glad we’re still at it.

JC: After my first LRC, I realized that I wanted to start a band but didn’t really know how or whom to ask. I was already in Adam PC, but I wanted my own thing too. When Thrust Club formed during my second LRC in 2012, I got extremely lucky to join a band where all the members were local, we were making music we were all into, and decided to keep going!

dolled up

Are there any artists that you look up to or who have inspired your own music?

Bethany: I would not be the vocalist that I am today without Monique Powell of Save Ferris and Beth Ditto of Gossip. Bif Naked, Gwen Stefani, and Carrie Brownstien taught me how to yelp and twist my voice and, of course, Kathleen Hannah showed me how to scream my head off.

In terms of songwriting, I really admire the poetic simplicity of Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers, Kimya Dawson, The Moldy Peaches, The Mountain Goats and The Ramones.

The Ramones and Velvet Underground have served as a general inspiration for me – They didn’t have any special musical training, they just had instruments and a desire to make noise.

Bonnie: Like Sally, a lot of my longtime listening has been to dudes. Whatever, I’ll name them. I love Bruce Springsteen, Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers, The Mountain Goats, The Magnetic Fields, The Kinks. Right now I’m trying to figure out how to make my keyboard to make sounds like The Doors made.

Since becoming a lady in a band I’ve become more lady-centric in my tastes. I’ve loved Tegan and Sara forever and I’m super enjoying this pop turn they’re taking these days. We can sound pretty Riot Grrrl but I’ve only started listening to a lot of those bands once we’d already begun doing it. We just like yelling, so that’s how it turned out. There’s a lot to yell about!

A lot of my idols are Boston women in bands who I’ve actually had the chance to interact with, and who over time have become my peers.

Sally: I must admit that most of the music I listened to when I was younger was created by dudes, with a few exceptions including Tina Weymouth, Chrissy Hynde, and of course Patti Smith. I guess I identify with Patti the most because she’s a writer who stumbled into playing music. Going back now and listening to some of the female bands like Sleater Kinney made me realize how they are influencing me know. And I have guitarist envy every time I see Marisa Paternoster play.

JC: When I was about 6 or 7, I wanted to sing like Debbie Gibson! But I’ve also been into Joan Jett, Cyndi Lauper, Blondie, and Heart for as long as I can remember. Kathleen Hanna has been a huge influence on me ever since I discovered Bikini Kill around the age of 16. Kim Deal is my biggest bass inspiration and Janet Weiss is my biggest drum inspiration! And I’ve had a crush on Carrie Brownstein since high school.

roller derby

Do think things are getting better for queer female performers or are there still barriers to overcome?

Bethany: There are always barriers to overcome, I think, but it seems like things are getting better. There is definitely a growing queer female presence in the Boston music scene with performers going out and supporting each other.

Bonnie: I hope so, because it’s something that we’re actively trying to achieve. You’ve got to do a lot of good stuff to edge out the bad stuff. There’s nothing like a shopping trip for your gear to remind you that discrimination still exists, though.

Sally: I imagine they are, though I’ve only been at it for a couple of years and we’re in a progressive city and part of this amazing, supportive community.

JC: Things can ALWAYS get better for females and for queers everywhere! But I think as long as we have each other’s backs and continue to nurture and support our scene, shit is good.

Are you in any other bands?

Bethany: In addition to Thrust Club, I front Boston riot-doom band Sleep Crimes. I also have several ongoing side projects: The Sitcom Moms, my acoustic, punk rock, mashup cover band with my hetero lifemate (and former LittleMatchGirl bassist ) Eve Gravel, Das Oopsie, a ukulele duo with Rainy Logan of Eye Witness/Rotating Strawberry Madonna, and Muscleshucker, Sleep Crimes’ acoustic corporate events alter-ego.

Bonnie: Not right now, but I would be open to it. In 2013 I played bass in a second Ladies Rock Camp band, a hip hop band called Slam Juice. We had a mere 3 days of bliss and sort of tried to stay together after camp, but it didn’t happen. Ladies if you are reading this, know that I still love you and would jump at the chance to reunite.

Sally: Until last summer I played bass in another band, Seamstress, with two other women from my LRC band and another friend on accordion. We had a unique sound and I was proud of what we accomplished those two years we were active.

JC: I am also in Adam PC, where I play bass and some percussion, as well as do back-up vocals.

What has been your proudest moment as a member of a band?

Bethany: Oh my gosh, so many! I don’t think I could ever pick just one. My very first show with my very first band was huge for me. It sort of felt like we were pulling off this huge ruse, like “Oh my God, they actually think we’re a BAND?!?!?” Playing NYC on Thrust Club’s first band-iversary was so amazing. I was standing on stage thinking “…A year ago, we didn’t exist, and now we’re recording and EP and playing Brooklyn!” It is also the most amazing feeling to have people singing the words of your song back to you. I don’t think that will ever get old. AND HOW COULD I FORGET OPENING FOR JD SAMSON & MEN?!?!?!? That might be my biggest fangirl moment.

Bonnie: This is a really tough question, because there have been so many and I always feel so lucky to have them. Sorry, Tina, I can’t pick a single proudest moment so here’s a list. Playing our first show at the Middle East Upstairs was a huge honor. Being asked to open for JD Samson & MEN was another thrill, and I tip my hat to our drummer for having the guts to send them our music when they put out a call. JC is a promotional dynamo. Our first band practice after we got the news, we kicked things off with a group squeal. I was a nervous wreck at the show itself and could barely speak to JD Samson, but I’m proud I managed to eke out a thank you. Playing the TomTom/GRCB Lady Drummer showcase was certainly a highlight, and watching the video that was made at that show makes me so happy. I’m excited we’re booked to be a lunchtime band at Girls Rock Camp in July. Anytime we’re mentioned in print or on blogs, I’m like, “What?! This is happening?! Cool!”

Sally: I’d have to agree with JC about playing that show with JD Samson and Men is up there, as well as earlier that month playing at the Tom Tom/GRCB benefit. In addition, having our first post-LRCB gig at the Middle East, and pulling that together. I could go on…I guess the whole Thrust Club experience has been one proud moment.

JC: I think the biggest “holy shit!” moment for me was Thrust Club being asked to open for JD Samson & MEN for their Boston tour date at Great Scott. The proudest moment is every single second I spend with Thrust Club and being grateful/ astonished at how well the four of us work together.

men and thrust club

What advice would you give to a woman thinking about starting a band or learning an instrument?

Bethany: Do it. Just get out there and do it. Don’t worry about whether or not you’re good or bad or not sounding the way you want to. Get involved in GRCB/LRCB. You will meet so many inspiring women, even if you just come to an event. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t, either.

Bonnie: You don’t have to lock yourself in a room until you’re perfect before you start performing. Just get out there. As for the people you form a band with, just go with your gut. Have patience with yourself when you’re struggling on the learning curve. If there is someone at a show you’d like to emulate, go up to them and talk to them. Most people in bands are just regular people and they’ll be friends with you. Blab nonstop about what you’re doing. Write to Thrust Club. We’d love to book a show with you.

Seek out spaces where you truly feel like anything goes. If you can swing it, get your butt to Ladies Rock Camp. It is both the most fun and the most empowering thing I’ve ever done. If you can’t afford it, volunteer for them. They still need volunteers for the Girls’ sessions in June and July. If that’s not possible, go to a GRCB-affiliated event and talk to everyone; we’re a friendly bunch. We got really advice at Rock Camp that I often think of to this day. One of Thrust Club’s band coaches, KJ Parish, was a taskmaster extraordinaire that weekend, and she said, “Being in a band is all about making decisions and moving on.” Just keep at it. Another bit that stuck with me is when Angela Sawyer of Weirdo Records told us something along the lines of, “It is your job as a musician to be as yourself as you can possibly be.” I think back to that one whenever I start to feel inadequate or like I ought to affect more of a persona or look better onstage.

Sally: I would say just go for it. Get involved with Girls Rock Campaign Boston to meet other female musicians and help inspire girls. If that’s not available, go see and support other bands and get to know them. And if there’s some little gremlin on your shoulder saying you’re not good enough at your instrument or you’re too old tell it to shut the fuck up.

JC: JUST GO FOR IT!!! Attend a rock camp session, meet some ladies, go to all the rock shows, meet some more ladies, practice your instrument, sing in the shower or in front of the mirror, and don’t ever be embarrassed or let anyone tell you that you can’t do something

at rock camp

Are there any other current or former bands you would like to see featured by QWIMB?

Bethany: Well, Sleep Crimes DOES have the Improper Bostonian’s Most Eligible queer woman banging the skins 😉 Viva Gina is a fucking force of nature, I would like to see them featured everywhere.

Bonnie: Sleep Crimes. Haven’t you heard that their drummer Jasmine Hagans is the most eligible lesbian in Boston?!

Sally: Any of the above-mentioned bands who haven’t been featured. Also others we haven’t played with including Unstraight and Wet Dress.

JC: Definitely loved the features on Fur Purse and Shepherdess.

Q & A with Reba of the Kitschenettes

reba
Reba

The Kitschenettes are a 4 piece, “quiet grrrl” band based in Somerville and Jamaica Plain. All four band members are long-time volunteers for Girls Rock Camp Boston and all have been active in the Boston music scene for many years. Band member, Reba Mitchell, was kind enough to answer some questions about Boston and queerness for us.

scene? Has it changed over time?

RebaI’m not really sure how to identify the queer music scene. I mean, I know a lot of local musicians who identify as queer, but I’m hesitant to slap that label on their bands because of it. I’m also not super in touch with local music. I am, however, in touch with cable tv, snacks, and going to bed early on weekends. Is there a Queer Women in Pajamas blog?

What brought you to Boston? Are you local?

RebaI came to Boston because New Hampshire is terrible. Kathleen went to school in Boston, and she is from New York. Ashley is from the area. Slamber has lived in California and Texas, but has been in Boston for some time.

Artists inspired you personally or musically?

RebaWhen I was 15 or so, I was fortunate to have been introduced to a lot of riot grrl/queercore bands. The Internet had a lot to do with that– I was really into Lookout! Records and pop-punk stuff, and somehow that lead me to riot grrl chat rooms on AOL. I met a lot of people that way– some of whom are still my best friends. I was hugely influenced by Team Dresch, The Third Sex, Helium, Bikini Kill, Excuse 17… but at the same time I was also listening to like, Steely Dan. So I can’t pretend that I was ever really that cool.

What do you want people to remember about your band in the years to come?

RebaWe all met as volunteers for Girls Rock Campaign Boston, which –I think it’s safe to say– has inspired all of us to play music. Personally, I had a few years where I stopped playing music… for stupid insecurity reasons. Playing music with Slamber, Ashley, and Kathleen has allowed me to relax a little bit and just have fun. For once I’m not thinking about how I look on stage, or if the audience is dancing or not, or if the audience even exists in the first place. It’s just fun. I hope that people pick up on that and are inspired to start a band of their own, the way that GRCB bands have inspired us.

Why did you join a band and what instruments do you play?

RebaAfter a session of Ladies Rock Camp (a GRCB fund-raiser) had ended, I found myself inspired but also kind of restless. I saw a lot of talent and was given this new energy during Camp, and I wanted to keep it going. So we (our original drummer: Tanya Palit, Ashley, Kathleen, and I) just got together and played some cover songs one evening. We didn’t have any expectations other than to challenge ourselves and maybe build some new friendships. Tanya (<3) had to step away from drums to focus on some other projects, so Slamber joined us just after our first show.

We rotate vocals and instruments in the band. Ashley, Slamber, and I move between guitar/bass/drums– for selfish reasons… so we don’t get bored. Kathleen keeps anchor on keys because she is better at it than any of us. I’ve learned a ton from watching Slamber play drums and guitar. And Ashley is always encouraging us to move around and loosen up on stage. Kathleen has pipes like woah. It’s great to be able to try new things and learn from each other.

female members we should know about?

RebaI’m hesitant to pigeon hole anyone if they don’t feel comfortable with the label. I guess I’d just encourage people to support women in music in general… or just support women in general… and we’ll all benefit from it either way.

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