This was not a standard garage band. For one, the members had picked out instruments two days earlier. For another, the jam session ended when a supervisor called, “Ladies, it’s snack time.”The band formed at Girls Rock Camp in Atlanta, which teaches 10- to 16-year-old musical beginners to bang drums and windmill guitars like their rock heroes. The five-day camp has a simple message: Girls rock too. In a genre long dominated by men, the founders want campers to feel as comfortable being loud and expressing themselves on stage as many boys do.
Oh, to be a preteen in July. These kids are precious, no sarcasm intended. Here's 10-year-old Katherine Butler, whose band Think Fast has already been riven by artistic disputes:
“We’ve had some hard times,” she said. “It feels like we’ve been a band way more than two days.”
And another anonymous rockette:
“I don’t respect Justin Bieber, but I really, really like him.”
Bless. Absolutely darling. But wait.
A similar rock camp for girls opened in Portland, Ore., in 2001, and the idea has quickly gained steam. It was founded by a women’s studies student who had worked in the music industry and wanted to encourage more women to start bands.
Encouraging more women to start bands. Oh yes let's. As the article reminds us, this is all so empowering. By all means let us gather up our tender young offspring and deliver them into the loving, empowerfulizing embrace of the music industry.
Summary: be solo, or a duo, because a full band is financially untenable; work much, much harder, under much more stressful conditions, than bands of earlier generations had to. Be very young, or have the ability to take the broke-ness, the physical and emotional knock-around, that very young people can.
Whoops, Mike Doughty, you're such a downer. Let's try that again. Being in a band is so empowerfulmentatious! You go, girl!
On a personal level, I have witnessed the impoverishment of many critically acclaimed but marginally commercial artists. In particular, two dear friends: Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse) and Vic Chesnutt. Both of these artists, despite growing global popularity, saw their total incomes fall in the last decade. There is no other explanation except for the fact that “fans” made the unethical choice to take their music without compensating these artists.
Shortly before Christmas 2009, Vic took his life. He was my neighbor, and I was there as they put him in the ambulance. On March 6th, 2010, Mark Linkous shot himself in the heart. Anybody who knew either of these musicians will tell you that the pair suffered depression. They will also tell you their situation was worsened by their financial situation. Vic was deeply in debt to hospitals and, at the time, was publicly complaining about losing his home. Mark was living in abject squalor in his remote studio in the Smokey Mountains without adequate access to the mental health care he so desperately needed.
Artists, comma, good news about. Anyone?