When my sister was 12 years old she bought a drum set with money she had saved up from baby sitting. I’m sure my parents and the neighbors absolutely loved to hear us play “Closing Time” over and over with the garage door half-opened. Obviously, we secretly wanted people to hear us. Thinking back on it, it never occurred to me that it was out of the ordinary that Meredith was playing drums. My parents also bought her an autoharp, and a couple of years of piano lessons. Everyone in my family plays an instrument. My cousin Sarah, she rocks. She’s better than all of us and we know it. I’m still hoping to ride her coattails to stardom some day.
So when it comes to girls rock, I say duhhh, yeah they do.
Just looking back on our 5 years at SceneSC, I think fondly on the artists that we’ve watched develop from their teenage years and blossom into excellent musicians. I know personally how hard and how much confidence it takes to play music in front of people and to be yourself in your music. It takes a lot of guts to get up on stage, especially to be singing and playing original music. And that’s not a gender thing, that goes for just about anyone. We were impressed with a 14 year old Becca Smith so much that we posted videos of her performing and consistently previewed her shows. Cayla Fralick was 16, maybe 17 when we started covering her, and now we see her as one of Columbia’s top female performers. The same goes for Katelyn Bowie, Malea Boss, and all the other female teenagers we’ve covered over the years. And at the same time, we don’t seem to cover as many young male performers (most of them are late teens). Maybe it’s because girls develop faster and sound better at a young age? So when it comes to Girls Rock, which I think is incredible, I feel lost to a lot of the cultural gender barriers. I’ve been living in this fantasy land where I thought guys and girls did have equal opportunities when it came to music. I now work in a music business world where the majority of people I deal with be it booking, promoting, writing, etc seem to be female dominated. That’s also something that never occurred to me until I started to write this piece.
What’s magical about girls rock camp, is that most of the girls coming in won’t be able to play an instrument. Some of them sing in their room and don’t have the confidence to do more. They’ll be writing songs together, in a band, pushed to collaborate and work together. It’s a wonderful thing for all adolescents to learn to work together and rely on other people. The girls will be pushed to be creative, and be themselves, and to take chances and go against the grain. Rock n Roll is about breaking the rules. The greatest part about writing music, is that there are no rules. You can do whatever you want. This type of camp, out of a school setting, is a chance to not only tell girls the secrets of the world that the instructors have learned, but to teach them first hand in a one of a kind way.
It’s been an incredible thing to watch our community rally around Girls Rock Columbia. And Friday night, the boys will try to do their part, rocking out at a fundraiser for the camp. Bands include YES YES, The Restoration, The Unawares, and Rodney Queen (members of Say Brother). Stick around between bands for a Drag Show, and after the show for a DJ and dance party.
To tell you the truth, I’ve honestly been jealous that this opportunity is only open to girls. You Google “Girls Rock” and camps from all over America pop up, and a movie. You Google “Boys Rock” and you get an airbrushed picture with a soccer ball and a racecar on it. Adolescent guys and girls alike could use a boost when it comes to music. Having a rock n roll heart whether you’re a boy or girl can put you on the outside looking in. It’s really cool when you’re that age and find some like minds, and in South Carolina that’s sometimes hard to find.