Support us with Kachingle!
October 18, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
At 18, Luci Fere had a feminist awakening through music. She screamed into the microphone, painted her face with blue magic marker and sported a faux-hawk. That was in her punk stage, and after a brief run with folk, Fere’s latest obsession is doom metal. However, as a woman, she often has to defend the validity of her interest in the genre.
“One time, I was just talking to some friends about how I love doom metal,” Fere says, “and this guy came up to me and said, ‘Yeah right, you don’t even know any bands that play that kind of music; name five!’” Fere rattled off five bands.
Fighting gender stereotypes, especially in the rock genre, inspired Fere to join friends Leola Davis and Amanda Rainey to create CoMo Girls Rock in May. It’s an organization “dedicated to empowering girls through creative expression, musical exploration and performance,” according to its mission statement.
The trio started planning a 2013 CoMo Girls Rock camp, which will likely be held in June. Girls ages 12-18 can attend a five-day session in which they form bands, write songs and go to workshops on leadership and self-esteem. To fund the camp, CoMo Girls Rock is publishing a zine that will be on sale at the Citizen Jane Film Festival this weekend. With contributions from 18 women, the $10 zine contains collages, poems and essays about being a female musician.
The founders of CoMo Girls Rock plan to offer any music genre, depending on campers’ interests. The camp doesn’t require previous music experience and it will also be open to transgender youth who identify as female. At the end of the week, campers will perform with their bands.
Much like Fere, Rainey and Davis come from musical backgrounds. Rainey plays drums in a folk-pop band called Dubb Nubb with her two younger twin sisters. Although Davis doesn’t play an instrument, her love for the music scene has been growing since she started attending punk shows at 14.
“I never felt encouraged to play music, and I felt really shy about it,” Davis says. “I want to provide a space for girls to know that they have every right to get up there and go crazy.”
Throughout the past century, women in the music industry have made a commercial impact, and strong female artists are consistently emerging. The now 54-year-old “I Love Rock and Roll” queen, Joan Jett, still tours with her band, the Blackhearts, and Madonna remains a legend in the world of dance-pop. The classic blues of Billie Holiday, Joni Mitchell’s popularity in the ’60s and ’70s and Adele’s chart dominance lend meaning to the phrase “girl power.”
Janet Moore, the only female co-owner of Davis Muller Instruments Inc., notices the equality that these legendary women have encouraged in her profession. “I feel just as much a part of the team as any of the guys,” Moore says. “The world at large will always have the age-old stigma of male vs. female, but I am proud to work in a portion of that industry where gender is less of the impact and changing the hearts and minds of people through music is the focus.”
Through the camp, Fere, Rainey and Davis hope to inspire girls who have been too shy to enter the music world. Although camp details are still in the works, one thing is certain; it will be run entirely by women.
“The boys can clean up the lunch,” Rainey says. “But girls will be teaching the lessons.”