Our band (of Pickles) could be your life: A reflection on coaching Girls Rock camp
|The Hopeless Pickles of Pizazz, and front and center, two crazy pageant moms.|
I mean, we had experience living in a van together for three weeks, so why couldn't we show some second-graders that all they needed to make it as a band was each other?
At first, our approach was pretty much hands-off -- so concerned with Kim Fowleying the band, we let our Pickles do whatever they wanted. Afternoon staff meetings with other coaches and managers led us to believe this wasn't always the best way to go, though. They shared good tips, like clapping with the Pickles while singing through a song, instead of playing instruments right away, and setting up song structure for them. But Robin and I were thoroughly enjoying our band's dissonant, No Wave-ish tendencies and were opposed to hampering the Pickles' sparse sound by forcing a formula.
Somehow, we struck a balance, and the song "Helalulu" was born. It was a glorious day. Now the band had something to practice, over and over and over again -- which we did, for several days before our big show at the Oriental Theatre. Robin and I watched as the girls fed each other forgotten lyrics and helped each other remember their solos, and it was these little triumphs that made Girls Rock camp feel as awesome for us as it (hopefully) was for them.
The day of the big show, we had some minor logistical hiccups, but the performance itself was a success. In fact, the problems the Pickles faced were much like real-life band drama -- one member went missing right before the one-song set, but she appeared in the nick of time, ready to play for the parental masses. Robin and I stood at the foot of the stage beaming with pride, slightly baffled by how amazing the whole experience was. We were so proud of our Pickles.
That night, my own band played a show at some sort of derivative of a biker bar -- the place was plastered with images of almost-naked women with dead eyes and beer logos for nipple covers. We were bumped down in the line-up in order for the touring band to get the night's "prime spot," one that definitely gave them the advantage of a bigger crowd to laugh at a spray of rape jokes.
But being a woman who has made it her mission to play music while remaining innocuous to the inherent stupidity that is (often) rock and roll, I was reminded of why Girls Rock rules: Because girls are going to play music whether the world thinks they can or not. And it's going to be awesome, every single time they pick up their instruments.