Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Faye, Leslie, and Shelley

Okay fuck it. Here goes, you scoundrel, Ted, you...

Mostly, from my jaded feminist perspective at that time, the real reason I'd go hang out in those basements had to do with the hot grrls who hung around those there parts, the girls I respected, made art with, and played music with. The guys makin noise on stage were exciting, yes - well maybe, but definitely secondary in my realm. (sorry, no offense fellas, you know I love ya) (truth hurts) (smile)

It was the nineties, oh yeah, baby. I played djembe, West African hand drum made from a tree trunk. I was all hippie dyke grrl, givin the big middle finger to Notre Dame town. And then there was Leslie Morelli on bass - one wicked strega girl, Faye on electric guitar - one bad ass Texas mutha fucka (don't mess with her) (or I'll mess with you), and Zoe Marin on the occasional keyboard, rockin it stylishly hard core, fighting off the idiots in the crowd like kali-ma. Quite the bunch. Smart, hot, full of feminist 'tude, and ready to dish it out. Or rather dig it out. Thanks to Faye, I was turned onto Sleater Kinney. Grrl math rock was instant love, especially due to the interesting link to the polyrhythmic music West African music I had been working with. Faye, Leslie, Zoe, and I were all friends and hung out. We started playing music together, seeing what would happen with the mixture between base/electric sound and djembe. Simple as that. We had a handful of songs - rhythmic, tight, and full of a deep, drenching spirit. Most songs were instrumental and raw, though some tackled conceptual issues such as racism and sexism, with few, yet acute lyrics.

If I could describe the music, it could be compared to a rolling train of feminist punk rock, smooth, yet charging, driving. Deep and raw. Mixing grrl rock and African percussion was an experiment, and a good one. The shows we had were in dingy basements, where all the punk boys would make noise and try to make a difference. Party atmosphere and a lot of fun. (Must now mention the memory of when I was on the trap set with y'all to "Oh Mickey You're So Fine") (that was fun and funny)

The bands at the parties were 'decent' musically, yet quite exciting. Mostly guys, though. Some of the feminist 'cool' guys were totally supportive of the girl band 'air-time' so that was good. I do remember, however, a few times men in the crowd jeering and uttering sexist, negative remarks while we played - specifically once when Zoe was tearin it up. Too bad for that and I wonder which one of us tore his head off. (Remember-- this was South Bend, Indiana - Notre Dame's catholic town, mid 90's. Fun times at dick-mount high) If anything could sum up my memories of what fueled the solidarity with these women and our music at that time, it would be that last sentence.


The five songs from this cassette were recorded at Clifford by Ron Garcia in the Spring of 1997. This is another set that never saw any official release, but rather a few copies just passed around here and there. Enjoy!


see also:
Faye, Leslie, and Shelley on MySpace


Julie McCoy said...

Holy shit. I had NO idea this ever happened. I am SO excited to listen to this!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Shelley--thank you for the write up you are awesome. Your recollection makes me laugh and squeal at the same time because I think it captures perfectly the spirit of our efforts. Those musical experiments were never completely realized to their full potential, irrelevant; never completely recognized, irrelevant; never perfected; irrelevant. The relevant part for this purpose is that we were able to make some beautiful noise (and some how record it--thanks Ron!) and solidify our friendship and bonds of solidarity--RELEVANT.

No matter who you are, or your musical aptitude the most important thing to remember is that it matters--the creation of music as a means of expression, community and solidarity can shape your life and memories.



Anonymous said...

Boy, my band-mates are way more eloquent than I could ever be. I just remember having a blast at practice - being nervous about shows, and practically making poor Ron deaf when we decided that a scream would be a good addition to one of the songs, but neglected to tell him as he was recording us. (Sorry, Ron. It does add a certain something!)

Carriedunmore said...

Faye ROCKS!!!!!! what is she up to, anyway - facebook Carrie Dunmore and please add to friends! THX