OK, so imagine you're a girl, and you like to rock. Your mom's boring, your dad likes Beyonce, your brother sneaks away to listen to the Jonas Bros. when no one's paying attention. That leaves you in your bedroom with your garage-sale ukulele and some sort of foggy notion about wanting to learn how to Rock.
You've seen them at school, the girl with drumsticks poking out of her backpack walking with a girl who plays some sort of four-stringed guitar. Their eyes twinkle. The one with the bass is always scribbling poetry in the margins of her assignments. She wears navy blue Chuck Taylors. The drummer taps her sticks on the basketball post at lunch. She can keep a rhythm. They're rockers. They need a guitarist.
Jessica Hopper offers solutions in her just published The Girls' Guide to Rocking: How to Start a Band, Book Gigs, and Get Rolling to Rock Stardom. Hopper, whose writing appears in LA Weekly (and Spin, the Chicago Reader and others; she's also the music consultant on This American Life, and used to work for Dischord.), offers solid solutions to nearly every answer a budding female rocker may have. Simple stuff, like, "What is an amp?" "When do I used my wah-wah pedal?" "How do I write lyrics, and what should I write about?" But also more difficult stuff, like, how to make a demo, where to book a show, finding a tour promoter, and dealing with record labels.
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SHOW ME HOW
(Basically, read the book, then watch this. You'll already have a leg up on 90 percent of all other bands.)
In fact, though the book is designed for a very specific demographic, it's highly recommended for stinky dudes looking to rock balls, too. (Just don't let your idiot lead guitarist catch you reading it, or he'll think you're going all Blitzen Trapper on him.)
Hopper is in town today promoting the book. If you're over Santa Monica way, she'll be signing at the Santa Monica Public Library at 2 p.m. -- with Mika Miko performing, as well. Later this evening, at 7 p.m., she'll end up at Skylight Books in Los Feliz for a book signing.
Remember: always bring a few extra drum sticks. You never know.