A couple of years ago Nicole and I took Kate to see a documentary called Girls Rock. It’s about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls, which started in Portland in 2001. Kate loved it and was totally inspired. She wanted to go but didn’t have much experience with music at the time. Through the video game Rock Band, however, we discovered that she had a talent for drumming. Nicole took her down to the Seattle Drum School in Georgetown and signed her up for some lessons. Last year she did a day camp there but it was mostly boys and there were less than ten kids. She did really well and her teachers down there started tossing around the phrase “drum prodigy.”
So last month Nicole and Kate spent a week in Portland so Kate could go to Rock ‘n’ Camp for Girls. She had a great time. During the camp the girls form into bands, and each band writes and rehearses a song. They also take workshops on screen printing, zine making, self-defense and other useful arts. The week culminates with a big show, held this year the Bagdad Theater.
I worked during the week but on Friday night Ray and I drove down to Portland so we could see the show Saturday. Kate was nervous because she was going to be playing in front of 700 people. And indeed it was quite a scene. There were sixteen girls bands to play and another that was made up of older camp volunteers. The bands had great names like the Bionic Poodles and the Thunder Bats. Kate’s band, Employees Only, was the last of the girls bands to play, and the other bands took over two hours to do their songs. Some of them were fun and energetic, others sort of fell apart onstage, but all of them had spirit and it was pretty awesome to see them rocking out at such a young age. My favorite of them was Vent, who did a song called, “It Came from the Vent.”
Finally Employees Only hit the stage. It then became clear why they had the last slot. They were tighter than many of the other bands and the song was catchy and speedy. Kate fuckin’ rocked the drums. She was really awesome and we were ridiculously proud of her. I remember thinking that Kate was clearly the best drummer of the girls bands, and then realizing this was a totally dad thing to assert. I stand behind it though; Kate has mad skills for a 13 year old.
After the show we took Kate out for a celebratory sushi dinner. She was jazzed by the whole experience and wants to go back with her friend Gloria next year. Big thumbs up to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls. They are doing something truly cool there and tomorrow’s music scene will be better for it.