You were a big part of the Gritty community from the beginning, as the original Musical Director for the All GRL Jams. What made you want to get involved in Gritty In Pink?
I had been playing bass in Shiragirl for about a month when Shira pitched the idea of an all-girl residency at the Satellite, and I really wanted to make it happen. I enjoyed playing in other jams around LA, but I thought it would be so cool to create a space for other musicians with similar backgrounds and identities. I never really felt like I belonged to a music community when I was starting out, and playing with others is an essential part of a musician’s growth – it’s how we improve our skills and network. I immediately saw the potential for Gritty in Pink to fill the void for so many others that might have shared my struggle.
Who was your favorite artist or band to interview while hosting the GRL IG livestreams?
Wow, I don’t even know where to begin! I consider myself so blessed to get to meet so many artists around the country in a time when the entire world was shut down. I’ve been a big fan of Tatiana DeMaria for quite some time, so getting to speak with her during our June 2020 Pride showcase was a huge honor. It was also wonderful to speak with Talinda Bennington, the late wife of Chester Bennington, about raising awareness for mental health resources.
How was it playing the first ever Gritty Stage at Surf Rodeo?I’m always so impressed by the Gritty in Pink live events, but this show really blew me away. From the merchandise booth to the stage setup, you could tell that so many people put a lot of love and hard work into making it an extraordinary weekend. Seeing Gritty in Pink go from being a casual Tuesday night residency to having a branded stage at a beach festival in only two years is both remarkable and humbling.
You have an eclectic style, having played with Shiragirl, Madeline Rosene, Jayelle and Black Mail House. Do you have a favorite genre to play, and how do you switch musical gears?When I say I love to play everything, I really mean it! My roots are buried deeply into classic rock and punk, but I also studied classical guitar and jazz throughout college. I also have experience in hip hop, surf, and Latin music. Having a solid foundation in music theory allows me to effortlessly float between genres, and gives me a sense of structure when learning new songs. At the moment, I’ve been playing more pop-based shows; I enjoy it because I frequently get to blend my rock ‘n roll spirit with my jazz background. For me, the biggest transition between styles is the gear that I use; I typically run various pedals through a tube amp if I need a loud, full sound, while I have a more versatile, stripped down setup with my Line 6 Helix processor for smaller pop gigs.
How is it playing in a band with your husband Patrick (self-professed Gritty Guy)? Does it feel different than writing or playing with other bands?Most people consider themselves lucky just to have found a supportive partner,whereas I feel like I won the partner lottery! Not only does he have all of the qualities I could want in a husband – patient, thoughtful, easygoing, etc. – but he is an incredible songwriter and a talented multi-instrumentalist. At first it was intimidating to work with him, because I respect him so much, but he is truly a professional in every sense. I’ve learned so much just from witnessing his songwriting process. He’s also very encouraging of all my other musical endeavors. Being in relationships with musicians can be challenging, but I think a big contribution to our success in music – and marriage– has been effective communication. I feel like our band dynamic has set the bar high for my other projects.
When you’re not doing shows or recording, you work in Music Education at Guitar Center. How does being on that side of the business compare and contrast with your role as a musician?Even though I’ve been in music education for over a decade, the work that I do as a musician still greatly impacts how I perceive things as an educator. I take my personal experiences with performing, writing, and recording and try to find opportunities to fill in the gaps for students. Additionally, being in education constantly helps me improve my own skills because there is so much out there that students want to learn, and that means I need to learn it myself.
You’re known for being the Queen of Spooky: what’s your favorite part of Halloween? Any special activities you like to do during the season? Halloween has always been so special to me because it celebrates weirdness. I love wearing costumes, watching horror movies, and putting up dark decorations, so I’m super grateful that there’s an entire holiday dedicated to all of that. I’m fortunate to live in Los Angeles where there are always spooky things to do year round, but one of my favorite activities is going to the Haunted Hayride. My husband Patrick and I also started doing spooky cover songs with campy videos during the pandemic, and that has been a fun new yearly tradition of ours.
Outside of music, what are your other passions or hobbies? I love all things horror, so you can usually find me at a horror convention or home watching scary movies. Lately I’ve been reading a lot and teaching myself tarot. I also love to go hiking and roller skating when I get the chance.
What is something you have accomplished as an adult that your younger self would be proud of?I grew up in a rural Illinois town of about 100 people, so first and foremost I am so proud of myself for moving to (and thriving in) a big city. I’m proud of myself for getting through college and supporting myself. I’m proud of myself for not giving up the countless times that I wanted to. I’m proud of myself for choosing kindness and forgiving people that never apologized. Most of all, I am proud of myself for being true to myself and living authentically. Aside from necessities, what’s one thing you can’t go a day without? Coffee. DEFINITELY coffee.
What motivates you the most?
I’m very much a goal-oriented person, so having gigs and sessions lined up keeps me focused. There’s nothing quite like that high you get after pouring your entire being in to a recording or a performance, so I think I’m constantly chasing that feeling. When I’ve got some down time, I usually look for new songs or techniques to add to my repertoire.
How can people continue to support women and other marginalized voices in music? Elevate those voices instead of trying to talk over them. I think it is so easy for people to center themselves in conversations about social issues (whether it is intentional or not),but the most effective change is made when marginalized groups are given the direct platform they need. Support diverse artists, hire diverse players, and most importantly,listen to their shared experiences and needs.
You recently announced that you’re going on tour with fellow Gritty family Bad Cop Bad Cop. What are you looking forward to the most while on the road?
I haven’t toured in several years for various reasons, so I’m excited to get back into it while supporting a band I highly respect (Anti-Flag). I’m also excited to cross new venues off of my list, stop by some of my favorite cities, and make lifelong memories with new friends!