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Punk Poet: Patti Smith’s Defining Voice and Lasting Influence on Nona Marie

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It’s difficult to even know where to start when trying to encapsulate the wholeness of Patti Smith’s contributions to the world because they are practically boundless. In one moment in time she could be wild-eyed and wailing her resolute punk poetry, and in other she could be invoking tears through a written memory of a person she loved and lost. No matter the form, everything she transmits into the world radiates a palpable wisdom, and such an earnest deluge of emotion that its effects linger far after you first experience it. In a similar way, local musician Nona Marie has captivated audiences with the sparse and plaintive beauty of her incredible voice in groups like Dark Dark Dark and Anonymous Choir as well as the mind-melding warped weirdness of RONiiA. Nona is incredibly talented across genres and styles and we are anticipating her interpretation of Patti Smith with such excitement. Here’s what Nona had to say about Patti’s importance to her personally:

Do you remember your first interaction with Patti Smith’s music? What was it? 

I don’t really remember a first time, but somehow I came to know her music and love her. She is one of those influences whose songs have always been there somehow, supporting my work, without me even realizing it.

What about her music resonates most with you?

Sometime in 2008 I saw the Dream Of Life documentary and I was really able to connect with her. At a time when I was traveling a lot and playing tons of fun and weird shows she exemplified being a young artist and really celebrated herself as an individual in the world. A true punk queen just doing her thing and not letting anything stop her.

Patti constantly vocalized her appreciation of art, poetry and writing? What are some artists outside of music that are especially influential to you?

I read the poetry and essays of Gloria Anzaldúa after high school and she helped form some positive idea of myself as an outsider and a feminist on a mission to fearlessly present an authentic version of myself to the world. She writes about borders within race, culture, gender, sexuality, the inner struggles of our psyches and the outside influences of oppression and trying to thrive in a dualistic patriarchy.  She really turned my world upside down.

I have always been influenced by my friends and their artistic ambitions.  Lauren Roche, Tynan Kerr, Andy Mazorol and Annika Kaplan are just a few of the talented and hard working people that are constantly creating new inspiring work and push me to dig deeper into my own musical world  to discover new works.

Patti Smith is also known for interweaving activism into her songwriting. What musicians today do you think do this most effectively?

Lizzo is an inspiration. Her lyrics and videos tackles racial profiling, police brutality, body shaming. She is such a positive force in the world, we are lucky to live in the same city with this queen.

How do you think the systems and institutions that Patti reacted against with her music decades ago differ to the ones we face today?

The struggle as a female musician has changed, but is still real. Women are still fetishized and put on display, marginalized and condescended. There is still a lot of work to be done.

What Patti Smith song hits your heart the most? 

Land/Horses is really heavy hitting. The lyrics are sung with an unhinged passion, it’s clear from her performance that she’s a true poet.

What did you learn about yourself as a musician while reinterpreting these songs?

Rock & roll is super fun! I just want to be in a rock band! Just kidding. But kind of. Patti Smith’s lyrics are passionate and politicized. She makes me want to be more honest and upfront about my point of view.

 

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photo by Serene Supreme

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Suzie On Cyndi: An Icon, A Pop Star, A Girl Who Taught Us To Have Fun

 

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The music of Minneapolis-based musician Mark Ritsema’s project Suzie is built unwaveringly on a framework and appreciation of pop music of all kinds,  and so it comes as no surprise that he chose daring and seminal ’80s performer Cyndi Lauper to reinterpret for Girl Germs 3.0. Cyndi was iconic in sound and aesthetics, definitely, but she was furthermore iconic in her fearlessness in redefining and challenging the normative views of how female pop stars were supposed to act or what they were supposed to sing about. She is an activist, a feminist and a true pop-pioneer, and her enduring influence in such diverse realms of music is one of the truest testaments to that. Ahead of tonight’s show, we asked Suzie to reflect on both their own approach to music and their admiration of Cyndi. Here’s what they had to say:

 

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photo by Serene Supreme

 

NAME: Mark Ritsema

BANDS YOU PLAY IN: Suzie, DoM, Joey Joey Michaels

EXPLAIN THE CONCEPT OF SUZIE. IS IT A COSTUME, A PERSONA, AN IDENTITY?

The concept of Suzie began with inspiration from Glam-Rock bands, and bands in general that I would see who would have theatrical, conceptual stage performances. I remember seeing the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s at Coachella a few years back and being blown away by Karen O’s stage presence and costume design. So I remember in my head saying:“I want to do THAT”. So I started Suzie as a project where I could explore those influences and have since worked hard at making my live shows as visually entertaining as the music is. I draw from influence but try to do something completely original. I don’t have any rules with it, and it will never fall into a routine visually. My goal was to constantly change and experiment. The name Suzie correlates with the aesthetic of the band I want to produce; the youthful, emotional, coming of age vibe.

WHY DID YOU AGREE TO PLAY THIS SHOW:

I draw so much influence from female musicians and know that the music industry is similar to most other fields in the sense that women are underrepresented, underappreciated and not taken as seriously as men and have to try twice as hard to get recognition. So I agreed to the show because I believe in the cause and I have gone in the previous years and it’s always been a blast.

FAVORITE CYNDI SONG: ‘Time After Time’

 

WHY: It achieves a level of universal relatability without being obvious that is very rare. The chords and chord structure fit with the emotional tone of the song so well. It is the perfect song in my mind. It makes me feel happy and sad at the same time and it feels so personal while covering such a universal subject matter. This song inspires me to make something that could move people in a similar way. When the song comes on it makes you think of that one person, that one time, and tugs on your heartstrings so hard that they feel like they are gonna rip.

WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES CYNDI SO ICONIC: She really encapsulated the ’80s musically and visually. I love her style, especially her hair. She defined a time and place in music in America.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW: THE PRUDE PARENTS WHO PUT ‘SHE-BOP’ ON THE ‘FILTHY FIFTEEN’ LIST, EVENTUALLY RESULTING IN THE FIRST PARENTAL ADVISORY STICKERS? They are listening to Ed Sheeran

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST PARENTAL ADVISORY CD: Either Chumbawumba or the Marshall Mathers LP. I remember being a kid and not wanting anything without that sticker. Ya know, if someone tells me I shouldn’t listen to something, it’s only gonna make me want to listen to it. They should really put those stickers on like Ed Sheeran CD’s to warn parents that their ears will bleed.

WHAT OTHER WOMEN IN MUSIC HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR MUSICIANSHIP:

Elliot Snyder: “[Psychedelia isn’t] a world only reachable by hallucinogens but obtainable by questioning what we think is real and right, by challenging the conventions of form and temper… I discovered psychedelia and it seemed to have self-help properties that allowed me to let go of an immobilizing working class pride that was cementing a false identity into my psyche, stopping me from transforming.” — Trish Keenan of Broadcast, The Wire, 2009

Charles McClung: “When I was a senior in high school, I auditioned for a senior solo in my youth symphony orchestra, and prepared the 1st Movement of Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85 in my attempt to secure the honor. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it; I probably should have practiced more. But, as I was learning the piece, I studied English cellist Jacqueline Du Pré’s famous recording of concerto. It truly is an amazing performance. I can’t think of a musician who has influenced the way I think about melodic phrasing and emotional suggestion more than she.”

Leo Vondracek: Grimes because she’s a young person, she does it herself, she makes a lot of money, and her music is really good.

Mark: Some of my favorite musicians: Grimes, Robyn, Frankie Cosmos, Kali Uchis, Karen O, Lily Allen,

WHAT WOULD YOU OFFER TO THE DISCUSSION SURROUNDING MEN PLAYING A TRIBUTE SHOW HONORING WOMEN IN MUSIC?

At the end of the day, we have the same goal, to increase visibility and representation of women in music. We may disagree on how to approach it, but I think it’s counterproductive to condemn Girl Germs just because they think differently than you. People can think what they want, I don’t tell people how to live their lives I leave that up to them and always question my beliefs and never think it’s right to push my values on others.

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Bad Bad Hats on Sheryl Crow’s Soulful Pop Music

Sheryl Crow might appeal to the masses, but that definitely doesn’t make her any less important. Here Kerry from Bad Bad Hats shares what drew her to Sheryl’s brand of soulful singer-songwriter pop. Side note: if you haven’t already heard Bad Bad Hats KNOCKOUT recent LP ‘Psychic Reader’ (Afternoon Records) I suggest you change that, like now.

The first time I ever heard a Sheryl Crow song was on volume two of Now That’s What I Call Music. Now 2 is probably my favorite of all the Nows. It has Britney Spears, Semisonic’s “Closing Time”, Garbage, and that amazing Mya and Blackstreet collaboration from the Rugrats movie. But “My Favorite Mistake” is the pièce de résistance of Now 2 (sorry, Fatboy Slim). And it could not have come into my life at a better time.

In 1999, I was 9 years old. We had a lesson on poetry in my fourth grade class and I took to it instantly. I loved the challenge of rhyming and maneuvering a complete story into a strict form. In the late 90s, I was rolling in boy bands and pop divas, but when I heard “My Favorite Mistake”, everything clicked. It was as catchy as the pop songs I loved, but it had a soul. This was also the time when teen romantic comedies were at their peak (10 Things I Hate About You, She’s All That, Drive Me Crazy, Never Been Kissed, etc.) and I was addicted to that stomach flip when the characters who are meant to be together (they deserve each other!) finally see the light. I’ve always believed that a great love song should give you the same flutter and I felt that the first time I heard “My Favorite Mistake”. It’s an impeccable love song. From then on I knew lyrics would be my medium. And I wanted to write like Sheryl.

I think the magic of Sheryl Crow is her ability to tell you everything in a single line. “You’re my favorite mistake” says it all. “All I wanna do is have some fun” says it all. Then on top of that, there’s this beautiful tension between the joy of her music and the melancholy her lyrics and voice betray. The apathy with which she delivers the line “I promised you I’d never give up” in “If It Makes You Happy” is completely tragic and I’ll never get over it.

Some people don’t think Sheryl Crow is very cool. But I think it’s super cool that Sheryl just does Sheryl. To me, her music is unpretentious and her songwriting is a perfect example of the craft. She’s one of those songwriters who writes because she has to, because that’s the only way she can shake what she’s feeling. And it comes through. All the joy, all the fear, everything. Her success made me feel, as a young songwriter, that there was a place for my voice in the music world too. She’ll always be one of my favorites. And I will continue to listen to her greatest hits on every road trip I take. Thanks to Sheryl, I think we’re all a little bit closer to feeling fine.

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We can’t wait to see Bad Bad Hats covering Sheryl Crow Saturday night at our next Girl Germs Tribute Night! Get your tickets here. 

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Bruise Violet’s Essential Lunachicks Playlist

Hey everybody, it’s your favorite local problematic Bruise Violet here. Today we’ll be talking about who we’re covering for Girl Germs: the absolutely crazy-fun Lunachicks!! When it came to choosing a band to cover, this was one of the first ones in mind that we had. Danielle’s mom actually was the one who introduced her to them by giving her an old pin of hers, saying “If you’ve never heard of this band, you need to check them out”.

The Lunachicks were extremely underrated for their time. They used to play around with L7 and Babes in Toyland a lot, but never really got the same attention as they did. Theo Kogan’s powerful low vocals dominated with their wailing guitars, thumping bass lines, and extremely tight harmonies. They were punk, they were metal, they were rock, they were EVERYTHING. Plus, these girls knew had to have a good time. Their look was “Barbie on acid”: with makeup smeared all over their faces and ridiculous outfits each night, and they had a huge sense of humor to match.

Here’s an introductory playlist we’ve made to them, with explanations of why we chose each song!

 

This is Serious:
Does YOUR favorite band have their own theme song? THE LUNACHICKS DO. This song is so freakin’ fun and in your face, telling you that “Lunachicks make lots of noise to prove rock n roll’s not just for boys”. They fuckin rule.

Drop Dead:
A killer anthem for “girls kickin’ some ass, honey”. Nothing like telling someone to not fuck with you because you’ll fart in their face.

Light as a Feather:
Killer riff, killer chorus hook, and the video sends us back to middle school with some sleepover vibes. We all don’t wanna relive that time, but the Lunachicks sure make it look fun.

FDS:
Play this song next time someone pisses you off. Guarantee you’ll feel a million times better. Plus, the guitars in this song are NUTS. YOU ALWAYS WANT WHAT YOU CAN’T HAVE, AND BABY, YA CAN’T HAVE ME.

Jerk of all Trades:
Literally the most badass anthem for girls. Danielle once missed her exit driving to work because she was jamming so hard to this song.

Babysitters on Acid:
This song is literally the best thing ever written. Ever. We are so angry we didn’t write it. There’s a whole storyline in this song, and you will laugh your ass off as the story progresses. BV’s favorite song EVER.

Luxury Problem:
In BV, we appreciate bands who can make a point AND execute it in a great way. This song is an ode to privilege, asking everyone “Isn’t it hard when you’re spoiled rotten?”, bringing up how “Even though I’m alright, I like to sit and pity myself because it hurts”. Yaaas girls, slay those entitled assholes.

Bad Ass Bitch:
ANOTHER great anthem for powerful women. Put this on a playlist while you’re getting ready in the morning so you start the day feeling ready to let everyone know how much of a BAD ASS BITCH YOU ARE.

Edgar:
Super duper fun song! We promise you’ll be unconsciously dancing while they sing about their 7 toed, shit smelling, feline friend.

Don’t Want You:
An awesome song about how you think you like someone, and then it just ends up that they suck. It’s happened to the best of us! Now you have a jam to accompany your feelings. You’re welcome.

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Get tickets to see Bruise Violet covering Lunachicks on December 5 at the Turf Club here! 

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CORRECT! We Are A Feminist Concert Series And We Book Male Bands.

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  “Fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it’s that this. Has. To. Stop.”

– Emma Watson (Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, self-proclaimed ‘Harry Potter’ Girl)

 Let there be no mistake: pretty much every aspect of the creative process of producing and booking an event like Girl Germs is a freaking blast and a half! Really, if ever in some bizarro, Snowden-esque scenario the contents of Dana’s and my texts and 5 platforms of chats were leaked to the masses, what you would find seasoned amongst crude humor and shameless gossip are two women who are both extremely passionate and driven in the pursuit of their goals, as well as two women who are terribly grateful to have received even a shred of support from such a vibrant music community. It is a labor of love, but it’s important to note that it is in fact a labor: a TON of work and planning goes into coordinating a show of this nature and while, yes, it’s wholly fun and rewarding, it’s not without road bumps (or mild anxiety attacks). That said, the delivery from the artists who put time into learning these covers and—from the people who sponsor us to the people who pay their own money to bear witness to what happens on the stage the night of the show—we are continually humbled and invigorated by the magic that’s been instilled with each live event.

*****THANK YOU*****

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YET—despite the overwhelmingly positive response—there’s a proverbial bee in our bonnet because, like clockwork, with each new show cycle the emails, messages and skepticism quietly roll in: How can you book MALE bands for your event that celebrates WOMEN in music? The first time we encountered this bristly question it seemed so legit erroneous that we just brushed it off in our own way, placating the larger issue at hand by talking shit amongst ourselves about such Philistine reasoning. But then it kept happening (always from both men and women) and, despite explaining to people individually, it kept being annoying. Well, it’s still happening and it’s still annoying so we decided it’s nigh time to take our complaining out of a gchat box and end this lunacy once and for all by explaining why it’s not hypocritical or wrong for us to include men in this, yes, feminist project.gloriaSteinemFeminism by definition is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” And “organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.” Naturally, the full meaning of a word wrought in such ideology far-expounds such a boiled down definition. And that’s because feminism is shaped by palpable experiences: the battles of our fore-sisters who toiled for the right to vote and own property, the battles they still fight for reproductive rights and autonomy of their own bodies, the barriers broken by thinkers in realms of science, art and politics, the ferocious indignation of a Bikini Kill set, a Nancy Wilson guitar solo, so on and so forth. You get the picture. But while the scope of its definition is far-reaching, the sentiments are all centered most intrinsically upon achieving gender equality.

 Equality—just so it’s on paper—is aptly defined as the quality or state of being equal.”

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The Manifesto Dana and I penned upon the creation of this site and series reads as such:

“Girl Germs is a standing ovation for women in rock. And If you really have to ask the question “why,” it’s simply because they deserve it. We created this website and consequent live events mainly to obsess over the girls with guitars who have made a lasting impact. While this impact is only sort of archived in “rock history” we find it to be more accurately presented through conversations and experience. As a website we transmit through a lens of those interactions. As a live event, our aim is to honor the brilliance of these women through reinterpretations that are shaped by them. In this sense Girl Germs is ultimately an archive of our own, collective design, and we like that. So oblige us, and bow down to the Queens Of Noise.”

We wrote this thinking it would address our conscious choice to include and seek out male musicians to perform in this series. Just as the definition of feminism in the earlier paragraphs states “organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests” our manifesto mirrors that sentiment in saying that As a live event, our aim is to honor the brilliance of these women through reinterpretations that are shaped by them.” What’s important to note here is that neither definition uses language that presupposes only women organizing on behalf of women’s rights, or only women being shaped by other women in music. Why? Well, mainly because that would be absurd! To infer that only women can advocate for women’s rights or that only women can influence other women musically is as much gross inaccuracy as it is completely counterproductive to the definition of feminism. The plight of feminism needs every color, faith, gender identity and sexual orientation to perpetuate its cause and so, in our book, those variables will never affect our decision to book a band.

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Equality isn’t achieved through exclusion, nor is it achieved by a partial effort. By suggesting we exclude men from Girl Germs it projects the same sort of inequity that feminism labors to overcome. And, that, friends, is not what we aimed to radiate into the universe and so…

THE DUDES SHALL STAY!!

 They shall stay because, ultimately, it’s our project, not yours, and if you truly can’t deal with men celebrating the influence of women then I would advise—in addition to taking an intro to logic Philosophy course— to start your own concert series (really, it’s super fun)!! I would also ask if you raise the same questions about why female bands are included on the Replacements Tribute lineup, (even though I already know the answer). But mostly the dudes shall stay because including men is integral to the progression of modern day feminism, because including everyone is integral to the progression of modern day feminism, which goes way beyond music and this small-scale covers show in Minnesota. The Godmother of second-wave feminism Gloria Steinem always advocated: A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.” Isn’t this what we are trying to achieve? We’re far from there yet, and of course as a woman I’m painfully aware that not all men, governments or institutions are there yet either, I even understand the trepidation by women to let men into this delicate, personal arena. Yet it is progress when women’s issues become human issues, and the fastest path to that is by allowing men (and anyone) to fight (or, you know, play a guitar) for equality alongside us.

But to those who still remain in denial that Kurt Cobain was hugely inspired by The Raincoats and are convinced that Dana and I are closeted, hypocritical misogynists, I can only invoke the unflappable Roxane Gay in saying: “I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all.”

 

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*I credit all of my quoted definitions to the Merriam Webster Online dictionary/thesaurus website. I generally prefer the Oxford New American Dictionary that I own but, alas, I am in my pajamas watching The Simpsons and walking across my bedroom to get it is out. of. the. question.

 

 

Come to the show and see for yourself.

 

 

xx

Sally

 

 

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Girl Germs Show Announced For December 5th At Turf Club || Lineup Unveiled

GIRL GERMS IS  BEYOND THRILLED TO ANNOUNCE OUR THIRD LIVE TRIBUTE TO WOMEN IN MUSIC WHICH WILL BE HELD ON SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5TH AT THE TURF CLUB

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TICKETS WILL GO ON SALE FRIDAY, 10/23 AT NOON. GET EM EARLY, BECAUSE—AS YOU’VE SO DUTIFULLY PROVEN—THEY WON’T LAST LONG.

WHOSE PLAYING WHAT? WITH THE HELP OF OUR TALENTED PHOTOGRAPHER PAL SERENE SUPREMEWE’LL SHOW YOU:

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BRUISE VIOLET 

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SUZIE 

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BAD BAD HATS 

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MINA MOORE 

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NONA MARIE 

**Serene didn’t take the photo of Bad Bad Hats because they were taking the country by STORM on tour, but they did a great job of taking their own photo and we like it just as much🙂

THE DETAILS

GIRL GERMS 3.0

Saturday, December 5th / 8:00PM DOORS

Turf Club / 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul

Tickets go on sale Friday, October 23 at noon – $10.00 advance/$12.00 at the door

RSVP on Facebook!

None other than ANDREA SWENSSON of 89.3 The Current will host. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get updates. Many thanks to our sponsor, 89.3 The Current. See you at the Turf!