Over the past few years, the Girls Got Rhythm Fest has rightfully focused on ladies who rock, as well as carrying on the lasting legacy of women in music. While Girls Got Rhythm is taking a break this year, the spirit of the festival continues with the just announced Girl Germs Live Tribute to Women in Rock event in May at First Avenue. The show features a strong lineup of local bands who will be paying tribute to a wide array of female-driven groups from the past.
In addition to revealing the stellar lineup for Girl Germs Live, we also had a chance to ask one of the organizers of the event, Dana Raidt (who founded Girl Germs along with Sally Hedberg), about how the show came together, what process went into selecting the bands who are taking part, and how excited everyone is that Lori Barbero is going to host the event.
The lineup for the May 30 Girl Germs Live event is as follows: Night Moves will reinvent the Cranberries, Pink Mink will play Bikini Kill material, Strange Names will tackle the B-52's, L'Assassins will revive English garage-rockers Thee Headcoatees, Fury Things are covering Hole, Crystal (featuring members of Brute Heart) will perform the songs of Sade, and Lydia Liza (from Bomba de Luz) will cover the work of Dusty Springfield.
The event will be hosted by none other than Lori Barbero from the legendary Babes in Toyland. Throw in the between-set music of DJ Jen Hughes, and you have the makings of a truly memorable night in the Mainroom.
Here's what Dana Raidt has to say about the show and what went into making it happen.
Gimme Noise: What type of criteria was used in choosing the bands who are set to perform?
Dana Raidt: We made a conscious effort to put together a lineup of bands that you likely wouldn't normally see all on a bill together. We wanted to keep it somewhat musically diverse, but still pretty centered in rock. We also thought a lot about the local bands who obviously have very good musical taste and could pull off covers in a really cool way. Some are sticking pretty close to their own sound (like L'Assassins, who are covering Thee Headcoatees) while some (like Fury Things, who are covering Hole) are going way out on a limb, and that mix was important, too.
Did you discuss with the bands the groups that they would be paying tribute to, or did they choose the various bands on their own?
It was kind of a team effort, but ultimately it was up to the bands. Sally and I first came up with a list of ideas, and we approached the bands with those when we started booking. We helped fine-tune the ideas, made sure nobody was doubling up, and ensured we had a few different eras and sounds/genres represented.
Do you find that there is a unifying spirit or similar characteristics within each of the bands who are playing as well as those whose music will be honored throughout the show?
I think everyone is just really excited about giving their female musical influences the credit that's due. It was really great to see all these bands get so passionate about the prospect of getting to play someone else's songs. People jumped at the chance to pay their respects. I'm happy that we were able to include plenty of male musicians, too. While the idea of women being inspired by other women is super important, it would have minimized the impact of the artists who are being covered if we had only girls paying homage to them. The idea is to point out these artists' influence on everyone.
As for the artists being covered, I'd say it's just a really good mix of musicians: singers, songwriters, guitarists, drummers, and everything in between. Some artists like Bikini Kill were more intentional in trying to send a message, while some like Dusty Springfield were more traditional musicians who just happened to become iconic. The influence is somewhat subjective since the local bands picked who they would cover, but that's part of the fun of the event.[page]
How did you get Lori Barbero to host the event, and how psyched are you that she is involved?
I just asked her! Luckily, it worked out with her schedule and she liked the idea. We're very psyched to have Lori involved. Babes in Toyland -- in the First Avenue Mainroom, no less -- was the first show I ever attended, back in 1995ish. Lori and her bandmates were so important to Sally and myself, and a gateway to discovering so many other bands. Lori's not only an influence, but she's been supportive of the Twin Cities music scene for many years. It seemed like a natural fit.
Will this show serve as a precursor to the Girls Got Rhythm Festival, which hopefully is still on again this year?
Girls Got Rhythm Fest is on a bit of a hiatus and won't be happening this year, which is really sad, but necessary. As much as I love that festival and hope to continue it, bringing artists in from all over the world for a two-night festival gets to be a huge undertaking. I had put Girl Germs on the back burner since GGR Fest started, and it feels right to resurrect it and to scratch an itch that's somewhat similar to the one Girls Got Rhythm scratches.
Why do you feel it is so crucial to continue to shine a spotlight on women's prevalent role in pushing rock music forward?
When it comes to women's contributions to rock, there's always room for more discussion. Ask the average rock fan to list influential artists and you'll hear Nirvana, KISS, and the Clash repeated like gospel. But equally talented and influential female counterparts like Babes in Toyland, the Runaways, or the Slits rarely are given the same credit. There are plenty of tributes to male artists like Joe Strummer and the Replacements, which are great and totally deserved, but women still rarely get placed in that hallowed tribute-worthy category. So we're taking it upon ourselves to put them there. If you're continuously only talking about men's roles in rock 'n' roll history, you're not getting or giving anything close to an accurate picture.
Tickets for Girl Germs Live Tribute to Women in Rock go on sale at noon on Friday, April 25. To find out updated information about the show and to RSVP, head to the event's Facebook page.
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