chickfactor celebrates its 15th anniversary this summer and even though we’ve slowed down a lot for a number of reasons, we do still have readers so I keep it going. a lot of things happened in 1992 when we started: nirvana + grunge + hole; riot grrrl hit the headlines; I moved to new york and worked at a rock magazine (where they actually used a photo of a model instead of a real riot grrrl when they ran their silly piece; perhaps a real riot grrrl would not consent); I went to my first new music seminar and my first cmj (which were, to me, at that time, pretty damned exciting); chickfactor-approved bands like pavement, my bloody valentine, stereolab, the wedding present, heavenly, lois, eggs, etc etc etc, were kicking the pop world’s ass; I even attended a taping of the jane pratt TV show where the subject was riot grrrl and the featured act was bettie serveert. lots of people were starting small labels, the music industry almost seemed excited about music too!
now it’s 15 years later and things really have changed. the rest of the world might be hating america right now, but many people who live there are changing the big monster for the better. of course music has changed in some ways for the worst (no one releases 7-inch singles anymore; bands don’t have time to develop before they’re hyped to death because there isn’t much of an underground). but in the same way the US has given birth in this century to ladyfest and a new generation of small artists who are crafting their way to making a living, it has invented something I very much wish had been around when I was a girl: the girls rock camp. so far the first and most famous was the sleater-kinney-approved rock ‘n’ roll camp for girls in portland, oregon’s summer camp, but others are here now too: willie mae rock camp in new york city, which has produced the already-famous superduo called magnolia; chicago rock camp; girls rock philly in the usa. sweden is getting europe started with popkollo girls rock camps in various locales around the country, and I’m involved with some cool london ladies in attempting to jump-start rock ‘n’ roll camp for girls uk. please send us british pounds to get the whole thing rolling. a few organizers are heading to the portland conference this month for people who want to learn how to set up a girls rock camp in their town.
if you wish you were between the ages of 8 and 18 so you could sign up for a girls rock camp but you are already too old, there is now a ladies rock camp in portland as well, which takes place april 27 to 29. all that american idol / x-factor is all well and good for mindless entertainment, but the only way to be a girl rocker is to write some songs of your own and rock. so sign yourself, your mom, your daughter up now.