It was a rock camp week, the first of the summer, and I am walking around with a sleep deprivation so deep it resembles serenity.
But once I enter the rock camp doors, my motor revs right up. The energy and spirit there are so powerful, the noise joyful, the day bumping along on steady jolts of amazement.
This session Tara and I held a workshop on Cool Sounds (mostly, she did the demonstration, I did the narration.) We started out by demonstrating a Line 6 pedal and how to make loops and effects, then showed them some methods to make your voice or guitar or percussion sound weird. By the end of the hour they were singing into cut-off plastic bottles and toilet-paper rolls, drumming on mailing tubes, playing the tambourine with an electric toothbrush, thumbing a kalimba hooked up to a distortion pedal, etc. One girl would be playing the guitar with a slide while another plinked and rubbed its strings with a screwdriver and another twiddled the distortion pedal knobs. In the spirit of innovation, a girl picked up a metal bottle cap and hit it with a mallet. It all built up into a 17-kid total noise-jam freakout.
When I returned to camp this afternoon during loud band practice, this is what was coming from the nearest windows. I don't know which band this is, but they formed four days ago and the oldest any of them could be is 16. (All I caught here was the guitar solo--there was much more, all rad.)
Tomorrow evening (Saturday) they all play at the Bagdad Theater--20 bands of girls, putting flesh and feathers back onto the hollow bones of slogans like "girls rock." This isn't some School of Rock adult fantasy-curio of ten-year-olds aping Zappa and Zeppelin. The girls write it all themselves--imperfect, joyous, real, and awesome in both the literal and slang sense of the word. You can get your own life changed by proxy.