Blog Archives

Quotes of the Month: Musicians

Here are August’s quotes of the month from musicians:

“When I first started playing, I felt like all the boys I knew were in on a world of top-secret information. I felt like I didn’t have permission to enter that world. I didn’t know if I would ever catch up or not feel a little lost. I loved music so much, all I wanted was to be part of it, I wanted to be making it, I was totally consumed by it. Over time, I realized that my love for music was all I really needed. That was my permission slip. I was already in the gang.”
–Jessica Hopper, bassist, guitarist, keyboardist, drummer, and writer, in The Girl’s Guide to Rocking

“One of the goals of the Runaways was to make it normal for a girl or woman to write and play rock ‘n’ roll and sweat onstage, and we seem to be getting closer to that.”
–Joan Jett

“[In Throwing Muses], Kristin [Hersh] and I were always confident in the music, in what we had to say. We weren’t always so sure about our actual playing abilities. My advice [to young girls playing guitar] would be first that you actually can play guitar as well as anyone else.”
–Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses, the Breeders, and Belly

“If guitar playing is what you’re passionate about, do what I did–get a job at the local guitar shop! Learn how to tell what year that Les Paul Standard is, or how to change strings on a banjo, how to tell if a pre-amp tube is going bad. And when there are no customers? You get to practice “Iron Man” on your favorite guitar in the store. It’s a pretty sweet deal.”
–Anita Robinson of Viva Voce in an interview posted on

What did you think of these quotes? Does anything particularly inspire you? Tell us in the comments section!

Drummer of the Month: Sandy West

I will be the first to admit that I know very little about drumming. I can tell a snare from a bass drum, but that’s about it. And as a rule, I don’t tend to notice drummers as performers. I hear what they’re playing, and the fact that they keep the music together certainly hasn’t escaped me, but unless drummers are soloing, they don’t seem to really interact with the audience. In general they seem content to sit in the background and just communicate with the rest of the band, although there are exceptions, of course.

Sandy West is one of them. In a Runaways cover of “Wild Thing”, she supplies lead vocals in the verse. Drumming, singing, and smiling all at once, she seems to beckon to the audience (with her manner; her hands are obviously occupied). After watching that, I began to notice how important West’s drumming was to the band; Lita Ford and Joan Jett’s guitars wouldn’t have sounded half as good without her emphatic playing. Before this, I thought that distortion, powerful bass and guitar, excellent guitar solos, and sometimes solid vocals were key to making music heavy. However, Sandy West has made me realize that authoritative drumming is essential for that as well.

It was rather silly of me in the first place to ignore drummers in rock bands, but I did, mostly. I think I did this because of my own musical specialties. I’m a guitarist and singer, so I usually notice a band’s guitarist first, then the vocalist, then the bassist (the instrument is similar to a guitar, after all), and then, finally, the drummer. A ghastly oversight, and one I will have to remedy after seeing Ms. West in action. I will definitely pay more attention to drummers in the future.

After the Runaways split, West formed The Sandy West Band and continued to work as a musician, also working odd jobs in construction. Unfortunately, she lost a battle with lung cancer in 2006. According to an article by the Washington Post, Joan Jett said of West’s passing, “We shared the dream of girls playing rock and roll. Sandy was an exuberant and powerful drummer.” She continued, “I am overcome from the loss of my friend. I always told her we changed the world.”

They’ve certainly changed me, anyway.