Saturday, May 3, 2008

On the Rocks

Confession: I spent last weekend at a fantasy camp.

Ladies Rock Camp, to be specific.

But you must understand, my fantasy isn't to be Mick Jagger or Jon Bon Jovi.

Nor is it to be Joan Jett or Patti Smith.

My fantasy is to be an 8 year old attending Rock Camp for Girls, an oh-so-Portland nonprofit that teaches girls self-esteem by teaching them to rock out.

Who wants a tour bus full of Jim Beam
when you can have a Volvo wagon full of
juice boxes?

The premise of LRC is that you show up on Friday, and spend three days learning to play an instrument, forming a band, writing a song, and then performing it in a bona fide rock club. Not necessarily in that order.

This being LRC, the instruction progresses well beyond the usual chord progressions. For example, we were advised that if you want to swear on stage but are concerned about the children in the audience (of which there were many, the proud offspring of various campers), you can swear backwards.

Imagine NWA attending LRC, then rapping Kcuf the police! Kcuf that tihs!

Being a fundraiser, LRC isn't cheap — $350 for tuition. As we sat down to dinner on the first night, one of the campers said she planned to eat $350 worth of food. Which it turns out, we all did.

This is how the world would be if it were run by chicks: breakfast, followed by snacks, cleared away for lunch, followed by snacks, cleared away for dinner, followed by popcorn during the movie.

Not only did they make me a rockstar, they fed me a lifetime's worth of vegan reubens. I am sure this is just how things go when Motley Crüe is on the road.

As my dear friend Rachel, a stay at home mother of three who came all the way from LA for LRC, said at the Saturday night party There is pizza, beer, cupcakes, and karaoke with dancing. This is the best party I have ever been to. She sighed. If only this were the 70s, I wouldn't go back home to my husband and kids.

I reminded her that in the 70s, there was no karaoke.

We have traded women's liberation for the ability to have every last lyric for singing along with the Charlie Daniels Band.

Which I did, in a very moving rendition of The Devil Went Out to Portland.

We formed bands by standing under the sign for the genre that most interested us. My band, which we named Sensitive Teeth, met up under the Indie sign. And it turns out we were very indie, inasmuch as we played independent of each other, both in terms of notes and of tempo.

Our bass player, aka my neighbor Holly, was six months pregnant. I knew right there the audience would love us. A pregnant lady playing guitar is funny. A pregnant lady playing bass is several inches funnier.

Rachel, our guitarist, didn't take to the rock star persona right off. Initially she wasn't sure she even wanted to stand up for the duration of our song. Sometimes I just turn the volume down so I can play without messing up the band she confessed.

But then Tera, LRC counselor extraordinaire, gave Rachel this single word of guitar playing instruction:

Suffice it to say: Rachel stood. She swung. She rocked it out of the park.

I signed on for keyboards, figuring that all my years of playing accordion had me half way there.

X 2 hands =

Partway through Sensitive Teeth's second rehearsal, we were already so rock and roll we invented our own rock lingo:

Stolo (verb) \ˈstō-(ˌ)lō\: to take an unauthorized solo.

By the time we hit the Satyricon for our show on Sunday, I had coined a second, related term

Stolio (verb) \ˈstō-(ˌ)lē-ō\: to take an unauthorized solo because you've been sipping too much vodka out of your leopard hip flask.

Because our song was a tribute to Lucy Van Pelt, my solo was sampled from Schroeder of the Peanuts. Which maybe is not the hugest musical achievement in the world, but I did transpose it from the key of C to the key of E all by myself. And E has more sharps than that little red container in the bathroom of the free clinic.

So I am proud. And loud. Because like they say at Rock Camp for Girls, We Put the Amp in Camp

1 comment:

M said...

holy crap, how did I not see this post until now? you definitely put the rock mania in macaroni, if you are OK with anagrams and an extra letter in there just for fun.