Ladies? Start Your Electric Guitars!

East Harriet nonprofit looks to give a boost to women in the local music scene.

Minneapolis' music scene is overflowing with great local talent. Positively bursting at the seams. But, ever notice how women like Poliça's Channy Leaneagh and Doomtree's Dessa seem really few and far between? 

Jenny Case and Amy VanPatten do. Several years ago, she founded the East Harriet nonprofit to help girls find their voice—or guitar pick—and give them encouragement to go forth and rock out. Their first "Girls' Rock and Roll Retreat" was held in 2007, and since then it's steadily grown by steps and leaps. This year, they decided it was time for the grown-ups to get a chance to join in.

Last week, She Rock organized its first "Ladies' Rock Camp" for 15 women at the . Case told Patch it was a smashing success.

"It's been so awesome—women in their 40s saying 'I've always been wondering how [electric guitars] make that sound,' talking about a distortion pedal," Case said. "I just get goosebumps thinking about it. These women who've been waiting all these years to get into rock and roll."

The problem, Case said, is that many women don't have many mainstream rock and roll role models like Sleater-Kinney's Carrie Brownstein.

"It helps you say 'Wow, I can do that,'" she said. "Even in the technical aspects, about running a recording studio, girls aren't often told about that [career possibility] growing up."

The 15 women at last week's camp put their collective heads together for a weekend to learn new instruments, put together bands, and write brand-new songs for a weekend. The results can be seen in YouTube videos Case posted after the bands' final performance at the Republic bar in Seven Corners, near the University of Minnesota.

"We need more women out there who are lead guitar players and bass players and drummers," she said. "I'm not under any delusions this is going to happen overnight, but we joke that our goal is not to exist anymore."


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