I was in a couple bands in my teens. Sometimes, it was rough, but at all times it was awesome.
My brother always had a band. I used to listen to their band practice through the vent in my bedroom at our Dad's house. I have fond memories laying on the floor of my room, putting my ear to the vent, jealous, because I wanted that. I wanted to be in a band. I wanted to be heard.
Because of my older brother, I grew up listening to a lot of Smashing Pumpkins and other bands with male singers. I would hear girls in my class talk about wanting to be with certain male singers, but never talk about being them; doing what they do. Though I had a huge crush on Billy Corgan at the time (yes, I was a weird kid), I didn't just want to be with him, I wanted to BE him.
In middle school and part of high school, my two best friends and I started a 3-piece called, The Aviators. I played guitar and sang, one girl played drums, and one girl played bass. Our band practices mostly consisted of rehearsing the two or three songs we wrote--very easy songs to play, but they were our songs and they were fun. We never played "live," unless you count the time we had a "Listening Party" in one of the members' basement bedroom. We invited a handful of people. We bought a pack of white men's undershirts and wrote the letter "A" on the front of each one, specifically for the event. Our "opener" was a song where the drummer used the drum kick over and over, accompanied by the bassist's three-chords, and my vocals (once we sped it all up) screaming, "You can turn it up, turn it up, turn it up, you can turn it up."
Being in a band was sometimes rough, especially as a teen. I can't recall anyone putting us down, thankfully, or being blatantly rude to us--though I'm sure that was only because we weren't super "out" as a band. We had some internal issues, though. One of the girls in The Aviators would often deal with a disagreement we would have by putting away her instrument, sitting and staring blankly at the wall, and sometimes getting up and leaving. It was frustrating. We had many practice sessions that would end that way, which was a shame. We eventually disbanded, when our friendships ended.
After this, I still really wanted to play music. I wrote a lot of lyrics, recorded some acoustic guitar songs by myself, but it wasn't the same. I wanted a band. A band's band.
My brother's girlfriend at the time and I started a band called Boy on Guitar (named as such because my brother sometimes played guitar with us). We utilized a lot of different harmonies and keyboard in our short and sweet songs. One song we wrote was about the fictional "Happy Days" character, Richie Cunningham. It had a cha-cha-style beat, with us singing, "Richie, can we marry you? We are very fond of you."
After Boy on Guitar ended, I sang back-up for a recorded song, as well as during a live show with my brother's band, The Cleveland Browns (yes, like the sports team). I got to sing back-up with his band at a small bar in Madison called Cafe Montmartre. It was lovely. I only sang on one song, but it was thrilling. I still wanted my own band, though.
Around junior year of high school, my two best friends and I started, The Curls (yes, we still have our MySpace page). We kind of started as a joke--just fooling around with Garage Band on my Macbook. We wrote funny songs with lyrics like, "Don't grind me like a blenda/ya sex offenda," or "And I like Harry Potter/but I wish he was hotter/cuz I'd give him a tap/after my divination class." Our songs told stories--fucked up stories. The first song we wrote was called, "Wrappers." It was kind of an introduction to The Curls. We each had a verse where we rapped on top of a happy beat with a horn section. It was... odd. But also amazing. We wrote other songs, including: "Regent Street" (named after a heavily populated area of Madison where many university students walk around drunk--the song told a story about this party we were at around the area and how a girl we were with bought an eighth of weed, we couldn't find her, and then we finally found her passed out on a car parked down the street). Another song, "Kilt Man" told of an experience another Curls' member had during one of Madison's notorious Halloween celebrations, in which a man basically exposed himself to her. Last, but not least, the song "Killing My Boyfriend" was written with a bottle of wine in my mom's condo in an hour or so. We got our inspiration from a Quaker Oat canister. It was... interesting. But again, awesome.
During my time in The Curls, I also wrote some solo work under the name, Guinea Grrrl (guinea was/is a derogatory term for Italians). One song, "The Boys I Date" was written after The Curls came about. I wrote the lyrics after the guy I lost my virginity to, who, after "taking" my virginity never called me again, walked passed me on the street one day without saying anything. I wrote another song called "Night" (I think?) about women feeling like we have to carry weapons when we walk alone.
Most of the bands I played in were "girl" bands, and I loved it. I remember feeling really powerful with the identity of being a girl in a band. I felt strong. Even when singing silly songs about killing my imaginary boyfriend, who turned out to be the Quaker Oat man, I still felt empowered. I remember feeling so confident about myself. I miss that feeling. Every girl should be in a band. At least one. Do it. It's amazing.
Now, who would like to start a new band with me?