From Kay Odyssey’s shimmery psych to experimental Austin rock veterans ST 37 or raucous new outfit Endless Sewer, Drummer Babes’ six-band bill featuring female-identifying drummers traverses a spectrum of genre. Spotlighting local women holding down the rhythm section, the showcase serves as a platform for female representation still often overlooked in the homegrown scene.
Kay Odyssey drummer Vajaja (née Virginia) Valejo credits her own twentysomething years as a percussionist to witnessing other women kick ass behind a drum kit after she first moved to Austin in 1990.
“Fuckin’ Teresa Taylor of Butthole Surfers!” she exclaims. “I worked with her at School for the Blind and she was just a total inspiration to me. Terri Lord is also a queen. They put the bug in me. I was like, ‘Fuck yeah, I wanna do that.’”
The Alice native became immersed in the state capital’s early-Nineties underground scene, living with a bunch of musician friends on North Lamar and going on to form punk bands like SplendorKünt, Vibrolux, and Unhung Heroes. She notes that seeing women playing drums proved rare back then, and there’s been an upswing in the past several years. Still, Valejo wants more, and thinks events like Drummer Babes can help with empowerment.
“Hell yes,” she asserts. “I hate to separate men from women drummers, ’cause I hate it when people come up to me with, ‘Oh man, you’re so good for a girl.’ Having said that, I also think we do need to be held up ’cause we’re so underappreciated, man.
“There are some amazing, badass female drummers here in Austin, and everywhere,” Valejo continues. “Karen Carpenter is one of my idols and so underrated and so overlooked as a drummer, in my opinion. We’re reclaiming our shit, saying, ‘Fuck you, women all the way.’” – Libby Webster
Fri., June 15, 9pm