Ten Questions for Hard Rock Chick
Hard Rock Chick doesn't spend her life blogging things she read on the Internet. She lives in the real world and goes to real shows. Her reviews are more than catalogs of what she did or didn't like -- a Threat Signal gig becomes an introspection on the new versus old Emo's. A trip to Norway becomes an episode in understanding the darkness of Black Metal. Radiohead evokes the summer her parents moved from big city to small town and pushed her off the straight-and-narrow for good.
We caught up with Hard Rock Chick shortly after she covered the 2012 Revolver Golden Gods Awards for the GRAMMYs, where she talked to some of Metal's heaviest hitters (hello, Lemmy.)How was SXSW this year? SXSW is always what you make of it ... and this year I actually took it kinda easy. I went with the one day show/one night show method, and didn't do any interviews. In past years I've done up to 4 different shows in one day! And I never have a badge so that can make things incredibly frustrating. SXSW sets the tone of my year musically; it's where I find new bands and see ones that I wouldn't normally get to see because this is a one-off show for them. The best sets I saw were Black Breath (Seattle) and Shining (Norway). New (to me) bands I saw for the first time and liked a lot were Primitive Weapons (Brooklyn), The Atlas Moth (Chicago) and Pallbearer (Arkansas). What's going on in Austin's hard rock scene? Austin's got an interesting rock and metal scene to me. I've lived in a lot of places over the past decade, and yes, Austin's tagline of "Live Music Capital of the World" is somewhat true. As a band, you could get out and play somewhere probably every night of the week if you wanted to. So the Red River corridor - even with the absence of Emo's as its literal cornerstone, is one of the few places left on the planet where I could pop by one of the venues without knowing who's playing and probably catch a solid rock or metal act. And Austin's not known for any particular sound; our most well-known rock bands at the moment would have to be The Sword, which leans sludge metal, and The Black Angels, which is psychedelic rock. Eagle Claw is a great instrumental metal act, and I've heard good things about Scorpion Child, though I still need to check them out live. When you interview famous people (or sit near Dave Grohl and Tony Bennett at the GRAMMYs) do you get freaked out or find a way to keep it cool? Haha, the short answer is that I keep it cool. Honestly, because I handle everything about my site myself - dealing with labels and PR agents, technical logistics, research, etc., while I'm interviewing I don't even have time to digest who it is in front of me; I'm generally thinking about remembering my questions, reacting to their answers, worrying if the camera and audio is working, thinking about my time limit ... things like that. Sad but true. It's usually afterwards that I have time to think, "WOW I JUST TALKED TO LEMMY!" Is it hard to be a girl in a genre dominated by boys? (Or is that a misperception?) It's not hard to be a girl who's into rock and metal these days. The numbers are still out of balance, but I'd say that as a fan, there's less sexism now than even five years ago. The hard evidence of this is that merch tables often actually have girl's tees now! However, to be a girl who blogs like what I do is hard. I've had to develop really thick skin. Both girls and guys look at me as a 'groupie,' which often comes with sexual connotations. YouTube commenters are the worst. Many of my interviews are filled with comments of people talking about how I must have slept with a musician after the interview, things like that. The truth is that I take what I do very seriously; I dreamed of working for Rolling Stone or MTV as a kid, but both outlets aren't what they used to be. However, the Internet gave me a way to do what I dreamed of even if I'll never make a $ doing so. If I were a guy, I wouldn't have to deal with comments like that. I'd be taken more seriously by everyone. But, it is what it is. Do you miss the old Emo's? I do. The new one is nice, but the location is out of the way and it just lacks the character of the original one. I cut my teeth at shows in that venue, but all good things come to an end. They still have great shows at the new one so I go there regardless. You blog for the GRAMMYs and spend some of your time in LA. Is Austin becoming more like LA? Does living in the two places shed any light on our town? I'd say Austin is becoming a bit more like LA ... but only in a good way right now. And that's probably because a lot of people from LA have moved here over the past five years or so. I left Austin in 2005 for California and started coming back in 2010 ... and it had changed tremendously. But luckily it has developed with that "Keep Austin Weird" mentality in mind. It seems like there are more options in general; I can comfortably live downtown compared to in 2005 when it felt like mostly bars, clubs and higher end restaurants were here. But Austin will always have a slower pace than LA, it's less of a social climber city by nature. Beyond SXSW, ACL and the occasional random moment like Johnny Depp and Billy Gibbons playing at the Continental Club, Austin is a pretty sleepy city. There is always something going on in LA ... and if there isn't, someone takes it upon themselves to come up with something. What's lame about Austin these days? Being totally honest, I don't get the whole food truck thing. I realize there are some really awesome ones, and I appreciate their humor ... but it's getting to be a bit much. I'd like some new things to be real actual restaurants where you can sit inside! What's awesome about Austin these days? The same things that have always been awesome: it's quirky, open-minded, healthy and has some great nature spots to enjoy: Hamilton Pool, Barton Springs, Town Lake Hike & Bike Trail ... the weather is mostly great if you like the heat, and the cost of living is pretty low. Are we getting lamer or more awesome? I'm gonna go with neither. Some things are getting more awesome, and some things are getting lamer. It all balances out. Tell us someone or something Austin-related that we should know about. When I need to get away from all things rock and metal, my idea of a perfect day is Hamilton Pool and Poodie's Hilltop. As they say there: "No Bad Days."