By now, everyone’s hip to the meaning of “indie”: short for independent, embodying a free, do-it-yourself attitude outside the corporate structure of The Man, etc.
Somewhere along the rock & roll way, “grrl” also became a part of the American lexicon, but its meaning is vaguely more precise, if that makes a lick of sense—getting an image of a tattooed, mohawked punkette in Doc Martens? Courtney Love? The Powerpuff Girls? Not everyone agrees on what a grrl is.
“That term kind of weirded me out at first—does it mean I have to be 18 and have everything pierced? I didn’t know,” says singer-songwriter-guitarist Stacey Board, member of the Salt Lake City chapter of Indiegrrl, an Internet-based resource for female musicians (www.Indiegrrl. com). “Now, I just think it means to celebrate the side of women that doesn’t wear pantyhose and pearls. It’s about just being who you are—gay, straight, bi, 18, pierced, 65, whatever. The whole broad spectrum.”
The two-year-old Indiegrrl’s spectrum of broads is now an international membership of more than 700 performing women, including an e-mail subscription list linking musicians, promoters, DJs and basically anyone else interested in the sounds of the fairer sex. Where Indiegrrls are strictly female musicians or female-fronted bands, the subscription base is all-inclusive.
“The Indiegrrl e-mail list helps with getting your music to DJs around the country. A lot of DJs who are open to independent music subscribe to the list, mostly at college or community radio stations, like KRCL here in Salt Lake,” Board says. “They’ll ask for you to send your music to them, and when they start playing it on their station you can in turn call or e-mail them and say, ‘I want to come to your city and play. Tell me the best places to play, who to avoid, who pays and who’s a jerk.’ It’s amazingly valuable information to have about cities you’ve never performed in.”
For touring musicians like Board, the system works both ways. “When Indiegrrls come through Utah, a DJ at KRCL may play their music, and I’ll help out with a show. I’ll let them sleep in my guestroom, and they’ll return the favor when I’m in their town. It’s really cool. I get to meet some great women who are a little higher up on the pro musician ladder than me.
“It’s a great network; a group of women who are all independent artists, all on the same playing field,” Board continues. “Since I’ve hooked up with them, they’ve helped me so much with booking gigs on both coasts. I was touring the entire summer thanks to them. It’s in the spirit of, if I know something and I help you with that info, it comes back times 10. On the e-mail list, you post a message, like ‘Hey, I’m going to be in Ottawa next week—where should I play?’ Most times you get useful tips, but occasionally you get ‘Sorry, there’s no music in Ottawa’ [laughs].”
As a collective entity, Indiegrrl has organized two “official” tours in the past, and now the 50-date, 23-state third is winding through Salt Lake City. “No headliners, no big-name draws, no feminine products sponsors—just amazing, independent female musicians doing it for themselves,” according to the Indiegrrl home office in Seattle. “Every act on every bill is equal, every performer on the bill helps with promotion before the event, and all of the women have set their egos aside to work cooperatively and produce this enormous tour.”
The egos to be set aside at the Lazy Moon Pub next week belong to local Indiegrrls Melissa Warner, Gina French (both performing with full bands featuring, yep, men—Indiegyys?), Board, and Idaho songstress Georgette Dashiell. “Georgette’s been through Salt Lake a few times,” Board says, explaining the lineup she’s organized for the tour’s SLC stop. “Melissa and Gina are two of my favorite local singers, and I kind of recruited them into Indiegrrl with a whip and a chair [laughs]. See, I have no day job—all I do is music, so I tend to get obnoxious about it.”
Only a handful of the shows, like the one Board’s put together, are benefits. “October is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My mom’s a cancer survivor, as is Georgette’s, so I decided to make it a benefit for the Cancer Wellness House. The whole tour culminates at November’s Rockrgrl Music Conference in Seattle. That’s the grand, orgasmic finale [laughs], or whatever.”
Not to distract from the benefit with a shameless plug for something else, but here’s a shameless plug for something else: On Saturday, Oct. 21, Board hosts another show featuring Warner and French, along with Glade, Bryan Honeyville, Gene Deal, Wendy Ohlwiler and David Prill, noon-5 p.m. at Salt City CDs. It’s a belated album release party for Board’s Wedding CD compilation, which you may have read about somewhere before.
“I put together the players for the CD, and now we’re finally doing a show to kind of remind people it’s out there,” she says excitedly. “City Weekly voted it one of Utah’s Top 50! [Music & Performing Arts Issue, Aug. 24.] I put it out, then I left for my honeymoon, so there’s never really been a promotional push for it. We all totally dig each other, we’re all good friends, and we’re all different musically—it’s a lovefest [laughs], a bunch of friends getting together and doing what they do.
“‘Independent’ doesn’t just mean some flaky musician in the garage that no one wants to listen to. There are valid, incredibly talented people out there who aren’t signed to major labels. The way things are these days, who would want to be? I mean, as busy as it is, with all the plates I juggle, I like my ‘indie’ life.”
The Indiegrrl Tour: Grrls In the House—Benefit For the Cancer Wellness House at the Lazy Moon Pub, 32 Exchange Place (363-7600), Friday, Oct. 27, 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Tickets available at the Lazy Moon and Salt City CDs ($6 advance, $8 day of show). Further info: www.Indiegrrl.com, www.Cancer-Wellness.org and www.StaceyBoard.com.