Reviews

White Hat

Author: Lyndsay Knecht
When Stefanie Drootin-Senseney was 15, her brother took her to see a band called Firehose. The singer, Mike Watt, didn't play guitar ? he played bass. Mean, funked-up slap bass. "I just thought, 'That was the coolest thing I've ever seen,'" said Drootin-Senseney, who grew up in Los Angeles. "I went to a pawnshop and bought a bass." More than 10 years later, Drootin-Senseney says she "owes everything to music": a wealth of confidence and experience performing and recording with bands like She & Him, Bright Eyes and Azure Ray; a best friend ? her husband and Big Harp bandmate, Chris Senseney; and a lifestyle that fits everything she loves, including her 1-year-old daughter, Twila, and 3-year-old son Hank, in a minivan and trailer for cross-country adventures. Big Harp stops in Denton Thursday at Dan's Silverleaf behind White Hat, an avant folk-rock record that will send the band to venues in nine western states. Drootin-Senseney paused in a Toys R Us parking lot to talk about Omaha Girls Rock, a Nebraska day camp she founded that employs other local female musicians to help girls ages 8-18 find the same power in music that she has. Q: Why choose Omaha for a Girls Rock! chapter? Didn't the girls show up already indoctrinated by their cool parents? A: My music career has always pretty much been based in Omaha. I never made a dime until I started playing with bands in Omaha. ? People are so inspired there, they really latch on to new things. There was one girl [during the camp's launch in July] who mentioned Zooey Deschanel [of She & Him] when we asked about their favorite performers, but the rest mostly said they loved Taylor Swift. We showed them clips of PJ Harvey, Sleater-Kinney ? they loved it. When they started writing their songs, you could tell they took inspiration. They were a lot more open-minded than I remember being as a teenager. Q: You've mentioned in interviews before that you encountered sexism as a young musician. What did that look like? A: One example is back when I was playing with Bright Eyes more, a few different times I ran into girls that didn't like me too much because they thought I was dating Conor [Oberst, the frontman]. If I was a girl in the band, I must be dating Conor. He's like a brother ? never have I dated any members of the band! Q: What values that transcend music are you hoping to pass on to young girls? A: We are human beings, and we're women, and we can do anything that we want to do. Our minds are so powerful and important. ? Women working together is a really important thing. A lot of times women are pinned against each other ? when you work together, what amazing things you can create. There were some little arguments that happened in naming the bands, for instance. In one case, there were four girls, two against two [regarding the band name Trees]. One girl was getting ready to quit the band. One of the girls said, "I don't know, I just don't like Trees." And that was it. They called the band I Just Don't Like Trees.
White Hat

White Hat

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Chain Letters

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White Hat

White Hat

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