Jessica Clavin (Bleached)

“What is it like to be a girl in a band?” An unfavorable question of mine during an interview with only 20 minutes of valuable time to ask me anything you want, to really get to know me, and I’m handed this perplexed inquiry. If we’re repeatedly confined with trivial comments it doesn’t allow hope for expansion and growth. It distracts the efforts and representation I personally would like to show as a musician.

Music was my first experience of feeling connected and driven. It made me feel lighter to discover an unforgettable tune. I remember hearing for the first time “rock n roll” by the Velvet Underground on a cassette tape, Hendrix’s “Little Wing” solo and sounds of bombs exploding coming from only a guitar, Nico’s mysteriousness and low vocal range singing so gracefully, Marc Bolan’s glam, and Girl Schools shredding guitar parts. It wasn’t their differences in gender that occurred to me, but there style, technique, and manner. The one role they all shared was being a musician.

At some point I was so inspired by all the shows I was going to in high school, I felt the need to give something back for my appreciation. That’s when Jen and I finally started playing music together. We had our first practice in our garage in the San Fernando valley. It didn’t matter who you were, what you played… The only requirement was to find your instrument and hone in. It didn’t take long before we were starting our first band, playing shows, and booking our own tours. Through all of this we struggled with discriminating comments, sexist remarks, and just straight up brainless feedback. Being young and tough was an advantage to say “screw you!” and get away with it because we were punks and still are!

Unfortunately we are powerless over the simpleminded views and egotistical behaviors. The trait to put aside everything we think we know and to just listen to the music is simply lacked by some. This shouldn’t stop us from expressing ourselves through any form of music/art. I’ve had my moments through years of uncomfortable situations where I felt timid and not so grounded. Let this be reason to stand stronger and wiser. Let’s move past this “unfavorable question” so we’re not restricting our music standards and beliefs.

Much love, Jessie.