by Girl Gang
Pretty early on in life, we both figured out that it was okay to challenge the rules. It seemed that people loved to tell us HOW the world worked, but nobody knew WHY it worked the way it did. Why did we have to wear dresses and have pink things?
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Our drummer, Dana Kirkendoll says, “I don’t ever recall asking my parents for a doll, or a kitchen play set. I remember asking for a Nerf gun and Power Ranger action figures. Eventually, they started buying me the “boy” toys, but it came with the label of being a “tomboy.” And as I got a little older, it was awkward if I asked for something “girly” like a purse or some eye shadow. Everybody was so quick to throw me in a category, that when I acted like the teenage girl I was, they were left scratching their heads.”
Frankie Guerra, our guitar extraordinaire, adds, “There was a time in my life when I wanted a different hairstyle. I considered hair clips or putting my hair up. But then I thought about how everyone would point out how “girly” I was trying to be since I was known as a tomboy. That feeling of uncomfortable outweighed the desire for a new look.”
In our teenage years, with both of us growing up with the similar feelings of not fitting into the standards of what a girl was supposed to be, we put immense pressure on ourselves to not stand out. We were already too different. If we tried to change now, the stares and whispers would just get louder. So we turned to the only friend who accepted us as is: music.
We were lucky to have artists like Alanis Morissette, Shirley Manson, Liz Phair, and PJ Harvey to look up to in the mid-’90s. Musicians who embodied strength and leadership. Musicians who chose their own steps. Finally, women were fronting successful bands and not just an accessory with a tambourine. We were seeing girls with guitars, and even on drums (Thanks, Patty Schemel and Janet Weiss!)
Fast forward to 2016. We are in our late 20’s and early 30’s. Both of us had spent too many years in different bands, always being “the girl.” Almost every performance being plagued with the inevitable, “Man, you’re good for a girl!” comment. Or assuming our equipment belonged to whatever male we happened to be standing near. Ask any woman in a band; they’ll be guaranteed to have the same story. And it’s a story we were tired of living.
So we started a band called Girl Gang. According to Frankie, “We thought it would be ironic to be called Girl Gang since everyone liked to point out that we were girls in a band. We decided to just embrace it. We designed a logo, made social media accounts, and started putting ourselves out there.”
“Something we decided early on,” says Dana, “Is that we wanted to do everything ourselves, for as long as we can. We only wanted to have to rely on ourselves, and each other for everything in this band. It was very important for us to show that we are capable of handling our own show bookings, recording sessions, merch, the behind the scenes stuff.”
After we released our first single, “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry,” we started getting a lot of messages on our Instagram. People saying that the song struck a chord with them, asking for live shows, where they could hear more music, and just really sweet notes. As we put out more music, people started asking us about our equipment, who our influences are, and for music recommendations. It was the first time in both of our lives that people were treating us like musicians. Not like girls in a band, just as a band. We feel like we’ve built a little music community through our social media.
We are about to celebrate Girl Gang’s third year. We’re starting off with our third official release, aptly named “Three.” We’ve been fortunate enough to have had some radio and podcast play, and even have some of our influences reach out with words of support. “It’s mindblowing to me that people we first bonded over musically, like Bif Naked and Cheri Lovedog, take the time to talk to us. It never gets old when someone who’s inspired you makes you feel accepted into their ‘cool kid’ circle,” concludes Frankie, “I hope we can show other bands that rules don’t really exist. It’s okay to just make art and put it out there. The rest will find its place. In a world that always seemed against us, we’ve always found a way to be girls against the grain.”
Girl Gang, Category: Artist, Singles: Three, Yesterday’s Tomorrow, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, Top Tracks: Yesterday’s Tomorrow, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, Albuquerque Lullaby, Fall into Lies, Biography: After meeting at a Jenny Lewis concert, Dana and Frankie knew it was kismet., Monthly Listeners: 82, Where People Listen: Los Angeles, Jakarta, Harderwijk, Malang, Surabaya