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These women musicians to channel ’80s femme for Girls Rock Lawrence benefit

Heidi Lynne Gluck and her band will cover Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders at Friday’s benefit for Girls Rock Lawrence.
Heidi Lynne Gluck and her band will cover Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders at Friday’s benefit for Girls Rock Lawrence.

This summer, Girls Rock Lawrence will conduct its third annual music camp for female and transgender youth.

Friday night at the Replay Lounge in Lawrence, three women involved with the camp will perform at a benefit for Girls Rock. Each will pay tribute to a fellow female musician who has been an inspiration. The three recently answered questions from The Star about Girls Rock Lawrence and the benefit.

Heidi Lynne Gluck, singer/songwriter

Q: How did you get involved?

A: GRL is an organization that, among other things, holds a summer camp dedicated to educating and empowering female and trans youth through musical exploration, creative expression and performance within a non-competitive learning environment, with a focus on amplifying voices from underrepresented groups. Girls Rock Lawrence is part of the Girls Rock Camp Alliance, which provides structure and resources to camps and members from all over the world.

The weeklong day camp provides musical instruction, band coaching, workshops on feminism, oppression, songwriting, body-positivity, consent, band promotion. We also have lunch-time performances by local female/trans musicians. The camp is 100 percent volunteer-run. We rely on our community to operate and teach at the camp, loan us their gear, donate food and attend the amazing showcase at the end of the week, where the campers’ bands perform the song they wrote and rehearsed throughout camp. The showcase is bonkers — the best energy — my favorite show I get to be a part of each year.

I have been involved with GRL since our first year. I had heard about these kinds of camps around the world and jumped at the chance to be involved when I heard there was one launching here in Lawrence. I started as a volunteer instructor and band coach and then joined the board of directors in 2015.

Q: Talk about the band or artist you are covering and why you chose them.

A: I chose to cover the Pretenders because of my admiration of Chrissie Hynde. Although she made some unfortunate and misguided remarks about rape culture (she would be well served to sit in on some of our camp workshops!), she’s tough as nails, and she held her own in the boys club of punk.

I’ve been feeling pretty snarly these days, so getting to act that out has been cathartic and a fun contrast to the style I usually sing in. There’s nothing bubble-gum/side-ponytail-’80s about Chrissie Hynde. She doesn’t need cutesy; her songs are inventive, her guitar playing is great, and she’s just the boss.

Q: What is most difficult about capturing their sound?

A: Pretenders songs sound pretty simple because of their constant hooks, but once you start taking them apart to learn and memorize, you see how unconventional the arrangements and meter are on some of the songs. There are rarely repeating lyrics, so that’s taken some work to stick them in my head.

We’re doing songs from their first three records, and it sometimes just feels like complete chaos from an arrangement perspective.

Q: What have you learned from playing her music?

A: Snarl.

Practice this: Each phrase should be 80 percent snarled and 20 percent sung.

Worry less about notes so I can deliver a sentiment.

Write some songs about the creeps I’ve known.

Tell the stories, no holds barred.

Q: Will you perform with a full band or solo or somewhere in between?

Full band all the way. I’m happy to help introduce guitarist Jade Rose to the music scene. We are having a blast working out the dueling guitars between (James) Honeyman-Scott and Hynde, and Jade is completely nailing it. I can’t wait for everyone to see her play. Hannah Novaria is the drummer and a fellow GRL board member. On bass, we have a token male — Steve Ozark is filling in as our one-time bass player for the show.

Katlyn Conroy, singer/songwriter

Q: How did you get involved?

A: I have been lucky enough to be asked to volunteer for the last two years to teach vocals at the camp, provide graphic designing for some fliers and album contents for the end of camp project, and I have fallen in love with it!

Q: Talk about the band or artist you are covering and why you chose them.

A: I’m covering Kate Bush. She has always been a favorite of mine because of her unwillingness to conform. She’s a total weirdo in all of the best ways. She commits and believes in what she’s putting forward, so that no matter how strange it may initially sound or look, you get pulled into it and become a part of the world she’s creating.

Q: What is most difficult about capturing her sound?

A: Her songs are structured very oddly, so when you learn them the first time you have to throw away your expectations and really count every beat she does. Not to mention her vocals reach both the tippy-top and super low ranges, so that’s been a really fun challenge as a singer.

Q: How has she influenced your music?

A: More than anything her sense of drama and individuality. … She reminds me that if you really stick to what comes naturally to you as a songwriter, you can create something very unique.

Q: Will you perform with a full band or solo?

A: I’ll perform as a full band with my buddies Brian Roberts (drums) and Matthew Mulnix (bass/guitar). Another cool thing about Kate Bush’s songs is that each part has something really different going on with it, so you really don’t need a lot of instruments to convey that.

Angie Schoenherr, Youngest Children

Q: How did you get involved?

A: I am one of the four original founders of the camp in Lawrence.

Q: Talk about the band or artist you are covering and why you chose them.

A: For our band, Laurie Anderson is someone we all respect deeply as a performance artist. She has figured out how to make music and art that is unpredictable, interesting, creepy, funny, beautiful and political all at once. I admire her as a female performer from the standpoint she doesn’t follow the gendered standards of how most people expect femme performers to look, sound and act. She is just unapologetic about doing her own thing.

Q: What is most difficult about capturing her sound?

A: Her songs do not follow the more common song structure of the verse, chorus, verse, bridge, etc. Since her music isn’t exactly catchy, it’s more difficult to pick up all the subtle nuances that make her music what it is. Additionally, our band has done little to no work with electronic music, so this is all new territory.

Q: How has she influenced your music?

A: I think that many artists feel pressure to stick to just one particular sound or persona and end up feeling frustrated out of boredom. Laurie Anderson has helped me to see that creativity is something much bigger than just writing a catchy song, getting approval or doing the most trendy thing. It’s about expression, exploration, sharing ideas, pushing boundaries and also learning how to not take yourself too seriously all the time.

Q: Who will be performing?

A: Angie Schoenherr, Nate Henricks, Allison Sheldon and Andy Stuhl, our newest member’s first performance.

Timothy Finn: 816-234-4781, @phinnagain

Friday

“Girls Rock Lawrence: An Ode to Femme Reformers of the ’80s” begins at 10 p.m. Friday at the Replay Lounge in Lawrence. Cover is $3, but larger donations are welcome. The show is a benefit for the Girls Rock Lawrence summer music camp. It’s a 21-and-older show. replaylounge.com

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