Older Women Come Together & Play Punk Rock: Discover The Unglamorous Music Project

Punk is not only not dead, it’s get­ting a fresh burst of ener­gy, thanks to The Unglam­orous Music Pro­ject, a female col­lec­tive in Leices­ter.

In accor­dance with punk tra­di­tion, musi­cal abil­i­ty is not a pri­ma­ry con­cern.

Shock­ing­ly, life expe­ri­ence is.

With five, six, and sev­en decades worth, Unglam­orous Music Project par­tic­i­pants have no illu­sions about how women their age — with the pos­si­ble excep­tion of Pat­ti Smith — are per­ceived.

Rather than con­tent them­selves with crumbs and con­form to soci­etal expec­ta­tions, they are going hard in new­ly formed bands like The Wonky Por­traits, Dada Women, BOILERS, Vel­vet Cri­sis and The Veri­nos, above.

“This is def­i­nite­ly not ‘cutesy grannies have a go at punk’ band,” BOILERS’ Alli­son “Fish” Dunne empha­sized to The Guardian:

I’ve got no fucks to give any more about what any­one thinks of me…We write our own music and we’ve got a lot to say about every­thing we’re angry about. I’ve been enraged for years.

The Veri­nos’ 61-year-old Ruth Miller, founder of The Unglam­orous Music Project, told RNZ  how she tapped into an unex­pect­ed­ly rich reser­voir of pre­vi­ous­ly unact­ed upon mature female musi­cal impulse, when she men­tioned her plan to form a band to the friend with whom she drank cof­fee and talked pol­i­tics.

The friend con­fessed that she’d long want­ed to take up the drums, and on the strength of that com­ment was draft­ed as drum­mer for the Veri­nos, after watch­ing one instruc­tion­al YouTube video.

A “real­ly cool look­ing old­er woman” with “stick­ing up hair” whom Miller approached in a restau­rant, ask­ing, “Excuse me, are you in a band?” earned her place by answer­ing “No, but I’ve always want­ed to learn bass.”

I think as a woman, you hit a par­tic­u­lar age and you think, “Well, I don’t care what any­one thinks. It’s my life, and I real­ly want to do music again, and it doesn’t mat­ter whether peo­ple like it or not. They don’t have to lis­ten…”

But they do like it! It’s incred­i­bly appeal­ing, that idea of see­ing a group of old­er women who are just them­selves.

Miller believes that rather than pay­ing for pri­vate lessons and con­cen­trat­ing on the “prop­er” way to play music, begin­ners should let go of their inhi­bi­tions and have a go at play­ing com­mu­nal­ly.

The prin­ci­ples of the Unglam­orous Music Project spell it out even more explic­it­ly:

  • Choose an instru­ment that appeals and fits in with oth­ers
  • Find help­ful peo­ple to lend you stuff and sup­port uncon­di­tion­al­ly
  • Form a duo or band with oth­er begin­ners straight­away
  • Explore very sim­ple rhythms and sounds
  • Write your own words about your life
  • Sing great tunes and back­ing vocals
  • Play your song in a con­fi­dent, cool, chal­leng­ing way
  • Get encour­age­ment and applause from friends
  • Start per­form­ing to audi­ences as soon as pos­si­ble

Per­haps an unspo­ken prin­ci­ple, giv­en the Pro­jec­t’s empha­sis on fun, is assum­ing Ramones-style stage names, a la Vim, Vi, Vol­cano, Vix­en and VeeDee Veri­no.

If you’re inspired to join the move­ment, mark your cal­en­dar for March, 8, Inter­na­tion­al Women’s Day and join Miller’s Face­book group, 66 Days to your Debut.

via Boing­Bo­ing

Relat­ed Con­tent 

Four Female Punk Bands That Changed Women’s Role in Rock

33 Songs That Doc­u­ment the His­to­ry of Fem­i­nist Punk (1975–2015): A Playlist Curat­ed by Pitch­fork

How the Riot Grrrl Move­ment Cre­at­ed a Rev­o­lu­tion in Rock & Punk

– Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo and Cre­ative, Not Famous Activ­i­ty Book. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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  • Ben says:

    This is the best thing my life has ever had the pri­valage to read… BEFORE I even read it.. the heart and sole of punk rock in one amaz­ing pic­ture, amaz­ing women, and you can’t go wrong with punk, GOD SAVE THE QUEEN…

  • Mawk says:

    This song is stu­pid, I’m a real punker, and this makes us look bad. Punk isn’t all about offense. Grow up and make our scene look good

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