When I was in college, I was, like many young women, in a Riot-Grrrrl band. Because I have no real musical talent, and because I am very loud, I was the singer – and I loved it!
We started the band because I was planning a fundraiser and one of the other bands cancelled; we played for about 2 years (?) but we had enough awesomeness to fill a decade.
One pleasant side effect of my having a female voicebox was that no one could ever really hear my screaming over the cacophony of the band; even with fairly expert sound manipulation, lady voices just don’t carry as well – particularly in the sound environment of bars and small houses. Knowing this, and also not being able to hear myself, gave me a huge confidence boost and I would go crazy with making weird sounds and singing notes I had no business with. And I could do whatever with the lyrics – since no one would ever hear them.
One snowy evening in a small town in Northeastern Missouri, a friend left a show early and was walking home through a foot of just fallen snow, the air crisp and fresh. Because of some trick of the air, snow and soundwaves, he says, my voice filled the whole street – only my voice. The noise of the rest of the band stayed politely inside.
I was thinking the other day while I dug and sweated in the dirt about how there was a time in history when my voice poured into and filled up a whole city block, pooling and piling all over the snow, vulnerable, exposed, but squawky, cocky and confident.
Though I don’t know what song we were playing, let’s say it was the perennial classic, “Rock and Roll Unicorn” Here are the lyrics as they appeared in the liner notes of our CASSETTE TAPE RELEASE (Ha! Old!). Though it is not exactly scientifically accurate, I think it speaks a certain truth. Caution – it has swear words! After all, it was rock and roll!
Rock n’ Roll Unicorn
You are running through a field
flames are burning at your heels!
At the center of every molecule’s a unicorn!
We are just a pile of skin,
our skin is a pile of cells,
our cells are molecules,
and in every one, lies a unicorn,
At the center of every molecule’s a unicorn! (2x)
You’ve got to be the change that you want to see (2x)
You’ve got to be the change you want to see in the world (2x)
If yr not pissed off, yr not listnin’
if yr not pissed off, yr not watching!
if yr not pissed off, yr not paying attention.
Our souls aren’t black or white,
our souls are made of the sun!
our bones are the rock n’ roll unicorn,
and no one can stop us now!
You’ve got to be the rock n’ roll unicorn (4x)
Our bodies are shit and blood,
our bodies are skin, and sweat, and mud,
but our hearts are on fire!
Our chests are filled with burning flames and we can do anything!
with the Rock n’ roll unicorn-
You’ve got to be the rock n’ roll unicorn (2x)
ROCK N’ ROLL UNICORN
ROCK N’ ROLL UNICORRRRRRRN!