The first record I ever bought with my own money was the Go-Go’s Talk Show. I remember seeing the band on MTV. It was the first time ever I had seen GIRLS ROCKING. They were not wearing short skirts or showing ample cleavage. They wrote AND performed their own songs. They were not overly glamorous. In fact, they looked like cooler, hipper versions of some of the older kids who babysat for me. They had off the shoulder sweatshirts, plaid shirts, and cool, geometric earrings. My favourite out of all of them was the band’s drummer, Gina Schock. I had never seen a woman play instruments AT ALL before, let alone one taking control of the heartbeat of any group.
Even at that time, though, I never thought that drumming or even being in a band would be something that I could ever even think about doing. It seemed fantastical, like saying I wanted to be a princess. My only ‘contact’ with such insanely cool images was via music videos, which seemed as fictional as Star Wars. To be in my own band was as likely as being in a galaxy far, far away.
When I first met BIMM Brighton Alumna Simone Odaranile, I did not know she was a drummer, let alone an insanely talented one. It was my first day at a new job, at BIMM. Simone had just moved from Brighton to pursue music in London and was also starting a new position at the college. Our ‘new girl’ status bonded us initially, but, over time, I discovered that she was gigging with bands and touring- a literal woman for hire. When Simone started playing with the Go! Team, I was so chuffed for her. I had been a fan of the band for over a decade, and, after hearing anecdotally of all of Simone’s hard work to support herself as a professional musician, I could not be more pleased that it was being acknowledged.
When I sat down to do an interview with Simone, I was absolutely floored by her dedication to her playing. She had no one- not even an untouchable Gina Schock- to look up to when she was learning how to play; it was literally a total ghost town of women drummers. Her persistence at getting better, always wanting to learn and improve and just being so enthusiastic was very inspiring to me. Simone then offered to give me an impromptu drum lesson- OH MY GOD. You need stamina, you need coordination, you need to be able to do ten things LITERALLY at the same time. My hat came even further off to this incredible woman for being such a bad ass.
If you are a girl thinking about taking up the drums, or any instrument, you will love the episode of Inside the Music where I talk to Simone. If you are a musician and feeling downtrodden about all the work you are putting in, Simone’s story will hopefully uplift you and drive you to go that little bit further.