The She Shreds showcases at SXSW (March 17-20) have a reputation of being (as we used to say in Texas) knock-down drag-outs—shows you get to for the first band and stay until the last. That’s a sterling rep at South-by, with its zillion bands, impromptu venues, and frenetic/eclectic lineups. We’re excited to see how it goes down this year, culminating on March 20 with She Shreds in partnership with Tom Tom.
According to their mastheads, Tom Tom magazine is “the only magazine in the world dedicated to female drummers,” and She Shreds magazine is dedicated to “encouraging future and current musicians by highlighting female guitarists and bassists.” It seems like such a natural fit, we assumed that the haters on the internet would totally throw a fit.
With the magic of the internet, we caught up with Fabi Reyna, publisher of She Shreds, and Mindy Seegal Abovitz, publisher of Tom Tom, to get some background before dialing in two women on the bill this week, Leah Wellbaum of Slothrust, and Rebecca DeRosa, who is the review editor for Tom Tom, the drummer for Fisty, and a bartender at Teddy’s for the last 9 years.
Mindy Seegal Abovitz, publisher of Tom Tom: Tom Tom has been friends with She Shreds since their inception. We have a million and one crossovers (friends, content, contributors) and are related on so many levels. We were long overdue for a joint showcase.
Fabi Reyna, publisher of She Shreds: SXSW 2010, I think (the last SXSW show Tom Tom had), I was on tour playing guitar with my band at the time, called Sexhair, and we got invited to play the Tom Tom show at SXSW that year. That was about two years or so before I started She Shreds, but it was the first time Mindy and I met. I was able to ask her a few questions about how she started the magazine, knowing that I wanted to create a similar platform for female guitarists. Fast-forward a few years and, without thinking about it, we’re debuting our partnership at the very place that we met!
Fabi: Mindy and I often brainstorm together and check in with each other but for whatever reason it just hasn’t felt like the right time to officially collaborate until now––although it obviously makes the most sense in the world. I think that although the mission of our magazines are similar, we maintain our own aesthetic and ways of doing things…. I think after SXSW we’ll collaborate in ways other than events, ways that will be more lasting.
Both mags focus on female musicians, and in roles still dominated by men. It’s painfully obvious that we don’t live in a post-gender world, especially on the Internet. Do you get backlash from trolls?
Fabi: Haha, yes. It’s kind of fun to deal with those people, because while I want to be mean and feel offended I’m just sort of like “Aw, I want to help you!” I’ve already gone through years of feeling offended and actually, with She Shreds I feel like I have a team behind me ready to start a dialogue and explain why that backlash is just one person’s ignorance. People say stuff like “why don’t you call it they shreds,” implying that we’re the ones being sexist, or say it’s a magazine about lesbians (that one is my favorite), and then I post it on my social media and am like, “What do ya’ll think?” to my readers, and hope that the person who says/thinks that reads the thread. I’m all about starting a dialogue that includes trolls because hopefully, in the end, they’ll think twice before saying anything like it again.
Leah Wellbaum of Slothrust: I enjoy playing female-centric gigs. I really like meeting other women that play music and I’ve never been particularly worried about getting pigeon-holed. I would much rather meet and associate with awesome women who play music than be concerned about other people dismissing me because I am affiliated with that group. People like that are boring.
Rebecca DeRosa, of Tom Tom and Fisty: The job at Tom Tom inspires me and has kept me on the throne even when I want to quit and move back to rural North Carolina and live with my mother. The folks are incredibly supportive and I feel very lucky to work with them and call them friends.
Bartending in the neighborhood is a great way to network! My customers often come out to our shows and some of them are retirement age—two of my favorite customers, Bob and Penny, are in their 70s, and they came to the Halloween show I threw. They used to own an S&M club in NYC in the ’70s.
The old owners of Teddy’s (Felice, Glen, and Lee) have been running a successful business in Williamsburg for 28 years and have seen a lot of changes in the neighborhood. They’ve adapted and grown over the years, but now they’re ready to pass on their business and legacy. They’ve found people they trust who will not completely destroy what they’ve worked so hard to build. Apparently they turned down some very juicy offers but they were from sleazy douchebag developers.
Teddy’s will be closed the first two weeks of April as they make some renovations. Don’t worry, they won’t tear down any of the historic parts of the building! It’s in their contract that they have to keep most of it intact. And most of your favorite items will stay on the menu and most of the staff is staying on.
“She Shreds and Tom Tom Magazine SXSW Takeover,” March 20, 12:30 pm at Zenfit, 2200 E 7th St., Austin, TX
Interviews have been edited and condensed.