Sep 14, 2012 08:57 AM WV Sound
Keeping a beat in the Mountain State
Rock 'n' Roll Perspective
Since 2004, Danielle has performed in various local rock bands, including Grundeldrag, Ish, and The Sneakies. She currently plays drums, guitar, and sings in three-piece rock group Freudian Slap, who will perform September 24, 2012, at the U-92 FM Morgantown Sound radio show at 8 p.m. in the Gluck Theatre at the Mountainlair.
Playing live rock ‘n’ roll music in Morgantown makes me feel alive. The community of musicians and music venues like 123 Pleasant Street give local artists their own little piece of living the dream. On 123’s stage, I’ve grown stronger as a songwriter and performer, singing lead vocals and playing guitar in local bands. Writing original songs and playing in bands has given me the creative outlet I’ve always wanted.
From the moment I was a teenager and discovered bands like Bikini Kill, Hole, Babes in Toyland, and Juliana Hatfield, I knew I wanted to make loud, distorted, guitar rock ‘n’ roll, too. I got my first turquoise Peavey guitar when I was 13. I learned covers by my favorite bands and I wrote a few originals, but I was shy about performing in front of people. Finally, I got the nerve to be the frontwoman in Grundeldrag when I moved to Morgantown and met my friend Sam, who encouraged me to write songs and go for it. He was on drums, and my friend Gena and I took guitars and vocals. The excitement of performing live under the stage lights, my brow sweating, belting out vocals and harmonizing with Gena, playing power chords, the crowd loving our angry but catchy rock songs—it was a rush I wanted to feel again and again, and so I’ve never stopped being in bands since Grundeldrag.
9 to 5 to Midnight
It's the end of a long workweek—of sitting in front of a computer screen—when the clock strikes 5 p.m. and I’m out the door and on the way to our practice space at a small studio in the country outside of Morgantown. My bandmates and I crack open beers, crank up our guitars, and prepare to rock the night away. I live for these moments, a few hours here and a few hours there, once a week, when Susan, Josh, and I can forget the stress of the week and write new songs, hone current ones, and improvise as we go.
Freudian Slap formed in December 2011. This band gives me an opportunity to play drums, bass, and guitar, plus sing on various original songs and a few covers. This “musical chairs” feeling of the band, where I move from guitar to singing lead vocals to playing drums, makes Freudian Slap one of the most thrilling musical experiences I’ve had. I’ve always wanted to learn to play drums and sing at the same time—the thrill of pounding the kick drum, tapping the snare, and hitting the cymbals at that crucial moment in a song gives me a rush.
Music is like a survival tool for me, and I could not imagine my life without experimenting with music and expressing myself through song—from my first fun, yet calamitous punk band Babyhed, to the angry, hard rock songs I wrote for Grundeldrag, to the more refined punk-pop-rock sound that was Ish and The Sneakies. I used to find inspiration for writing songs from things that made me angry (ex-boyfriends, liars, certain politics), but now I tend to write songs from a place of experience and learning from mistakes. Once I’ve channeled emotions into a song or lyrics, it’s like I’ve exorcised a thought—good or bad.
The opportunity to play original rock 'n' roll and collaborate with talented musicians exists right here in Morgantown. I didn’t have to move to a big city to find it. But as music trends change, both locally and nationally, I watch as audiences at live, local shows become smaller than when I first started playing here. Gigs for local bands are more competitive with national acts than before. Still, when you see a random flyer around town advertising a show for a live band you’ve never heard of, I hope you’ll take a chance and go hear them. Or better yet, start your own band and help keep local music in Morgantown alive.
See Freudian Slap live
Monday, September 24, 2012, 8 p.m., The Gluck Theatre in the Mountainlair
Friday, November 2 @ 9 p.m., Gene’s Beer Garden with Haggard Wulf
Playing drums with The Howdy
Friday, October 5, 2012, the 13th Annual WV FilmMakers Festival, Sutton
Friday, October 26, 2012, Washington Square with Bearded Ladies, Clarksburg