Hello everyone, I am very excited to introduce The Nervous Girls to Happy Lippy. Three grrrls located in
#Tampa who plays #feminist #postpunk music together. Like their Facebook page at and Follow them on Twitter @TheNervous girls
Tell me a bit about yourselves ladies!
Lauren: Well hey there! I’m 25, been playing music on different instruments since I was 11. I played bass guitar in the jazz band in middle school and high school (I was a super band nerd). I started learning guitar in college. I met Amanda (the other drummer and guitar player) when I began working at a self-serve yoghurt shop, and we’ve been best friends pretty well since. I started learning drums about four months ago. It’s a tonne of fun. I’m always learning something new. Also, I have a beautiful pup who is the love of my life.
Anne: I’m 34. I have been playing the guitar since I was 13. I play a 2012 Fender American Vintage ’69 Telecaster Thinline guitar through a 60w Fender Hot Rod Deluxe tube amp. Always through a chorus pedal. I am also the band mom. I am married to a supportive husband who also plays music. We have a six-year old son who is a born drummer, and who has the best hair in the world. I’m pretty sure he will take over the world with his charm.
Amanda: I play guitar and drums in The Nervous Girls. I’ve been playing the guitar since I was thirteen. I picked it up because I idolised punk pop and rock bands like Green Day and Weezer as a kid and I thought that would be the life for me…I would play music for thousands of people to turn to when they want to get swept away by the music. That was the dream, but it didn’t turn out that way. It took a long time to find these two amazing women who share my passion for making music. And I’m thankful they are in my life now.
What does the name of your band mean?
Amanda: Each of us has our issues with anxiety…well, we have our nervous nelly tendencies. Gotta own it, right?
Who would you say are your musical influences for your band?
Lauren: Oh for me it’s all over the place. What’s cool is that all three of us have different tastes and influences when it comes to writing music. Lately, I’ve been listening to Best Coast, Eisley, Now, Now, Diet Cig and Daddy Issues. They’ve all been pretty influential. Honestly though? I might sound cheesy, but my biggest influences are the other girls I play with every day. They write such fantastic music; it seriously inspires me to try harder and make more.
Anne: Books primarily inspire my song writing. I often write songs that capture how a book or poem makes me feel. But musically, I’m all over the map. Right now, I am pretty obsessed with the new Beth Ditto record, Fake Sugar. And the new Afghan Whigs record, In Spades. And I listen to You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen nearly every day- that is a goddamn masterpiece.
Amanda: Each of us has shared influences, but there are unique individual styles that each member brings as well. Personally, my style is mainly influenced by punk. But Lauren brings a more folksy vibe, and Anne brings a lot of the Riot Grrrl edge to the band.
Who were your favourite bands and artists growing up? And do you still listen to them now?
Lauren: I’m a pretty typical millennial and am nostalgic, so I’m always revisiting stuff I used to listen to. No Doubt, Eisley, Rilo Kiley, Metric are major influences and long time favourites that I still listen to today. I still bring out some Tegan & Sara, but only stuff from their first two albums. I’ve been listening to Interpol a lot. Lately, their album Antics is badass.
Anne: I was inspired to pick up a guitar at 13 because I wanted to be like Courtney Love. It was 1995, when she was in the spotlight, full of grief and rage and vulnerability. She is a complicated mess of contradictions, which resonated with me as a teenage girl who had no idea how to handle all the new emotions I was feeling. I still admire the way that she allows her heartbreak to be so visible. It’s something I strive for in my song writing. She is stronger and more tenacious than our culture gives her credit.
Bikini Kill was another huge influence of mine, both politically and musically. Politically, they set feminism to music, singing about rape and sexism and racism in overt, unexpected and often painfully honest ways. Musically, their songs were accessible, more passion than proficiency. For a self-taught girl guitarist, that was important. I wasn’t discouraged by playing along with Bikini Kill. Their songs were raw emotion, raw power, revolution girl style. They still feel important 20 years later.
Most significantly is Sleater-Kinney. I first found S-K when I was 15, they’ve been an inspiration to me for more than half my life now. Listen to any song I’ve written, and you’ll find their influence. I know the comparisons are inevitable, both in the composition of our band and how we fill the spaces in our songs with guitars and layers of vocals. I love how they have made their music with so much depth. I love how you can listen to each record and hear how they’ve grown as musicians. I aspire to do the same with these girls, that I’ve been so fortunate to find.
Amanda: As a kid, I was super obsessed with Green Day back when Dookie came out. I listened to their tape so much I wore out three copies. Throughout middle school, it was Weezer, MxPx and the punk bands on Epitaph and Fat Wreck Chords. High school was my emo days; I listened to lots of Jimmy Eat World, Sunny Day Real Estate, and even Dashboard Confessional. Most of these bands I don’t listen to anymore… But today, I think my musical palate has evolved. I still love to listen to punk, I’m getting into metal a little, but I don’t listen to the radio much and try to avoid popular music if I can.
Who’s your biggest female role model and why?
Lauren: I mean, there are so many to choose from right? There are so many badass women out there doing great things; it’s hard to pick one. But musically (we were all discussing this the other day) it’s Sherri Dupree-Bemis from Eisley. I’ve been following Eisley since I was 14 (they were like, 18 when their album Room Noises came out) and it’s been so cool to see her evolve. She’s a mom of two and still is out there writing music and touring. She’s someone who inspires me.
Anne: It’s hard to choose just one. You can probably see from my previous answers that I’m inspired by anyone who is brave enough to be vulnerable. But if I had to choose, I’d have to go with Carrie Brownstein. I am a complete and total fangirl for all of her projects, but I particularly love how she plays the guitar. She creates these incredible melodies from dissonance and looks impossibly fucking cool while doing so.
She also talks pretty extensively about her insecurities and how hard she had to work to find her validity. It’s crazy to think that people who are so talented, people who we aspire to be like- still struggle to recognise their worth. It’s something we talk about in the band a lot- it’s the origin of our band name. The name started out as an inside joke because we are pretty anxious and unsure of ourselves alone… but when we get together and start playing, there is a confidence that we give to each other.
Amanda: The first woman I looked up to was Sally Ride, she was the first American woman to make it to space. I’m a space geek! I had to do a presentation and dress up like her for a project in the 2nd grade. I also admired Joan of Arc for her badassery. I know she fought against the Brits, but you’ve got to give her props for leading those campaigns. Another woman I look up to and want to make sure people give her credit for her work is Rosalind Franklin. Her work leads to the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA, which whats-their-faces Watson & Crick get most of the credit.
What do you think about how the media portrays female musicians and artists? Would you change anything?
Lauren: Well it’s gotten better. But there are still way too many conversations surrounding women’s bodies when it comes to art and music especially. Too slutty, not slutty enough, not pretty enough, not feminine enough, whatever. There’s always a criticism. I’d like that shit to stop and focus on the great works women are putting out there. Also, I’d just love to see more women out there!
Anne: Ever looked at guitar magazines? I remember reading these as a teenager, and unfortunately, they haven’t changed much. I just did a Google Image search for ‘guitar magazine’ and scanned the covers for women with electric guitars. Of the approximate 200 results that came up, 2 featured actual women musicians. The rest were lingerie models. These girls hold guitars awkwardly if even attempting to look like they’re playing. Most of the time the guitars are there as a prop. Guitar necks are licked and fondled; headstocks are pointed suggestively between open legs, used to cover nakedness. I want to rip these covers up.
That’s not to say that there aren’t great publications out there spotlighting female guitar players like She Shreds. But why do we have to be separate? Why do other guitar magazines feel like they’re not for us, by default? That we need to have magazines specifically for women in music? It’s representative of the bigger picture- of how we are tokenized and sexualized.
Amanda: The media, and in effect society, has always unfairly judged women by their appearances. It’s painfully evident that women are sexual objects in modern culture. People will say “sex sells,” and I agree with that. But there is a time and place for it. My issue is when very talented female artists and professionals of all stripes are expected to look and sound like the ‘ideal women’ that has been sculpted by popular culture. I do have hope that we will make progress as a society and learn how to view women as equals.
What’s next for you and your band? Anything Exciting coming up?
Lauren: It’s been an exciting month for us! We’ve got quite a few shows lined up locally. We’re still pretty new, so next steps are getting these shows under our belt and get some solid recordings! We’re working on…3 new songs I think? So getting a solid EP out and playing more shows is our goal right now.
Amanda: We are busy, we’ve got lots of shows lined up around Tampa. I want to play as many shows here as possible then venture out to other parts of Florida. We have only been a band for a few months now, but we’re making so much progress despite that. Maybe by the end of the year, we could even make it up to Atlanta! Gotta dream big.