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The Girls' Guide to Rocking: How to Start a Band, Book Gigs, and Get Rolling to Rock Stardom Paperback – June 4, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

Review

This highly informational and inspiring do-it-yourself resource will guide girls toward their rocker dreams. It will also appeal to the young-at-heart who dream of being a rock star and readers and researchers of girl culture. —Elizabeth M. Wavle, Elmira College Library, NY

About the Author

Jessica Hopper is a music and culture critic whose work regularly appears in Chicago Reader, LA Weekly, SPIN, ANP and Chicago Tribune and has also been included in DaCapo's Best of Music Writing 2004, 2005 and 2007. She is also the music consultant for the public radio show, This American Life. Her widely-anthologized essay, "Emo: Where the Girls Aren't" was described as "influential" by The New York Times.

Holding fast to the music-is-my-life credo, Hopper has also done time as a tour manager, band publicist, DJ, touring bassist, Girls Rock Camp booster, and fanzine publisher. She lives in Chicago.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; Gift Book edition (June 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761151419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761151418
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Hiller on July 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
Hopper's book is beyond essential for anyone (young or older, girl/woman or boy/man) who is even remotely interested in picking up an instrument, starting a band, writing a song, playing shows, self-promoting, purchasing equipment or any myriad of other rockish-related endeavors. Not only is THE GIRLS' GUIDE TO ROCKING brilliantly organized, it effortlessly tackles what is a broad subject thoroughly and in great, great detail--without being mired in non-essential minutia. Hopper's voice is, as always, hilarious, conversational and encouraging, and she does what so few books geared towards teens do--SHE SPEAKS TO THE READER WITH THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE READER IS SMART, CAPABLE AND CREATIVE. Nothing is dumbed down, yet nothing is assumed so that no question or concept appears to be too "beginner".

We all start from somewhere, and Hopper takes great pains to reiterate that, no matter whether or not you have ever even seen a photo of a guitar before, you can do this. You can be creative. You can throw yourself into writing an entire concept album about pandas on the run from an alien monster named Rocko, and you can teach yourself how to execute said album via playing your grandma's untuned mandolin with a spoon, and you can record it on your cell phone if you want to, and you know what? That is productive and creative, and nobody should tell you that your concept album sucks, because you made it, and it's great.

There is technical info in here that I, a 30 year-old woman who has been in the business for half my life (I started booking shows and playing in bands and making a fanzine when I was around fifteen), didn't know. I learned about various pedals whose uses had previously been a mystery to me, and about different four tracks, and how to clean a drum kit.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robin Harris on June 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
Your book is amazing. I think you should talk to the publisher about doing another run with a different cover that shows a stressed out, slightly overweight mid-30s mom with a dated outfit and a toddler on her hip. It makes me want to start a band! I can play my 2 year old son's miniature instruments. Really, really outstanding. My own mom was also very impressed. She flipped through it and said, "wow, there's a lot of words in here!" Oh, moms.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
My daughter (who's a college student these days) was in several bands throughout her HS days. I like to think that I passed on my passion for music to her. So when I heard an (entertaining) interview on NPR not too long ago with the author of this book, I decided to check it out, for no reason other than to see how she would explain this all. (In the interview, the author readily admitted that even though the book is geared towards teenage girls, much of it would euqlly apply to boys, safe perhaps the "woman empowerment" theme that runs throught the book.

In "The Girls' Guide to Rocking: How To Start a Band, Book Gigs, And Get Rolling to Rock Stardom" (238 pages), author Jessica Hopper (herself a musician, among other things) brings a boatload of practical tips on how to get started, and I mean starting from scratch. How to pick out and find an instrument ("I bought my first guitar when I was fifteen. I found it by calling around stores and asking for the cheapest guitar they carried.") Whether music lessons make sense and are worth the money ("I sat in a basement for haf an hout watching a very frustrated ancient dude try to teach me the lamest classic rock beginner tune of all times 'Smoke on the Water', a song I didn't know and didn't want to know, from an era of music I hated. I never bothered with my third lesson.") How to land a gig ("When you go see bands, introduce yourself and say you have a band and that you think you'd be good on a bill with them.) And on and on. Tons of hands-on tips.

The overbearing theme of the book is that when you start a band, you main thing is to have some fun. WIthout it, there is no point to it. The latter part of the book takes things a bit more up-level (such as what to do when a label expresses interest in your band (get a good lawyer!).
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. Rose on June 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. It in an excellent guide for young girls and answers all of the questions they might have and gives them the confidence to follow their musical ambitions. When I was starting my first all-girl band as a young teenager, I always felt like the boys I knew had this basic knowledge of how to book shows for their bands, play musical instruments, record their own music, etc. I longed for a resource like this book and think that future generations of young female musicians will benefit greatly because of it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James R. Nelson on June 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is the jam! It's a funny, bold and totally sweet guide on how to start your own band. It covers everything from buying your own instruments to writing lyrics and songs and going on tour to bring your genius to the people! There are even lists of the best records to buy to get yourself inspired. How cool is that?!? Put down Rock Band 2 and pick up this book, and the world of rocking will be yours. In 10 years, the best bands in America will have been taught by this book. Guaranteed!
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