The title of this blog post ‘Red on White’ is going to have an entirely different meaning to about 10 women in my life. I’ve been in a rock band called Kohl for quite a few years now, and one of our songs was called Red on White. While the band gradually stopped playing (we’re looking at a reunion) we never really ‘broke up’. The women who have played in that band have all been a huge influence on my life.
When I was much younger working in a music store, this drummer came in to collect some equipment she had bought. She had vibrant read hair, beautiful eyes and a voice like violin. I had wanted to get into a band for a long time to practice my guitar skills, so I asked her straight up if she would be interested in something. She has this gorgeous laugh that’s a couple of beats, then she looks at you and you can see her bright mind working.
She joined a line up with my dear friend Fiona, who had a singing voice like a cello running through a distortion pedal and skin the colour of a pearl. Most of all, she had a fierce heart and fire in her that had always intimidated and inspired me. I asked Fiona to lead the singing so I could focus on learning lead guitar. We needed a bass player. Sarah said she knew someone and along came Jess.
Jess is the tiniest member of the band. She’s got deep dark eyes and hair and a resting expression that makes her look like she’s some sort of royalty. When she talks, it’s like a jazz singer reading you a comedy. There’s happiness in every word, but depth. She’s small and quiet, but still waters run deep.
We worked in this incarnation for a while, but after a bit, Sarah decided it was time to branch out into her preferred style of metal, and Fiona found a new band that made her passion for music stronger. We soon had Tam and Ella on guitar, with me focusing on singing, a new Jess on drums. We even at one point had Miranda on keyboard.
That song, Red on White, was one of the first songs we ever played together. It was a constant through all the incarnations of the band. All of those songs, when I hear them, are no longer about whatever they were written about. I hear them and I think of those women. I think of that saying and what it really means to me: strong women – may we know them, may we be them, may we play with them. I think of long car trips to gigs out of town. I think of driving my van around to pick up and drop off all the band members because I was the only one with a licence. I think of Sarah being angry with me after a miscommunication about a cancelled band practice, and my heart breaking because she had so much on and I’d made things worse for her. I remember her 21st, and looking over at her while making my speech thinking to myself ‘I see you, Sarah’.
I remember laying on my back in the band room laughing so hard from Ella’s jokes that tears ran into my hairline. I remember sitting in a car with Tam, her dark eyes catching the sparkle of the streetlights outside and feeling like no one in the world knew me better. I remember little Jess getting accepted into uni and I remember her tiny body carrying her massive bass amp down the hill from Karova to my car. I remember the rush of happiness when I was watching Fiona learn a riff on the guitar, and she realised I was watching and she looked up, smiling. I even remember Alyssa, coming to almost all our shows and helping us load gear, even though she wasn’t in the band. Drummer Jess I don’t even need to think back for. I see her car in the garage when I get home and it makes my day. I sit at the table when she eats dinner, even when I’m not eating, and hearing her practicing drums makes me so happy.
All these little moments are strung together like pearls, and when I hear the words ‘Red on White’ it’s like I can feel the warmth of those pearls against my skin. These women, every woman that became a part of the band whether they were a member or not, they are a critical part of my identity. They are woven into the fabric of me as much as my love of music. So when you’re looking at these pictures, if you feel you can see something of who I am, know you’re also seeing those strong women.
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Skirt: hand made by Mokkafiveoclock in Poland! Get it through Etsy. Previous post here.
Location: The Hop Temple
Photos: Goldfields Girl
The Hop Temple is an awesome new drink and food spot in my hometown. Entry is via a laneway in the CBD, which they have gradually been dressing up, first with string lights and now with this magnificent umbrella installation. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to do a shoot here. Love my city.
Do you have people in your life that have help to shape you as the person you are today?