Interview with Allison Miller


AE: How did you get involved with fashion site
Since I met Brandi, I’m like her boy-girl mannequin on tour. She loves fashion and she definitely likes to pick out clothes for me. I’ve always loved fashion, but she’s definitely got me into fashion again in the past year or so. My friend Susan [Herr], who started DapperQ and lives in Brooklyn, has always admired my sense of fashion and started the site because she wants to inform women who want to wear men’s clothes and wear them in a queer fashion. She approached me and asked if I would be the first person to interview and do video for the website. Of course I was really into it.

AE: DapperQ started a campaign to dethrone The L Word‘s Kate Moennig and crown you America’s Dyke Heartthrob. What do you think of that?
[Laughs] I saw that! I think it’s funny; it said something along the lines of someone with a little more meat on their bones!

AE: What advice do you have for young, female drummers?
First, know your instrument. Whether you want to play rock ‘n’ roll or jazz or classical or country or you’re a singer-songwriter, what ever it is, really know your instrument because no matter how many times you play, people will always question whether you can play or not. You really have to, I hate to say this, but prove yourself over and over again. Also, if you know your instrument, then you’re standing up for other women, too. You’re being an activist and a feminist just by playing your instrument well.

Second, follow your heart and follow your path with what you want to do and what you want to be. Sometimes I pretend like I have blinders on in the sense that if I can sense there’s a lot of strange sexist energy coming at me, I’ll pretend I have blinders on and all I can see is straight forward toward my goal. By having my blinders on, I can really just focus on my end goal, which then gets the results that I want, and then I make a difference as being a feminist and an activist.

AE: Why do you think female drummers always have to prove themselves?
I think it’s just like anything else. I think it’ll become less and less as years go on — and it already has, even since I started drumming. I just don’t think that there have been enough public images of women playing the drums to make a difference in the way men think and the way women think. When you open up a drum magazine, rarely do you see women. And when you do, usually it’s one or two in an ad for a cymbal or for a drum and usually they’re dressed in a very feminine way and it’s usually the same two women they’ve been having for 20 years. I experienced it when I was little. I’d get my Modern Drummer magazine or whatever it was and I would leaf through it thinking, “Where are the people who look like me?” I was so determined to play the drums that I ignored it but I can see how some young girls would open up a drum magazine and if they don’t see anyone playing the drums who looks like them they might just be discouraged and think — even if it’s just subconsciously — “Well, no one else is doing this that looks like me or acts like me, maybe I shouldn’t do it.” If you don’t see other people doing it, then it could be kind of difficult to feel confident in doing it.

AE: What’s next for you?
I want to make a percussion record — an all-drumming record. I’ve been planning it for a couple years now and I’ve got a few songs written but I need to write a couple more pieces. My idea is to have a lot of it be not traditional percussion, like have one piece be played with pots and pans from my kitchen and to really explore percussion sounds from things that aren’t normally percussion instruments. I’m really inspired to record another record with this band.

Boom Tic Boom is available now in iTunes.

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