So there’s this band called Skillet. Have you heard of them? Kind of a heavier rock sound. I found them a few years ago and fell in love with the music and the band. I loved that the lead singer/guitarist and the bassist were husband and wife. Isn’t that the cutest?!? I love it!!
When I find a new band I get a little obsessive and find videos and photos and interviews and news briefs, pretty much anything I can about the band. So I did that with Skillet and was really digging everything I found. They’re an awesome band!
Then I found this one interview. Now, the band as I know them are four people: Two male, two female. This particular interview was about how Skillet found their current drummer, who is a girl named Jen Ledger. She’s amazing. She plays drums like nobody’s business and she sings. Killer musician.
I watched her talk about her audition process. There had been a previous drummer and they auditioned for a new one and Jen got it. It was interesting. A fun story, y’know?
The interviewer then asked John Cooper (lead singer/guitarist) what he thought about Jen’s audition. His wife, Korey (bassist), interjects a bit about the process and it was all super interesting to me, the rock-band-nerd who watches this kind of stuff.
But John. He said he didn’t want Jen to audition. He was against it. The only reason she was allowed to audition was because Korey really wanted her to. The main reason she’s in the band now was because Korey fought for her. Before he met Jen, before her audition, he was against having her in the band. I’ll never forget what he said:
“She’s just way too cute to be a great drummer. She’s so sweet and there’s no way she could be awesome.”
You would not believe how much those two statements pissed me off. That’s what he thought about Jen before she auditioned. Then Jen auditioned and killed it.
But before. He didn’t even want to audition her because she was too cute. He thought she wouldn’t be able to hack it because of the way she looked. Would he have said that a guy was “too cute to be a great drummer”? Would John have said a guy was “so sweet there’s no way [he] could be awesome”?
He’s married to a super talented and super attractive musician. Who is a woman. Did John ever say to his wife, “Y’know, Korey, you’re really cute. Maybe a little too cute to be good at the bass guitar.”?
If there’s anyone in the music business who should be completely comfortable with women as badass musicians, it’s John Cooper. If there’s any man out there who would know that a girl is just as capable as a man at doing awesome things, it’s the guy who’s married to the bass player of his band. The band that is his livelihood. The band that he trusts to put food on his table and clothes on his children. The band that currently has two incredibly awesome female musicians in it.
If that guy is prejudice against a cute girl being any good at awesome stuff, is there any hope for other guys in the music business? Or any business? Or just life in general?
This is the exact mentality that has created the wage gap. This is the train of thought that contributes to date-rape culture. When someone is deemed unfit based on their gender or physical appearance rather than the merit of their actions, that is when community falls apart.
And why stop at gender or how pretty a person looks? Why not discriminate based on skin color? Or nationality? Or number of model trains one has in their basement? All totally valid ways to judge fellow human beings.
I’m lucky I found 3 guys who think I’m talented enough to headline their band. But I did feel pressure to try really hard to impress them right away. Did I have to try harder because I’m a woman? I don’t know. I would like to believe I had an equal shot but I’ll never really know.
Either way, I know now that I’m enough of a badass musician to have beaten out all of the guys who auditioned for the Band. And that’ll have to do.