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Laura Ballance, Superchunk

Photo of Laura Ballance, SuperchunkLucus Suer

How would you describe your music?

"alternative" formerly known as "indie" formerly known as "punk rock."

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

"In addition to playing, I have always been the person who had a head for financial matters. I always did the book keeping, took the conservative view in spending money, etc. "

Describe your gear.

I have a very old (from the 70's I bet) and beat up Ampeg 2x15" cabinet with EV speakers, an Acoustic 370 bass head from the 70's also I think, a Fender Precision bass from 1977 (candy apple red!), and a distortion pedal called "hot cake" made by Crowther audio in New Zealand. I found out about this awesome company because Denise from the 3d's had a hot cake and I loved her sound...we did some shows together and she let me in on the secret. Back in '93 it was really hard to find a distortion pedal that sounded good with bass.

Related Themes: Gear

Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

Yes. My friend Jennifer Barwick, who played in a band called Erectus Monotone around the same time that Superchunk started, and I were talking about this recently. Back in the late 80's early 90's we would walk into the club with the other people in the band and it was assumed by the people who worked there that we were either "just the girlfriends" or "groupies" and some comment would be made at some point that alerted us to that. Also any technical opinions we might have had were sometimes dismissed by people who did not know us. I think it is a lot better these days, it seems like it is far less unusual for there to be women in punk rock bands and bands in general now. When I tell people I am in a band now, I still do occasionally get immediately asked if i am the singer. People assume that if you are a woman, you are going to be that one.

Related Themes: Off The Clock

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

mmm, not that i can generalize.

Related Themes: Off The Clock

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

Not specifically as a woman. I would advise anyone in the music industry to do it because it is fun and personally rewarding, and try not to think of it as a way to get famous or even make a living, or that might make it disappointing for you. Take it for what it is and keep it fun. Keep your day job. Most musicians don't become well known.

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

this guy I was dating needed a bass player!

Related Themes: The First Time