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Rachel Rekkit's Sonic Revolution
I play bass guitar in Rachel's band, Crashdollz. Am I biased? Absolutely.
Stormtroopers In Stiletto's
I'm sure Crashdollz have always been hard to ignore. They stand out! However, I've been doing the band thing for many years. I'm really jaded. Unless it's one of my hero-worship musical idols you almost have to drag me to a club with a chain. It's unfortunate, because there are lots of good bands out there. It's just difficult for me to find bands these days that produce what I want to see and hear.
When Crashdollz came to a bar called Woodchucks, in my hometown of Toledo, I tried to ignore them. I knew that the promoter, a guy named Michael Rys, was doing the right thing by giving good, original bands a break....But, I was never really a punk rocker, being much more of a so-called metal guy. As a young metalhead,my main beef with punk came down to one huge thing.....almost no lead guitar!! So I was really reluctant to go see this female-fronted, punk/metal hybrid. "You really need to go and see this band" my girlfriend prophetically insisted.
The first thing I noticed was the attitude. These women had to carry their gear through the crowd, and across a gravel parking lot to get to the stage.....and I clearly remember thinking to myself..."This band isn't from around here"...They set up their equipment with no crew, and within minutes they were onstage in what appeared to be lingerie and stiletto-heeled boots, their in-the-know Toledo fans crowding up front! Vocalist Nikki Darling is in command of the stage... the audience....the bar....and everything else!! At the same time, this girl named Rachel Rekkit is playing smoking LEAD guitar!! With a ray-gun....???
The Electric Hand Of Fate
I walked away thinking I had just seen a really good band. An original band with original ideas. A female-fronted Punk/Metal band that drove down from Detroit to play a gritty little bar on the outskirts of downtown Toledo. I'm guessing they made a hundred bucks or less... If not my attention, they had my respect.
Fast forward a year or more. I get a phone call from Miss Rekkit herself, asking if I would like to audition to be the bass player for Crashdollz. That same prophetic girlfriend had suggested my name. And this is where the real point of my story begins....
I accepted the audition, and started doing my homework. They gave me 5 songs to learn. I learned 8. They had over 150 videos on YouTube. I watched at least 100... I watched how they moved. How they interacted... I read reviews and interviews. I absorbed the band's vision...
As I learned the songs inside out, I began to see a pattern of brilliance. Every track was well-written and stood on it's own. There was no filler in Crashdollz music. It was both familiar and fresh. Wrapped in an over-the-top image, and message of female empowerment - times ten! And weaving it all together into one coherent thundering punch is the stellar guitar work of Rachel Rekkit!
Rock Music would not exist without electric guitars! As a serious fan of Rock guitar, I listened to guys like Gary Moore, Brian May, Frank Marino, Michael Schenker, etc. These players all had one thing in common: It seemed like every note they played had something to say. Thus it is with Rachel. She has re-ignited something that has been not entirely missing, but certainly lacking in the guitar world.
And she didn't even try......
On Playing Solo's:
"We started out without leads. The first song (American Hero) didn't have a lead. The last band I had been in had no leads at all, and was all about song composition. I actually hate most guitar soloing in songs. I think the song has to ask for it compositionally or else its just the guitar player showing off. The next song I wrote was "Female Anarchy" and when I wrote it, I heard the solo exactly as it is now just as easily as I heard all the vocals as they are now. It all came at once and the song seemed to ask for that solo. I knew as long as there was a compositional space for it that contributed to the piece, a solo would be fine but I know there are songs we do where, now that theres an expectation for a solo, I put one in. I don't always feel anymore (or have after the first 5 songs or so) that a solo is necessary. Though I do sometimes feel that theres an expectation for me to do it (or top it or do some new trick, which is the Eddie Van Halen thing that I know he got caught up in). Sometimes Im not a fan of doing them really. Like the new one "Unstable", the break down in A was originally going to be a vocal section and no solo in the song at all. Right now with that one, I think either it should go back to vocal only or I have to rewrite the solo, cuz I can't do that harmony solo the way it is. That's really a placeholder, but Ill probably end up trying to do another shred solo cuz I find myself trying to chase that now. Wanting to impress the people who might already think I'm good, like "Check this new one out, its craaazy!" lol The thing is, I think all of that is cheesy shit unless its written as part of the composition and the song needs it, The other side of it is, I do remember being the Van Halen nut who would be so mad at Eddie when he would do a song with an easy, melodic solo. Like "You have all this ability to rip peoples heads off and you're going to re-iterate the vocal melody from the chorus?! You DICK!" But as a writer, I totally get it that that's the right call. I think the simplest answer though is that we weren't going to have them then I started peeling a few off and both Nikki and Brian said, "You should do that, people will like it". Its really that simple, after all my blowhard words! hahaha!"
Although classified as a Punk Band and proudly waving the banner, Crashdollz are much more than that. The music crosses into Metal and Hard Rock just as often as Punk, and Rachel's guitar work is a mirror of that. Or maybe the bands music is just a mirror of her guitar work. It doesn't matter either way. It's all one and the same.
Dumpster Punk 2014
Rekkit's Musical Influences:
Beatles, Beatles Beatles. XTC, Brian Wilson, Kurt Cobain, Elliott Smith, bjork, Mike Patton, Melt Banana, Fear, Sex Pistols, Devo, Queen Adreena.
Guitar- classic Van Halen (seriously hate Hagar-era), Randy Rhoads, Warren DeMartini, Jake E Lee, Al Dimeola, Agata (Melt Banana)
So, my point is??
My goal in writing this blog was to introduce people to the genius of Rachel Rekkit - Not only because she's a great talent, but in my opinion, she is making a fresh contribution to the art and craftwork of electric rock guitar!
In future blogs, we'll break down and analyze Rachel's guitar work in greater detail....and maybe even get some details from Rekkit herself! I hope I can provide a very unique perspective to her playing, as maybe only a member of her band could do.