Linda Bassick 13 January 2016 on Rocket Shop
WORDS BY TOM PROCTOR. PHOTO by JAMES LOCKRIDGE.
Linda Bassick is a woman that wears many different hats; childhood educator, psychedelic cover band member, all girls summer camp coordinator and a veritable rock star among Burlington’s ankle biting community. It’s safe to say she has many string pickin’ fingers in a number of musical pies. Laid back but on point with her message, she’s on a mission to challenge gender barriers within the world of rock and roll.
Linda popped in the studio to play a few of her latest tracks and discuss her recent release, an adult friendly kid’s album ‘Friday Morning Sing A Long’. She had a quick minute to sit down with us to talk Caribbean cruises, why girls change at age 11 and what she’s doing to keep them stayin’ true to themselves.
Tom Proctor: How’s the reception been from your Kids Album that you've just released?
Linda Bassick: Well i’m an early childhood educator, so I’ve been working at a lot of childhood centers and the kids have been requesting my songs. Before kids were just asking me to play the classic kids music but now they ask for the tracks from the album, as you can imagine they are pretty demanding.
TP: I’ve been told you tread this line between music kids would love that doesn’t drive adults insane, how did you manage that small feat?
LB: Well that was my goal when I started out. As a young childhood educator I listen to a lot of kids music, some of its good but a lot of it's terrible. I have some favourites from the years and I wanted to emulate that, I didn't want to go for the repetitive Barney the dinosaur stuff. I took influence from Carole King, Taj Mahal, Jerry Garcia, there's been a bunch but those are the ones I’ve listened to more than once.
TP: You’re in a band Mellow Yellow, a 60s cover band, what's your criteria for picking songs to cover?
LB: Psychedelic, from ‘67 to ‘72. A very specific area of music. Trippy stuff, but the things you hear on the radio. Really we’re a tribute band that tries to accurately recreate the songs we cover, we want it to sound exactly how it sounds. Thats our goal.
TP: Why those 5 years?
LB: Because there's so much to cover. We love it though, we’re playing on a Moody Blues cruise this summer with 40 or so other bands. It’s a Caribbean cruise, we go from Key West and head to Barbados. The guys that run these cruises love what we do because we sound exactly like what we’re covering. We play it just the way the audience remembers it. We headlined last year, but this year we’re taking a back step which will be nice because it’ll be a lot more chilled. We’re actually staying on for the micro brew cruise, so that one will be certainly focused more on the RnR.
TP: There’s a large amount of collaboration in the Burlington musical scene, have you worked with a lot of other musicians?
LB: Well I had my own band and we went through bass players like no tomorrow, I think we got through about 40 so i've been lucky to play with a diverse range of musicians. It was a bit of a cursed position, like the drummer in Spinal Tap.
TP: So you started your own Summer camp, Girls Rock Vermont, can you tell me more about that?
LB: It’s a camp empowering girls aged 8 to 18, teaching them how to play rock and roll. At the start of the camp they have a week to create their own band, come up with a band name and perform live. It’ll be our 6th season this summer and we’re now part of the Girl Rock Alliance that operates globally with many camps across the U.S. It’s a day camp so they come for 5 days and on the Saturday we book Higher Ground and have all the groups perform. All their families and friends come so it's a great atmosphere.
TP: Why specifically girls?
LB: Something that happens to girls around the age of 11 where they start to look outward rather than inward. A lot of it is to do with the media and how it presents woman. The girls start to question themselves, confidence really declines after the age of 11 and the aim is to get these girls before they reach that point so they keep that voice and don't lose it when they turn 12. We get a ton of 11 year olds and they're a riot, they know their shit. The idea is to keep girls talking, to keep trusting themselves and going with their gut. Society teaches them that you have to be beautiful or skinny, but none of that is real. Meeting the mixture of women that come visit the camp really empowers them and shows them the media image of women isn’t reality.We try and cover all the bases and present all the genres we can.
TP: Do you feel like you've inspired some future rock stars?
LB: Absolutely. We had this one guitar player that came three years running, she’s really talented and she's gonna keep playing. But really it's more about girls finding their own voice, it's not about being the best or being a competition. Girls learn to collaborate and work within a band. You have to work together and listen to each other, that's the whole message. How to listen, not just what you can do on your own. It's a really cool program i'm so glad to be a part of it.