Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tom Tom Magazine Debuts First Issue about Female Drummers + Photos

(Gina-Marie Scardino of Guts for Garters)
photos & story by StarBeat

Tom Tom Strives to inspire!

Frankie Rose. Ali Koehler. Tobi Vail. Meg White. What do these four have in common? All these ladies play behind the kit, the drum kit that is, and rock the beat. Drummers Frankie (formerly of Crystal Stilts, now in Dum Dum Girls) and Ali Koehler of Vivian Girls are both featured in the first issue of Tom Tom Magazine, an endeavor spearheaded by drummer herself Mindy Abovitz.

Where there is a void, there is a need to fill that void and Tom Tom does just that. Mindy has created a magazine that focuses on the female drummer. Always keeping active and fighting for what is right, the self-proclaimed drummer of 10 years started the magazine to showcase the talents of many of the local drummers in Brooklyn, but to publicize female drummers from all over in the world in an accessible, printable format that is also supported on-line. It serves a tri-purpose in that it raises awareness about female percussionists, aims to inspire females to drum, and also provides techniques, information, and resources for them.

Who better to launch a magazine devoted to female drummers, than a female drummer herself? Abovitz has been playing drums for nearly a decade, consuming her life around music and also seeking to improve her craft. She’s currently in Taigaa, Hot Box, More Teeth, and Chica Vas, plus works with Vibe Song Makers and engineers at East Village Radio. With no prior magazine experience, but a drive to showcase the talents of female drummers, she confided in her close associate of contacts to get the magazine going.

Abovitz said she started the magazine because she’s a drummer and feminist who really wanted to see female musicians get more exposure.

Curious to see how much information on female drummers was on the web, I did a simple Google search. I typed in "female drummers." The top results included: A link to wiki answers asking are there really professional female drummers? Another question was asked from on why are there so few female drummers. Wikipedia had an entry on female American rock drummers and Tom Tom magazine came up to. This is telling.

“There’s hardly any representation of female musicians in the media, period, mainstream or off mainstream, and particularly no representation of female drummers,” she says.

Starting from modest means as a blog site, the magazine evolved into an actual website, then a full-fledged print publication with its first issue released in November.

“I’m an ‘80s kid, so the Internet wasn't big when I was growing up- books and magazines were,” Abovitz says. “So I still have an affinity toward material objects. It legitimizes something when you put it into print. I can’t exactly explain why, but I wanted that legitimacy. I wanted it to be even realer than an online magazine.”

The magazine is also a way to empower and connect women and girls who might be interested in drumming, but are too afraid to otherwise.

“Ideally the magazine will fuel a fire in women and girls everywhere who feel 'less than' or 'unsure' to pick up a pair of sticks and bang," she says. "To hone their craft with confidence and determination. To play whatever it is, in their lives, with strength and to eventually lead others. Drummers are powerful timekeepers who need to lead their band. They are typically the loudest and their work is the most physically straining. The women and girls that embrace this position in the band, are to me, perfect examples of an empowered female.”

A very ambitious Abovitz has worked to involve herself in music and this magazine. If you want to help out in anyway, click here for more information.

Tom Tom hosted a release party at Bruar Falls in Brooklyn on Nov. 8 with Each Others Mothers, Zombie Dogs, Painted Faces, and a DJ set by Telepathe. There will be issue release parties four times a year and benefit shows through the year featuring female percussionists, so keep a watch out.

This year alone I saw a number of bands with female drummers, such as Shiragirl, Shellshag, Zombie Dogs, Each Others Mothers, Songs for Moms, Vivian Girls, Cheeky, Trophy Wife, The Curtains of Night, Matt & Kim, Demander, Ina Ina (now Guts for Garters), Taigaa, Black Wine, and Ben Franklin. It goes to show you that females drummers are out there, no doubt about that. It's good to see a publication focused on a market that has yet to be tapped.

Issue 1 is out now! You'll get 20 pages in color and interviews with Andrya Ambro of Talk Normal, Allison Busch of Awesome Color, photos, technique tips, and more! Tom Tom is available here. The magazine can also be picked up at St. Marks Bookstore and Bluestockings in New York, NY and Main Drag Music and Cinders Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, as well Buy Olympia in Portland, OR and Girls Rock in Paris, France.

Kathi of Hand Jobs/ Zombie Dogs (Brooklyn, NY)
@ Death By Audio, Brooklyn, NY

Katy Otto of Trophy Wife (Washington, D.C.)
@ Meat Town USA, New Brunswick, NJ

Lauren Fitzpatrick of The Curtains of Night (Chapel, NC)
@ Meat Town USA, New Brunswick, NJ

Tom Tom for Lovers!


  1. Tom tom magazine is weak. i mean, no offense, but some of those drummers aren't very good at all and basically being promoted JUST because they're female. none of them are actually talented. sorry, and i'm a female :(

  2. The purpose of the magazine is to promote female drummers. There's an array of magazines devoted to drummers, but typically male drummers and they usually don't feature female drummers. So this is something new that's going on.

    Sorry if you're not interested in these drummers. Is it the genre? Are there any drummers you would like to see featured?

  3. Let's not forget Lisa/Drummer from Kickball (! I booked Kickball for a show a few years back and what people commented on most was just how mesmerized they were by her mad drumming skills. (Also, I think she's originally from Long Island, so she kinda fits the scope of SB. :) )

    - Sissy

  4. Hey Hey! just came across this brooklyn band with a crazy drummer. They're called Bot, and its insane! here's their page

  5. Sissy, thanks for the recommendation!

    Also, Bot is great. Keep the suggestions coming and your thoughts about Tom Tom.