Hi, MD readers.
These days I do some session work and teaching, but my main gig is with the all-female NYC—based rock band Antigone Rising. I’ve been with them for over nine years, and it’s been an amazing journey. During this time we’ve gone from indie band, to major-label act, back to indie. In our early touring years, we did 260 shows per year. The number of shows dropped while we were with Lava/Atlantic, but we had some great opening slots, including The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, The Allman Brothers Band, Joan Jett, and Rob Thomas. These were truly life-altering experiences.
As a kid, I was a girl in a boy’s world–I loved sports and began playing as soon as I was able. The boys on my teams were less than psyched to be stuck with “the girl”—until they realized I could actually play.
In regards to music, things weren’t much different. I was inspired by the music of The Carpenters (specifically the drumming of Karen Carpenter) and wanted nothing more than to become a drummer. I didn’t know that, as a woman, Karen Carpenter wasn’t “supposed” to be behind the drums; I just knew she was awesome. This was exactly what I wanted to do. At age eight, I began my long journey. Now I am no longer a girl in a boy’s world, but a woman in a man’s world.
Most guys are incredulous when they see me grab a pair of sticks, until I get on stage and prove myself. Those who have not yet seen my band play take a similar posture–until we get on stage and tear it up! It’s human nature to embrace what we know and stick with what is familiar. We’re therefore skeptical of things that are uncommon. I understand that for years, it was rare to see numerous capable women in the music industry. But that has changed. Go out and support them, all musicians and all genres of music. You never know what will grab you when you have an open mind.
For you skeptics out there, I say thank you. It is your cynicism that has pushed me to become the person and the drummer I am today. It’s made me stronger and will continue to push me. But in the meantime, I’ve become part of something bigger–a group of road dog, touring musicians and a wonderful drumming community. I am grateful and loving every minute of it!
For more on Dena, go to www.myspace.com/denatauriello or www.antigonerising.com. And to check ou the gear that Dena endorses, go to www.smithdrums.com, www.sabian.com, www.promark.com, www.evansdrumheads.com, and www.gibraltarhardware.com.