'The Girls' Guide to Rocking': Can you learn it from a book?

61y-2iUAYPL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_ Recently, when the book A Girl’s Guide to Rocking: How to Start a Band, Book Gigs, and Get Rolling to Rock Stardom, written by rock critic/longtime zine queen/former publicist and promoter Jessica Hopper, landed on our desk, we thought, “This could be great, but how would we know? We have not been in the target demographic for many many years. And some of us are the wrong sex entirely!”

So we prowled the EW offices (like panthers, except less graceful), until we found Lily Giles, the 15-year-old daughter of our own Executive Editor Jeff Giles.

Lily, being very much in that target demo, was gracious enough to moonlight as a special guest writer on the Music Mix, and provide our review here:

“Jessica Hopper’s new book, The Girls’ Guide to Rocking, is fun from start to finish, but my favorite part is ‘16 Way Overused Band Names.’ I’m 15, and can play ‘Viva la Vida,’ ‘Wonderwall,’ and ‘Let itBe’ on guitar (kind of).

I’ve definitely dreamed of starting a group. Now, thanks to this book, I know never to name it anything involving ‘love’, ‘wolf’, or ‘blood’ (which basically rules out all possibility of a Twilight band).

Hopper’s book taught me other cool tricks, too. And if you’ve ever fantasized about being a rock star (and I know you have), you can learn them too. From choosing your instrument to booking your tours, Hopper offers guidance through cute graphics, clever lists, and inspiring quotes from people like Joan Jett: ‘If I wanted to be an astronaut, I could be an astronaut. If I wanted to be a doctor, I could do that. So, it never entered my mind that I couldn’t play guitar. There’s no rule that says girls can’t play guitar.’

Aside from chapters on songwriting and playing gigs, Girl’s Guide has helpful advice on choosing band members — it’s easier to rock out with your friends than with total strangers, but you have to put friendships before the music — and keeping your band together.

It even has detailed instructions on turning your house into a band-friendly practice space and using Garageband to record your music. However, I wouldn’t get too used to recording on your laptop and practicing in your garage, because with this book to guide you, your band will be world-famous rock stars before eleventh grade.”

What do you think, readers — would you consult a book to help you through the 101 of starting a band? What rock tomes inspire you?

More from EW’s Music Mix:
Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein is trying to become a Phish fan. Any chance she’ll succeed?
Lily Allen’s new video for ’22′: Girls just wanna have fun?
Worst cover song of 2009? We have a winner!
Care Bears on Fire’s ‘Pleaser': A Music Mix Exclusive
Justin Bieber: Will ‘One Time’ make him this summer’s underage Romeo?


Comments (4 total) Add your comment
  • Julie E.

    Anything that encourages girls to play instruments can’t be a bad thing. We need more female rockers and fewer embarrassing pop tarts in the Britney Spears mode.

  • Jill F

    i love this! makes me happy. i want to read the book now!

  • Moxie

    Great write-up, Lily! Maybe you should consider a career in journalism over starting a rock band. :0)

  • jess g

    I am actually currently using this book to help start my own band – a must have for any teen girl into playing music seriously!

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