Ten Questions With Terry Gotham: Sabina, Seattle Drummer Extraordinaire

(This week, I’m breaking my rule of focusing on NYC based artists for a good cause. A friend is raising money to fund music programs for at-risk & underprivileged youth in the Seattle-Tacoma, Washington area. She’s a drummer/musician extraordinaire, so I wanted to get the scoop on punk, live music & the scene out in SeaTac. Hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did!) Sabina

1. What’s it like being in the minority of lady drummers in Seattle?
It’s both intimidating and exhilarating. Intimidating in the sense that since the vast majority of drummers and rock bands in general are male, I have experienced my share of patronizing comments and extra scrutiny from ensembles I’ve played in that were all male. Throw in the fact that I’m older, and have not been playing drums for very long as compared to the guys who have been playing in bands since their teens, I can say that for someone who is very confident in most other aspects of my life, coming into this scene certainly forced me to develop a thick skin. On the other hand, since there are so few female drummers, I feel like I’m in a very elite club – a unicorn of sorts. I’ll be honest, I also came into this knowing that people find chick drummers to be extremely bad-ass. I suppose that’s due to the fact that drums have tended to be considered a “guy” instrument. There are many female vocalists and guitarists. Drummer chicks, not so much.

2. Were drums your first musical love, or have you hopped instruments over the years?
My musical experience started when I was 5. I started out playing piano, because my mother is an accomplished classical pianist. I learned to sight-read music at a very young age. But I remember, when I was 6 years old, for the first time hearing a song on the radio by Aerosmith, and from that moment, I fell in love with rock and roll. Growing up in a home where rock was considered garbage, it was tough to stick to an instrument. My parents finally let me learn guitar, as long as it was classical guitar. I had the skill to play, but the passion wasn’t there for me because I wasn’t playing the music I wanted to play. Growing up in NYC in the 80’s and 90’s I also spent a lot of time at dance clubs, and my ear and body gravitated towards rhythms. I became really fascinated by percussion and in awe of the musicians who were able to coordinate their 4 limbs to do different things at the same time and create a single groove. Eventually I ended up dropping piano and guitar while I was in graduate school – which is something I have always regretted. The desire to learn drums was always there though. And finally, 4 years ago it dawned on me – I’m all grown up, I have my own house, my own space, my own income and my husband’s old drum kit sitting in storage. I found a Groupon deal for 4 drum lessons at a local shop in Bellevue WA, bought it, and now 4 years later, I’m still with my same teacher, and still taking lessons every week. The drums are where I belong.

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Punk Words by Neil Hiborn “How to Get Beat by the Cops”

This guy has burned off more talent being a white-hot fire of wordplay, passion & outrage. The astonishing reminder that cops used to just bust heads for listening to music and/or being an ethnic or sexual minority is delivered with a fury that you don’t hear much anymore.

It’s like they have a fetish for killing dinosaurs and very colorful birds”

The words & emotion flow like a fire hose, reminding me of my earliest GA shows and my fear of being caught outside CBGBs without too many friends. In case he seems familiar, he did a love poem as well that went viral a little while back. Super talented and I will always say “Fuck Yea Punk Rock.”

Pussy Riot Attacked, Temporarily Blinded In Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

It is clear that the attackers acted with the approval of the Nizhny Novgorod FSB, located nearby. However, we will still go to the prison today, so they have beaten us in vain, absolutely in vain.

–Masha Alyokhina

We will go to the prison, despite the fact that the local police, “titushki” — the hooligans — and their bosses do not like it.

–Nadia Tolokonnikov

There’s not much to say. I hope they’re protected, and I will continue to take my hat off to them and cheer on their fight for those who need it. They’re still going to travel to the prison where convicts are treated like slaves (much like they’re treated here). Especially as Putin stares down the world, they stand, and literally fight. The thugs were wearing ribbons remembering WWII. Supporting the troops indeed. (via Huff Po)

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Calls Out Putin, Rallying The People to Boycott Olympics

Nadezhda has become something of a champion for the rights of prisoners during her time in the Russian penal system. While she & her bandmate Maria Alyokhina have been freed under a Kremlin-based amnesty plan, she has spoken out, calling it a publicity stunt designed to help soften Russia’s image abroad in anticipation of the Sochi Olympics. They both are remaining in Russia to fight on behalf of those still imprisoned & to bring awareness to the diabolical shit going on there as the world turns its gaze to see how Putin can manage the anti-gay & anti-international sentiment he’s helped stoke there over the last few years as his grip on the country has tightened. (via HuffPo)

Photos of the Original CBGB’s Walls, Fresh Out of Storage.


The Gothamist checked out the original/archived walls from CBGB’s (the famed punk and hardcore club on the Bowery) and brought along a photographer. If you were into punk, rock, hardcore, metal or were just generally angry, you had at least one or two really good CBGB’s stories. Mine involved the Bloodhound Gang, Miller Lite and ambient hooliganism, with most of us cutting our teeth and seasoning our guitar & leather jacket palette in and around this place. Jim Kiernan (the photographer) was also a regular, so he’s created some great shots that need to get seen. Props to the Gothamist for making this happen.

All photos by Jim Kiernan.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Of Pussy Riot Is On A Hunger Strike.

One of the members of the now-jailed actual punk band Pussy Riot has started on a hunger strike in protest of how she’s being treated while incarcerated. In a long letter published in The Guardian, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova details the conditions she faces, including extremely poor treatment, 17 hour work days, and exploitation of fear to ensure that the conditions are encouraged by the other prisoners. It’s a heart-wrenching letter that needs to be read and shared the world over. The incarceration of Pussy Riot is a reminder of the old ways, where the sad but powerful torture the free and young to prevent them from expressing themselves. So I’ll say it, like many have before me (via FACT)…


Photo care of Aleshkovsky Mitya/ Aleshkovsky Mitya/ITAR-TASS Photo/Corbis