photo by F Fischer
Milwaukee’s ENEMY STAR has been headbanging their way throughout the Midwest for the past two years with vocalist Kassy Gruszkowski and guitarist Paris Ortiz finally solidifying their lineup with two Brew City veterans, Dan Kubinski on bass (but best knows as the singer for real-deal punk pioneers, DIE KREUZEN) and Mike Olson (drummer for one of the town’s finest metal bands, the mighty REALM.) They’re rocking a two-day two-city showcase in September called Metal Girl Fest that will not only feature ENEMY STAR but also female-fronted bands CANDLELIT from Chicago, COLORPHASE from Madison, DYVIDED from Madison, and ONSET OBLIVION from Sheboygan. We talked with Paris and Kassy about the inspiration for the fest and what fans can expect.
MI: What was the original inspiration to have a female-oriented fest?
KG (Kassy): To support the female fronted metal/rock scene which is a very uncommon scene in the States. We’d like to celebrate the creative talents of both genders working collaboratively together, and expose the Wisconsin market to what has been more commonly popular in the European and Scandinavian countries. It’s time for it to be a globally appreciated realm of heavy music.
MI: 6. Do you ever sense a boys’ club surrounding metal? Do you think Kassy has to front or act differently to get respected?
PO (Paris): No. All the bands we have ever played with have been cool. No one has ever made a comment or made it an issue or giving us a vibe. Every band we have been lucky enough to play with is there for one purpose and that’s to put on the best show they can and promotion their music. They understand we are there for the same reason and they respect that. If anything there is a respectful vibe towards Kassy and even better bond when bands hear us and hear her sing. They think she rocks its fun seeing their reaction. Kassy is Kassy and if you have ever met her you would know she is fun and doesn’t act girlie. She’s one of the guys and if anything she shocks all the bands because half of them can’t believe the stuff she says. She will make you blush and she know her music. She’s fun and she is always herself.
KG: To some extent, yes, there’s a boys’ club. The whole world is a boys’ club. I’ve heard stories of women being sexually harassed by their managers and booking agents, and sometimes their bandmates. But it’s not all terrible everywhere. I’m probably one of the luckiest women out there because of the guys I surround myself with. I think if women take a strong enough position to say, “If you don’t respect me, then I don’t want or need you,” we could make some headway. We have to be willing to eradicate the poisonous elements of our lives even if it means flying solo for a while… We ladies are carving out a nice plot of space for ourselves. Eventually, one day, I imagine it will be a wonderfully integrated scene with very little “us vs. them” mentality. There are phenomenal women out there, and there are exceedingly wonderful men who should also be cherished.
MI: What are the other bands like so you fans know what to expect from the show?
PO: Dale from Candlelit describes them as “basically an electro-goth project born out of metal and dance concepts. Mid-tempo dark music that doesn’t shy away from doing what the listener expects. I think of us as a piece of candy, accessible, good for f*****g…. Sisters of Mercy, Danzig, Evanescence”
Divyded is very modern metal. Very brutal had to describe so many elements of Killswitch Engage with a female vocalist lol their new singer Kelly Animosity does it all. Melodic beautiful vocals to growling death vocals. Very aggressive sound.
Onset Oblivion feels like Tool Rush and Soundgarden with some serious powerful 70’s style bluesy vocals. This girl can wail!
All the chromosomes are going to be represented in an explosion of Wisconsin rock fists and flying hair as the bands will be hitting The Frequency in Madison on September 7th and then taking the show to Milwaukee on September 8th at G-Daddy’s BBC. It’s definitely going to be a unique night of hard rock that has something for all girls and guys that are lovers of heavy music.(2953) Page Views Metal Girl Fest Online:
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