an interview with Meghan Rose and Emily Mills
by Teri Barr
Madison's Damsel Trash featuring Meghan Rose and Emily Mills
Do you ever hear (and in this case, see) a band, and wonder where the group may be headed? The first story I wrote about Meghan Rose came out in February, 2014, after meeting her at Ladies Rock Camp in Madison, where she helped coach and encourage a group of women wanna-be rock stars. A few people at the time asked, “Who?” But, I had the feeling any obliviousness wouldn’t last long, especially when she partnered with Emily Mills to form Damsel Trash, a self-described two-women, trash punk rock your face band.
Fast-forward a little more than two years, and we now know where Damsel Trash is going: Meghan is moving to New York City in May, and though Emily will remain in the Madison area, there is a pact between the two. We haven’t heard the last from Damsel Trash. I had the chance to ask them more about the band’s past, and get some great details about their plans for the future.
Maximum Ink: How did Damsel Trash get started?
Emily Mills: Meg and I were in Little Red Wolf (alt-country) together. But it wasn’t until we did a Hole tribute band for Halloween, 2012, that I think things started to really click in terms of both of us wanting an outlet for our shoutier, angrier, more theatrical sides. Meg learning so much about Courtney Love for that Hole tribute, and sort of embodying that rowdy, take-no-shit persona really fucking opened a door for her, I think. It was a beautiful thing to witness, because she hadn’t really embraced that punk side of herself, not fully, prior to that.
MI: And you created some pretty ridiculous rules to make this work?
Meghan Rose: Em and I have a pretty unique writing process where we have a main concept, one of us writes the lyrics, and if we can’t write the majority of the song in one rehearsal, we scrap it. The whole point of DT is to go with our gut instincts. Fast and loose.
MI: You are understating your creativeness! It’s punk, but every song – along with some of your theatrics on stage—shows you also wanted to push your talent and music boundaries?
EM: It was just a point in my life when I really wanted an outlet for being unashamedly loud, queer, feminist, and fucking ridiculous—no apologies. So we just dove in and haven’t looked back since. It’s been really gratifying that the music and the shows really seem to resonate with so many other people, too. I think a lot of folks find it cathartic in a lot of ways, and it’s also just a stupidly good time, which is an intentional balance we try to strike.
MR: We created our favorite monster and she’s weird, queer, loud, dirty, and immortal.
EM: We also work hard to make our shows a safe space for folks who might otherwise get pushed out or not feel welcome at punk/hardcore shows. It’s been overwhelming, the response, to be frank. Like I said, it feels like we hit on something special that a lot of people really get, which is a fantastic bonus, because let’s be real we were gonna do this no matter what.
MI: Yet, here we are, and the countdown is on for Meghan’s departure. I think those of us who know you and Meghan, are excited for her, but sad for what feels like a huge loss to the music scene here.
EM: Meg is heading off to seek her musical fortune in New York, and who can blame her? Of anyone I know, she’s absolutely the one who should give the music thing a serious shot. And the sad, frustrating, but very true fact of the matter is that it’s incredibly difficult—if not impossible—to do that while based in a place like Madison. We have a killer music scene here, some of the friendliest, most collaborative musicians I’ve ever come across, but there’s just not the professional infrastructure to really support a career. So while I’m absolutely heartbroken that I’m losing her here, I couldn’t be more stoked for the possibilities for her. She’s such a ridiculously hard worker, smart, driven, and beyond talented/good at what she does. And I fully intend to ride her coattails to glory—which is to say, we are planning a DT tour for some time in the next year, and then when her solo stuff takes off, too, I will come running, any time, any where, to keep backing her on drums and in life.
MR: I would only add that Damsel Trash is certainly not going anywhere even though I’m moving. We will definitely be going on tour and writing new songs. DT is an animal that cannot be stopped.
(Note from Teri: Now, a little self-disclosure. I like all types of music, and grew up in a home surrounded by my parent’s love of country and polkas. Later, one brother played drums, another trumpet, and I was classically trained on piano. But I was always drawn to a more “punk” style; enjoying the idea of revealing, then smashing your emotions. I loved Meghan and Emily as Damsel Trash from the first time I saw them on stage together, and thank them for the effort to keep this awesome beast moving forward, despite living in different states. Good luck Meghan. NYC is lucky to have you.)
Catch these final (for now) shows:
Damsel Trash at “Unintimidated: Wisconsin Musicians against Scott Walker” CD release at High Noon Saloon, Madison, April 8th.
Meghan Rose at “608 to 212: NYC Kickoff Party” at The Frequency, Madison, April 23rd.(3408) Page Views Damsel Trash Online: