Jo Bench (Bolt Thrower) – Collected interview snippets

An inspiring woman and a great blog post about her.

Ugly Bass Face

In my previous post about Jo Bench, I spoke about a dearth of information regarding her bass background. Since then, I’ve scoured the internet to find relevant interviews and articles about her that have some of that info. Here’s what I found:

  1. Jo Bench interview by Chazz and Lork K Philipson for Global Domination (from Bolt Thrower website)
  2. Bolt Thrower Interview – Leviatan Metal Magazine
  3. Cvlt Nation Interviews Bolt Thrower
  4. Eternal Terror: Jo Bench (Bolt Thrower) – I’m self-taught (fantastic bass info!)
  5. Tartarean Desire: Bolt Thrower interview

A website from the Netherlands called Kmachine had the following snippet about Jo:

She plays bass on all albums but not on the demos. She was asked to join Bolt Thrower when her then long-time boyfriend Gavin Ward had switched from bass guitar to guitar. She is one of the few women playing in a ultra-heavy death metal band…

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A new job and the start of pre-k

So it’s obvious from my blog title that I’ve been up to a million things this past summer. First among them is starting my new position as the Head of Technical Services at the Leonard Lief Library at Lehman College. I started at the beginning of CUNY’s Fall semester, and it’s been non-stop since. Having come from Columbia University’s Libraries, the differences are both unsurprising and abundant. Unlike Columbia, Leonard Lief’s library is at the same time small and big; small because it’s one library to serve the entire college and big because it’s part of the larger university wide collective – the CUNY Libraries. When I was at Columbia, I was working only in Butler, the main undergraduate library. Outside of Butler library there existed the art library, music library, social work library, etc. (all entities functioning as part of the Columbia University Libraries). While my work at Columbia will always hold a special place for me, I just don’t think I had the right opportunities for growth in the Acquisitions unit there. That’s simply and partly due to the size of such a university. And well…that’s all I have to say about that.

My new role as Head of Tech Services at Lehman is both a wonderful and challenging position. The first two full weeks consisted of my shadowing technical service staff to get an overview of current procedures and practice and then attending meetings with the CUNY collective groups in Cataloging and Electronic Resources. The CUNY committees have been an indispensable think tank of librarians, helping me to learn and adjust to how library technical services has worked in the past.

To add, learning all about CUNYFirst and Lehman Finance operations has been interesting. Lehman functions in duality; first as it’s own college entity and at the same time as part of the CUNY branch libraries. So one can imagine there being a lot to learn with regard to shared resources, acquisitions of said resources, and the ways in which each college’s tech services functions, both locally and centrally. Plenty to learn, but challenging aspects that I’m taking in stride.

Reporting to my chief librarian has also been bright and optimistic. His support of both my position trajectory and personal scholarly interests (Metal Music Studies) has made for an accommodating transition. It also doesn’t hurt to work with library faculty and staff who are both informative and kind. The overall vibe here is that everyone wants to see the library evolve and succeed.

And the most attractive aspect of my new position – seeing a faculty and student body that is full of diversity. With my work, research on gender studies and social justice issues, it comes with an edifying feeling to finally be part of an institution that understands the importance of diversity and inclusivity.

All the new learning aside, I’ve had the serendipitous luck to be starting at a time where we also have a new college president-President Jose Luis Cruz, whose convocation speech already addresses goals to work towards for the 2016-2017 school year. With this optimistic zeal and outlook, it seems that new and exciting opportunities abound in my academic path and I’m looking eagerly towards its development.

On top of all this new change for me, our daughter started pre-k the week after I started the new job. Here she is on her first day, sans socks or shoes! Talk about a week of new beginnings.


It was a week of many firsts. I took the first day of pre-k off just so that I could make sure I was available and be by my cell phone the entire day in case of some crazy emergency.

In reflection, my husband and I both laughed when we realized how we were acting like such “newbie” parents and the obvious nervousness we exuded at drop-off. All the seasoned parents with more than one kid simply said hi to the new pre-k teacher and basically gave their kid a kiss/hug and were like, “peace out.”

Not us…we had to linger, a good 15-20 minutes at that.

We finally left when Ella ignored us in favor of her new classroom toys. Such is pre-k life.

Misogyny in the scene: Enough is enough

My favorite part: “Misogyny is real, and yes, it happens in the office and on the street, but this is me sharing my experiences at shows this summer.”

Sydney Shaw

*UPDATE 08/10/16: I never expected this piece to reach so many people, and I am so grateful for everyone who has taken the time to read it and for all of the feedback I’ve received. But after so many responses have been fueled by “not all men” sentiments and wondering why I didn’t use this as a platform to talk about all of the good that comes out of the scene, I want to preface by saying that I’ve met far more people who are willing to denounce misogyny in the industry than those who perpetuate it. I don’t hate men. Going to shows is my favorite thing in the world. There, I’ve met far more friends than people who behave the way I describe in this article. But the reality is that it does happen every day to women for the sole fact that they are women. Misogyny is real, and yes, it happens in the office…

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On Special Music Collections


Issues of the punk-rock fanzine Slash are included as part of UCLA’s punk archive. Photo: UCLA Library Special Collections – from the American Libraries Rock in the Vault Article – May 2, 2016.

I’ve been talking for some time about the need for a special music collection on Metal music in NYC, so I was glad to see this recent article entitled, Rock in the Vault published over at the American Libraries website. It’s about how university libraries are becoming the new place to go for music archives.

The article mentions both Rutger’s growing collection on rock, hardcore and punk music as well as Cornell’s collection on the Hip Hop genre.

As for NY, we’ve a rich tri-state history on Metal. There’s venues that could offer historical information like L’Amour’s of Brooklyn or even the closed down record store Metal Kingdom in Queens. Ephemeral materials abound in the form of zines, cassettes, vinyls, patches and documentaries. As a metal music scholar & librarian, having physical collections as primary resources is just one way we can solidify and start building our place in the larger academic world.

It would be my dream to start this at Columbia…so here’s hoping I find a way here or elsewhere.   \m/

Shout-out from the Tempest

Lovely writer, Esther Merono Baro, over at the Tempest website wrote up a nice re-cap with quotes from last week’s panel that I organized on Women in Rock and Metal @ Barnard College.  5 women in punk and metal who give zero f*cks about their bitch face

I was glad to see folks enjoy our talk and get insights into the work we do. Hopefully this can become something we do annually!

And here’s some photos from the slideshow I put together of our panelists (some photos courtesy of Justina Villanueva). Unfortunately, Kristen Korvette wasn’t able to make it.


Panel talk: Women in Rock & Metal Music


Join the Barnard Library for a lively discussion on gender, race, violence, and acceptance in the NY rock and metal scene with panel speakers Mindy Abovitz (Tom Tom Magazine creator/editor), Kristen Korvette (creator of feminist website Slutist), Laina Dawes (author of ‘What are you doing here? A black woman’s life & liberation in heavy metal‘), Justina Villanueva (photographer & artist), and Cristy Roads (punk musician, zinester, & artist).

Moderated by Columbia University librarian and metal scholar Joan Jocson-Singh, and Barnard Library’s own performing arts librarian Charlotte Price, this event is open to everyone. Check out the Facebook event

Here’s the event page over at Barnard college:

Many thanks to Justina for designing this web flyer!

Upcoming Metal Music Conferences, Panels and CFP’s – 2016

heavy metal
Yes I know I’ve been MIA but there’s plenty of reason! Night school, work and metal music events, have taken over. To make up for my absence, I thought I’d compile a list of upcoming metal related events.


There’s the very cool EMP Pop Conference taking place next week from April 14-16 in Seattle. I’ve been wonderfully invited to speak as part of a roundtable called, Noise Breeding Silence- Heavy Metal Voices along with my colleagues, Laina Dawes, Jeremy Wallach, Ester Clinton, Kat Katz and Steve Waksman. Steve is actually the moderator, so you know it’s going to be a great talk! For those of you who don’t know his work – Steve is a professor at Smith College in Massachusetts and wrote the seminal books – Instruments of Desire: The Electric Guitar and the Shaping of Musical Experience and Ain’t the Summer of Love: Conflict and Crossover in Heavy Metal and Punk. 

grimposuimAlso taking place next week for NYC locals is the traveling Grimposium – a touring festival that brings musicians, journalists and academics together to showcase and foster discussion on all things metal, coordinated by Vivek Venkatash, professor and metal scholar at Concordia University. This latest event is called, The Sign of An Open Eye: Grimposium 360 and will be taking place on April 14th in Brooklyn at MINY Media Center by IFP. Register here.

clap back

On April 30th, we also have Women CLAP BACK in Music and the Arts at The New School taking place from 10am-5pm. Several women involved in the local metal scene here in NY will be there, like the wonderful Laina Dawes! I’ll be helping with moderating the panel called, Navigating Race and Feminism in the Music Industry.
And of course I’ve got to plug this – I’ll be co-moderating an evening talk on Women in Rock and Metal Music at Barnard College the evening of May 4th, 2016 (registration and info page COMING Soon).

Below is a description of the event – ALL ARE WELCOME!

Women in Rock & Metal Music – 
Wednesday, May 4th, 2016, 7 PM – 9:30 PM @ Barnard College – Julius S. Held Lecture Hall.

Women have had an increasingly steady presence as performers, fans and supporters of rock and heavy metal music, although previous studies have emphasized these spaces as predominantly masculine and white. In the 21st century, women still face challenges in participating and negotiating this historical gendering of space. While New York City is quite often perceived as a product of its own bubble of exceptionalism; race, sexism, and authenticity remain problematic areas of discourse for many women who take part in these musical scenes.

An evening with Women in Rock & Metal Music seeks to address these issues, exploring how women of varying ethnic backgrounds, gender identities and sexuality, so often marginalized, navigate their participation and construct spaces of liminality through their art, musicianship and voice.

Please join us for a lively discussion and exploration of gender, race, violence, and acceptance in the NY rock and metal scene with panel speakers – Mindy Abovitz (Tom Tom Magazine Creator/Editor), Kristen Korvette (Creator of the feminist site -Slutist ), Laina Dawes (Author of What Are You Doing Here? A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal), Justina Villanueva (Heavy Metal photographer and artist) and Cristy Roads (Punk Musician, Zinester and Artist).

In addition to these US-based happenings – there are other, just as amazing, conferences coming up – especially abroad. There’s the Bournemouth University Metal Conference on Metal and Politics, being held in the UK on June 3rd as well as the Modern Heavy Metal Conference in Helsinki, Finland – June 30 through July 3rd. You can register for MHM here.

Also in the UK, is the Dark Leisure and Music Symposium taking place at Leeds Beckett University on September 16, 2016. There’s still time for submission as the deadline is May 15th.

Back in the US, we got the Metal in Strange Places conference taking place in the Fall at the University of Dayton on October 21st – 23rd! If you remember from my previous blog posts, I presented my thesis work on Women in NY’s EMM scene at the 2014 conference in Dayton where I met some of the most awesome people in metal academia.

Proposals for Metal in Strange Places are due by April 22nd.This year’s keynote speakers are Gabby Riches, whose book Caught in a Mosh is a great resource that I’ve referenced in my own work and Tracy Reilly who will be talking about intellectual property and entertainment.

As for CFP’s – here’s a list of current and ongoing calls for conferences, journals etc.:

Metal Music Studies (Intellect)
The deadline for submissions for 3.1 is September 10, 2016
The deadline for submissions for 3.2 is December 10, 2016

IASPM’s page for CFP’s (International Association for the Study of Popular Music UK and Ireland)
Various deadlines and CFP’s

19th Biennial ISAPM Conference – Additional CFP’s

Shifts and Turns: Moving Music, Musicians and Ideas – 39th National Conference of the Musicological Society of Australia Adelaide, Australia (November 30 – December 3, 2016)

3rd International Digital Libraries for Musicology workshop New York, NY (August 12, 2016)

Society for American Music, 43rd Annual Conference Montreal, Québec, Canada (March 22 – 26, 2017)

That’s all I got for now!