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Rowena Alice

Broadcaster — London

Name
Rowena Alice

Where are you from?
London (via Birmingham)

Describe your style in three words?
Grunge Powerpuff Girl

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
The Bronx at the Cambridge Junction in 2010. They were their own support band with their alter ego group Mariachi El Bronx. They went from performing glorious Latin-inspired tracks whilst dressed in matching uniforms, to smashing an energetic punk set in their usual incarnation as The Bronx – starting the set with their formidable track, ‘Knifeman’.

If you could be on the line up with any two bands in history?
Sonic Youth and Nirvana during their European Tour together in 1991. Two of my favourite bands combining their raucous energy and insanely great noise-rock night after night in different European cities – it’s my idea of heaven. Plus, getting to hear Sonic Youth play ‘Kool Thing’ and Nirvana play ‘Aneurysm’ each evening, you could never get bored!

Which Subcultures have influenced you?
Riot Grrrl. It encouraged women to be outspoken, political, and to power their way into the male-dominated punk scene. It showed the importance of women being angry about the state of things and highlighted the fact women should be able to express their views in a safe environment. We have incredible bands currently continuing and evolving the ethos of Riot Grrrl, such as The Tuts, who are fighting for intersectional feminism whilst making extraordinary music. I’m obsessed with their song ‘Always Hear the Same Shit’.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
It would have to be Dolly Parton because she’s the ultimate boss woman! I love that she has complete control over her work, her image, and her legacy. I can imagine it would be a fascinating hour chatting to such a talented woman who is clearly very witty and candid about her life and experiences. I’d also try to encourage her to sing ‘Jolene’ for me because that song and her vocals touch my soul whenever I hear it.

Of all the venues you’ve been to, which is your favourite?
The Buffalo Bar in Islington. I was heartbroken when they had to close it down because it did so much for rock subcultures and emerging bands. It was a small basement venue that was just pure punk. They also provided audiences with intimate experiences with their favourite artists – you were so close to the bands you were practically rocking out on the stage with them. I also have fond memories of my partner Billy Lunn playing tracks from his band The Subways’ second album live for the first time after they’d just got back from L.A. recording with Butch Vig. The crowd’s response to tracks like ‘I Won’t Let You Down’ is unforgettable.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
Sister Rosetta Tharpe. A queer woman of colour who had a stunning gospel voice and could shred on her gorgeous Gibson guitar – what’s not to love! She was an icon and doesn’t get anywhere near enough credit for her influence and impact on rock ‘n’ roll. Her song ‘Jericho’ is still one of my all-time favourites!


Rowena Alice is a prolific broadcaster, presenter and DJ. Her current exploits include a slot on BBC Three Counties Radio, indie DJ duties at Propaganda and her own Riot Diet show on London's Boogaloo Radio, the latter requiring that all bands have at least one female member to qualify for coverage. 

The first track you played on repeat?
Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’. I first heard it as a kid when my mum was teaching me how to use her record player after she found me rummaging through the vinyl collection she had from her teens. I was hooked after hearing the opening riff, so had to go back for more!

A song that defines the teenage you?
Pretty much the whole of The Distillers’ Coral Fang record. It was released whilst I was at secondary school, and I was obsessed with it because it perfectly sound-tracked my angsty teen years. I’d probably pick ‘The Gallow is God’ off the album because I sang it onstage at The Square in Harlow as a teenager. My voice did not do justice to Brody Dalle’s sultry and snarling vocals.

One record you would keep forever?
Mclusky Do Dallas - an album that is as bold as it is brutal! When my partner and I first got to know each other, we bonded over our mutual love of Mclusky. I somehow managed to get the inimitable Falco and his other band Future of the Left to play a local venue for my fella’s birthday in 2009, and the band gave us a copy of Mclusky Do Dallas on vinyl. We will treasure the record forever! If you haven’t screeched along with their song ‘To Hell with Good Intentions’ at the top of your lungs during a long car drive, you’re missing out.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
“Two fingers up at those who won’t miss us when we pass away” from The Rakes’ ‘We Danced Together’.
It’s a great reminder that life is short, so do whatever makes you happy and don’t waste your precious time on people who won’t be fussed when you’re gone.

A song you wished you had written?
Carly Simon’s ‘You’re So Vain’. A sublime song with brilliant vocals and lyrics. Who wouldn’t want to be known for having written the ultimate “screw you” anthem to egotistical guys!

Best song to turn up loud?
Turbowolf - ‘Rabbits Foot’. I defy you to try and listen to this song without cranking it up as far as possible! The bass parts on this song played by Lianna Lee Davies will completely melt your face.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears. When you’re so heavily involved in championing rock and indie music, people often believe you have a snobbery towards pop music. This couldn’t be further from the truth! A superbly written pop track like ‘Toxic’ will last a lifetime, and it’s hard not to love and appreciate that. This song is catchy, sexy, and nobody can resist going crazy when you drop it into a DJ set.

The song to get you straight on the dance floor?
Blondie’s ‘Call Me’. A flawless rock-disco hybrid that I can’t help but move and sing along to whenever it’s played. Dancing to the lyrics “Roll me in designer sheets, I'll never get enough” just always reminds me of what a goddess Debbie Harry is!

Best song to end an all-nighter?
Beastie Boys – ‘Sabotage’. This track is irreproachable. It just makes me feel invincible and ready to do the night all over again!

Any new bands you are into at the moment?
There are so many outstanding new bands from the UK with women in right now that are leaving their mark on the live music scene whilst rewriting the rulebook of songwriting and performing. My favourite new bands and tracks at the moment are: Sorry – ‘Starstruck’, Nova Twins – ‘Lose Your Head’, Sit Down – ‘Honeysucker’, and Queen Zee – ‘Hunger Pains’.

Name
Rowena Alice

Where are you from?
London (via Birmingham)

Describe your style in three words?
Grunge Powerpuff Girl

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
The Bronx at the Cambridge Junction in 2010. They were their own support band with their alter ego group Mariachi El Bronx. They went from performing glorious Latin-inspired tracks whilst dressed in matching uniforms, to smashing an energetic punk set in their usual incarnation as The Bronx – starting the set with their formidable track, ‘Knifeman’.

If you could be on the line up with any two bands in history?
Sonic Youth and Nirvana during their European Tour together in 1991. Two of my favourite bands combining their raucous energy and insanely great noise-rock night after night in different European cities – it’s my idea of heaven. Plus, getting to hear Sonic Youth play ‘Kool Thing’ and Nirvana play ‘Aneurysm’ each evening, you could never get bored!

Which Subcultures have influenced you?
Riot Grrrl. It encouraged women to be outspoken, political, and to power their way into the male-dominated punk scene. It showed the importance of women being angry about the state of things and highlighted the fact women should be able to express their views in a safe environment. We have incredible bands currently continuing and evolving the ethos of Riot Grrrl, such as The Tuts, who are fighting for intersectional feminism whilst making extraordinary music. I’m obsessed with their song ‘Always Hear the Same Shit’.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
It would have to be Dolly Parton because she’s the ultimate boss woman! I love that she has complete control over her work, her image, and her legacy. I can imagine it would be a fascinating hour chatting to such a talented woman who is clearly very witty and candid about her life and experiences. I’d also try to encourage her to sing ‘Jolene’ for me because that song and her vocals touch my soul whenever I hear it.

Of all the venues you’ve been to, which is your favourite?
The Buffalo Bar in Islington. I was heartbroken when they had to close it down because it did so much for rock subcultures and emerging bands. It was a small basement venue that was just pure punk. They also provided audiences with intimate experiences with their favourite artists – you were so close to the bands you were practically rocking out on the stage with them. I also have fond memories of my partner Billy Lunn playing tracks from his band The Subways’ second album live for the first time after they’d just got back from L.A. recording with Butch Vig. The crowd’s response to tracks like ‘I Won’t Let You Down’ is unforgettable.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
Sister Rosetta Tharpe. A queer woman of colour who had a stunning gospel voice and could shred on her gorgeous Gibson guitar – what’s not to love! She was an icon and doesn’t get anywhere near enough credit for her influence and impact on rock ‘n’ roll. Her song ‘Jericho’ is still one of my all-time favourites!


Rowena Alice is a prolific broadcaster, presenter and DJ. Her current exploits include a slot on BBC Three Counties Radio, indie DJ duties at Propaganda and her own Riot Diet show on London's Boogaloo Radio, the latter requiring that all bands have at least one female member to qualify for coverage. 

The first track you played on repeat?
Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’. I first heard it as a kid when my mum was teaching me how to use her record player after she found me rummaging through the vinyl collection she had from her teens. I was hooked after hearing the opening riff, so had to go back for more!

A song that defines the teenage you?
Pretty much the whole of The Distillers’ Coral Fang record. It was released whilst I was at secondary school, and I was obsessed with it because it perfectly sound-tracked my angsty teen years. I’d probably pick ‘The Gallow is God’ off the album because I sang it onstage at The Square in Harlow as a teenager. My voice did not do justice to Brody Dalle’s sultry and snarling vocals.

One record you would keep forever?
Mclusky Do Dallas - an album that is as bold as it is brutal! When my partner and I first got to know each other, we bonded over our mutual love of Mclusky. I somehow managed to get the inimitable Falco and his other band Future of the Left to play a local venue for my fella’s birthday in 2009, and the band gave us a copy of Mclusky Do Dallas on vinyl. We will treasure the record forever! If you haven’t screeched along with their song ‘To Hell with Good Intentions’ at the top of your lungs during a long car drive, you’re missing out.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
“Two fingers up at those who won’t miss us when we pass away” from The Rakes’ ‘We Danced Together’.
It’s a great reminder that life is short, so do whatever makes you happy and don’t waste your precious time on people who won’t be fussed when you’re gone.

A song you wished you had written?
Carly Simon’s ‘You’re So Vain’. A sublime song with brilliant vocals and lyrics. Who wouldn’t want to be known for having written the ultimate “screw you” anthem to egotistical guys!

Best song to turn up loud?
Turbowolf - ‘Rabbits Foot’. I defy you to try and listen to this song without cranking it up as far as possible! The bass parts on this song played by Lianna Lee Davies will completely melt your face.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears. When you’re so heavily involved in championing rock and indie music, people often believe you have a snobbery towards pop music. This couldn’t be further from the truth! A superbly written pop track like ‘Toxic’ will last a lifetime, and it’s hard not to love and appreciate that. This song is catchy, sexy, and nobody can resist going crazy when you drop it into a DJ set.

The song to get you straight on the dance floor?
Blondie’s ‘Call Me’. A flawless rock-disco hybrid that I can’t help but move and sing along to whenever it’s played. Dancing to the lyrics “Roll me in designer sheets, I'll never get enough” just always reminds me of what a goddess Debbie Harry is!

Best song to end an all-nighter?
Beastie Boys – ‘Sabotage’. This track is irreproachable. It just makes me feel invincible and ready to do the night all over again!

Any new bands you are into at the moment?
There are so many outstanding new bands from the UK with women in right now that are leaving their mark on the live music scene whilst rewriting the rulebook of songwriting and performing. My favourite new bands and tracks at the moment are: Sorry – ‘Starstruck’, Nova Twins – ‘Lose Your Head’, Sit Down – ‘Honeysucker’, and Queen Zee – ‘Hunger Pains’.