Rowena Alice


Friday 8th February 2019

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. 

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