Contributed by Monica Torres
You might think that a magazine all about female drummers wouldn’t be very popular, but Mindy Abovitz has shown us that the world loves to see a badass mama hitting them tambours hard. Her all about ‘chicks with sticks’ publication, Tom Tom Magazine, has become a hit around the globe.
For its Summer 2013 “Country Issue” the magazine headed south to discover the female drumming talent booming in the Miami music scene. And, meanwhile, its creator got an opportunity to connect to her roots.
Mindy is a homegrown Florida girl, but currently resides in Brooklyn, where the magazine is headquartered. She started playing drums after her best friend, Stephanie Lavigne, bought Mindy her first drum kit. Stephanie is now a photographer specializing in underwater, commercial, architectural and wedding photography.
For the issue, the two childhood friends sank the old drum kit to the bottom of a pool for a sublime, underwater photo-shoot. Photographing the sinking drums and rising bubbles metaphorically captured the moment in the deep fluency of time.
“Submerging the drum set combined two of my favorite things (drumming and swimming) and photographing it left behind the ephemera to remember the moment forever” Mindy Abovitz
To kick off Tom Tom Magazine’s world tour, on May 22, they hosted a show with Plan B at Churchill’s Pub. Five drum-banging girls, their bands and the people who love them came together to support the publication. The line-up included Testokra, Killmama, Estonian Couch Surfer, Quarter Horses and the Violet West.
At Books and Books in Coral Gables on July 24, Tom Tom Magazine hosted a Q & A with Mindy Abovitz. Liz Tracy, music editor at the Broward New Times, facilitated the conversation which revolved around feminism, drumming, and women in music and media. Here are few highlights from the Q & A.
Monica Torres (Q): What made you want to start a magazine all about female drummers?
Mindy Abovitz (A): I am a feminist. I was tired of googling ‘women and drums’ back in 2009 (when the magazine was started) only to find images of girls in bikinis on a drum. So, even though I’m not a writer and I hate writing, I felt there was a need to showcase women drummers and encourage girls and women to drum because the regular drum magazines weren’t doing it.
Liz Tracy (Q): What’s next for Tom Tom Magazine?
Mindy Abovitz (A): I want to work with women’s advertisement. I want to target feminine products such as makeup and maxi pads, you know the things you think about when you think about women.
Liz Tracy: Yes, because when I think of women, I always think of a huge maxi pad. (Audience Laughs)
A Tom Tom Magazine event wouldn’t be complete without a woman drumming it out, so Quarter Horses played a set after the Q & A. They are a trio consisting of drummer Emile Milgrim, Daniel Elijah (Novy Graey) and Tristan John.
The gospel noir band derives musical inspiration from symbolist paintings as well as old American gospel music from the south. It was only their second show, but their dark, melodic sound drew a large crowd. Many congregated around the band, sitting on the floor, taking in Graey’s poetic vocals about sexual, spiritual struggles, in a sort-of musical communion. They’re definitely one local band to keep your eye on.
The magazine’s current issue also features a Miami Drumming Guide, which showcases some of our favorite Miami female drummers. Beatriz Monteavaro of Holly Hunt, Sophie Sputnik of Killmama and Emile Milgrim of Quarter Horses are some of the ladies featured. Emile Milgrim is also the manager at Sweat Records and the owner of record label Other Electricities. She is a friend of Mindy’s and helped to organize these local events. The drumming guide contains insider information for all you music lovers and musicians on the scene, including these drummer’s favorite local hangs, recording studios, music stores and the best places to play in town.
Enjoy a gallery of some badass women on drums below. Some of these images were taken from Tom Tom Magazine’s awesome Facebook page.
The magazine has articles, art, fashion, comedy, city drumming guides, interviews, tips and techniques for drummers, global current events, and more. The current issue contains a review of the HBO documentary, “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer,” giving attention to the harsh, unjust incarceration of the Russian girl group. There is also a section with some really cool oil-on-linen drum paintings by Alexandria Tarver. Go pick up a copy today, there’s a stack over at Sweat Records right now.