this is part of a photo series i’ve been working on since 2011. it is a collection of photographs of badass women involved in metal, hardcore and the borderline metal/punk/avant-guarde worlds. these are the people who make up the music scene. these are my friends.
Meet Polly Watson, musician, writer, editor and a positive presence at metal shows in NYC. Her current project 1-800-BAND releases Diver Blue EP on April 8th. Below I ask Polly about her personal metal history.
What was your first metal experience?
Polly Watson: My first experience with metal apart from TV was seeing DRI at the beginning of crossover thrash play a warehouse filled with fish tanks in Iowa. The tanks were filled with fish, and they were quaking and sloshing. There were about 20 people present, and all 20 of them were in the pit. I felt a cold wind blow through me!
How the did you end up in Baltimore doing vocals for Triac?
PW: I never did vocals for Triac; I was in a vicious-style band called suspicious devices with Noel from Triac; Matt, who’s now in Biters; and Eric, who plays bass in Iron Cross and guitar in ravagers but is a fantastic superfast drummer. Matt put it together; I met him in B-more when I was in older bands. Suspicious Devices lasted about a minute because I would just take the bus down there at night after work, we’d practice, I’d sleep a couple hours at Noel’s house, take the 5 AM train back and go back to work.
No time for hanging out, and to be honest, it wasn’t very much fun to work on stuff alone up here, so it was probably doomed from the start, but they are the best guys and have all gone on to bigger and better!
Oh good. I’m glad to get the Triac thing cleared up. Both Mick and I, for the longest, assumed you were in the band. We’ve tried to put the timeline together in our heads, MANY times. Haha.
Tell me more about booking shows in a Chinatown karoake bar. Did any of your DIY shows get shut down?
PW: I put on my first show in my parents’ backyard when I was 15. I went door to door leaving flyers with a drawing of a big nuclear explosion on them letting everyone within a mile radius know there would be a show in my backyard and that it would be super loud. My mom dressed up in case the cops came, which they did. The grass in the yard still has not come back.
Since then, even more than playing in bands, I love putting on shows or parties in weird places. Or playing weird places. I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like because I work too much.
S.W.A.T. Bar. I think my sister told me about it, she lives nearby. It was a lot of old Chinese guys playing dice and one very drunk guy singing every song in the book. Joe, who ran the bar, let me have a show. It was pretty full and we were all really happy! Then at like 1 a.m. some EDM DJ came in and there were a ton of european models there to hear him and you couldn’t move. Pretty funny; Here I was, thinking “I found it!” not exactly! Anyway the worst that has ever happened at any show I’ve put on is people getting busted for drinking outside.
You’re the music editor for High Times (aka every once in a while my bosslady), a copy editor for a ton of publications (including Bazillion Points), plus you make music and love going to shows. How do you manage your time? What’s your secret to working hard, going out all the time and still feeling fabulous?
PW: I am the worst time manager, THE WORST. If you searched my e-mail the two most common words would be “sorry” and “late.”
What are you packing for these tour dates in May? (books, music, things you can’t live without, etc.)
PW: I will be traveling with my teddy bear, who makes a fantastic pillow.
Also do you have any tour secrets?
PW: If you put a can of soup or ravioli or whatever on the dashboard at 8 am on a sunny day, it will be warm and ready to eat by the time you get to the club.
4/5/14 @ Record Grouch, Brooklyn, 7 p.m. early action!!!
4/25/14 @ Gold Bar, Baltimore
5/2/14 @ Gooski’s, Pittsburgh, PA
5/4/14 @ Quarters Rock n Roll Palace, Milwaukee, WI
5/5/14 @ Triple Rock, Minneapolis, MN
5/6/14 @ Emporium, Chicago, IL
5/7/14 @ Painted Lady, Hamtramck, MI (taco night!)
5/8/14 @ Bourbon Street, Columbus, OH
5/9/14 @ Bell House, Brooklyn w/Dwight Twilley, Pezband