Fallen The Vibe

Fallen the vibe vegan skateboard shoe synthetic upperFallen’s “The Vibe” is Tommy Sandoval’s new pro skate shoe! The signature colorway is Vegan and comes in a black synthetic-suede!  We received a pair towards the end of the season, but were happy to get a chance to skate such a rad shoe! The slim cupsole features some excellent support, especially in the heel, but offers a really grippy and flexible toe which makes it out of the box skateable!  Toss in a little Rasta flair and you’ll agree, you’ve been in Babylon for too long.Fallen the vibe vegan skateboard shoe synthetic upperThe Vibe is an evolution of Tommy Sandoval’s last shoe The Kingston which also featured a synthetic toe cap and hemp canvas backing. On the vibe there is even more synthetic-suede which is balanced by a hemp-canvas tongue and heel backs.Fallen the vibe vegan skateboard shoe synthetic upperThe shoe looks super clean with solid toe caps and minimal stitch lines around the tongue and lace cage. The branding is subtle. vegan skateboard shoes rasta laces fallen synthetic If you really want to rock some rasta flair tricolor laces are in the box!synthetic vegan skateboard shoes FallenThe synthetic-suede toe cap is decidedly pointed and snug and really puts you in touch with the board for some excellent flick. The ollie area is cleared away from stitch lines. Even then the lines are layered with the canvas tongue.  Wide feet beware; You may want to go up a half size.02tcollarThe collar features an almost neoprene-soft padded collar with a high scoop around the heel and ankle. The shoe goes where ever your foot does with barely any wiggle or lift. The Vibe really has a connected feel.05healscollarBlack hemp-canvas on the stiff heel caps on top of a sculpted cupsole heel and those excellent cupping collars. Jah!Fallen The Vibe Lion of Juda insole Vegan skateboard shoesFallen always seems to keep the insole game strong. Lions of Juda printed on the arched and padded insoles.  The heel padding in the Vibe is excellent and the toe slims down to a thinness that makes your feet and board feel excellent together.Fallen the vibe FLX soles slim cupsole vegan skateboard shoeBased on Fallen’s slim “FLX” cupsole has a real snuggly designed fit. Lots of bend around the balls of the foot. The cut lines and suction cups make for an interesting break in the herringbone pattern. Add onto that, the primo protection on the arches and solid rubber on the toes and heels give some extra life on these kicks.15 hours of skate wear vegan skate shoe testThe Vibe after several weeks of skateboarding has been really fun! The shoe was a bit snug for the first few sessions, but only in the toe. It took some skating and walking around to get things loosened up however they are instantly skateable.  Those with wider feet really should try on a pair before buying. Though this is a fun shoe to skate its just not for everyone.0815hourstoeThe synthetic-suede upper help up considerably well and took a better part of two weeks of skating to even develop a wear pattern.  A second spot is still working its way just to the left of the first ollie hole.The Vibe Fallen skateboard shoes vegan A closer look at the ollie hole reveals a white rubber liner. This piece is woven into the toe caps to give a few days more or wear time once you get through the synthetic-suede layer.Fallen the vibe vegan skateboard shoe synthetic upper soles FLXThe soles have plenty of traction, even if the little suckers are worn away. The soles feel super consistent in traction and still have good impact protection, especially in the heel. The white looks a bit filthy. Chalk it up to skating on freshly paved roads we’ve been skating. Fallen the vibe vegan skateboard shoe synthetic upperVegan Skate Blog received our Fallen shoes a little late in the spring season, so the available sizes may be a bit low.  We’ve tracked down two spots that are still carrying this colorway in a number of sizes.  Most of the online retailers are listing the shoes as “genuine suede” however we’ve confirmed with Fallen that this colorway is synthetic.  Another note, we rarely link to places like Amazon, but due to the limited availability of the shoe, VSB is making an exception. Please check your local shop first.  On last check DLX in SF has several sizes in this colorway.

Skate Warehouse

Sizes 7-14 $49.00

Amazon (ONLY BLACK/BLACK is confirmed Vegan)

Sizes 5-14  $54.00-$59


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Food Fight Skateboard!!!

Food Fight Vegan Grocery SkateboardFood Fight, (The first all Vegan Grocery)  has an amazing new skateboard deck. The board has a modern feel with an “old-school” shape. Featuring art by Giancarlo Demarchi, The Vegetables take their revenge on some gruesome villains of the fast-food set. If you’ve every marveled at the walls of Food Fight Grocery, now you can take a piece home! vegan grocery food fightFunctional for ripping it up at the skatepark, pool, or tossing on some softie wheels for a  grocery-getter.  (Or stock up on vegan goodies, hang this deck in your kitchen and pretend you’re at Food Fight!)  Limited number of decks are available so don’t sleep on this one.

Food Fight $50.00 8.75×32  15″ wheelbase. (SHIPPING INCLUDED!!!)




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Etnies Marana: Review

Etnies Marana Vegan skateboard shoe canvas veg vegan xvxThe Etnies Marana now comes in three vegan colorways!  It has been about a year since the release of Ryan Sheckler’s pro model; the flagship of Etnies skateboard shoes.  The Marana features a number of technologies for a better performing, longer lasting skate shoe and still manages to catch a few notes of style from the early days of Etnies.

Vegan Skate Blog received a pair for a first look skate review and we eagerly started to shred. Here is what we found…Vegan Skateboard shoes Etnies MaranaThe canvas and mesh upper of the Marana does not equal your typical canvas shoe. The stiff rubberized toecap is what most distinguishes the shoe most from other models. Though its a trend, we’re seeing more and more of this for good reason.   Subtle stitch lines and panelling protect against blowouts. The mesh tongue and collar keep the shoe breathing. To sum it up to one word, the Marana is solid. …but lets extrapolate.Marana vegan skateboard shoe solid toe cap rubber toe capThe rubber toecap is nothing new to skateboard shoes; think Chucks or Vision. The Marana toe caps are more reminiscent to that extra piece of material you’d find on just about every cupsole on the block from the late 90’s. While that was the spot a rip would turn into a blowout, thats not the case here.  The rubber is bonded in the toe cap and imbedded into the sole with no top stitching. Your toes have plenty of room to move around, they’re protected from moderate impact, and the board flick is smooth.All vegan skateboard shoe animal friendly vegan etniesThe inner-sidewall reveals the otherwise hidden seem of the toecap. Far from the heavy wear of the ollie area this is more protection against blowouts.  Thats not the exciting thing on this side though. From the seem line all the way to the mesh of the collar is a stiff stabilizing panel. The panel not only keeps the shoes holding its shape, but it protects the inner sole.  Think of all those times a board caught you by surprise, right in that most tenderist of spots. Not with the Marana.puffy tongue vegan skateboard shoesLet’s hear it for mesh tongues! What once was a staple of skateboard shoes seems to have gone the way of the dodo. The Marana tongue is all mesh and even has a lace stabilizer. Your feet stay cool and the tongue stays in place. The waxed laces are also surprisingly durable!The Marana Ryan Sheckler skateboard shoe vegan skate shoeThe insoles of the Marana are incredibly cushy and cupping. Just what you need for jumping ten to twelve foot drops into flat-bottom . After all this is Sheck’s shoe and if you have ever seen some of the stunts Ryan is known for, it all makes sense the moment you give the insole a squeeze.  A nod to our noble legacy; Remember kids, scooters evolved from skateboards. Don’t devo.Etnies non-slip grip skateboard shoesEtniesNon-Slip Grip! Those little heal logos bring tears to my 30-something eyes. No joke though, the gun soles don’t slip. The big Etnies “E” in the center of the shoe is all foam too, “sti Evolution Foam” to be exact. This lines the footbed and provides that cushy ride.skate wear on the soles of Etnies MaranaDespite the cushiness, the flex and board feel leave you wanting a bit more. Even with the fancy cuts and patterns and a decent amount of break in, the Marana can be stiff. After 20 hours of skating, it still maintains the solidness that really typifies this shoe. The non-slip grip is still not slipping even as the patterns disappear into the grip tape.skateboard ollie holes skateboard shoes vegan canvas skateboard shoesOllie holes are still a real thing despite toecaps. But you have to consider the important balance of form and function. If the rubber came up any higher the shoe would certainly have a considerably different feel. While the process is delayed, nothing keeps any shoe from certain death. At the point pictured above, lets say the shoe is wounded at worst. The real win is for flip tricks. The flick area at the tip of the toe is going to withstand much more stress thanks to the toe cap.close look at Etnies technology vegan skateboard shoesA closer look at the ollie hole shows off something interesting. Four layers, count’em! Canvas on canvas on liner on foam. Kinda cool to look at, but further more it gives an idea of the thought and design to the Marana.Vegan Etnies MaranaEtnies is creating skateboard shoes for the future while giving a nod to their legacy of amazing footwear. (Shoes like the original Lo Cut and Sal 23 come to mind.) The Marana has only been around about a year and only in the last couple months available in a vegan colorway.

At $74.99 its on the high side for a pair of skate shoes. You get what you pay for though and the Marana is a good value. Arguably with a dab of shoe-goo here and there you could easily get six months or more of regular skating out of the Marana.

VSB is backing the Marana. If you like a solid cupsole, Etnies has got you covered.


Grey/White size 6-14 $74.99

Green/White  size 7-14  $74.99

Burgundy size 6-14 $74.99

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Vegetable Shredder – Jade Ryan

Jade Ryan Vegan Skateboarder Vegetable ShredderNAME: Jade Ryan

LOCATION: Sydney, Australia


Where do you like skating? Any street spot that looks unskateable or a challenge.

Why did you go Veg? I have always believed in the ethical treatment of all living things and don’t want anything to suffer at my expense.

What is your favorite thing to skate and why? Any set of stairs, they make me conquer my fears.

Jade Ryan Vegetable Shredder Vegan SkateboarderWhat shoe are you skating in now? Kustom canvas.

Or just say whatever you want about skating Veg… There is a common misconception that being veg will somehow make you weaker which is perpetuated by the meat industry so they can keep earning their dollars.
I have never felt better both mentally and physically since becoming veg over 8 years ago. I am not into judging people that aren’t veg but would like people to at least respect the life of ALL creatures and treat them with the dignity that they deserve.


We were very excited to find this Vegetable Shredder in our inbox! Jade has a rare and exciting style. Reminiscent to Mike V. (maybe thats why Jade is on the Elephant Army) with some bad ass bonelesses and plant variations we haven’t seen anywhere else!

Posted in Vegetable Shredder | 1 Comment

Osiris Caswell VLC

Osiris Vegan Skateboard shoes canvas Osiris Caswell VLC

Caswell Berry’s Pro Vulc skate shoe comes in a teal canvas colorway, perfect for your late Spring vegan attire.  A solid piece toe cap with the stitching clear of ollie area gives a nice smooth surface so you’ll avoid messy stitching and blowouts. The shoe-goo may need to come out to give a little extra life though. The collar has a medium amount of padding, and the tongue is pretty light.

Blacked out canvas with white foxing tape are available if you want to tone it down. They even have a navy denim colorway if your feeling a little “born in the USA vibe.  NOT all colorways are vegan.   The following are; Black/White/Dye, Blue/Red/White (pictured), Black/White, Navy/White/Yellow.


Blue(Teal)/Red/White  sizes 5.5-14  $55.00

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Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale

Vegan Bake Sale Portland Vegans Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale

last years WWVBS in PDX: Photo foodmtn.com

The WWVBS (Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale) is wrapping up this weekend so if you’ve been sitting around thinking about buying some sweet treats for a good cause, the time is now!  The WWVBS is a week of ad-hock bake sales all in the name of raising funds for social justice causes.

Portland, OR will be holding their bake sale tomorrow Sunday 10am-3pm at the food carts at the Mississippi Marketplace (thats the food carts on Mississippi and Skidmore) 4233 N Mississippi Ave. Funds collected from the Portland Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale are going to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest and Russia Freedom Fund (a group fighting for LGBT rights in Russia).

Find out about all the other WWVBS events happening this weekend (and a few coming up the next weekend and the weekend after that, etc. So much for one week of events.)  If you live in a major city chances are there is one happening near you!

Posted in Activism, Event | 1 Comment

Emerica The Reynolds

Emerica The Reynolds Vegan Skateboard Shoe Mid-Top Synthetic PU Coated CanvasThe Reynolds is finally available in a vegan colorway! Andrew “The Boss” Reynolds mid-top features some of Emerica’s newest technologies in a durable polyurethane coated canvas upper.  The Reynolds is a clean mid-top with minimal stitch lines and lots of collar padding. The G6 sole provides some big time impact protection too! Emerica The Reynolds Vegan Skateboard Shoe Mid-Top Synthetic PU Coated CanvasEmerica has been moving back towards cupsole skate shoes, with a majority of the pro-line falling into this category. The design or the typical puffy cupsole we knew in the 90s-2000s has changed significantly and for the better. For years the slim vulcanized shoes seemed to be flooding the skate market, and not with out cause. The control from a slimmer, deconstructed skate shoe that did away with layering along toe caps meant a smoother wear and less ripping. .  Slimming the shoes toe where flick and board control are centered was a crucial response to the technical skating that has exploded in the last 10 years.

This left a lot of skateboarders wanting something more out of a shoe; good collar and tongue padding, a cushioned sole, but something light that wouldn’t make your feet clunky or turn into a sweat factory. The Reynolds along with several of the other newest Emerica models (The Heritic X Templeton and Herman G6 which we review next)  have bridged a gap between comfort, form and function in the new era of cupsole skateboard shoes.Emerica The Reynolds Vegan Skateboard Shoe Mid-Top Synthetic PU Coated CanvasThe Reynolds fresh out of the box look smooth. The minimal stitch lines are clear of the high wear ollie area eliminating pre-mature blow out (where the upper meets the soles sidewall). Internal stitching hides the seam line, so when the threading does breakdown the panels aren’t going anywhere.Emerica The Reynolds Vegan Skateboard Shoe Mid-Top Synthetic PU Coated CanvasWithout the laces you can see the large perforations in the puffy tongue.  Just part of the super breathable and lightweight construction.Emerica The Reynolds Vegan Skateboard Shoe Mid-Top Synthetic PU Coated CanvasEmerica The Reynolds Vegan Skateboard Shoe Mid-Top Synthetic PU Coated CanvasA look inside the shoe reveals the internal padding along with the red sock liner. This keeps the tongue centered, but also makes for a snug fit.  One thing that is sure with The Reynolds, the shoe stays put. Emerica The Reynolds Vegan Skateboard Shoe Mid-Top Synthetic PU Coated CanvasThe inner side panel is a partially opened mesh, making The Reynolds light and super airy. Emerica The Reynolds Vegan Skateboard Shoe Mid-Top Synthetic PU Coated CanvasThe padded collar outer is a durable synthetic-nubuck (same material as the as the top of the embossed tongue) with a super soft nylon liner. The sloped angle makes ankle movement comfortable with out the kind of abrasive wear you’d get with a straight cut.Emerica The Reynolds Vegan Skateboard Shoe Mid-Top Synthetic PU Coated CanvasThe back paneling add a stiff contrast to those soft collars, locking the heel of the foot firmly in place. Emerica The Reynolds Vegan Skateboard Shoe Mid-Top Synthetic PU Coated CanvasThe Reynolds uses a similar material as the PU coated Tempster mid-tops. The shape and stiffness of the toe cap feels similar to an internally protected shoe, like the Heritic X Tempster of Etnies Jefferson. However this is just the effect of the construction. Other then the sock liner, its just a layer of polyurethane coated canvas between your feet and the grip tape. Emerica The Reynolds Vegan Skateboard Shoe Mid-Top Synthetic PU Coated CanvasThe little red triangle on the heel is the G6, the technology that makes The Reynolds and several other models full of impact protection but super flexible and bouncy. The white heel and outer toe panels are excellent for giving a little extra wear time for foot drag and skidding! Keeping the rest of the shoe gripping on the Emerica triangle tread!Emerica The Reynolds Vegan Skateboard Shoe Mid-Top Synthetic PU Coated CanvasThe Reynolds after a week and a half of skating. The wear pattern is a great example of smart design. The lines completely envelop the abrasion areas in one single piece. Around the laces, between the 4th and 5th whole, what seems like a skipped eyelet is a clever way to save shoe laces. (Just make sure you go for the over-under pattern) Emerica The Reynolds Vegan Skateboard Shoe Mid-Top Synthetic PU Coated CanvasClose up, an ollie spot is well on its way. It seems to be coming through a bit higher then normal in our test wear, perhaps the effect of the higher profile of the cupsole design.  A little earlier then we’d like to see, this is a combined wear of 4 hours on the skateboard. Compared against the Tempter mid-top, it took about 10 hours to get the same ollie wear. If you aren’t Shoe-Goo averse, then this would be the time to slather some in the spot. Emerica The Reynolds Vegan Skateboard Shoe Mid-Top Synthetic PU Coated CanvasThe Reynolds is an interesting design. If you take a look at the Baker/Deathwish line up, you’ve got a majority of the team either on Emerica or Supra. The Reynolds looks likes Emerica’s answer to the Supra SW1. Style-wise its just different from what we’ve seen from  Sole-Tech in the past, but its clean and a nice break from shoes that can only be differentiated by a few lines of stitching.   We’re still waiting on The Reynolds Low to drop in a Vegan colorway.

More then a solid shoe, even with the early wear, The Reynolds is far from coming apart and feels sturdy. Slipping the shoe on, its instantly comfortable but you’re going to need a full day or more of breaking in time before going for a serious skate session.  This is a bit of a departure, considering several of the Emerica models we have reviewed are instant skaters.  It’s a strange feeling because the shoe is light, but with padding comes a little bulk. This could take some getting used to, especially if your previous shoes are much slimmer.

With all the protection, cushioning, and smoothness to The Reynolds, you may notice a bit of a squeeze in the toe. While the overall fit of the size 10 we reviewed was spot on, a combination of the insole, the sock liner, and tapered toe put a bit of a squeeze on our tootsies. If you have wide feet this could be uncomfortable and might try a half size up.  Another way to go, which seemed to remedy the squeeze was to remove the insole.  This drops the footbed down and reduces the toe squeeze a bit. The trade off, a little ruff riding and some heel slippage. The price tag is a bit higher then we’ve seen in the past which may be an issue for some. If the next version featured a synthetic leather like we saw in The Heritic X Tempster, this shoe would be unstoppable.Emerica Vegan Skateboard Shoes Ed Templeton drawing No Cow No Problem Transistor Sect Vegan Vegetarian leather free synthetic material  Our favorite new tag, that you may just find hanging on your next pair of Emerica’s!  Check back for an update with some more wear and durability photos.

Emerica Grey/Black sizes 6-14 $89.99

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Hybrid Turkey investigation by Mercy For Animals

Mercy For Animals Canada recently released an investigation revealing extreme cruelty at a turkey breeding operation in Bright, Ontario.   Hybrid Turkeys is not in the business of slaughtering animals for meat production, but is centered on breeding animals that will end of up on factory farms.

The fact that Hybrid Turkeys is a breeding facility coming under scrutiny and not a typical slaughter production is an important difference. It further extends the argument that at all levels, animal agriculture is incapable of escaping exploitation and cruelty.

CBC’s Marketplace did an interesting piece on Hybrid, called “The Trouble With Turkey.”  They’ve featured other MFA investigation footage in the past and offer some excellent followup.  At the end of the Hybrid Turkey piece, Marketplace shows a “natural” turkey farmer on Vancouver Island.  This natural, free-range, organic model is often presented as an alternative. However the key flaw is that even these free-range farms get their eggs from a breeding facility.  The birds still die and have a violent end no matter their quasi-peaceful existance. Furthermore, rounding up any animals for slaughter, (no matter how small the farm) will bring about a chaos and pandemonium that is inherently prone to callousness and cruelty. The day any human can take dozens of lives with calm and care, will be a bleak one indeed.  Alternative to cruelty, go fucking vegan.

Posted in Activism | 1 Comment

Chris Klich at The Unheard Ramp (RIP)

The Unheard Ramp is over,  Our buddy Chris Klich aka VeganFixed rips it one last time in this video brought to us by his shop sponsor, Daddies Board Shop.  Chris rips and wears the Vegan badge on his sleeve proudly.  Thanks for ripping so hard Chris!

Posted in Video | 3 Comments

War on Women: Interview with Shawna Potter

photo: Carl Pocket

photo: Carl Pocket

War on Women is a band from Baltimore, Maryland. Shawn Potter (vocals) Brooks Harlan (guitar) Nancy Hornburg (guitar) Evan Tanner (drums) and Sue Werner (bass) make up the fierce hardcore group who pointedly took the name War on Women; a phrase often used to describe the right wing political attacks on women centered issues.

War on Women toured the West Coast with Propagandhi and The Flatliners last month. I spoke with Shawna after the tour to talk about music, politics, and beautiful Baltimore!

-Mr. Fakie


Mr. Fakie: How’s your Sunday going?

Shawna Porter: Good.

MF: Did you go to church?

SP: Nooo…

(Laughter from all)

MF: War on Women is a hardcore band. What was your introduction to hardcore and who were some of your influences?

SP: I will admit that I’m the person in the band with the least hardcore and punk street cred. I grew up listening to all kinds of music but it was a lot of R&B. I came up on more punk rock in the way that Sonic Youth is punk rock. It was less about the straight ahead, three chord yelling about the government kind of stuff. But still, being really young, I listened to the Sex Pistols because I had heard of them and I should listen to them because they’re a staple. Through that, it got me really into the first Clash record, which I love. As well as Bikini Kill, and the Slits, Refused, and even if it doesn’t count, I love Danzig. I’ve always liked heavy music that’s a little creepy in some ways. So as long as it has a good melody and it’s a bit creepy, I’m down with it. I also really like Isis and Tides. But after all of it, my favorite artists are Prince, Beyonce, Slant 6 and Helium. I was so into Helium growing up.

MF: So you got into the hardcore scene as more of an active participant than just a fan?

SP: Yeah. Mainly because it has such a bad rap for women. I lived in Nashville so all of my friends were in bands. I know it’s not like that in every town but everyone loved music, everyone’s parents were studio musicians. I’d see my friends play all ranges of music but it was common knowledge that if you went to a random punk or hardcore show, you’d be holding your boyfriend’s coat. The punk that I was into, that felt safe for me, was Riot Grrrl. No one was going to judge you for your playing ability and it was mixed gender. So the traditionally male oriented stuff took me a while to get into because I didn’t want to.

MF: When you started to get into music was it instantly political?

SP: No. I didn’t really start thinking about politics and my place in it until George W. Bush was elected. One day I heard he wanted to restrict abortion access and I thought, “That’s not right. He doesn’t have a uterus. Why does he get to say who has access?” That started the spiral. I consciously ignored it and stayed apathetic for a long time because of my young age (being under 18). I didn’t think I could do anything. I felt that I had no power so most of the lyrics I wrote were about people. That’s fascinating. People are fascinating. So when I started to think more about what’s going on in the US, it wasn’t really until we started War on Women that politics came to the forefront. Brooks and I made a conscious decision to do this. Before in our band Avec, we’d write about anything we wanted to. This is a project with a direction and there’s no limit to what I can write about because women’s equality can be tied to any topic.

It was never really “you should elect this person or pass bill number whatever,” it was that people are fucking telling me what to do with my life and my body and they have no right to do that. So in that sense, yeah, if that’s political, I was conscious of that.

MF: You’re writing and singing in this band, previously you played guitar in a band with Brooks?

SP: Yeah, I’ve played guitar since I was 12 in a few different bands. I was in a mostly female 90s pop, kind of alternative, band with three part harmonies when I was in high school in Nashville. I also did some solo acoustic kind of stuff and then joined the band with Brooks that became Avec. Which was jazzy, mathy kind of rock. And this band, the original inspiration came from a Bikini Kill cover band I was in with Katy Otto, who runs Exotic Fever Records and plays drums in Trophy Wife. She has a long history of music in the DC scene.

We played a few shows and I decided to sing, I was going to be Kathleen Hanna because it was fun. Then Brooks came to see us and said, “This is really good. We should do this for real.” And I thought, “Cool.” We are different people and weren’t going to be Bikini Kill 2, we wanted to write different songs. I think when people compare us it’s because there’s a limited scope and they instantly tie us to bands with women even though we may sound more like a band with men.

photo: Carl Pocket

photo: Carl Pocket

MF: Speaking of that, bands like L7 and Babes in Toyland were hard rock bands but got lumped into to this catch-all ‘girl band’ category. Do you feel that its a bad term to be lumped in with this ‘girl band’ category?

SP: I think it sells my gender short. It’s easily dismissible. I think of ‘girl group’ and I think of the Ronnettes. I think of fluffy stuff. And not that Motown wasn’t awesome, it’s just not that challenging today. It’s just good pop music. And we’re not doing good pop music. I just want to do good music. I think the term is misleading. It sells us short and it sells the audience short. I want to give more credit to digest something. It’s not that odd to see more than one gender in a band. I think if people see us live, I’d like to think that they wouldn’t forget that I’m a woman, but more importantly they’d remember that we bring it and put on a good show. If you think that at the same time, then you can stop thinking of it as a ‘girl band’. I’m also 31. I’m sick of being called a girl.

MF: There’s certainly this trap or novelty but can it feel safer for women, especially young women to have an alternative getting into music?

SP: I’ve always felt, having been on stage for a long time, that every time you see a woman on stage, it’s an opportunity to inspire a young woman in the audience. I’m not so bigheaded to think that, “Oh, I’m an inspiration” but I didn’t know that I could be on stage and play a guitar until I saw another woman do it.

I’d see music videos of a bunch of dudes playing and I’d think, “That’s cool, I like music.” but it wasn’t until I saw a video of a woman playing guitar and realized that I can do that. I think that’s a really important idea for people to think about. Having a bi-racial family in a cereal commercial, or on a Cheerios box is way more important than you think because it normalizes someone’s existence and will normalize an experience that more and more families are having. I think that having a mixed [gender] band is way more important than being all women playing the same stuff. It shows that we’re able to work together to promote equality for everyone. That’s where feminism or any good cause should be. We need partnerships and have to realize that we can’t do it alone. It ensures that men know that they can be a part of it.

MF: Let’s start with a quote then a question. I think this is interesting because you definitely hear, at times, people rejecting the word feminist. The author, Caitlin Moran, wrote a book called How to be a Woman and in it she challenges women who reject the association with feminism with this question: “Put your hands in your pants,” (laughing)  you don’t have to do that.

SP: (Also laughing) How do you know I’m not already?

MF: “A) Do you have a vagina? B) Do you want to be in charge of it? If you said yes to both, then congratulations, you’re a feminist.” Do you ever encounter women, especially in the hardcore scene or life in general who push back on the term and try to rationalize feminism as a term to distance themselves from the idea?

SP: My personal experience is that there’s younger women, especially high school age who are still being tricked to think that’s a bad word. They haven’t talked enough with other people about it to change their minds. You know they’re going to get over that, there’s still just a few ideas of patriarchal society to get over. In the hardcore and punk scene there’s no woman I’ve come across who hasn’t identified or been proud to see a woman on stage. So that aspect has been good so far.

I’ve experienced people not identifying with feminism if they more strongly identify with womanism or they feel that feminism is for white women, which is a valid concern. They’re still in the good fight for equality and civil rights but they don’t need feminism to do that. I’m cool with that, I want to be an ally to that way of thinking. So in that case, no, I don’t think the lack of self-identifying as a feminist is a bad thing. I see it more with people that have more entitlement and privilege and they think life is great for them so why isn’t it for every other woman? They only think that because their life is very charmed. Most people in punk, or the scenes I’m in, don’t feel that way.

MF: Let’s talk about a group called Hollaback that you’re involved with in Baltimore that focuses on street harassment. Could you tell us a little about that?

SP: The Baltimore chapter that I run is a part of a larger international movement to raise awareness for street harassment. To call it by name, let people know they’re not alone and to educate folks on how to avoid accidental harassment. And also to deal with it in the moment and even after the fact in a proactive way that can help other people deal with it.

MF: I wanted to talk about a few songs on the record. “Broken Record” and “Effemimania” are parallel, I think. In “Broken Record” you talk about street harassment which is an aggressive and ugly side of sexism but “Effemimania” explores misogyny, in the way that men have a standard for women that doesn’t allow them to express themselves sexually. Effectively that men can control a situation and act a certain way around women. Maybe you can explain that side of the song a bit.

SP: It’s more about the gender spectrum. That there’s not a certain way to be male or a certain way to be female and that there’s a bunch of genders in between. We’re all a lot more similar than society would have us believe. They want to pit us against each other, men versus women,  and it shouldn’t be like that. My inspiration for that song was definitely “Whipping Girl” by Julia Serano. Reading her account of her unique experience, that not everyone shares, her experience of transitioning and how she views the world viewed her and what parts of her changed was really fascinating and reassuring. I really feel like humans are so similar and we have much more in common than we don’t. So there’s no reason to fight against each other.

MF: Let’s talk about the politically aware hardcore scene. You mentioned before that you’re not receiving as much push back for feminism and also going back to the scene in Nashville where women hold their boyfriends’ coats.

SP: I think that was a common experience for people of that time, not necessarily unique to Nashville.

MF: I’m 33 and grew up in the Pittsburgh hardcore scene where the girls are in the back…

SP: Because the dudes are gonna go crazy and “We don’t wanna hurt you ladies!”

(Laughter from all)

MF: There’s the politically aware hardcore scene where we know that sexism, racism and homophobia are wrong but you hear people using words that have real impact. Words like bitch, slut, homo, retard even that really can hurt people. I’d be interested to see how you hear people talk in these scenes. And how do you talk to people about their privilege.

SP: It’s really difficult. It’s one of those things where you balance everything, like is it your band’s show? My band’s show? Am I a guest? Am I outnumbered? And you have to decide how well you know this person, and do I feel safe? Am I exhausted from being street harassed all day or have I been reading about rape culture all day and am I fucking over it? There’s no perfect situation or response to behavior like that. Especially if someone is part of that marginalized group. I try to tell my male friends that they should be better bystanders. It’s better and going to be heard more if a man tells another man, “Hey dude, that’s not cool.”

I draw a pretty hard line for myself and my close friends to try to be better with our own language. Even if it’s with my best girlfriend, I’m not going to be like, “Hey, bitch.” Even if it’s fun to say, I try to curb that especially if other people are around because I don’t want to normalize any word like that. The kind of person that would say, “I can say that because that lady said it,” is the worst kind of person to pick up on that language. I let a lot of things go because I can’t fight every battle but I’m very quick to challenge if someone is using slang for genitalia to mean weak or less than. If someone is being a “cunt”, then they’re being “bitchy” but that’s so negative. I never use slang language for genitalia because I think it’s making behavior gendered.

photo: Carl Pocket

photo: Carl Pocket

MF: Speaking of P.C. fascists, War on Women just finished a tour with Propagandhi. What were your favorite moments, road stories or cities?

SP: Let’s see.. I think Oakland was surprisingly awesome and fun. There were a ton of people there early, knew the songs and we felt like we played well. We felt really positive. I also like the L.A. show because I get too comfortable. I’m in DIY punk spaces, I’m with Propagandhi and I don’t hear from many assholes when we play.

MF: L.A. had a dark vibe going on.

SP: Yeah, a really dark vibe. L.A. had a couple of dudes that were ruining it for everyone. They even brought us down for a second. We were like, “Fuck!” It was so offensive that it was worth calling out. We just happened to be playing “Broken Record” next. The song is meditative and about street harassment so we felt good after that and were fine. It’s more rare than you’d think to experience that kind of street harassment and sexism at a live show. People like that are cowards and trolls who usually do that online from the safety of their bedroom where they don’t have to look a human in the face and challenge them. To experience that live is rare but it keeps me on my toes. I felt like it was about time to make sure I still had it.

MF: I remember thinking, “is this a plant?”

(Laughter form all)

SP: We’re not that famous… We’re playing loud ass music and can’t always hear everything but that dude let himself be heard. He wanted to make sure we knew he existed which is entitlement bullshit wrapped in street harassment. The thing I thought about afterwards talking to Jord (Propagandhi) and Jord’s partner, was what would have happened if that guy said the same thing in the street? It was so aggressive, he making sure I heard him and was not getting that I wasn’t interested in hearing him. This is one of those things where you have to give yourself permission to feel the way you feel. I had to give myself permission to have fear of going into the audience in case I was to see him. If I did that, I didn’t know if he’d try to corner or grab me. That’s a really dark flip side, especially because I was on stage with a microphone and lights and in control of the situation and that would be gone. It’s scary and hopefully it was a good show but as soon as I walk off stage, I wasn’t sure if he’d find me. And that’s something we all live with every day. That’s why we’re still a band and have something to sing about.

MF: Brooks is vegan and before the interview you told me that you’re veg and sometimes vegan so while I won’t ask you for Brooks as he’s not here, but for you, how did you become veg or vegan?

SP: Well for me, while I was in Avec, everyone in the band was vegetarian at least. It was really a matter of time and when you understand why they’re doing it and understand it, how can you not change your eating habits? I just had to be exposed to someone who was doing it and willing to tell me why in a nonjudgmental way. For me it’s been 10 years and the options for what you can eat are blowing up. I have the privilege to go to the grocery store and see Tempeh and Tofurkey so why would I not buy that if I can?

MF: How was touring with Propagandhi, the vegan supergroup?

SP: In the US, there’s not really catering, most of the places we play are a house. But when you play in Europe, they feed you, they know what’s up. We had amazing vegan food every night and when you get there, they even have snacks. Which of course, we turned into our lunch. It’s the healthiest I’ve ever been. Why would you buy lunch? There’s no reason to buy anything if you’re covered. Healthy food is so important on the road so you don’t get sick. I was chock full of vitamins.

MF: Let’s see, which member of War on Women has the best kickflip?

SP: Kickflip? Me? I don’t know. I bet it’s Brooks. I think half the band skated in junior high and high school but hasn’t since, I’m sorry to say.

MF: Oh, bummer.

SP: Everyone stopped when their parents health insurance ran out.

(All laughing)

Cannot afford a broken arm. But Brooks has the best chance of being in the parking lot and landing one well.

MF: So if I come down to Baltimore with a skateboard, Brooks can get the kickflip?

SP: My money’s on Brooks.

MF: What’s your favorite John Waters’ movie?

SP: Oh, Crybaby. I watched that for the first time in junior high way before I knew about John Waters or Baltimore. I’d sing along and make my mom rent it every weekend from Blockbuster. Only recently, I got a copy of it. I still know every word. I just fucking love it.

MF: Are you amazed by how absolutely politically subversive he is? Crybaby and Hairspray were big movies for him. Crybaby is all about class war and Hairspray is about integration and even has a race riot.

SP: I can tell you for sure everyone in Baltimore is cool with John Waters. We’re all stoked on John Waters. I was just asking my friends how to celebrate my dirty 30s and someone suggested a John Waters day. Dress up like your favorite character…

MF: …Eat dog shit!

SP: laughing Eat dog shit. So I don’t know what I’ll do but he’s on our minds and in our hearts.

MF: What’s next for War on Women after the Propagandhi tour and selling out of your 10”?

SP: We’re finishing a record. We’re in the middle or recording it and in talks of getting help to finish the last five or six songs and tour on it. We’re not rushing and we think it’ll be worth it.

MF: Any last words?

SP: Thank you for being an ally to women and promoting gender equality.

——————————————————————————————————– Thanks to Shawna Potter and War on Women. Check out their BandCamp page, or get their album on iTunes. Their 10″ record is SOLD OUT! Photos by Carl Pocket at Echoplex in Los Angeles California. A special thanks go out to Joey Zittnan and Jenifer Weber. The resident VSB transcription and spell check team.

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