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Talk Music: Girls who rock

By Melissa Crowe
April 23, 2014 at 3:04 p.m.
Updated April 22, 2014 at 11:23 p.m.

Brea Lara, who goes by the stage name Brea Danger, fronts the Victoria-based punk band TSS, which is playing Saturday at Downtown Bar and Grill.

IF YOU GO

• WHAT: Femme Fatale: Grief Thief, Ma & God, The Hangouts and TSS

• WHEN: 10 p.m. Saturday

• WHERE: Downtown Bar and Grill, 125 E. Constitution St.

• COST: $5; $10 for minors

A walking ball of chaos, Brea Danger and her electric blue mohawk command the attention of a room.

As the bassist in Stout City Luchadores and lead singer in TSS - don't ask what it means - Brea, 27, is taking fem-rock to a new level in Victoria.

Though "female" isn't a genre, much less a sound, it's a reason to celebrate and showcase local talent in a scene most often overrun by all-male, cover-squawking bands.

Brea caught up with Get Out to talk about her vision for the female-fronted show, her past playing polka for the Lord and her greatest musical accomplishment.

How did this show come about?

TSS is a female-fronted band now, so we thought we would showcase that and the talents of other female musicians. I thought it would be something different; it's not something that happens all the time here.

We've got Ma & God, Grief Thief - which is real indie, upbeat and funny and with a sarcastic twist - The Hangouts from Bryan-College Station. They're punk, and TSS - we're just chaos incarnate.

You lead TSS. What's it like being a woman and leading an otherwise all-male band?

I don't think it's that much different. When I first started playing, I wanted to make sure I wasn't the token girl in the band, so I focused on being a badass on bass.

I don't think it's that much different to be a girl than a guy musician. Sometimes, you have to hold your own weight so you're not the token girl there for eye candy.

I'm hard on myself. I don't know if it was outside influences because I didn't want to be the token girl, but I also wanted to keep challenging myself to be a better musician.

You've been at it for a while now. What are you thinking about before a show?

Before a show, I'm usually the one in the corner trying not to vomit.

I get super nervous before every show. I like music, and I like the energy of live shows, so it makes up for it.

It's easier for me to play bass than it is for me to sing.

You've got to bring the energy, or the crowd doesn't get into it. I have to take myself out of who I am and put myself into another persona, but it's easy to get into the music and feel it. Just let the crowd experience the songs with you.

What got you into music?

I was in piano lessons when I was younger, and I was a huge marching band nerd. I was in the pit crew playing bass, and for concert season I played bari sax. My dad played in a rock 'n' roll band for years, like Journey-style. They had some originals and played some covers. He got me into music.

In seventh grade, I picked up a punk album. I think it was Rancid, "And Out Come the Wolves." From there, it was mail-order catalogues and researching credits on CD covers.

We were about 20 years behind in Shiner. You had to work for it to find new music.

You chose music over the more traditional small-town recreation. Why was music your outlet?

I never really fit in as a kid.

I was an angry little girl. Growing up in a small town, there's nothing there.

I never really felt like I felt into that cookie cutter mold no matter how hard I tried.

This is what I was missing and was what I needed.

We started the first band - I was 16 - called Nowhere Heroes, and I met Tim (my husband) then.

We opened up for Tim's band at that first show. I found a place I could fit in and be myself. I could relate to the lyrics and the anger and the fact that there was no bull - - : It was real; you could just be.

What do you associate with punk?

There's the cliche stuff - mohawks, band logos on tee shirts, tattoos. For me, there aren't images; it's thoughts. It's an attitude than a style, being yourself despite what everyone says.

It's just something that I enjoy and that I cling to. It's going to the shows; lately at Downtown Bar and Grill, especially, it's been crazy. Kids coming out of nowhere coming into the shows, wreaking havoc, dancing to the music. The best thing about it is there are no rules.

How is it playing in two bands - TSS and Stout City Luchadores - with your husband, Tim?

I usually take the lead. I'm a control freak, so I naturally assume that.

In TSS, Tim picked up bass to play, and I had never sang before, so we switched roles.

He just picked it up real quick.

I don't think I can sing very well, but I scream into a microphone. I'm real big on making sure the lyrics actually mean something.

The songs are from fragmented journal entries forged together to form a song. There's a song over insomnia, and a song about loving alcohol. There's another one on fake girls, "Pretty Girl Lies," about what girls are portrayed as, and who they try to be isn't necessarily who they are.

It's hard to find yourself when you're told you're supposed to be something in your entire life.

Did you feel that way from growing up in Shiner?

As difficult as it saying you grew up in a small town, I'm glad I did. They instilled in me respect and how to function like a normal human being at some point.

I don't really fit in with the punk scene, either. There's always a part of me that won't fit in with that because I was raised in a town with certain belief systems.

But question everything, form an opinion on your own without what the masses tell you what to feel.

Did you embrace the Bohemian culture? I'm talking about Polka for the Lord.

I played in the praise and worship group at the Lutheran church, and they didn't have a tuba player, and they needed someone who could play bass. I just got nominated without being asked to do it. I enjoyed it, but it was fun.

Every polka band needs the token drunk person.

I did that for about three years and stopped about a year or two ago when it started interfering with gigs.

Every place I worked at in Shiner, I listened to polka music every day. It's not that different from punk.

At the end of the day, don't forget your roots. I'm proud to say I'm from Shiner, and I listen to polka music, and I'm Bohemian.

What are your musical goals?

We want to keep playing, write new music and get our music out there. But in the end, our goal is to keep having fun and keep making music with our friends.

When it stops being fun, I don't think you should do it anymore; then it starts being a job.

For me, it's an outlet and a way to get out those emotions. Whatever artform you choose is the best therapy.

Since last year's film fest, you and Tim have gotten involved with the Antagonist Art Movement. I call it the Victoria Chapter. What's happening with that?

I like finding that talent that's hiding in between the cracks, not venue wise or that type of thing. We've met painters, filmmakers, musicians and people who do things out of their house that's so much more awesome than anything you can see in a gallery.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Honestly, just picking up the microphone.

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