South Side Roller Derby Seeks Local Bands to Rock the Track
"She was five-foot-six and 215, a bleached-blonde mama with a streak of mean
Photos courtesy of South Side Roller Derby
And the roller derby program said that she was built like a 'fridgerator with a head."
That's how singer-storyteller Jim Croce described his "Roller Derby Queen" 40 years ago, but times have changed. Today's player is a fitter athlete, chiseled by boot camps and regular competition, and there's no better place to see the difference than the South Side Roller Derby. The league began its season in January and continues with matches this Saturday evening at the Pasadena Convention Center.
Music has been a large part of what the Pearland-based league offers its fans. Since it formed in 2006, the derby's rough-and-tumble matches have routinely featured local bands at halftime or post-game activities. And now that it's grown to its largest following, the league is calling out to area bands to come play for its fans.
"Our fans like folk music, blues, country, rock, punk rock and yodeling," says Brenda Holley, the league's founder. "We have live music at our games. It's always a really awesome local band."
The Dirty Seeds fill the bill this week. Band member Tomas "Filthy" Sanchez said the gig should be a great opportunity to introduce new listeners to their heavy blues-rock, which has been likened to a mixture of early Black Sabbath and Mudhoney.
"The main reason we decided to play the derby is just that we love to play live," he says. "There's no better feeling than being on-stage, playing loud rock and roll, and feeling that energy between the band and the crowd. We also thought it was a great opportunity to get our sound out to a wider demographic that might not necessarily head out to local shows and check out who's making noise in their hometown. "
Photo by Craig Bryon Photography, courtesy of The Dirty Seeds The Dirty Seeds
He's right about that; the matches draw hundreds of fans. But even beyond that built-in audience, there's something about the sport that makes musicians want to be part of the fun.
"Roller derby and rock and roll?" says Sanchez. "Sounds like a great match to me."
As fellow performers, there's a kinship between the musicians who play the derby and the players themselves. Whether it's band practice or derby training, all the work one puts into these pursuits is suddenly on display for hundreds of strangers. It can be daunting and thrilling.
"I was finally out of grad school, and I had time and money for a hobby so derby became a personal challenge to myself," says Kim Weiderhold, a blocker for the Biohazard Babes and a research doctor by profession. "I have always been a bit of a klutz, way more of a flight-than-fight personality, and as an adult never really part of a team. Derby was a physical, mental, and social challenge to force me out of all of my zones of comfort. So far it has done all three."
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