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Chalk Circle "Reflection"

Mary Green: vocals, guitar
Sharon Cheslow: guitar, vocals
Tamera Lyndsay: bass
Anne Bonafede: drums
(other bass players-Jan Pumphrey, Sally Berg, Chris Niblack)
Interview by Alex Guinness (excerpt) - 1982

This band is a pleasure - on every level. There's the music. It's still in an infant stage, but even now you just know what it's going to be. Vibrant funky fun with the necessary guts and insights. Modern? Is milk fresh? Is the Pope Catholic? Does my joy embarrass you? But the real treat are the individual members. Maybe it's 'cause they're just babes from the woods - all are now in their first band - but I can't describe what a relief it is to sit and talk with a band that hasn't become glib, suspicious, bitter, hypocritical, dope addicted, jaded, sarcastic, and all those godawful stupidities which make me want to puke, go home, and forget music entirely.

AG: What does Chalk Circle mean?

Sharon: Chalk Circle is the name of an old Chinese legend. It was also a play by Brecht. We didn't want a real pretentious sounding name, basically we liked the sound of it, also the meaning.
Anne: A lot of people get different meanings of it. I've heard people say it's like the outline of bodies after they've been hit by cars or something like children's games like hopscotch.
Sharon: That's fine, we like for people to think what they want to.

AG: Why did you decide to get into a band?

Sharon: We wanted to do something. We felt that the biggest thing that everything was about was to get out there and do something. If you have something to say, say it. Don't just sit around and watch other people do it. It was kinda hard being girls. But look, if men can do it, so can women, and we said, who cares? We're gonna do it.
Mary: But we're not selling ourselves as a girl band.
Anne: We are a girl band, we can't help it.
Sharon: I mean, what else could I do? It's the only thing I really enjoy doing.
Mary: Also, we have a lot to say.

AG: Is there any message or idea you want to get across to the people?

Mary: We want to be taken seriously. We want to be taken for people.
Sharon: We want people to be socially aware, whether that means just about realizing what your potential is or the problems people have or problems of the world. That's what we want.
Mary: No small order!

AG: How would you label your music?

Anne: We don't want to put ourselves in a category.
Sharon: People would love to put a tag on you. And that just is a downfall.
Mary: We'll create our own tag.

AG: Any recording plans?

Sharon: I'd definitely like to put out something on our own label or an independent one.

AG: Do you expect or want to get a hit single?

Sharon: In terms of what?
Tamera: Top 40? Certainly!
Mary: She says with a laugh!
Sharon: I don't want it. If things in America change, if the current standards of American music change, sure, 'cause it'll reach a lot of people. But as the way things are now, no.
Anne: I couldn't help feeling insulted if a whole lot of people liked us. Most people, the majority, have bad opinions, so if a lot of people liked us I'd say, "What's wrong? Maybe we oughta change."
Tamera: I can see some of our material getting that popular.
Anne: Some of it is real catchy.

AG: Do you expect Chalk Circle to last?

Tamera: We're all like real morale, sort of, oriented. You know, we have these little pep talks.
All: Go, go! Chalk Circle!
Tamera: We'll talk and laugh a lot, maybe for half an hour at each practice.
Sharon: And then we'll yell at each other.
Tamera: Yeah, scream and yell at each other and get everything out. And like go, "Ok, let's make music!"
Sharon: I don't feel that we follow any trends. I think that's the way a band won't last either. You gotta have your own sound, that's the only way you're gonna last.
Tamera: And I think we're open to change. This four track we just recorded was the first time we actually heard ourselves.
Sharon: We're real objective about it, saw things we'd like to change.

AG: What would be your ideal audience?

Mary: We want a good mix of male-female.
Anne: Open minded people.

AG: Inevitably, bands exert some sexual influence on their audience. Do you think yours will be hetero or homosexual? Why?

Sharon: What if I said asexual?
Mary: And if we do somehow put any kind of influence over, it's not intentional. We're just ourselves up there.
Anne: I can understand how people can find a lot of sexual things in music, but we're not - nothing intentional.
Mary: It's upsetting, though, when we played the last time, when you hear all those whistles and everything.
Tamera: I'd rather have a bunch of grandmothers.

AG: Do you find that a lot of people respond or treat you different because you're an all girl band?

Sharon: It makes me sick! If four guys were in band you wouldn't say, "Let's go see this all male band!"
Anne: It's a very hard thing to break through.
Tamera: But we are now the only all girl band in our area and that really does stand out because it's kind of obvious.

AG: And a lot of people think it's a gimmick, right?

All: Yeah!
Sharon: We are much more than a novelty.
Anne: We just happen to be girls!

AG: Does rock and roll mean anything? Explain.

Sharon: No, it used to 20 years ago.
Mary: Yeah, it did.
Sharon: But not any more. Rock and roll today means REO Speedwagon. Original rock and roll that came out of the '50s and early '60s had the same kind of energy and attitude and spirit that punk had, but it's just not around anymore.
Mary: I don't think it's meant to be around anymore. It should be very cheap, you know, a single that you can throw on the floor.

AG: Do you think rock and roll furthers or inhibits social change in real terms?

Anne: Music is very motivating to people and maybe is a fake motivation. Where you just hide for a while in it.
Mary: You can always hope it will, but I don't think it ever will, because nothing ever changes. You just went though the '70s, the '60s, and who do you have in the White House? Reagan! So, I don't think it'll ever have any lasting impact. But you have to hope it will.

AG: Are any of you politically oriented?

Sharon: I hate politics, but I think a lot about it. It's a scam, you know, it's not representing the people. But I theorize a lot about what different societies could be like.
Anne: I get angry but I feel helpless and frustrated.
Sharon: If I hear something I don't like I'm gonna stand up against it.

AG: What do you think of the D.C. hardcore scene?

Sharon: I think it's great. I support all the bands. I don't want to generalize - there are a lot of people involved that I disagree with in terms of attitudes. But as far as what I think they're doing, I think it's good that a lot of people are sincere and enthusiastic. They're trying to change things, they're doing things independently and that's what I believe in. But then as far as the violence - not everybody is violent but there are some ruining it for others. I am against the violence. I'm against the propagandizing. I'm against the prejudice. It's very weird because Anne and I used to be very involved when the Teen Idles were around. I don't wanna say we grew out of it because we're still very involved in it, but we changed and you should change. It's too bad a lot of other people can't open their minds.
Anne: Consider us jaded, when we're not.

AG: Anything else to add?

Sharon: For anybody out there, if you're interested in what we've been saying, get up there and do something yourself! Write a fanzine, form a band, just do something! It's the only way things are ever gonna change.
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