Chick rock

Posted on 17 Mar 2010 at 9:11am
By RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

Local musicians get in touch with their feminine side as CHIX scores Dallas’ first trans band


MIXING IT UP | CHIX includes, from left, guitarist Krys Rock, bassist Val Uptuous, lead singer Misti Mathis, and guitarists Nikki Stalen and Amber Alert. (Not pictured: New drummer Sybil.)

GIRL ACTION
CHIX at Jet Set, 3136 Routh St. 
March 19 at 10:30 p.m. $5.
MySpace.com/ChixRocks

Don’t underestimate CHIX. It’s as easy to summarize what they are — "transgender cover ban" — as it would be to dismiss them as a mere gimmick. But with founder Krys Rock’s determination, CHIX plans to rock this town. But they wouldn’t mind changing a few perceptions along the way.

"Everyone involved with CHIX has a transgender connection, but we don’t want the whole gimmick label tagged to us, or even to make it about sexual orientation," Rock says. "We just want to rock ‘n’ roll and express our feminine side."

In January, CHIX debuted at the Jet Set club as Dallas’ first trans band (lead singer Misti Mathis is the token non-trans woman). Covering classic rock and some pop, the band consists of a vocalist, bassist, drummer and three guitarists. With that kind of arsenal, the sextet is less about gender identity and more about the rock.

But how does an all-trans rock band form? Craigslist, of course.

This isn’t Rock’s first time at the trans-band rodeo. She started a similar venture, Gurlfriendz, in Houston. Gurlfriendz had moderate success, landing gigs at the Houston Pride events in 2004 and 2005. After moving to Dallas, Rock hoped for the same response but was deflated by a slow start.

"I tried to resurrect the band but it didn’t happen," she says. "I just couldn’t get it going so I thought I had my heyday and it was fun. But my friends kept encouraging me so I put the ad out on Craigslist and Amber contacted me within 30 minutes of posting."

Amber is guitarist Amber Alert, who joins Mathis, Rock, guitarist Nikki Stalen, bassist Val Uptuous and new drummer Sybil in the lineup as they gear up for another gig at the Jet Set.

Getting bookings gives Rock a sense of validation. But she remains upfront about the band’s niche lest they find a venue not all that welcoming.

"We don’t want to support a venue that doesn’t support the community. When I do P.R., I go in with a full band photo but they also have a personal connection. The trans rock band thing is actually a selling point," she says.

Looking past the surface, CHIX plays with a grungy garage sound thanks to all those guitars and Mathis’ aggressive vocals. As they dish out Theory of a Dead Man’s "Bad Girlfriend," an onslaught of grumbling guitars take over showing these chicks do rock. But they plan to push the envelope while doing it. After all, they have a forum and they are members of the trans community.

"As a trans musician myself, I’m using this as a vehicle to breakdown prejudices," she says. "We need to be the real deal. The more we go out, we can change public opinions. We wanna break down barriers. At the same time, we’re doing this for the music. If you closed your eyes, you can’t see I’m trans."

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 19, 2010.

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