Tom Tom Magazine, a print publication for, about and made by female drummers, appeals to any girl who has ever been told she can’t do something because of her gender. “Women just aren’t encouraged to play drums,” said founder and editor-in-chief Mindy Abovitz, who in addition to working as an engineer for East Village Radio, also drums for the bands Taigaa, Hot Box, Chica Vas and More Teeth. “Women drummers just aren’t supported the same way men are.”
Tom Tom creates a community for these women by way of their sleekly-designed quarterly, now on its second issue, covering everything from current fashion to signal processing and drum techniques. We recently spoke with Abovitz over the phone about women and drumming.
CH: What is it about drumming that makes it such a male-dominated pursuit? And why do women drummers need more support?
MA: Well, drums require a certain degree of physical stamina. They’re big and they’re heavy. They have lots of moving parts. In my opinion, women could use all the encouragement they can get because we’re just not encouraged to do it, and we’re not promoted when we do in the same way that guys are. If you pick up a drum magazine, there aren’t any women in there. And women should play the drums because it’s an empowering instrument. It’s therapeutic, it’s powerful and it requires a lot of confidence—all of these are great skills to have.
Do you think women in music generally have a tough time of it? Everyone expects a woman to be a lead singer, not to play the drums or the guitar or anything that requires much technical skill.
Absolutely.There’s still a draw for women to be the front person. That’s why things like Rock Camp for Girls are still so successful—they encourage women to pick up an instrument and learn something, be taken seriously and start playing at an earlier age. None of those things are really available.
Are you aiming for a mostly women audience for the magazine?
Oh, no. I would love for this magazine to be just another drum go-to. And there are elements of art and technique as well. Anyone can learn from it—any drummer, musician or feminist. I’m hoping the audience is as wide and broad as it can be.
What kind of work do you expect to feature in the fashion and art sections of the magazine?
In Issue two, there’ll be illustrations of female drummers by a variety of artists. As far as fashion is concerned, we’re just looking at clothes are easy to drum in, as well as clothes, jewelry and art that are made by female drummers. Are the clothes comfortable and do they still look good? All of our models are female drummers. We have an upcoming fashion shoot featuring all female drummers.
Who are some of the people that you’ve been able to work with through the magazine?
I have gotten to work with a lot of amazing people, like Pikachu of Afrirampo, Allison Miller, Akiko of Big Pink, and in the works are Kim Thompson, Mo Tucker, Yoko Ono’s drummer, and much more!