Maren Alford: Making Dreams Come True (Part 2)
Note: This is part two of a special four-part series by Gretsch guest blogger, Maren Alford.
“NOT UR GIRLFRENZ is Born”
Play a song for an important entertainment industry guest from LA? Even though we’ve never played together before? Why not? I had known my friends Liv and Gigi for about 5 years through our acting studio. We always knew that we all played instruments and wanted to get together to play for fun, but we were all so busy it never happened. Then last year our acting coach surprised us by asking us to perform a song together for an industry guest from LA–something the studio hadn’t done before–and we jumped at the chance.
We only had a short time to learn a song, our bass player had never even played the bass before, and neither of them had ever played with a full band. We decided on the classic “Rock and Roll” by Led Zeppelin and went to work. For our first practice, we didn’t expect too much, but instead it was like magic! We all clicked and knew just how to communicate with each other. We learned the song and were able to blow everybody away including the guest from LA. We knew we really had something special together and decided to continue as a band and see how things went. That’s how NOT UR GIRLFRENZ was born!
We chose our name because it has kind of an “edge” to it, and it’s about “girl power”. We wanted to encourage other young girls to make music too. NOT UR GIRLFRENZ sounded strong, confident, and independent. To make it cooler, we went with “text speak” for the unusual spelling because that’s how kids our age could relate to it. We got the name @noturgirlfrenz on all social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Musical.ly) so we could start making connections with our friends and start getting some fans of the band. With our parents’ help, we had some cool band photos made and built a website (noturgirlfrenz.com).
Imagine our shock when just a couple of weeks later we were offered an all-ages gig at a local club called The Track Studio. They wanted a 30-minute set and we only knew a couple of songs at the time. Luckily it was almost winter break from school so we could spend the entire vacation cramming to learn new songs. We also had to work on our show–what would be said in between songs, how and when to switch guitars, and I created what would become my signature drum solo. In the blink of an eye show day was here, but after a LOT of work, we were ready.
We were a new band, this was our first real gig, and we were opening the show. The place started to fill up, and so many of our friends came to support us. I was a little nervous, but as the lights came up my heart rate slowed because I realized I was in my element. There was also a VERY bright spotlight on me the whole show that made it impossible to see the audience, and at times I felt like I was playing by myself, back at home, with my headphones on. The only problem was the snare drum mic kept falling right into the center of the drum during our show, and the sound man had to run up and fix it (whispering “I’m so sorry” each time). That night is kind of blur because I was completely in the zone and focused, but I do know that the night couldn’t have gone any better (except maybe with that snare drum mic). And to top it off, we were actually paid to play! I could now say I am a “professional musician”! Best of all, we made some contacts at that show that have led to some unbelievable opportunities–more than I ever imagined. More of my dreams are coming true!
— Maren Alford
Fans in Texas can see Maren, Liv, and Gigi in a TV commercial currently running for Reliant Energy entitled “Girl Power.”
Here are some “fun facts” related to the video:
Producers originally planned to use other drums for the shoot, but when they saw Maren’s Gretsch kit, they specifically asked to use it because it was “so much prettier” than the ones they had.
On set the producers told the girls “not to play so good” because they were supposed to sound like a struggling garage band trying to find their sound (not the award-winning band they’ve gone on to become…more on that later!).
NOT UR GIRLFRENZ were booked for this job together, then the producers added some other girls in to fit the creative concept. The other girls aren’t actually musicians.
Check out Maren and NOT UR GIRLFRENZ: