Tag Archives: molly rocket

Making Wesleyan’s Music Scene More Inclusive: An Interview with Molly Balsam ’14

“I want to be a rock star, straight-up.”


Discussion has escalated recently about the gender imbalance in Wesleyan’s music scene. Although some female-powered bands have established a presence on campus, male-led bands still dominate the concerts here.  Ally Bernstein ’13’s guest post in April about the lack of women in the Spring Fling lineup tackled the issue head on, sparking lots of conversation and argument in the comments section. One student who chimed in was Molly Balsam ’14, lead vocalist of Molly Rocket and the Crooks, who noted that she plans to start a women’s music co-op this fall in an effort to make the scene more inclusive.

You might have been to one of her band’s shows this semester (of which there have been many) or heard about her plans for this co-op—either way, Balsam has been making a name for herself on campus lately. Wesleying caught up with her for an interview about female empowerment in music, which is what the co-op (and her band) is all about.

How do you see this music co-op working?
I already have a bunch of female musicians I’m friendly with who are interested in helping me start this. What I want to do is get a rehearsal space, book it once or twice a week for three hours, have anyone come in that wants to. The first couple of sessions will be getting to know each other, getting to figure out who likes to play what, who does what, who’s interested in what, and jamming together.  And just starting a conversation, too, about how people feel about the music scene, why they might not be in it, why they might be in it, why they might be interested in being in it but not having the ability to be in it… you know, getting all that out there. Because I know how I feel, I don’t know how everyone else feels. I’m going to need to know that before I go too much further. But the ultimate goal would be to have female musicians be more of a presence on this campus. This is my somewhat solution. It’s not going to be a full solution—it’s just going to be a way to start attacking a solution.

So hopefully smaller projects will come out of this one collective?
Exactly. Ultimately, boys will, of course, be included. It’s not going to be, like, eight all-female bands emerging from here. My band is me and five boys and another girl. And that, obviously, is working for me, so I think it can work for other people, too. I just think that for starters it needs to come from this female unity.

Rocket Power: Molly Rocket and the Crooks Boogie at 200 Church


When I arrived home Saturday night after chowing down on some meatsicles and spring rolls at Lan Chi‘s soft opening, I realized that I was compelled to see a show. The night before, I had a religious experience at The Stepkids, Sidewalk Dave, and Featherwood Bee in the Chapel. Before that, late Thursday night, I was fortunate enough to see most of Delicate Steve’s set at Eclectic, where he blew minds and melted faces.

So, in order to keep my streak off seeing fabulous live music alive, I headed out to see Molly Rocket & The Crooks (Molly Balsam ’14, Lindsay Shapiro ’14, Ian Anderson ’14, Matt Gross ’15, Robby Caplan ’14, Henry Peterson ’14, Atticus Swartwood ’14) with openers Robert’s Don (Robert Don ’15, Matan Koplin-Green ’15, Dylan Awalt-Conley ’15). (Molly Rocket and The Crooks will be sharing a bill with The Taste and Grand Cousin at Psi U this Saturday at 10:30, Facebook event here.)

Robert’s Don, who also got the party started before Delicate Steve Thursday evening, warmed the crowd up with a surprising amount of groove juice emitted from just three members. Most notable was Koplin-Green’s head bobbing, which basically looked like this. I must say, I was a little distracted by a rather competitive game of billiards and missed most of Robert’s Don’s set, though I would advise against you doing that next time they perform. (For more of Robert Don’s music, click here.)