This was written in May of 2009. I had a chance meeting with Karla at Mulligan’s Bar where she handed me a flyer to a show. If you knew karla she doesnt give out flyers to just anyone cause she hates wasting flyers. So she would only hand them out to who she thought would be interested in going to the show she was promoting. Lucky for her she handed the flyer to me and she got a story out of it.
Dead Girls Booking
Bringing The Scene Back from The Dead
By: A. Lawless
Support the scene. I have been hearing this phrase for decades now. Just what does the phrase really mean? Ask anyone and they will break it down, to people going out to see local bands play. The “scene” actually consists of 3 elements: the music, the venue, and the audience. El Paso has an abundance of cover and original music bands providing an ample supply of both new and veteran acts out there to choose from. The “scene” is not lacking music. More venues in town have now been showcasing local bands, not just established cover bands but the new young raw talent. No matter what side of town you live, you can find a place featuring live music. No Man’s land in far east El Paso, Badlands Billiards down in the lower valley, The Bayou along with Mulligan’s East and Mavericks centrally located, up Cincinnati Street all the way to Uncle Paulie’s on the West Side and places in between, all have bands consistently playing their establishments. The “scene” has its music and its venues but the most important element, the audience, is what makes the “scene” worthwhile. There is no “scene” without the support and interest of the local community. Without an audience the scene is dead. People complain there is nothing to do in El Paso. People complain there is not anything new or different, there is, you just have to be aware of what is going on and make the effort to go there and check it out yourself. There has been an increase in “promotion” groups that have been trying to infuse and revive the “scene”. One promotions group is setting themselves apart from the rest and is bringing the “scene” back to life.
Dead Girls Booking are 3 passionate and strong willed ladies determined to make a difference and keep the El Paso music scene alive. Not only keep it alive but also offering something new and different in regards to the music shows they promote. The Dead Girls, as they are simply referred to, are 2 sisters, Karla and Ana Torres. The 2 sisters recently recruited the newest addition to their team, Amanda “Dice” Morales, but for the first 5 years the sisters handled all aspects of the promotions business on their own. Karla, who is known as “looter” is the talkative one whose passion for the music fuels the spirit of Dead Girls Booking. Ana, known as “Dead Ana” is the soft-spoken, quiet one who is straight forward and direct, not needing many words to get her point across. Dead Girls primarily books out of town touring bands and local bands to do local shows. The girls handle everything from getting the venue, the opening bands, flyers, advertisement, hotel arrangements and of course paying the band’s $ guarantee to come play in El Paso. Rockabilly, psychobilly, and punk acts are their main genre of music they promote which allows El Paso to have a different style of music to listen and experience. The two sisters started booking shows 6 years ago at Surges Bar. “This band that we knew wanted to do a show and the guy that was going to set it up for them didn’t come through so we decided to do it ourselves and the show went perfect. There were no problems or anything. After that we basically took over Surges and started bringing in the bands and doing all the booking of the shows,” Karla recalls laughingly. ” When we started I noticed that there weren’t a lot of shows going on. The scene had died and no one was out there doing shows. We started doing it for the kids could see something different.” Karla explains. Ana adds, ” At the time there weren’t a lot of places that would allow all ages for shows. We started to do punk shows and more kids and adults were coming out for that so we kept at it. We were only doing punk shows. Then the scene started dying so we started to do the psychobilly and the rockabilly shows. We tried to do a metal show and it didn’t work out so we just stayed with doing rockabilly/ psychobilly shows and the punk and ska shows.” Newest Dead Girl Amanda was a frequent fan of the shows since the beginning. Over the course of time the friendship grew and Amanda asked if they needed help handing out flyers and it was soon apparent that her love of the music and support for the Dead Girls shows would make her an obvious addition to the promotion. A former ska band member, Amanda loves being a Dead Girl, ” I like passing out the flyers. Talking to the people and getting them interested in going to the shows. I actually feel like I am making a difference. I like taking people to the shows who have never heard the music and seeing the turn around of them enjoying the music and really liking it.”With the addition of Amanda the Dead Girls are hoping to do more shows and events for El Paso. Karla explains, “We contact the bands and talk to them about wanting to book them for a show and we have to check their dates when they might be coming through town and then we see what venues there are that are available around those dates. I am hoping to get our own venue so that we can be able to book bands and shows whenever we want. So that we have our own calendar of days to choose from. After the dates are secure we start advertising, making flyers, promoting it on myspace and out on the street.” Over the course of the 6 years, the sisters have booked and promoted over 60 shows. The list of bands they have worked with in the past is endless but a few standouts are ANGEL CITY OUTCAST, THE VARUKERS, AGENT ORANGE, and DEVIL DOLL. This past March they held their first PSYCHOBILLY MASSACRE, which was a themed event showcasing rockabilly and psychobilly bands along with vendors. They are already planning next year’s event to be bigger and better. The ladies also have a huge show in the works for August they are planning but cannot say anything just yet but they do have shows coming up on July 21 st Dead Girls Booking will have the return of STELLAR CORPSES and PISS ON THE STREETS at No Man’s Land. I was in attendance at the last show Dead Girl’s put on with STELLAR CORPSES and it was a great show not to mention the awesome time had at this past month’s “Dead Girls’ presents Creepers and Muertones” show at Zeppelin’s.
The two sisters are 2 years apart in age and are about as similar as night and day. It makes one wonder how they are able to work together and be on the same page when it comes to doing shows. “We pretty much agree on everything. I will tell her that I will handle this so she knows that she has to take care of the other stuff. There is no president or leader or just cause she’s older she decides. It’s both of us deciding.” Karla explains. These ladies are dedicated to the music and to the scene and what they are doing is definitely keeping the scene alive and different with something new to listen to. “We have our ups and downs and I’m not going to say that every show is successful but we don’t do this for the money. We like bringing the bands and enjoying the music and seeing the people enjoy themselves. Nothing is going to stop us we’re still going to be working our asses off to bring in more shows. This is what we do, we support the scene.”
Definitely, support the scene, the Dead Girl’s scene.