Jill Kirtland Interview
In addition to listening to metal music, I also enjoy reading up about the genre. One of the books I have been reading lately is Not Just Tits in a Corset: Celebrating Women in Metal by Jill Hughes Kirtland, a Music journalist and band manager.
The book is a good read for metal geeks like me. I discovered quite a few metal bands that I had not heard before. I spoke to Jill Hughes Kirtland about the book, the writing process and a lot more.
Was there an idea or incident that made you want to write the book?
JHK: The idea really stemmed from my own experiences being a manager of a progressive metal band (2007-2010) and being on a road as a tour manager for Shadow Gallery in 2010. I saw how stereotypes can really play into how a woman is treated in the metal community.
When did you start working on the book? How did it take to finish?
JHK: I started working on the book in the summer of 2010. I spent a good 3 years conducting the interviews and research and taking photographs, and then I had to take about a year off because I became pregnant with my daughter and the pregnancy really killed my creativity. I was so tired all the time. So when my daughter was a couple months old and started sleeping through the night, I would stay up late to finish writing the book.
Were there any highlights during the writing process?
JHK: I think just finding the abundance of female musicians and all the female fans who love metal was overwhelming and surprising. When I go to concerts, women seem like such a minority but after writing this book I found out women are everywhere, all over the world, in love with metal and involved in metal. Hearing their stories was refreshing.
The book features a large number of artists. How did you manage to get in contact with all of them?
JHK: It helps that I already had a lot of contacts in the metal music business. I have a lot of PR acquaintances and so they put me in touch with the female artists on their rosters. It was a win win situation for them – more exposure for their artists! Also some of my music friends put me in contact with females they knew and I used my network to reach out to fans all over the world.
Did you interview any of your favourite artists?
JHK: Yes, I am a huge fan of female-fronted metal so interviewing many of my favorite artists such as Doro Pesch, Lita Ford, Sharon den Adel, Cristina Scabbia, Anneke van Giersbergen, Amanda Somerville, Charlotte Wessels, and so many others was a lot of fun.
As someone who worked in the metal industry, could you relate to the stories from the artists?
JHK: Absolutely. That is why I wrote the book!
How did you get into metal? What was the first band you heard?
JHK: My love for metal started fairly young when I started listening to bands like Guns ‘N Roses and Def Leppard but I was not really aware that was “metal”. I grew up in a very religious household so I couldn’t really listen to anything heavier than that but when I was 17 I heard Dream Theater which really started my love for prog metal and then as I listened to more prog, symphonic, and power metal as a young adult then I got into the much heavier bands and I also started to listen to some of the older classic metal bands like Iron Maiden.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
JHK: To promote the book, and then rest from the endless hours I put into it! I don’t really want to start any other projects for awhile. I’d like to get back out there and do more concert photography but for now I am just going to attend a few concerts and festivals as a patron rather than as press, and enjoy the music!
Any final words?
JHK: I appreciate all the support for the book so far – all the Indiegogo campaign contributors, artists who have promoted it, and friends/family who have encouraged me to write a book!
Buy Not Just Tits in a Corset: Celebrating Women in Metal here