Rockin' out on their own

While many musicians have everything from stylists, producers, publicists and perhaps most importantly, record labels making sure they succeed in a cut-throat industry, Alicia Warrington and Marlene Hammerle of the All-Girls Boy Choir are doing it all on their own.

Along with writing, recording and promoting their music they are independently funding a national tour — all moves that have set them apart from their contemporaries.

The two Michigan natives formed All-Girls Boy Choir in 2008, and say it's a rock band with strong roots in blues, country and metal. They independently recorded an EP late last year and have decided to trade in their beloved Glendale house for an RV to travel across the country for the remainder of the year, stopping in Austin, Little Rock, Nashville and more.

They are versatile musicians — Warrington sings lead vocals and plays drums, bass and banjo, while Hammerle (nicknamed "The Hammer") handles lead guitar, slide guitar and harmonica.

Their quest for independence comes after years of experience on record labels, where according to Warrington, everything was paid for and taken care of. The women, however, were looking to have more control over their music and embraced the Internet and social media as vehicles to get their voices heard.

"This new project is totally self-funded," Warrington said. "The record company isn't necessarily needed to get your record out there."

Warrington, a touring drummer who was part of Kelly Osbourne's band for five years, met Hammerle in 2007 when she auditioned for the Gore Gore Girls, a Detroit-based all-girl garage rock band Hammerle played guitar for. While initially it didn't work out, Warrington ended up joining the band a year later for a 10-city European tour.

Their connection — both onstage and off — was instant, they said.

Soon after the tour ended, they formed the All-Girls Boy Choir and started writing and recording music for their first independent digital EP, "Walking Miracles."

Several events hampered its completion.

During the first recording of the EP, their machine broke.

"We had pretty much finished, and we had to do it again," Hammerle said.

When they started up the grueling task again, Warrington got laryngitis and Hammerle sprained her wrist, so as a result the title "Walking Miracles" seemed to be a good fit, they said.

The tour is a chance to show people that there's more to music than the current sugary hits on Top 40 pop charts, Hammerle said.

"People need to get back to their roots of rock 'n' roll," Hammerle said. "We really want to go out and show some young people some history. There's a lot of generic, watered down, over-produced music that's out there right now."

Warrington agrees.

"I think it's awful," she said. "You have auto-tune vocals and artists and groups that are put together by record companies. You have 'American Idols,' and it's not reality."

In addition to introducing audiences to their no-holds-barred style that draws inspiration from Ike & Tina Turner, Dolly Parton and Tom Petty among others, they said they're also interested in making sure that women are represented in the male-dominated genre of rock 'n' roll, a priority they allude to in their band's name.

Musician and producer Jen Schwartz thinks they're definitely breaking ground.

"Unfortunately in this business, we don't get to see women playing instruments that are 'traditionally' men's instruments," Schwartz said. "They're challenging the norm."

Schwartz, who runs Rampage Productions, liked their sound so much that she invited Hammerle and Warrington to record backing tracks at her private studio in Silver Lake, a practice she reserves only for musicians she deems extraordinary.

"There's a feminine and masculine part to it, and it really appealed to me," she said. "They bring such a balance to the music."

The All-Girls Boy Choir is prepared to show audiences across the country what they've got, regardless of gender, Hammerle said.

"Rock has always been a boy's game," she said. "We're just here to remind people that the girls are here, and they can play rock."

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