Chicas of Corrosion: An Interview with Most Precious Blood Guitarist Rachel Rosen
Part tomboy, part femme fatale, Zeena Koda is a SiriusXM DJ, vocalist, journalist, and lover of all things hardcore. You can catch her radio show Monday through Saturday on SiriusXM Liquid Metal and watch her inquisitive feminist side via her video web series Boxx Talk and Ask A Bombshell. Rot and roll, baby!
Hardcore has traditionally been a male-dominated game. The testosterone-fueled music coupled with physically interactive shows is certainly not a place that many women would be comfortable living in. For the past decade, Rachel Rosen has stood firmly amongst a sea of burly dudes, contributing her ax-wielding skills to Indecision and Most Precious Blood (pictured above; Rosen, far left). Juggling daily life as a pathologist assistant with her lifelong passion for music and rescuing pit bulls, Rosen stands as one of the few women penetrating barriers in this machismo-filled genre.
Like many musicians from the non-digital age, she initially connected with formative musical partners via personals in the local weekly arts paper and began hitting the scene in her teens. Some of her first instrumental experiences were with an acoustic guitar, and a love of classic rock and U2 eventually led her into picking up an electric guitar and bass. Eventually, after obtaining a mix tape featuring bands like Sheer Terror, she fell in love with the furious hardcore sound and launched into years of musical discovery, including spending time in the gritty New York City hardcore scene. “I can’t believe my parents let me drive into the city and go to CBGB’s to a show by myself,” Rosen recounts, “I got back too late and definitely got grounded.” Small price to pay for what would become a life-changing passion for the young musician. In her quest to find out more about hardcore music, Rosen even spent time “looking trough thanks lists to find other bands,” as many of her peers did at that time, in order to educate and familiarize herself within the community. Stories like these, truly make you realize how heavily the digital age has streamlined the process; legwork was a built-in part of the game pre-digital boom.
Shifting back and forth between guitar and bass duties, Rosen has been able to seamlessly coexist in both Most Precious Blood and Indecision. When asked about which ax she prefers, the multi-instrumentalist jokes, “Guitar is lighter, bass can get kinda heavy.” Shtill, she put in a lot of time with the heavier instrument in her early years as a hardcore player. “I practiced all the time with the bass,” she recalls. “There was a time when I was putting in eight hours a day practicing, and it was the instrument that I studied hard.” Rosen formed her first hardcore band in high school, later finding her way into Indecision who will be playing the annual Black N Blue Bowl on May 19 in NYC. Indecision will also be releasing a comprehensive DVD documentary this summer via MorseCode Recordings that features behind-the-scenes insights, classic tour footage, and in-depth interviews. Throughout her earlier years in Indecision, she was able to gain valuable musical experience and was able to carry that into a turn-key time within heavy music where Trustkill Records brought hardcore into a more mainstream-viable light. During this time in the early ’00s, hardcore flourished throughout the U.S. and gripped international appeal, while Rosen stood firm as one of the few representatives for women in this landscape. When asked if she felt any type of opposition being a woman in the game, she confidently stated, “I never felt like it was a big deal until Most Precious Blood, where it became a little more of a focus, which was weird but I never felt any adversity.” Every piece of the puzzle fell into place through her passion and dedication; she points to touring with NYHC legends Sick of it All as one of the triumphs of her career. “The first time I toured with Sick of It All, I thought, Oh my god this is crazy,” she excitedly admits. “After loving that band for so long, it was incredible to play and tour with them.”
Equally as dedicated to her studies and the betterment of humanity, Rosen truly stands out as an inspiring character. In addition to her musical successes, she is a full-time pathologist assistant, holds a masters degree, spends her spare time rescuing pit bulls and creates fashionable dog collars. The dog collars, a recent venture, visually sum up her passion for canine well-being and marries it with rock-and-roll inspired designs. (You can check out the collars through her Etsy store here: Caninus.Etsy.com) Finding a balance between all of these personal interests can be a challenge, but Rosen seems to do it with ease. Certainly, some of her medical counterparts are hip to her rockin’ side and she discloses, “At one of my interviews, my boss asked me the name of my band and looked up right there. They don’t really understand it at all, but they think it’s cool and always find it interesting.” After all, it is not everyday you get to work with a humble musical trailblazer who is fueled by such a big heart.