Makenzie Place strolled into the Northside Tavern wearing a sundress (how appropriate), telling me she had been at a birthday pool party all day. If I was nervous before she came in, I quickly felt at ease because Makenzie, bassist (and occasional trombonist) of Cincinnati's The Sundresses and co-founder of the new band, Buenos Crotches, is outgoing and easy to talk to. We sat outside on the patio and began a lengthy and enjoyable discussion about her bands and what it's like to be a female musician. Click here to check out The Sundresses' music, news and upcoming shows.
Izzi Krombholz: Did you grow up in Cincinnati?
Makenzie Place: I’m proud to say Hamilton.
IK: How’d you end up in Cincinnati?
MP: I ended up in Cincinnati because of a boyfriend.
IK: So which came first, bass or trombone?
MP: Trombone, I played it in marching band since it was taller than I was. In 2002 I got a bass. Jeremy and Brad (fellow members of The Sundresses) were looking for a bassist and I thought I could do it. I taught myself how to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and showed Jeremy when he got home. He taught me how to play one of their songs and then I auditioned for Brad.
IK: That’s awesome. So what do you think about the Bunbury Music Festival this summer?
MP: I’m excited to play.
IK: The Sundresses have a very distinct Rock & Roll sound. How has it developed over the years?
MP: Really it’s a competition between Jeremy and Brad writing good songs. They have to outdo each other so the songs get better and better.
IK: Your bass really drives the music; how have you developed that sound?
MP: It’s the heartbeat, the ass-shake. I tie the guitar and drums together.
IK: And how did you start dancing while playing?
MP: The dancing came from marching band; I become so excited I start moving.
IK: There’s definitely a retro vibe with your style. Where do you shop and what defines your look?
MP: I get so hot on stage; I wear as little as possible. I cut band t-shirts into halter-tops. I also shop at second hand stores.
IK: So it’s a lot of DIY stuff. What does being a female musician mean to you?
MP: It means being a musician.
IK: How do you deal with sexist sound guys?
MP: I walk away from them and tell the boys to deal with them. A lot of time you have to play for them to get them to respect you.
IK: Who is your favorite woman in rock?
MP: My new bandmate, Roxy Conquistador, in Buenos Crotches. She plays guitar and sings.
IK: Awesome! So you have a new band? What does it sound like?
MP: Its Garage Rock, a little southwest.
IK: I can’t wait to hear it! Do the Sundresses have a new album coming out?
MP: Yeah in early fall. It’s our first actual studio record. It was recorded at UltraSuede.
Make sure you keep an eye out for the new album from The Sundresses. Their next show in town will be performing at the huge Bunbury Music Festival on July 14 alongside Weezer, The Gaslight Anthem and RJD2, as well as local bands Messerly & Ewing, 500 Miles To Memphis, The Lions Rampant and Jeremy Pinnell & the 55s.
**Mackenzie plays a Fender Jazz Bass and uses a Fender Bassman 100 amplifier.
(CityBeat's newest contributor, Izzi Krombholz, also runs the Women in Rock blog, on which this story originally ran. Check it out here.)