Schedules: check. Lessons: check. Gigs: check. Rest: maybe.
It’s another busy week in the life of Bakersfield musician Rebecca Spickler whose own personal itinerary often resembles a life in arpeggio, if there is such a thing.
A familiar figure in the downtown music scene — she drums for bands Mopey Lonesome, Missing Autumn and Ex-Tomboys — Spickler also performs in the percussion section of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. And that’s just for starters.
But just who is this pint-sized powerhouse who is equally at home wading between the refined waters of classical music as well as the sweaty-guy, beer-soaked bar stages downtown?
“Not gonna lie, it’s something I’m hyper aware of it when I’m playing in bars or wherever. If some dude pays me a compliment on my drumming, I can never tell if it’s sincere or just a pickup line,” said Spickler, 22, during a recent interview.
And I don’t want to receive undue attention for being ‘a girl drummer.’ It seems fetishy and weird.”
That girl drummer label irks Spickler, who’d prefer to focus the music.
“And I swear, if I get compared to Meg White (The White Stripes) one more time ....”
Working as both music teacher at Harmony Road Music School and studio director of the piano department at Stockdale Christian School, Spickler works daily knee-deep in music education.
“I do the organizing and administrative work for the little piano department within the music program at the school, and I have about 20 private piano students. I also have a few percussion students at that school as well. And I try to give them a well-rounded percussion education, expose them to a bunch of different percussion instruments and styles and emphasize ensemble playing.”
A member of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra since 2013, Spickler says she hadn’t given much thought to exploring music outside the classical re alm, but decided to give it a go at the request of another local musician, Logan Archer. Sitting down behind a drum kit in 2016, Spickler soon went from being a member of not just one, but three bands all within the span of a year.
“Logan insisted I play drums for him, so that he could make his self-produced music into a live band. I had no interest in being a drummer, really. I think by June of that year I warmed up to it, and I started to really enjoy meeting people in the ‘local scene’ with the band now known as Ex-Tomboys. Evan Ross (Mopey Lonesome) picked me up that September, and the band Missing Autumn let me play for them since this January.”
Adapting to three distinct musical styles including, but not limited to, experimental, alternative country and folk rock, Spickler’s talents backed by years of experience made her an ideal, and humble, co-pilot.
“I don’t really have one style I like, because I haven’t studied it much at all. I’m woefully inexperienced, but I don’t know, I have some rhythm and coordination and a good ear. It’s a start.”
On any given weekend, you might catch Spickler lugging her drums downstairs to Sandrini’s where she holds court with her group for the evening. Always prepped and ready to provide the back beat for both the fan and wayward hipster ready to bounce, sway, shake, rattle or roll on the dance floor. If you’ve got the band, she’s got the beat.
“I just want to be a good music teacher. I’d like to get some more experience playing in different bands, I’d like to get in touch with more lady musicians and maybe have fun with more country music.”
Keep your eyes and ears on this one, Bakersfield. She’s just getting started.
You can catch Spickler performing with Missing Autumn when they open for nu-metalheads Crazy Town at B Ryder’s on Sunday.
Crazy Town, with Missing Autumn, 5 p.m. Sunday, B Ryder’s, 7401 White Lane. $13 in advance at livemusiccity.com; $16 day of show.