Editor’s Introduction: Not only has Shannon Wilk been a contributor to FemMetal from its early beginning, but she is also the editor of her own publication Rockin’ Interview, as well as a photographer and a musician. She is currently working on her music project Alice Loves Aliens while she continues to capture moments of Rock through her lens with wonderful photographs as well as her great reviews and interviews. What 8 songs did Shannon Wilk pick for her own special mixtape, and why? Let’s find out.
Halestorm – Uncomfortable
I’d have to say Lzzy Hale is my biggest hero, at least when it comes to the way she lives her life. She could not possibly care less about what people have to say or think about her, she lives life for herself and no one else. She is one of the most powerful, strong, authentic women in the metal scene today and that inspires me endlessly. I chose Uncomfortable specifically because it embodies everything Lzzy stands for. The lines “I did it all to break every single preconceived notion that you have” and “I do it ’cause you fight it and I know don’t like it” describe the way she lives life unapologetically, the same way I try to do in my own life.
Life of Agony – My Eyes
Life of Agony is a band born out of struggle on the streets of New York City. As a person who struggles with mental health problems, their music makes me feel understood and less alone. “You can’t erase my words, can’t erase my mind. you can’t wipe out my thoughts, can’t shake this blood from my eyes”. There was a time in my life when I was consumed by anxiety which led into depression. It was a struggle to get through everyday. During that time, Life of Agony’s River Runs Red album was getting me through.
Shiraz Lane – The Crown
As long as I can remember, I’ve been extremely driven and motivated to succeed at whatever I’ve done. First it was gymnastics, then it was dance, then music. Being this way can come with a lot of challenges, most notably burnout and imposter syndrome. “There’s an unlocked potential within you, so continue”. Whenever I’ve doubted myself, doubted my ability or my future, this song is there to get me back into the growth mindset.
Vixen – Streets In Paradise
Vixen were the first women I discovered in rock music, and I was instantly in awe. When I was 11 years old, I listened to their albums on repeat, watched every live video, every interview, every piece of content they ever put out. I would not be where I am today without those women. Not only did they inspire me and show me I could be a woman in hard rock music, but they also directly impacted me. Some of my first interviews were with Vixen and I am forever grateful for the opportunities they have given me. “There ain’t no sacrifice that I won’t make, I’ll pay the price”
Tesla – Modern Day Cowboy
Growing up, my dad’s favorite band was Tesla. Some of my earliest memories are spending time with him and hearing tons of ‘80s rock music – from Tesla to Metallica to Motley Crue to Electric Boys to Ozzy Osbourne. By age 7 I knew every Tesla song that had been released at the time, which was 6 albums worth. Not only did Tesla influence me heavily growing up, but I also would not be where I am today without their longtime guitarist Dave Rude. At 11 years old, I had started playing guitar and had quit playing guitar within a 6-month period. Until I took a lesson with Dave. He taught me my first chords and would go on to teach me so much more throughout my years of guitar lessons with him. I may be slinging 4 strings instead of 6 these days, but I would’ve never picked up a guitar again if it weren’t for him and for that I’m so grateful.
Brandi Carlile – Broken Horses
Back in September of 2022, I worked at a music festival called Sound On Sound in Bridgeport, CT. To be honest I only knew 2 or 3 artists playing, but I was just excited to be there. While the festival was full of talent, there was one artist that really stuck out to me. Brandi Carlile. I had never heard of her, but from the first notes to the last notes she wailed, I was in complete awe. While she may not play heavy metal, her folk rock tunes paired with her gritty, soaring vocals make an amazing result that has not gone unnoticed in the industry. Earlier this year, she performed Broken Horses at the GRAMMYs and that song earned her not one, but two GRAMMYs – Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song.
Spread Eagle – Switchblade Serenade
Spread Eagle is one of my all-time favorite bands. As a bassist, I’ve spent countless hours analyzing the basslines on all 3 of their albums. Rob DeLuca (bassist of Spread Eagle) is one of my biggest influences when it comes to bass. His style of playing, his writing, his tone – everything. Switchblade Serenade starts with a straight up open E string, but the groove is just unmatched. This song taught me that it’s not how many notes you play, it’s the way you play them. And that has stuck with me.
The Runaways – Cherry Bomb
A classic. A song recorded by a group of rebellious teenage girls in California in the 1970s that would become an anthem for women empowerment. Without The Runaways, I would not be able to do what I do today. For every beating, every catcall, every beer bottle they dodged and all they didn’t, I owe them everything. Despite ‘Cherry Bomb’ being a little cheesy and simple, it’s lasting impact decades later supersedes anything negative that can be said about the song. To see that teenage girls can tour the world and produce kick ass rock n’ roll music with all the cards stacked against them is just about as empowering as it can get for someone like me.