News Column

Purposeful Punk

May 29, 2013

YellowBrix

By BARRY GRAMLICH

They don't pretend to be a facsimile of the Runaways, the Lunachicks or any other successful female punk band of recent memory. After all, there's a guy behind the drum kit.

But spend a moment with frontwoman Alana Quartuccio of Wood- Ridge and one message rings loud and clear: Women belong on a punk stage just as much as men do, and Six to Eight Mathematics pays reverent homage to the snarly, bare-knuckled sound they were reared on.

"This isn't a man's world," said Quartuccio, the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the Bergen-based foursome, which is three girls strong and proud of it.

"Our objective is to remind women to be encouraged to play music. We used to see girls in the audience in the back of the room, even scared to come up near the stage and let it all hang out. And as a band, we have an angst, an energy, to entertain them and convince them that it's OK to put a guitar in their hand."

Eight years and counting, they continue to evolve from sugary pop charm to punk pistons under the hood. Quartuccio, Ali McDowell (lead guitar, backup vocals), MaryBeth Kochmar (bass) and Mike Random (drums) toil in the murky nightclubs of North Jersey with their high- pitched yelps and throbbing soundscapes, waiting to inspire the next generation of women.

"People will tell you that women have a come a long way since the Runaways, but they really haven't," said Quartuccio. "Nowadays, shows like 'American Idol' encourage pop, a certain look, a certain sound. I would never go that route."

And that's easy to understand with a listen of "Mental Melodies," the band's fourth CD and most ambitious punk effort to date. The rage is evident, particularly in the track "Not for Me," which vehemently stresses that boys in the band DO NOT have all the fun.

"We'll never change who we are," Quartuccio howls. "I'll knock you out with this guitar."

It drips with the smoldering punk all four members tout as their biggest influence, and it's a far cry from when Quartuccio was that "cute girl who sang in the school choir."

"I've been singing since I was 4 years old," she said. "My dad played the organ and always encouraged me to sing about anything."

Today she sings with muscle, and Six to Eight Mathematics has attracted attention as far away as Great Britain, where the band has been positively reviewed. Their music is available at cdbaby and iTunes, and, of course, at the few local clubs that still cater to old-school lyrical venom.

"I feed off an audience," Quartuccio said.

And more and more women are feeding off her energy.

(c) 2013 Record, The; Bergen County, N.J.. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

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