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Rock n’ Roll Inspiration & A Positive Percussionist

Posted by on May 15, 2013

Oh how honored we are that we can call the musical beauties, Raining Jane, our friends. Not only can we call them our friends…but we often refer to them as our idols…our soul sisters…our difference makers…and most importantly…our inspirations.

Here is our latest interview blog (inter-blog) with percussionist Mona Tavakoli. Sure, writing songs with Raining Jane, designing cajons, being a co-founder of Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls LA and touring with Jason Mraz creates a busy schedule…however, she always has time for us…and for that we are grateful. In fact, we thank all the Raining Jane ladies for creating a empowering camp for young girls, a inspiring boot camp for ladies and songs that make us love them more and more with each word. THANK YOU!

Mona Tavakoli
Raining Jane Percussionist
Co-Founder of Rock n’ Roll Camp, LA
Creator & Designer of The MT Box

Tell us about Rock n Roll Camp for Girls, Los Angeles?
The Rock N’ Roll Camp for Girls Los Angeles is a non-profit, social justice organization dedicated to empowering girls through music! We are a one week, two session, volunteer-run summer camp. We aim to create a safe space where girls are encouraged to take risks, express themselves and collaborate with each other.

How did you get involved with RnR Camp?
Becky Gebhardt (co-director and base/guitar player for Raining Jane) and I found out about the Rock N’ Roll Camp for Girls in Portland, Oregon from reading an article in Venus Zine (an awesome underground zine about women in music that no longer exists) back in 2005. We decided we wanted to volunteer so we drove from Los Angeles to Portland and spent a week teaching and coaching the girls. We were so sincerely rocked by the experience that we knew we had bring this kind of programming to our own community. Eventually our band (Raining Jane) took a hiatus from full time touring in 2009 and we decided to put the dream into action in Los Angeles.

Who are some of your supporters that you would like to thank?
We have so many incredible supporters that believe in the work we do. Firstly, every single person that believes in our mission statement alone is doing something to change the consciousness around the socialization of girls. Secondly, many thanks to our incredible network of volunteers that show up time and time again to put our mission into action. Big ups to Feeding the Soul Foundation for having our backs since our very first year, providing scholarships and promotion throughout the community. Infinite thanks to John Mckenna and Mary Ann Murphy at Immaculate Conception School in downtown LA. The beautiful campus of ICS has housed and supported our programming every year since 2010. We also have incredible gear and food sponsors like, Guitar Center and OH! Catering and Large Marge Sustainables. Rock N’ Roll Camp for girls is privileged to have a beautiful community that shares their resources and advocates for the work of the organization.

Tell us about Ladies Rock Camp?
Ladies Rock Camp, Los Angeles (LRC) a 3 day Rock N’ Roll intensive for women 18 and up. It also serves as Rock Camp LA’s biggest fundraiser of the year! The women who attend go through a hyper condensed version of our summer camp programming, they learn an instrument, form a band, write a song and perform their song at a club in LA. LRC is so much more than the music though, it is a way to bring our community of women together to take risks and share and step into our greatness for a weekend!

What does “Feeding the Soul Foundation” mean to you?
What DOESN’T Feeding the Soul Foundation mean to me?! FTSF has a really special place in my heart! This organization puts passions and needs together to serve our community and they do it with an awesome attitude! They have vision, they have heart and they truly believe in the organizations and events they support. We are lucky to know, love and be loved by FTSF!

What is your personal goal for 2013?
My personal goals for 2013 is to execute as many dreams and visions as possible! I feel a great forward momentum when I am learning and listening, so I am hoping to use the knowledge and get on the action train! More Art! More Music! More Service! More Laughs! 2013!

Is there any advice you would give someone that wants to start a non-profit?
I am learning so much everyday about how to run a non-profit and be a better leader. But, I think It’s true what people say: It takes a lot more than just passion to maintain and sustain a non-profit. If I were to give any advice to someone that wants to start an NGO is to do your research. Do your homework BEFORE you dive in. The number one reason non-profits fail is because of burnout! I think that can be avoided if you do the research and put a good team in place. I think Rock Camp LA is thriving because we have nurtured an incredible Executive Team and we have taken our time expanding the program. Take your time, do the research and keep learning.

What does your “perfect” event look like?
My “perfect” events always include something awesomely unplanned and imperfect. Events that we reminisce about for years to come (for example: ‘did you see that bat that got into the venue?’). I love events that include a shared goal, snacks and a lot of laughs among friends & strangers (I think I just described a Feeding The Soul event/ my cousin’s wedding).

What is your favorite word?

If you were on the cover of a magazine what magazine would it be? (real or made up)
It would be a crazy honor to be on the cover of ‘Positively Persian”.
(wouldn’t that be an awesome magazine? I’m gonna start it and put my Mom on the cover every month, Oprah style.)

 Wanna give? Please go here for donations.


Raining Jane 2013 RnR Camp

Photo by Jen Rosenstein

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