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Rosie Richeson: Punk Rock Queen and Mental Health Advocate

Rosie Richeson is currently in the Master of Social Work program with a concentration in social policy and administration at Florida State University. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in family and child sciences. Her hometown is Tampa, Florida. I met up with Rosie to discuss her involvement with the Tallahassee music scene and her involvement in mental health advocacy.

Her Campus (HC): Let’s start off talking about your involvement in the Tallahassee music scene, maybe how you got into it and what you do.

Rosie Richeson (RR): I started a band back in 2009 when my friend Robert found out that I played drums, because I was in a band with my sister. His goal was to start a band with a bunch of people he didn’t know very well so he could make some friends. We started a band called “Sleeping Spiders.” That was our band for about two years; we went [on a] couple of tours.

HC: Where did you tour?

RR: We toured all the way up to Baltimore and New York. The first van that we had cost us only $900 and it kept breaking down on the way up, making us miss our shows.

HC: How did you get into organizing shows?

RR: When I was 14 and I lived with my sister in Tampa, we played with a lot bands from out of town. When I got to Tallahassee, those out of town bands hit me up to book shows for them.

HC: So you set up shows at people’s houses and bars and stuff?

RR: Yeah, do you know where the Crepe Vine is right now? On Gaines? That used to be an info shop (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infoshop), and that was where I set up my first show.

HC: Back when I was in high school we had a stage that we built on our friend’s empty lot and we played shows on this rickety stage. It was a blast!

RR: We did the same thing; we had some friends who were really good at building things and they would put together stages for us. We also did tons of house shows before the house that hosted phased out.

HC: So what kind of music do you play?

RR: I would just say the blanket “punk.” I’m bad at describing music and it’s hard for me to put it into words. I listen to a lot of hardcore music (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardcore_punk). Its super energetic, and watching people play it gets you pumped. At the same time, being a woman in the punk scene, it can be a lot to handle. The scene has a lot of super macho-type guys.

HC: That’s very interesting, do you have any advice for any woman who is looking to get involved with the punk scene?

RR: I’ve dealt a lot with it and I am still dealing with it. It can go one of two ways. As a woman, you can fight back and get really angry with guys who try to mess with you, and get up in their face and make them as uncomfortable as they are making you. My experience with that is they usually drop the act and turn into babies. [Doing it] that way can inspire more women in the scene, because it encourages you to stand up for yourself. The second strategy is to try and talk to guys about their macho mentality from a reasonable standpoint, and have a lot of patience.

HC: Do you find a lot of drinking and drug use in the scene?

RR: No more than you would expect from a young crowd. Usually drinking to help with social anxiety and stuff like that. I wouldn’t say it is a problem. I tend to stay away from drinking and drugs.

HC: Do you like acoustic guitar music?

RR: Yeah, I love it! Specifically when women play, just because I have heard so many men play and it gets really monotonous.

HC: Back a few minutes ago, I identified with something that you said about punk music having a lot of energy. I hate acoustic music because I think it takes the energy out of the music. 

RR: You have to be in a certain type of mood, and there is plenty of different types of acoustic music, if you branch and listen.

HC: I want to switch gears for a second and talk a little bit about The Outlet. Tell us about it, what is it? How did you get into it?

RR:  The Outlet is [the] non-profit organization that I founded. It started out as an idea from a town called Athens, Georgia. There was this place called Nuci’s Space that was started by two parents of a musician who was dealing with depression. His name was Nuci and he took his own life after struggling with depression for many years. His parents realized that music was one of the only things that helped him and made him happy. They started a community mental health center to help struggling musical artists pay for mental health treatment. I thought this was a great idea, and it gained support around town.

We realized quickly that this was actually going to be a very hard task to accomplish. We really wanted to have a spin on the traditional mental health treatment guidelines. We want it so that if you don’t identify with a mental health diagnosis that’s in the DSM, we are here to help you find an alternate treatment.

We put on shows to raise money for the non-profit. We need funding to act as a referral service to professional mental health service providers. We also want to offer alternative forms of mental health care, like group therapy, music therapy, and art therapy. We also want to be a music venue to bring in revenue.

HC: To finish this up, do you have any shout-outs you want to throw out?

RR: Shout out to any girl or woman who is doing what they want in the world. Wait, no, don’t put that!

HC: Oh no, I’m going to. That’s a great message!

Gerrit Van Lent is a Senior studying Political Science, English, and Public Administration. He spends the majority of his time on campus or at the office of The Children's Campaign, a non-profit that informs elected officials and works on behalf of vulnerable and at-risk children, where he does public policy research and legislative affairs coordination. Gerrit is active on campus and in the community via Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed community service fraternity engaged in service around Tallahassee. In his free time, Gerrit enjoys practicing martial arts at Logan's Martial Arts Academy, skateboarding, listening to music, video games, and enjoying time with friends. His interests include eating candy, cooking, pets, action movies, dungeons and dragons, and other rad stuff.
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