Emma Baker, the drummer/singer with Washington, D.C. punks Flasher, tells Best Fit about how's she's given up trying to predict a path for herself.
When I was a kid I always thought I would grow up to be a meteorologist. More specifically I wanted to be a weather newscaster, because I always imagined myself on TV.
Every morning before school I would watch the weather channel, or if I didn’t have enough time I would grab the newspaper so I could memorize the weekly forecast. When I got to school I would get all of my friends to gather around while I spewed in rapidfire all the information I had absorbed about the incoming weather, usually accompanied by gestures or me fully acting out various forms of precipitation with my body.
Sometimes I would lick my finger and stick it straight up in the air, pretending to detect the direction of the wind and extrapolating some kind of data from it. I was full of shit but I really believed in myself.
In junior high school I mostly gave up on this dream, although I still like to watch tornado and storm chaser videos from time to time. My new infatuation was with musical theater. I loved watching musicals, especially Grease and Newsies, both of which I had memorized every word of. I wanted to be in them and I was learning how to tap dance so I figured I had an edge on a lot of my peers.
In seventh grade, tap dancing did actually get me a role in Bye Bye Birdie that would have otherwise gone to someone older or more experienced than me. My love of tap dancing perfectly coincided with my love of screamo, which is unfortunate for me because that means there’s a lot of video footage still in circulation to document some really awful hair I had over the years. Around this time I started going to shows. I’m pretty sure I saw The Distillers, Liz Phair and went to the HFStival in the same week. I crowd surfed at a My Chemical Romance concert and took a really good disposable camera selfie with the bass player.
A few weeks later, a friend of mine who was also going through a “musical awakening” invited me to a show at American University. The show was in the basement of Kay Spiritual Center (a non denominational religious space on campus) and the performers were all local punk and hardcore groups. It was the first of many shows I would go to at AU and it’s where I met the people who would show me all of my favorite music and make me want to start a band.
Fast forward some years. I'm approaching my 10 year high school reunion. I stick a different finger in the air every time someone cuts me off when I'm driving. Liz Phair and The Distillers are still great, and I still occasionally listen to “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” unironically. I don't tap dance anymore, but I play drums which I guess is kind of similar. My band Flasher has a record called Constant Image. I'm still full of shit but I really believe in myself.