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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Rock with The Dots

Story By Andrea Budde/Contributor

Terry Mayer/The Week
The Dots are Ann Rakowiecki, Rhonda Lucas and Nikki Beckman.
The current music scene is saturated with young artists trying to achieve superstar status. Rock 'n' roll is stacked full of all-male bands, while females seem to dominate the pop scene. One local rock group is breaking all rules by defying age and gender stereotypes, and playing music by their own rules.

In between raising families and daytime jobs, Ann Rakowiecki of Darien (guitar), Rhonda Lucas of Elkhorn (bass) and Nikki Beckman of Delavan (drums) still have time to perform as the group The Dots.

All in their mid 30s, The Dots have been performing cover songs together for a year and a half. Ranging in genres from Black Sabbath and Sheryl Crow, to The Clash and the Beatles, the group looks to entertain everyone they play for while still having fun themselves.

"We all just have a lot of fun together," Rakowiecki said.

The Dots perform in a variety of settings ranging from bars to private shows, to things they consider "worthy causes." Spanning a wide area, they play in Walworth County, Milwaukee, Chicago and Madison. Together they have done around 25 shows and hope to continue captivating audiences.

Before forming The Dots, Rakowiecki and Lucas had played together in a different band. After finding each other years later and jamming together for fun, the two decided to start another band.

Posting ads for a drummer on various Web sites, the two got in touch with Beckman through milwaukeerocks.com. Having played with artists such as Mike Stone, Junior Wells and Steve Ditzel, Beckman seemed to be just what Rakowiecki and Lucas were looking for.

The women were uncertain when it came to choosing a name, so they decided to go with Rakowiecki's husband's suggestion of "The Dots."

The leading force that drives the women is their aim at just having fun. They understand that there aren't many all-female rock bands, so they try to show audiences that they can rock just as hard as their male counterparts.

"We want to encourage more women to get up and play," Lucas said.

The group tries to make the songs they cover their own by adding their own elements to the music.

Their musical selection comes from what they think audiences will want to hear, as well as songs that are personal to them. The Dots play their cover songs in styles different than what was written, and try to adapt each performance to the audience.

"We try to encourage audience participation," Beckman said.

The Dots never turn down a request from the audience. If a song is asked for that the group doesn't normally play, they will improvise their own version as they go along.

"If we don't know it, they have to sing it," Lucas said.

The group prides themselves on "being in touch with reality," as each member feels they will never achieve rock star status, nor do they wish to do so.

"I don't want to be famous," Lucas said, "I just want to be able to play."

The women have the full support of their family members, their children, husbands and parents often showing their support by attending shows. Rakowiecki's husband is supportive of the group practicing in their basement a few times per week.

On April 10, before the Bodeans concert at UW-Whitewater, a cocktail party was held in which The Dots were invited to play.

At the end of each show, making one person forget what happened that day is what keeps Beckman going.

As for the group as a whole, they are having fun, breaking rules and aren't afraid of anything.

For more information about upcoming shows, or The Dots, visit rockwiththedots.com.



Blogger Paul said...

The Dots are a great band! I think it's awesome that the Week has chosen to do a cover story on them...they are definitely deserving.

May 1, 2008 7:25 PM  
Anonymous John Oz said...

You go girls!

May 3, 2008 9:52 AM  
Anonymous JODY POGO said...

The Dots ROCK!!!

May 5, 2008 8:52 AM  
Blogger John said...

Way 2 Goooooo Rhonda, hope to see you sometime soon. Kathy says awesome. send us a schedule.
John/Kathy (gguitarmann)

May 5, 2008 7:44 PM  
Anonymous Ann said...

Thanks to Andrea and Terry and Dot Rockers who have commented for the support!

May 5, 2008 7:57 PM  

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