By Samantha Maloney for Tom Tom Magazine | Photos: T. David Lane
Hometown: Littlerock, CA
Favorite Foods: I love Macaroni and cheese, good meatloaf, and cheeseburgers!!
The first time I saw a video of boPah on the kit I was floored. Who was this mini bad ass? How old was she? She makes this thing we do called drumming look effortless. Eventually, I got to meet this Cindy Blackman doppelgänger in person and fell in love, not only with her charisma, spunk, and talent, but with the true sweetheart of a kid she is. Watch out, people, there’s a new girl in town and she’s a drumming freakazoid who gives new meaning to the term drum throne. boPah and her sisters form Sledge Grits Band and they have been taking the world by storm. As the winner of the first season of Cozi TV’s Next Great Family Band the girls have received quite a bit of national attention, and many hail them as the next Jackson Five.
Tom Tom Magazine: Hi, boPah! Samantha Maloney here, fellow drummer and boPah fan club member! I wanted to ask you some questions for Tom Tom magazine, from one female drummer to another! What age did you start playing the drums?
boPah Sledge: Daddy and Mommy said that ever since I was really tiny I always banged on things and I was really squirmy! So they gave me a gumbo pot to bang on at first when I was 3. I got my first full size kit on my 5th birthday but wasn’t quite tall enough until I was 5 ½. All the drum thrones were too tall for me so Daddy custom made me a drum throne with an air lift that grows with me. It’s my very own princess drum throne.
How does it make you feel when you play the drums?
I love that I can go crazy and feel free! It makes me feel excited!!
How did you wind up becoming the drummer for The Sledge Grits Band?
boPah: I used to keep time for my sisters when they were in guitar practice. I would be their metronome for them while they changed chords. So when they wanted to start a band I was just sorta already there.
The band is comprised of all your sisters. Do you fight ever? If so, what about?
boPah: Sometimes we do covers in the band. We sometimes disagree with what songs to do. Also, our older sister Keiko doesn’t like to let us borrow stuff because we are really good at not returning things and losing them.
What is your favorite part of playing with your sisters?
boPah: Being with them all the time! We have so much fun! We all love music sooooo much and we all want to be the biggest band in the world!
Who practices the most on their own in the band?
boPah: Probably Mimi! She is always singing!!! In the car, in the bathroom, everywhere!! I play a lot too! But, a lot of times it’s on a drum pad or just sticks on a pillow in the car.
Name 5 bands or solo artists that would be a dream for you to play drums for?
boPah: I would love to play for Mötley Crüe (like you!!), Maroon 5, Yellow Card, Fall Out Boy or Katy Perry.
Who are some of your favorite drummers?
boPah: Samantha Maloney! My drum brother Thomas Pridgen, my drum cuzan Eric Moore (of Suicidal Tendencies- he’s also my drum mentor), John Bonham, and Cindy Blackman.
Name 5 bands or artists that you think The Sledge Grits could open up for and win over their fans?
boPah: I think that Pink is a good match. Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5 and Bon Jovi are also all in the Pop/Rock style that we are.
Tell me about the bear you carry with you pretty much everywhere.
boPah: Dixie is our band mascot! She always sits on my drums during shows and helps me keep the beat! She is the one in charge, I just play drums.
Where do you find all your cool clothes and how do you decide what looks best for what performance?
boPah: Our bass player Ella is mostly in charge of styling us. Daddy and I find cool pieces (boots, capes, hats, masks, wings, big rings, sunglasses) at all different kinds of stores (like Thrift stores or Hot Topic). And then Ella and Mama put it together for me for shows. If I feel like a cat before I go on stage I will grab my cat ears, that’s just how I do! You get it right? You’re a drummer!
Where do you see The Sledge Grits Band in 5 years?
boPah: We are going to be the biggest band in the world. This is true!!!
Is there anything you want to tell Tom Tom readers that they would otherwise not know about you?
boPah: I want to tell them that I love the drums and that I might be small but I am a mini beast! And I will keep working to get beastly-er. Keep an eye on me! I’m gonna make girl drummers proud!! I promise.
Best of luck in your future boPah! Tom Tom loves you and so do I!