DIY Spotlight: Dana Forrester

Dana Forrester is familiar in the contemporary Detroit rock & roll scene. She plays or has played bass with the bands 60 Second Crush, Dead in 5, Crud and the Ruiners, to name just a few. And true to the DIY theme, she’s done much of the grunt work herself. 

Forrester started on bass when she was 15, and began playing with Detroit bands in local clubs (with a fake ID) when she was 17.

“That was with an all-girl band called the Vertical Pillows that included Mary [Ramirez] from the Detroit Cobras,” Forrester said. “One of our first gigs was opening for the Cramps at a sold-out show at Detroit’s St. Andrew’s Hall. The energy and excitement of that experience anointed me as a musician for life and I’ve been rocking ever since.”

Forrester describes herself as a “serve the song” sort of bassist.

“I try to lock in with the drummer (who happens to also be my husband),” she says. “My biggest influence was Kim Gordon when she initially played bass in Sonic Youth. Kim played however she wanted and taught me that you didn’t have to be a thumb slapper or any kind of bass player—just be yourself—express yourself however you want. That really has helped me to think out of the box when writing songs. I follow no rules, but ultimately, I strive to serve the song.”

All of the bands that Forrester plays with embody DIY principles. 

“The bands I perform in write our own songs, record those songs, make our own videos and book and promote our gigs,” she says. “Every aspect of the music and music business is done ourselves. It’s a lot of hard work but so worth it.”

The future’s bright too. The Ruiners recently earned some national attention with their Christmas song “No More Mariah Carey.” Dead in 5 is aiming for new releases this month, and all of her groups are booking shows.

For more, visit deadin5.com, facebook.com/theruinersdetroit, and crud.bigcartel.com.