Lindsey Elias is 24 and has been a rock drummer for a full decade. She has one hell of a stage presence and it all comes in one surprisingly small package.
Watching Elias and her 105-pound frame push out the power and speed of an enormous male drummer is really something to be seen when she's up on stage with her band, Empty Space Orchestra. Take a look at the audience at an ESO show and you will see people's necks craning just to get a better view of what she's doing. She has a magnetic, natural beauty on the drums as she pumps out incredibly fast, hard-hitting licks. There is something contagious about the joy, the passion and the pure rock n' roll in her facial expressions that radiates out to the crowd who watches with mouths agape or perhaps smiling in delight.
"She's so fun to watch. She just gets so into it. It's surprising to see so much noise, such loud and harsh noise, coming from such a small person," says an ESO fan named Griffin after one of the band's packed Silver Moon residency shows in January.
Lindsey has become something of a local celebrity in Bend. It's hardly uncommon for her to be stopped in the grocery store by people who feel strongly compelled to let her know how amazing she is. She always has the same down-to-earth, humble yet confident and beaming smile when shaking hands of excited and inspired fans after a show.
It seems that she's especially beloved by female fans. They show up for most ESO shows, in addition to gigs of other bands for which Lindsey serves as drummer (Eric Tollefson, Brent Allen and His Funky Friends, Shireen Ameeni). These women smile at each other in the crowd, and at least one of them confessed to me, "I want to be her so bad!"
Girls - children and adults - look up to Lindsey. They're inspired to see a chick, particularly a cute one, owning herself as a capable, damned good rock drummer. Lindsey is aware that she affects girls this way and she stands comfortably, humbly in that position, and offers a kind, humorous and truly "rock n' roll" type of role model for them.
Lindsey says she wants girls to shed the insecurities and self-hatred so easily learned in their teenage years, and to embrace themselves with confidence.
"Just practice tons until you know your shit. Then go out there and be confident because you know you practiced what to do, so just own it, be yourself, and play what you know," says Elias, "You gotta be confident when you perform. Or don't even bother."
Education: Summit High School 2005
Bands: Empty Space Orchestra,
Eric Tollefson, Brent Alan and his