N.M. For Channing Concho, a petite, pretty woman of 23, music
is part of her DNA. Her father was a drummer, and both parents exposed
her to a variety of music at an early age. But it wasnt until
high school that she and two of her friends formed a band, and her
true passion developed.
mom wanted me to play violin, and I did from the sixth grade through
my senior year, said Concho, Acoma/Hopi/Laguna Pueblo, whose
long black hair is streaked with purple. Then my friend Amandas
father bought her guitars and drums and she invited some friends
to play. We played the Beatles as our first song.
Beatles didnt last long for Suspended. More than eight years
after their debut in a local high school talent show, they have
become the only all-girl thrash metal band, a musical
genre known for its fast tempo and aggressive lyrics and playing
style. Conchos taken up her fathers instrument, the
drums, in the three girl group.
the most unique music weve ever heard, she said. Its
got elements of thrash, of rock, of black metal, of everything we
know. Mandy (the aforementioned Amanda Castillo) writes the most
intricate music. Its grab the bull by the horns music.
Suspendeds lead singer and bass player is Melynda Mimo
Montaño, another of Concho and Castillos former classmates.
counts as her musical influences groups that one would expect from
someone with a heavy metal focus: Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Gwar
and King Diamond. She also listens to a variety of genres: Sublime,
Portishead and of course, the Beatles.
December 2008, Suspended released its first CD, Prelude to
Indignance. The band spent part of the last year touring the
country. The toll of being on the road, with its lack of sleep,
fast food and constant companionship of the band mates, has Concho
looking forward to a more relaxed pace in the next few months.
being lazy now, she said. Im hanging out with
my boyfriend, seeing movies, going to local shows and preparing
for Halloween. Its my favorite time of year, and we throw
a huge party. Theres nothing like being home in Albuquerque,
and getting back into the local music scene. It may not be as big
a scene as other places, but its grown a lot and there are
some great bands here that have really progressed.
grew up in and around Albuquerque, spending time on the Laguna and
Acoma Pueblos, as well as in the city. I always felt like
an outsider. It was hard to adapt to city life after living until
I was seven years old on the Acoma Pueblo. The name Suspended comes
from a time when the three of us got into trouble for ditching classes
at West Mesa High School in Albuquerque.
than just skipping school made Concho realize she needed to change
her ways if she was to graduate. She was caught with marijuana,
and spent most of the fall semester of her sophomore year out of
school. Having two younger sisters, and seeing them look to her
as an example, helped turn her in a positive direction.
makes me proud to have them look up to me, she said. I
know Im a role model, and want to show them that you can live
a good life. I had a lot of insecurities in high school, especially
when my parents got divorced. My advice to my sisters and nieces
and anyone is to be strong, pursue your goals and work hard. Keep
on keepin on.
of what turned Concho around was traveling on student exchange programs
to Europe and around the United States. Seeing how people lived
in places like Germany, France and Holland, and meeting them and
answering their questions about her own culture was eye opening.
Europeans are familiar with Native Americans and the United
States. They asked me about my language and culture. They respected
my culture and were curious about it. It was good to see how different
we are in the United States from others.
family is still supportive of her musical career, welcoming her
back to the pueblo or reservation during the yearly trips she makes
for traditional dances. In fact, being on the road, seeing other
cultures, and her job at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Centers
Pueblo Harvest Café, has given her a new appreciation for
family and her traditional background.
important to me, Im becoming more spiritual, more admiring
of nature. The things I see before me nature, the sun, the
moon, trees, are all important parts of me. They connect me to who