Name: Vicky Carbone, aka Vee L. Cee, Garfield
Work: Promoter and booker for Steel & Bone Productions, a promotional group for metal shows; mail-order manager for record label 20 Buck Spin; worker at Higher Press print shop; advocate of Pittsburgh metal
What do you do all day?
Up at 5 [a.m.], go for a jog, at the label by 6:30 [a.m.], after eight or nine hours to the print shop for a few hours. It’s tour season, so we’re super busy. Go home and hang out with my husky, respond to a billion messages and e-mails about booking shows until I’m exhausted, and pass out. I may eat dinner at some point, too.
How did you get here?
My first Maryland Death Fest in 2015 — for years couldn’t go because I was basically working my butt off at Pratt on a degree in art design and education. I worked for years teaching kids, but it never really felt like it was the right place for me. It never did the same thing music did. Once I went to my first MDF and met people and had such a great time, I wanted to work on something festival- and event-related. Met Chris Whitford from Winterforge Promotions who I started helping: sending invites, flyering, giving a hand at events. He took me under his wing. From traveling, people started hitting me up, “Hey, I’m looking for a show can you give me a hand?”
What’s on your highlight reel?
Our first show of the season was Immolation, Derketa, Funerus and Ritual Mass. It was such a pleasure and an honor to work with Derketa and Funerus. I’m a huge fan, they’ve been around forever, they’re insanely inspiring to me. They were all in touch decades ago through the death metal tape trading. There are pictures of them together when they were still teenagers, so to bring them all together to play a show here honestly felt like some crazy reunion that I got to be a part of even though I’m not a native Pittsburgher. I felt like it was making history here in our own dorky way in the underground metal scene.
Working with extreme music, do you have issues with venues because of the content?
We always work with the clubs. We do our research too. I will cancel a show if I hear about someone in a band doing something that’s shitty. (Can I say that? Cool.) We won’t bring someone accused of saying things that are racist or doing anything that breaks the law especially when it comes to sexual assault. We’re really careful about that. That’s part of the reason we don’t do too many events. You can’t make sure you’re working with right people. That’s always important to us. Venues are aware, so they never really question who we’re bringing in.
Do you encounter issues as a woman you wouldn’t as a man?
I get men sending me angry messages, criticizing me, trying to break me down and discourage me from working harder, and all it makes me do is work harder. So thank you to anyone that’s done that.
I think there’s generally more respect here than in other scenes, and I have to thank Derketa for being around 30 years ago. That really helps. I don’t know what the climate in Pittsburgh would be without Metal Mary having been here.
As an artist, do you do flyer art?
No, oddly enough. It’s too much pressure to try to put myself in a headspace, “Now I’m going to give myself an hour to draw.” I studied more sculpture anyway. I could install little sculptures around the city that can hold someone else’s flyer. I’d get in trouble immediately. I’m not that sneaky anymore.