Rebecca Gates’ band The Spinanes broke into the mainstream music scene in the early ’90s, when a tidal wave of punk bands from the West Coast flooded the airwaves. Alongside Nirvana, Sonic Youth, and Green Day was The Spinanes, who signed with indie label Sub Pop and released three records. She’s since pursued a solo career, but when Stephen Vitiello became chair of Kinetic Imaging, he needed someone talented and reputable to teach his classes. His colleague Gates seemed like the perfect match.
VCU News spoke with Gates to learn more about her punk rock career, and how her approach to teaching helps students see their work in a new way.
Since the last Spinanes album dropped, Gates has enjoyed a solo career as well as gigs as a curator, consultant and activist. At VCU, she is teaching Sound Communications I and II and co-teaching a graduate class with associate professor Pamela Turner.
“One of the things that I offer—and I’m not the only one—is that I do have really multifaceted things that I’ve done in my life,” Gates said. “And so being able to really try and think about what I can bring from that to [the students] … I’m conscious that I want them to hit marks that they need to hit, but I also have an elasticity to my practice. And I think that just reminding them that there can be an elasticity, even to a project.”