Trailblazers 2016: Danielle Cusack

Danielle Cusack -- Photo by Andrea Swensson, MPR

Danielle Cusack // Photo by Andrea Swensson

Rock ‘n’ roll has always been about youthful energy, but right now the Twin Cities music scene is having an especially youthful moment, with artists like Lexii Alijai blowing up on SoundCloud and an all-ages scene burgeoning at venues like the Garage. At the nexus of what’s next is 20-year-old Danielle Cusack: drummer, bassist, singer-songwriter, teacher, and all-around millennial badass.

The Hamline University junior is simultaneously a member of two of the most buzzworthy local bands: Bruise Violet (where Cusack is the oldest member of a trio) and up-and-coming pop-rockers Tony Peachka. With Bruise Violet, Cusack has popped up everywhere from First Avenue’s Mainroom (for The Current’s birthday party) to TPT (for The Lowertown Line). Meanwhile, Tony Peachka’s tape “Dirty Knees” will be a loud and fast contender for year-end best-of lists.

Both bands have all-female lineups, and Cusack is already mentoring the next generation of riot grrrls as an instructor at two local music programs. She tirelessly advocates for other women in music, from local (Kitten Forever) to legendary (Dolly Parton), and for Halloween she formed a Buzzcocks cover band called… well, maybe you can guess. Everything Cusack’s involved with has an irrepressible spirit of fun, meaning that her busy performance schedule is basically a giant never-ending party for all the coolest kids in town.

Just last month, Cusack stepped out for the first time as a solo artist. It’s yet another direction for a musician who’s widely admired—especially by her female peers and young girls—for her artistry and her honesty. She says her favorite number to hear her students cover is an iconic song by Bikini Kill. “We have these young girls just screaming ‘Rebel Girl.’ Honestly, it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen.”


Our mission at The Growler is to tell stories that inspire progress in local food, drink, and culture. And in that spirit as part of our 2016 Kind-Of-A-Big-Deal Issue, we felt the need to point out 25 people, ideas, businesses, and organizations who have done necessary, important, and groundbreaking work in 2016. See the rest of our 2016 Trailblazers here.

 
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