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Hard rockers fight breast cancer

Tim Parsons
Finding Stella fights breast cancer with rock 'n' roll Saturday at the Hard Rock Cafe in Harveys on Saturday, Oct. 20.
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“Stella!” Tennessee Williams’ character Stanley shouted her name from the street to his wife’s apartment window. The line from “Streetcar Named Desire” is a theater classic.

Finding Stella is another story. Stella was a bandmember’s hamster who became lost in San Francisco. Sadly, Stella was never found, but her saga has become rock ‘n’ rodent history.

The female-fronted rock band Finding Stella has captured the attention of the Hard Rock Cafe, and this month is appearing at all of the franchise’s California locations for Rocktober, a worldwide fund-raiser to battle breast cancer.

Finding Stella performs Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Hard Rock Cafe Lake Tahoe inside Harveys Casino & Resort. A suggested donation of $5 will go to the Carson Tahoe Cancer Center. The doors open at 9 p.m. with the show starting at 9:30 p.m.

“They said, ‘Is that cool if we’re on the bar half the time?’ Hard Rock spokeswoman Julie Cabral said, laughing.

It figures to be a wild show.

Victoria Ovieda and Shoshannah Beck and lead singer Chris Snyder, a former Division I college basketball player who stands nearly 6-feet-tall, present a brash trio of women rockers.

Our mantra is “support the boob,” Snyder said about their philanthropic focus. “Just in our short tour it’s amazing how many people have come forward with (stories about breast cancer), saying either they’ve dealt with it or someone in their family has dealt with it.”

Finding Stella is a longtime advocate of breast cancer research. The band played at the former Sierra-at-Tahoe event Boarding for Breast Cancer.

The three men in the group — and at the back of the stage — are lead guitarist Rich Flynn and the rhythm section of Louis Stein and Tim Christmon.

The band has three albums, and as it has evolved and changed players it has abandoned some of its R&B roots and gone to “raunchy, distorted guitar rock,” Snyder said.

Snyder, who is the primary songwriter, was influenced by Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones and modern rock of the 1980s. Finding Stella plays mostly originals but will play some Lenny Kravitz and Melissa Etheridge, who earlier this month who kicked off Roctober with a CD-release show in New York.

In contrast to most rock bands, Finding Stella approaches songs from a woman’s perspective. The song “Dirty” tells the story of a woman who gets paid for sex in order for her to afford a college education.

Another song is true story.

“Paid” is the whole reason why were doing this breast cancer awareness tour,” Snyder said. “We were inspired by a couple women who had to deal with that in the last two years.”

Finding Stella is huge in Australia. The band first released its album “Famous” Down Under in January. This year the band will make its second appearance at a festival called “Girlfest.”

“Our live performance is interactive,” Snyder said. “We like to engage the audience and get them singing.”

Cabral recently saw Finding Stella in San Francisco.

“They’re so interactive and really fun,” she said. “They put on a great show. They roam through the crowd with a wireless mike.”

Money will be raised for the Carson Tahoe Cancer Center in four ways – the $5 donation at the door, drinks from the Pink Drink Bars, a charity double-necked guitar pin, and an auction for an Etheridge Ovation guitar.

With dinner tables that will be set up for the show, along with the bar and standing area, the Hard Rock can hold 250 people.


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