When Coventry, UK grindcore band Bolt Thrower’s founding bass player, Gavin Ward, decided to switch to rhythm guitar in 1987, the replacement bassist he enlisted didn’t bother showing up. So Ward encouraged his then-girlfriend to try out for the band. A quarter century later, Jo Bench is still not just showing up, but providing the dark low end that keeps the now-venerable Warhammer-inspired metal titans penetrating eardrums like sonic ballistae.
Although Jo’s been playing death metal practically since the genre’s inception, female musicians remain a rarity in the world of extreme metal, though that tide may be changing.
When asked in an interview whether she had to work harder to be taken seriously by her bandmates, Jo said, “I don’t think I have to work harder than any of the other members, we all work pretty hard, so just as hard is enough. The important thing is to remember that I’m the bassist first, and being female is secondary when it comes to the band. We’’ve never promoted the fact I was female, I’ve never done solo photo sessions, or any kind of self-promotion and I think I have gained more respect because of it.”
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