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I am excited to announce that I have recently started writing for, Boxx Music Magazine, which is a new magazine all about women in music,  and that they have published two of my interviews!

The first one is with the legendary, Pat Place, of the late ’70s/early ’80s NYC band, the Bush Tetras. They are best known for No Wave  anthems such as “Too Many Creeps” and “Can’t Be Funky,” which combine their Punk and Funk influences in a raw and experimental way, and have garnered the band quite a following that has only continued to grow since they broke up in 1983. They reunited in the ’90s and reunited again in 2012, and I talk with Place about the Bush Tetras career both then and now. The interview can be viewed here:  http://boxxmagazine.com/2012/12/on-the-line-with-bush-tetras/

Bush Tetras Band

The other interview is with Helen Reddington (aka Helen McCookerybook), who played bass for ’70s British Punk bands such as Joby and the Hooligans and Chefs, and her experiences as a female musician in that scene inspired her to write a book all about the women musicians of  late ’70s/early ’80s British Punk.  She interviewed bands such as: The AuPairs, The Mo-dettes, The Raincoats, The Slits, The Delta 5 and more.  To read my interview with Reddington about her music career and her book, The Lost Women of Rock Music: Musicians of the Punk Era,  go here: http://boxxmagazine.com/2013/01/interview-author-helen-reddington-talks-about-the-lost-women-of-the-punk-era/

helen reddington book

Thanks to everyone here for supporting my blog and writing! As always, your feedback is much appreciated!

This is an unedited version of an interview that I did with one of my musical heroes, Genya Ravan, that appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of Bitch Magazine. This version is longer and has more questions than the interview that was published. To see the interview as it appeared in Bitch, check out: Genya Ravan’s Official Website Press Page

“Walking In Different Circles”: An Interview with Genya Ravan

By Bess Korey

Goldie and the Gingerbreads

A picture of Genya Ravan with Goldie and the Gingerbreads during the 1960’s.

During the 1960’s, Genya Ravan was a founding member of the first all-female band ever signed to a major label, Goldie and the Gingerbreads. The band is finally getting some long overdue credit for their accomplishments at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibit “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power”, which opened May 13th, 2011 and will be running until February 26th, 2012. Unfortunately Goldie and the Gingerbreads never broke big in the U.S., but they had a hit song in the U.K. called “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat”. Their catchy pop sound and vocal harmonizing was reminiscent of other Girl Groups of the mid ‘60s, and because of that, their song “Walking In Different Circles” can be found on the Rhino Records box set, One Kiss Can Lead To Another: Girl Group Sounds, Lost & Found. Unlike most of their contemporaries that can be found on this box set, Goldie and the Gingerbreads played their own instruments and were not just a vocal group, which was a very groundbreaking thing for women to be doing at the time.

Listening to Goldie and the Gingerbreads, it is clear that Ravan is a talented singer, but her vocals sound a bit restrained when compared to the reckless abandon that she brought when she later fronted the all-male Jazz/Funk/Psychedelic influenced band Ten Wheel Drive, during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Her soulful performances with that band are comparable to the singing of artists like Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin. After Ten Wheel Drive, Ravan became a solo artist and a record producer. Even today, record producing remains a male dominated field, so the fact that Ravan was breaking in to it during the ‘70s, adds to her pioneering status. She produced her own music, including her 1978 album Urban Desire; which fits in well with the Punk/New Wave sounds of the mid-late ‘70s yet still gives Ravan a chance to show off her raspy and soulful vocals; and she also produced the Dead Boys’ infamous first album, Young, Loud and Snotty.

Ravan continues to produce, perform and record music today. Her latest album, Undercover, came out in 2010. She is also a writer, and had her autobiography, Lollipop Lounge: Memoirs of a Rock and Roll Refugee, published in 2004. She is currently working on a screenplay based on that book, and would like Juliette Lewis to play her in the film. She also DJs on two different radio shows for Little Steven’s “Underground Garage”, “Goldie’s Garage” andChicks and Broads”, the latter being devoted to music by female artists. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Exhibit has brought her career full circle, and in the following interview, which took place during June 2011, Ravan talks about her amazing life and accomplishments.

BK: Are you happy with how Goldie and the Gingerbreads is being honored at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Exhibit?

GR: Right now we are honored in the R & R museum which is wonderful, I would like the actual Hall of Fame to honor us for being the first girls rock group, before we all die….Carol MacDonald, is already gone, she died two years ago. She was the Guitar player. I might also mention that I was the first female producer to produce acts other than themselves. Women had produced themselves by then, but not other acts.

When you were first starting out in Goldie and the Gingerbreads, did you have to fight being seen as a novelty since the idea of an all-female band was pretty much unheard of at the time?

We were considered a novelty till they heard us. Right from the first note, they knew they were hearing and watching something special.

 How did your male peers react to the band?

A woman will always be treated like the weaker softer sex, very hard for men to comprehend ‘women doing what men do’ even if it’s better. The USA was far more misogynist than the Euro men. In Europe they said, “Wow, you are great!” and in the USA the guys were like, “Do you broads really wanna be in this ruff business? Shouldn’t you be home married with children?” I never let it bother me, it drove me to become so good that the male musicians would get embarrassed when they followed us on stage, the thing that really always bothered me was, how a journalist would mention age….they do not say Mick Jagger is in his 30’s now…40’s now etc…or what the male groups wore that night.

What was the best thing about being in Goldie and the Gingerbreads?

The best thing about having put Goldie and The Gingerbreads together was that it was the best schooling of music anyone could get. I feel sorry for the musicians today, they don’t get a chance to play clubs, learn, jam…radio just sucks today…it’s a fast food industry…I loved the older times when you didn’t get a contract for recording cause of payola…you got it cause you were good and there was a future.

Do you have any plans to release a compilation of Goldie and the Gingerbreads’ music in the future?

I believe there is enough to put out a full CD.  I am not sure the quality of those records would hold up now, the other problem is the singles are on different labels, some on Atlantic records, some on Decca England, some on Spokane Scepter records, it would be hard to get an ok from all of them to put it all together…I will be trying ….someone tried to bootleg a CD, but its not only Goldie and the Gingerbreads, it’s also my first group The Escorts.

Ten Wheel Drive Band

Genya with Ten Wheel Drive.

Was it a big change for you going from an all-female band to being in a band with all males when you joined Ten Wheel Drive?

Man oh man yes……but there was a bit of a break between the two bands, I had joined a male jazz trio because the drummer was a boyfriend [at the time]…Les Demerle, who is a great drummer. As far as Ten Wheel Drive, the feeling was not as warm as having a bunch of girlfriends in the same band…Ten Wheel Drive left me lonely many a time…I was used to hugging and kissing after a [Goldie and the Gingerbreads] show, uh uh, not with male players, especially Jazz players in TWD…they just do their thing and go smoke a joint.

Did people react differently to Ten Wheel Drive because there were male musicians involved than they did to Goldie and the Gingerbreads as an all-female band?

Well, the shock of Goldie and The Gingerbreads when curtains went up, was always a great thing to look at from stage…..I loved it…I always had something to prove, to work hard at.

What is your favorite memory from your time in Ten Wheel Drive?

Getting to jump on stage when playing with people like The Allman Brothers at the Whisky in LA when working opposite them…Having Janis Joplin jump on stage with me at the Scene Club NYC…I loved clubs, TWD really only did larger venues…So when I would get to a smaller club I could get a more personal performance. Like the old days with Goldie and The Gingerbreads.

Did you feel as if you had any trouble being taken seriously as a woman record producer since it is typically a job that males do?

I always got  resistance especially from engineers, but  I would fire engineers if they didn’t give me what I wanted,  and if it was an artist giving me a hard time, I would  pass on them too… I took no chances when it came to my reputation. I remember an engineer telling me how nervous he was about me because he heard I was tuff on them, I said, “Just give me what I want and I’m an angel”…The part that bothers me is when a male producer says what he wants, he is called a genius, when I say what I want, I’m hard to work with!

What is your favorite album that you have ever done?

URBAN DESIRE for sure…Basically, this was  the first time, I was able to produce myself, and it was the most recognition any of my albums ever had, it was the most picked album for two weeks in the trades, me and Springsteen’s record…..(my record company decided to close shop as I was climbing up the charts ). Ever since then, I have produced myself,  I have had enough experience by then  to do that. When I produce myself I have to step away from me and ego…ah, you think that’s easy? I have let certain vocals go on records that I was not all that thrilled with but they worked some sort of magic, you have to be pretty experienced to do that, it’s not easy standing away from yourself. Also those days I always worked with engineers, today I engineer myself with the magic of Pro Tools… on my computer… but and this is a big but….there are pros and cons here for not being in a studio, but rather working out of your own house. I like working with some tension…so I give myself deadlines too. “You’re never alone with a schizophrenic” haha.

What are your favorite bands to DJ on your radio shows?

Ah so many, new ones are a group from Europe, Fake Elegance is one of them,…and  for my Chicks and Broads show…I still play the hell out of my older women: Baby Washington, Darlene Love, a new group called Spanking Charlene…the Sweet Inspirations…. Sissy Houston is in that [last] group (mother of Whitney Houston), the Ting Tings, Tegan and Sara…

Genya Ravan Album Undercover

What inspired your latest album Undercover?

Well I work best under pressure, so when I was signed to labels they would say, “We need to have that record finished by such and such”, that’s when I would do my best writing. Today, there is no pressure, there are no labels, such a sad time… I’m so glad I came on the scene when I did…those were the best music years….just look at what we had then….but back to the question.  I came up with my  Undercover CD by thinking about some songs I always wanted to sing, and decided to do my versions of them…I like doing that, it’s sort of old school, like jamming on stage with players you never played with before, and letting magic happen.

I interviewed Nina Antonia for Venus Zine back in 2007. Her writing has been a huge influence on me. She has been a music journalist in Britain since the ’80s and wrote an amazing book called The Prettiest Star in the mid-’00s. It is about her experience growing up in Britain during the ’70s as a fan of Glam and Punk music, which I could really relate to, and she weaves her tale with the story of Brett Smiley, who is an underrated Glam Rocker, that was destined to be the next David Bowie, but whose career did not turn out as expected. It is quite a gripping story! I interviewed her not too long after that book came out, and got to talk to her about the book, as well as other people that she has written about such as the New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders (she wrote two books that have to do with Thunders, one about the New York Dolls and one about about his career) and Peter Perrett from the Only Ones.

Nina Antonia

Glitter in the Gutter: a legendary music journalist talks about the impact of Glam Rock on her life and the not-so-glamorous aspects of her writing career

By Bess Korey

Nina Antonia with Brett Smiley

Nina Antonia with Brett Smiley

In her recent book, The Prettiest Star: Whatever Happened To Brett Smiley?, legendary British music journalist, Nina Antonia, parallels her personal memoir with the biography of musician Brett Smiley. Smiley’s all too brief shot at fame as a Glam Rocker in the mid-’70s and subsequent fall into despair and addiction when things did not work out as planned, is brilliantly interwoven with Antonia’s tale of being a young music fan growing up in Liverpool, England.

Antonia’s life was changed forever by the burgeoning Glam Rock movement and the musicians with whom she was able to identify with from that scene, including the New York Dolls, their guitarist Johnny Thunders, and, of course, Smiley. The book spans a 30-year-period, chronicling the ups-and-downs of life faced by Smiley and Antonia, and ending on a high note when their lives intersected in the early 2000’s. During that time, they finally met in person, and Antonia played an important part in getting Smiley’s lost 1974 Glam Rock album, Breathlessly Brett, released on RPM Records.

Her early interest in the Dolls and Thunders led to her being the first person to ever write biographies about both subjects: The New York Dolls: Too Much Too Soon and Johnny Thunders: In Cold Blood. She is known as an authority on the Dolls because of that and appears in a recent documentary, New York Doll, about the Dolls’ late bass player, Arthur “Killer” Kane. She has also written, The One and Only: Peter Perrett, Homme Fatale, on a founding member of the pioneering British Punk group, the Only Ones, and she has had articles published in renowned British music magazines, such as Mojo and Uncut. Antonia has certainly come a long way from being an unhappy little girl who used her daydreams of the Dolls, Thunders, and Smiley as an escape. In the following interview, which was conducted via e-mail during March of 2007, she candidly discusses her journey.

Bess Korey: In The Prettiest Star you mentioned that when you were trying to find a publisher for your first book, Johnny Thunders: In Cold Blood, one of the publishers you showed the book to had the gall to tell you that women shouldn’t and can’t write about music. The lengthy resume that you have created as a music writer since then has certainly proved him wrong. Was that the only time that you have had to deal with sexist behavior in the publishing world or have there been other instances over the years as well? Also, do you think that people have become more accepting of female music journalists since the ’80s, or does it seem to you like women who write about music are still made to feel like they have something to prove? 

Nina Antonia: Throughout my time as a Rock n’ Roll writer, I’ve often had to deal with sexism, so the first incident which you mention, from The Prettiest Star, was kind of a precursor. It’s not quite as bad [now] as it was in the ’70s. But I’ve watched as male contemporaries in the same field have been offered the opportunity to make a decent career, while I’ve had to scratch [out] a living.

In the music press there is still the sense that the male voice, in print, at least, is the most authoritative. In the UK, there are usually one to two women writing for each Rock magazine, if they’re lucky. This is the quota filled. I have to admit, however, that I’m also not “one of the boys.” I don’t hang out at the pub with the guys from whatever Rock mag, and this also goes against the grain, as do the bands I’m usually associated with.

The most infuriating incident I encountered was from an American writer, a woman; which made it all the more galling; who was writing a book about women in Rock n’ Roll and contacted me about two years ago with a query about ’70s groupie glamour queen, Sabel Starr. I was as helpful as possible and let her know that I did the last interview with Sabel in my New York Dolls book. Ironically when the book came out, the journalist sourced a male author, who hadn’t actually spoken to Sabel, and totally ignored the Dolls book. I got a teensy thanks, which was lost in the footnotes.

I can’t say whether people have become more accepting of female music journalists, because I can only answer from my own experiences. On a more positive note however, I do get lovely feedback about my books from lots of guys so the “fault,” if there is one, lies within the media’s attitude, not with the Rock reader.

From what can be gathered in reading about your life in The Prettiest Star, you’ve never been reckless or self-destructive like the musicians that you choose to write about. Why do you think that you have such a strong desire to write about the dark side of Rock n’ Roll? And does writing about such things help you stay grounded?

I suppose you could say I was emotionally reckless and self-destructive in some of the relationships I embarked upon, but as a single parent I had to learn to survive as well. I probably have a strong desire to write about the dark side of Rock n’ Roll because it reflects something in me, an echo of my childhood, which fashioned my outlook on life.

Also traditional success stories are pretty boring, I’d rather write about the authentic: people who have had to struggle yet triumphed by getting their records out against the odds, people whose lives are real. I hate high gloss, air brushed perfection and MTV homogenization. Authors like Nelson Algren, John Rechy, and Jean Genet influenced me, because they understood the poetry of the gutter. I am grounded because I’ve had to be to pay the rent.

How would you describe Brett Smiley, and the effect he has had on your life, to people who have not read your book? 

The Prettiest Star, which is both Brett’s biography and my autobiography, is, amongst other things, a reflection on the ephemeral quality of pop music. As a Glam phenomenon, Brett was as fleeting as a snowflake, which gave him and the music a magical quality. He was the Greta Garbo of teeny-pop; elusiveness can be a great quality.

The “imaginary” Brett character belongs to my early teens. Brett Smiley of today is a very different person; much more earthy, as is his music. I perceive him like a figure in a fairy story, someone remembered from another lifetime, whilst wishing the real Brett all the very best with his future endeavors. Besides, he is very much concerned with the now, as well.

What inspired you to write a book about Peter Perrett of the Only Ones? 

Peter is like a modern day Baudelaire. If you don’t know Baudelaire’s work, it’s incredibly contemporary in its jaded cynicism, yet it has a timeless, morbid beauty to it. Perrett and Baudelaire also share the same predilections for dissipation as well. Perrett is one of the most anti-establishment people I’ve ever met; he refuses to live within society’s rules. Peter is a truly mythical figure, I once described him in an article as being the “Syd Barrett of the new wave”; there is a lot of mystique surrounding Perrett that continues to exert a fascination over people.

The Only Ones’ music is kind of baroque, grandiose almost. It’s the sound of opium dreams and car crashes, refinement and chaos. The Only Ones have just reformed and are going to be playing gigs this summer in England, so I may update the book.

Even though you’re a female writer, you’ve chosen to chronicle the lives of male musicians, as opposed to female ones. Does gender play a role at all when you choose the topics you want to write about?

The two female artists I would have most wanted to write about were Debbie Harry and Nico, I think they are both wonderful and, indeed, I’ve done sleeve notes for a Nico CD. However, I always write about artists who have largely been under the radar, in terms of media coverage. When I wrote about the New York Dolls, they hadn’t yet reformed and hit the comeback trail, but that’s a bit of a tangent. What I’m trying to say is that I didn’t think there was a need for me to write about Debbie Harry or Nico, as there were perfectly good books already out about both of them. It’s not an issue of gender either, it’s always been about whose work and style moves me.

Which book do you like best out of the four you’ve written, and is that the one you enjoyed writing most?

Johnny Thunders; In Cold Blood is the one that means the most to me, because it was my first book and entailed a lot of struggle. I put my soul into it and got to work closely with Johnny, who was my Rock n’ Roll hero. It’s also the book that I get the most feedback on. Johnny captured a lot of people’s hearts and In Cold Blood is an authentic document. It originally came out in 1987, first editions can cost quite a lot if you can find a copy. I only have one left. It was revised and updated a couple of years ago and it’s the new version, available through Cherry Red Books, that is still in print.

Nina Antonia with Crooked J

Nina Antonia with Crooked J

Are you working on any new books or projects right now?

I had a difficult experience with the last book I tried to get off the ground, which was going to be an alternative look at Glam. At this stage of the game, I’m too weary to fight for what should be obvious, i.e., a decent advance and a reasonable timeframe for writing a book.

Right now I’m concentrating on managing a band called the Skuzzies. Their front man, Crooked J, is my partner. If I’m going to write about any band at all, it will be the Skuzzies. They have the grimy allure of the city after midnight and incorporate everything I’ve ever found inspiring in music and literature, whilst being totally themselves.

When you were younger, could you have ever imagined that your life would turn out this way? Does the fact that you have been so involved with the lives of your heroes seem surreal to you at all, or does it just feel normal now? 

In my early teens I spent most of my life in daydreams, as this was preferable to real life. My dream was to meet Johnny Thunders. I suppose my dreams came true but of course things never turned out in the way one anticipates. Life is bittersweet, as were my experiences of getting to know Johnny and writing his biography. His life was far from perfect, as was mine, but it was still the realization of something very special and finding creative fulfillment is rewarding.

Writing Too Much Too Soon was a completely different experience, it was more of an elegy to the original New York Dolls, a fond goodbye. To answer your question, I don’t think I could have lived my life any other way. My books gave me a voice that would otherwise have gone unheard.

This is the uncut version of an interview that appeared on Venus Zine’s website during December 2010, and features additional questions Cherry Vanilla answered that did not appear in the Venus Zine interview.

Interview: Cherry Vanilla

The ’60s and ’70s music scene legend talks about what inspired her to write her new book, Lick Me, raves about the realism of Mad Men, and shares some recollections of her times with Andy Warhol and David Bowie.

By Bess Korey

Cherry Vanilla’s autobiography, Lick Me: How I Became Cherry Vanilla, was released during November 2010, and it is a no holds barred account of her life and career during the ’60s and ’70s. During those decades, she was a successful “Mad Woman” in the Advertising industry; collaborated with Andy Warhol and was one of his Superstars; had a personal relationship with David Bowie while she was doing PR work for him during the Glam Rock era; and had her own music career as a Punk Rocker during the mid-late ’70s. All of these achievements and more are covered in Lick Me, and she touches on some of these milestones from her life in the following interview.

What inspired you to write a book about your life story at this point in time?

The kids who are in the rock scene now have so many more worries than I had when I was young.  There’s so much fear in the air.  There are real threats, of course, but also I think the government keeps us all in check by making us fearful and promoting the fact that they are our big protectors.  George Bush and Dick Cheney really used this tactic a lot.  I wanted to promote a bit of fearlessness, at least about art, activism and sexuality for them.  And for the older folks like me, I just wanted to remind them of the wild good times we had, when things were not so scary as they are now … make ‘em count their blessings for having had such a fabulous youth and rejoice in the fact that we’ve survived.

Was it tough for you to write about so many personal things that happened to you, and since you name names, did you worry at all about how people may respond to the book?

It was extremely cathartic to write about so many personal things, but also extremely painful at times.  I’m a very practical person and I move on fast from failure, tragedy and the like.  But all of the hurts and feelings I had buried so long ago came to the surface once again and had to be dealt with in a much deeper way once I started writing about them.  But then, of course, remembering all of the fabulous rock & roll nights I’d had, the extreme joy of getting so close to the music and the musicians I loved, really made me feel so extremely lucky.  I mean, for a little Irish Catholic girl from Queens, I certainly had some rare and incredible experiences.

As for worrying about what anyone might think, I had to put that out of my mind and try to tell the absolute truth about every encounter and every situation, no matter what.  I think that as long as you strive so hard to portray things as they actually were … and it was all so long ago … I don’t think that people should have any reason to get upset.  And even though I reveal so much about myself and my innermost feelings, embarrassing moments and such, I really tried hard not to reveal too much personal stuff about those in the situations I describe. I mean, I might tell everything about how fabulous it was to be in bed with David Bowie, Kris Kristofferson and the like, but I would never discuss the size of anybody’s penis or those kinds of tacky details.

Do you watch the show Mad Men, and if so, based on your experiences of working on Madison Avenue, do you feel as if it is a true representation of what was going on in Advertising during that era?

Oh my God, they got it so right, I can’t believe it!  It’s exactly as it was.  They even mention Rattazzi’s restaurant, where I had my first poetry reading.  And what a reminder of just how fortunate I was!  I mean, I kind of knew that women had a hard time in that world, but I somehow just didn’t think that it applied to me.  I was so naïve, and that might have been my saving grace in a way.  I just assumed that if I did my job well and got along with my co-workers, that I would be rewarded with responsibilities, raises and positions befitting my work ethic and my talents.  And I think that naïveté kind of saved me.  I just seemed to sail through the obstacles and I became one of the very few radio/TV producers and casting directors on Madison Avenue at the time.  The only thing they haven’t covered thus far in Mad Men is Fire Island and the LSD scene, which was very big with all of us Mad Avers at the time.  I am waiting to see that episode.  Maybe they will lift one from my book.  Or maybe I could help them write one.

Do any of the female characters on Mad Men remind you of yourself back then?

Well, I see a bit of me in all of them.  Peggy certainly captures the advancements I made career-wise, but I wasn’t as dark or dorky as they portray her in the show.  Looks and attitude-wise, I was much more like Joan.  But I was more independent and ambitious than she seems to be.  I certainly wasn’t like Betty.  I didn’t want to be anybody’s wife or girlfriend back then.  I wanted to be free to screw around all I wanted and to pay my own rent and my own way.

How do you feel working on Madison Avenue influenced your later career and your time doing PR work for David Bowie?

You know, what we did on Madison Avenue was paid advertising.  It was the corporate world and it’s where I learned the methods and the rules of promotion.  But when I started doing PR for Bowie, what thrilled me most was discovering how much press coverage one could actually get for nothing via public relations. And that’s when I learned how to combine them both.  I remember when the great fashion critic, Mr. Blackwell, put Bowie on his Worst Dressed Female List.  I saw that as a great opportunity to make a very inexpensive radio campaign out of it, which was then written about and talked about so much in the press and in important social circles, that we got ten times our money’s worth out of it.  We didn’t really have huge amounts of money on hand to promote David back then; we just made it look that way to the public.  And it was not only my advertising experience that helped me with that, but also the experience I had gained in promoting the underground films and plays I did with my friends.  It was so much more challenging to get the word out on something when there was absolutely no budget to do so.

What was it like working with Andy Warhol?

Warhol gave me belief in myself as an actress.  He was always so encouraging and so full of praise.  He used to tell me that if Hollywood would only recognize what he called “the real stars,” meaning the ones he chose, like me, that we would once again have a golden age of movie stars, like he felt we’d had back in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s.  He believed that stars were born stars, not manufactured, and that one only had to have the insight to recognize them and then put them in a setting and scenario where they could shine as themselves.  My favorite moment with him was when I auditioned for him in order to get the title role in his play, Pork.  And instead of him making me read a scene from the play, as most playwrights would have an actress do, he just chatted with me about TV commercials and asked me to sing a hymn from catholic school.  I sang “Dear Lady of Fatima” and he loved it.  And I got the part.

Do you have any memories from your time with David Bowie that you would like to share?

Well, my favorite memories from my time with Bowie are the ones from the Ziggy Stardust concerts on his early US tours.  They were so groundbreaking and amazing, and so entertaining.  I really feel so lucky to have gotten to attend so many of them.  But, of course, getting to have sex with him that first time, after the concert in Boston is probably my most favorite memory of all … that and the many nights we stayed up talking till dawn, when he was at the height of his cocaine period.

Were you involved with the Feminist Movement at all during the ’60s and ’70s?

Not officially, though I felt I was a natural feminist all of my life.  I wasn’t afraid to do anything a man could do, socially, sexually and career-wise.  I felt I broke down a lot of barriers, opened a lot of doors and did away with some major taboos.  I earned my own money and paid my own way.  And I can’t remember ever letting anything stop me from doing something I wanted to do or accomplishing something I wanted to accomplish because of my gender.

Even though you weren’t officially a Feminist, do you feel as if the Feminist Movement affected your life as a businesswoman and performer?

Of course, and I feel it affected a lot of women’s lives that followed.  I wonder if there ever could have been such commercial entities as a Madonna or a Lady Gaga, if there had not first been the more underground female characters such as myself.

Cherry Vanilla in 2010.

Cherry Vanilla posing in 2010.

What influenced your decision to emerge from behind the scenes in the music world to the forefront as a performer?

The Sex Pistols are what got me to go to London in 1977.  I had been into both American and UK rock groups for years and years – all of the big ones … Beatles, Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, Pink Floyd, Leon Russell and the like – but when I heard the Pistols’ Anarchy In The UK for the first time, there was an energy in it that I just could not resist.  I sold everything I owned and got on a plane to London almost immediately.  I just had to see what was going on over there.

I have always had such a strong desire to demystify things, to find out what it must feel like to be everything from an ad exec, a DJ, an actress, a PR lady and so forth … it was only natural that I would want to demystify the rock star thing.  I was in the music business already, and it was the ultimate music biz role.  I wouldn’t have been satisfied had I not gotten up there in front of the drums, the amps and the guitars and found out what it actually felt like to spill your guts out to an audience and control the energy in the room … and to try and raise it to a fever pitch, without it getting completely out of control and causing mass chaos.

Do you think it’s easier to be a woman in the music business today than it was in the past?

Not necessarily. I think it’s hard being in the music business today no matter what sex you are.  There’s a lack of focus on any one form, the lack of a movement of any kind, a trend.  It’s the long tail thing created by the web.  Instead of a hundred artists selling millions of albums, it’s millions of artists selling hundreds of albums, or tracks, as is more likely now. Mick Jagger said an interesting thing in a recent interview and that is that musicians all through the ages never really made tons of money … but there was that one window in time in the sixties and seventies when groups like his were able to become extremely famous and extremely rich by making music.  But that time seems to have come and gone.  Now a musician is just lucky to be making a living at all by way of his or her music.  There are, of course, the Lady Gagas and the Atomic Toms who come along now and then.  But most of their success is based on a gimmick, not on the music.  And even they are not racking up the sales like a Michael Jackson or a Mariah Carey once did.

How do you feel that you’ve changed the most since the ’60s and ’70s?

As an artist, I am no longer about glitter, glam, sex and seduction.  And I guess the same can be said for me as a person.  And that’s probably a good thing at my age.  Once I lost the desire for sex, I, of course, lost the need and the desire to seduce.  And that changes everything about one’s attitude, motives, conduct and style.  I feel so free now … free of the need to be sexy, seductive and in fashion.  I am what I am and if someone doesn’t like it, that’s their problem. I’m happy to be in my wrinkled 67-year-old skin and confident in my talents, accomplishments, personality, experience, loyalty, integrity and dependability.  I’m at that point in life where I can say exactly what I feel and what I think, without the fear of judgment or rejection.  As an artist, I’m still financially very insecure, but I understand that sort of comes with the territory and I accept it.  But socially, I am way more secure than I ever was when I was young and hot.  My aim was always to convey a relatable truth of the human condition through my art.  But there was a time when I felt it also had to be a little bit shocking.  Now, I just feel like I have to strive to tell the truth.  It still may shock some people, but I am in no way consciously trying to do that.  I’m just trying to inform and relate.  And I think that’s the goal of most artists, young or old, then or now.

What projects are you working on now?

Currently, I am giving my all to promoting my book, Lick Me. I spent two years writing it and I would like to see it get into the hands of as many people as possible.  I’ve been traveling around the States, doing readings, signings and interviews.  I’m hoping someone will want to make a movie of my story, and that I’ll be involved in that.  And I’m beginning to think about my next book, the one that will continue the story from 1977 to present.  Mostly though, I’m working on staying healthy, so I can accomplish all of these things.  And that’s the most important project of them all … for all of us.

An edited version of this interview originally appeared on Venus Zine’s website in January of 2008.

Donita Sparks

With L7 on the backburner, the guitarist-vocalist talks about the ’90s flashing controversy, Rock For Choice, and her forthcoming solo album, Transmiticate.

By Bess Korey

Donita Sparks of L7

On the afternoon, during early-October 2007, that I had made a date to call Donita Sparks for a phone interview, I found myself incredibly nervous. Her former all-female band, L7, had changed my life when I was a teenager, and I had always found Sparks’ tough, rocker chick image to be admirable. But, at the same time, I found it to be quite intimidating, hence the sense of anxiety when I made my call. It turned out that my initial perception of Sparks was completely wrong. This Rock n’ Roll veteran, whom has paved the way for so many other female musicians, and has helped prove to the world that women can rock just as hard and as well as men, if not better, was about as modest and friendly as could be.

L7 had an amazing 16 year run, which lasted from 1985-2001, and during that time, they put out 6 studio albums, including 1992’s Bricks Are Heavy. That album featured the Sparks penned, hit single, “Pretend We’re Dead”, which landed the band on MTV, and launched them to international superstardom. A definite influence on the Riot Grrl movement, both musically and politically, L7 decided to use their fame for good by founding the Pro-Choice Organization, Rock For Choice.

It may seem as if Sparks hasn’t been in the public eye as much since L7’s disbandment, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t been busy. She has spent quite a few years working on her solo debut, Transmiticate, which is due to be released in January of 2008, and has also added the title film composer to her lengthy resume, a recent example of this being her scoring work for the film, The Life Of Reilly.  During the Fall of 2007, she embarked on her first tour as a solo artist, and had her new band, the Stellar Moments, backing her up. This may be a new phase in Sparks life, but the fact that she has chosen former L7 bandmate, Dee Plakas, to be the Stellar Moments’ drummer, proves that her musical past is never too far behind her.

BK: After being in an all-female band for so many years, what has it been like for you to switch to a co-ed line-up with the Stellar Moments?

DS: I think it’s been great. With L7, we were all equal partners, and with this [band], I’m in charge. It takes on extra responsibility, when you have to be boss, and that’s been interesting. As far as the co-ed thing, I’ve found that the guys in the band have been really respectful. It’s been totally cool.

Do you see any major differences between playing with male and female musicians?

I don’t think I’ve played with enough different musicians to have an opinion on that. L7 were all women for a very long time, even though our first drummer was a guy. He was problematic because he was an alcoholic. Was he problematic because he was a guy or because he was an alcoholic?  I don’t know. I just haven’t jammed with enough people, I’m not a big jammer, I get a band together and that’s what I stick with. I can’t really say gender-wise if there are issues or if there are just personality differences with each individual person.

How do you think you’ve changed the most, as a person and artist, since you stopped working with L7?

I used to work out a lot of my aggravation with songwriting [for L7], and I haven’t done that as much. I guess if I do it [let her aggressions out], it’s always been in a humorous way. I think there’s more spirituality on this record, there’s more of a spiritual level to it than L7. L7 was about a lot of raw emotion, and this is a bit more about channeling some other strengths.

There has definitely been much anticipation for the release of Transmiticate. And during your fall 2007 tour, you sold a sampler EP at your merchandise booth that gives a preview of some of those songs. It definitely shows off how much you can rock, but it also gives us a peek at your softer side, as well as the fact that you have great pop sensibilities. How much of this is reflected on the new album?

The songs we didn’t put on the EP, that are going to be on the record, there’s a lot more pop and there’s some really slow pretty songs. We made the EP for the tour Rocking, the rest of the record is a little bit of that, and some other stuff too. We wanted the Tour EP to pack an exciting punch, and the rest of it is going to be exciting in a different way. It’s newer directions for me.

Do you still consider yourself a political person?

When L7 started Rock For Choice, a lot of the shift interview-wise started to go to politics, and it got really frustrating for me, as an artist, because I wanted to talk about the music. I have no problem with playing benefits, and I’m really glad we started Rock For Choice. I think activists are great. I’ll vote and I’ll go to marches, but at this time, I don’t feel like getting involved in any organizations. I think it’s a very heartbreaking industry to be in. You have to have a lot of strength to fight the power, and it’s really fucking tough, and I’m going to leave that to the activists. I just want to be an artist and contribute in that way.

Donita Sparks of L7

Sparks performing with L7

When you were in L7, there were some rather shocking incidents that occurred which led to you getting unwanted media attention, such as flashing your vagina on Live TV in Europe, as well as a separate incident where you threw a used tampon at the audience during an L7 show. Do you think these things were blown out of proportion?

Dropping my pants on Live TV was part of the absurdity of the show. They had a buns contest going on with a bunch of guys. I’ve always been an absurdist. People are like, “Oh, what’s that supposed to mean?” But I just felt like doing it. It was absurd and it amused me. And the tampon thing too. We were having a bad show, and I wanted to amuse myself and do something completely absurd. I got a little performance art in me. They were throwing mud at us, and I went performance art on their ass. As far it being blown out of proportion, I don’t know. I guess it is pretty shocking. I wouldn’t want my mother to know about it, and I don’t think she does.

Do you feel the need to have shock value on stage today?

Well sometimes you just get in a zone and do weird shit on stage. It’s kind of an out of body experience. As far as something like that now, I don’t feel the need for it [shock value] and I would purposely not throw a tampon. I had never done it before [the incident] or since. It was a bad time. It’ll never happen again, and it certainly won’t be part of my act.

Do you see L7 as being permanently broken up?

As John Lydon says about the Sex Pistols, I reserve the right to do L7 whenever I want to. That could be next year, that could be whenever. I’ll do it when I want to, and hopefully it would be with the original people who were involved, or whomever. Right now I don’t want to do it, but you never know how you’re going to feel in 5 years.

An edited version of this story appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of Girlistic.  Some of the information in this version, especially pertaining to ’70s Female Glam Musicians, has been recently updated.

The Sirens and ’70s Female Glam Rockers By Bess Korey

***

Part 1- A Brief History of ’70s Glam Women

Platform Boot

The genre of ’70s Glam Rock, despite all it’s gender-bending and female posturing, was still inherently a male-dominated movement. The trinity of Glam consisted of David Bowie, T.Rex and Roxy Music, and they are known for pioneering the genre, and for being influential on many of the groups who came thereafter. But there were many different factors that influenced the movement, which remain both known and unknown, and these elements go back to way before the 1970s; Oscar Wilde, Hollywood Glamour of the 1920s-1940s, ’50s Rock N’ Roll, and the ’60s Warhol Factory Scene, to name a few. The latter element having one of the greatest affects on the feminization of the male musicians in the scene. Warhol Superstars like Jackie Curtis and Candy Darling, whom also happened to be Drag Queens, proved as models for this feminization, and both were immortalized in Lou Reed’s Glam Anthem, “Walk On The Wild Side.” Jackie Curtis, who was light years ahead of his time, represented the glitter in the gutter aspect of Glam that would later be portrayed by the New York Dolls, and other groups that wanted to be glamourous on a junk shop budget. But Jackie also was said to have an influence on Bowie’s high-brow glam image as well, especially since he had bright red hair and wore glitter make-up before Ziggy Stardust did. Candy Darling represented old time Hollywood Glamour, and could even pass for a ’40s screen siren in her photos. Unlike Jackie, Candy wanted to live her life as a female and pass as one, where as Jackie was all about androgyny, and acting out the gender of which he felt most comfortable being that day. When he was female, he played that role in a campy, over the top way, and was never interested in passing for a real female. The feminization of the male musicians of the Glam movement mixed the styles of Candy and Jackie, but had Jackie’s attitude. Even though they were fine with dressing like females, they didn’t actually want to be that gender.

What about the flip side to all this gender-bending; the female musicians that dressed butch, and/or took part in the movement. Well, as most people know, there was Suzi Quatro, and she played an important part in the scene. She didn’t wear make-up, always wore pants, and exhibited behavior, which at the time, was considered quite male, including; playing the bass, writing her own songs, and being very raunchy on stage. You have to remember that during the early ’70s the idea of a female playing an electric musical instrument was seen as an anomaly. Even the bass guitar, which later went on to be thought of as a more so feminized instrument, was still seen as a male plaything. So the fact that Suzi knew how to play it, and did so in a very sexual way, was seen as very revolutionary for the time. Suzi is often remembered as the only female that was part of the Glam Rock scene, but the truth is that she was not the only female participating, she was just the most well known.

There were women behind the scenes, like Angie Bowie and June Bolan, who each played a hand in shaping the images of their famous husbands. After all, the best way for a man to learn how to dress female would be from a woman. And it is very possible that there were other image makers in the scene who were female as well. As far as other female performers go, there were quite a few, and unfortunately most of them have been forgotten, which could have to do with the fact that Glam was a male-dominated movement, and could also be attributed to sexism towards female performers causing inaccuracies and omissions from the annals of Rock Music history.

Fortunately, there are some websites out there, like Glam Rock Bear (which was one of my favorite sites, and is sadly now defunct), Crazee Kids Sound (which has a page dedicated to Glam Girls here:  http://crazeekids-music.blogspot.com/search/label/*glam%20girls) and ’70s Invasion (which features all kinds of music from the ’70s, but specifically mentions female Glam Rockers here: http://www.angelfire.com/vt2/70sinvasion/page4.html) that remember these female Glam performers, and pays tribute to them. Performers such as: Noosha Fox (of the band Fox), Dana Gillespie, Lynsey De Paul, Bobbie McGee aka Gladys Glitter, Zenda Jacks, Kristine Sparkle, Fanny, Bonnie St. Claire, Cherry Van Gelder-Smith and more. As an American Record Collector, I have had much difficulty finding music by most of the above artists. There have been some recent re-issues by some U.K. labels that I have been able to get my hands on though, like Kristine Sparkle’s Devil Woman, which was put out by RPM Records within the past few years, and Cherry Red Records recently re-issued Fanny’s Glam album, Rock N’ Roll Survivors. So there have been some efforts in recent years to get the music of some of these women out there, but in general, their music and information about them, can be hard to find. (Like I said, I am in the U.S., so this is my experience from living there, it may be easier to find music by some of these artists in other parts of the world. I do know for a fact though that finding information on the web about some of these artists can be difficult, so I stand by that statement).

Unlike Suzi Quatro, a lot of these female performers expressed themselves in an extremely feminized way. Instead of dressing butch, they played up their femaleness, but in a drag way, which can be seen as gender bending within itself. Here you had females dressing like males who dressed like females, and in the process, putting yet another twist on traditional gender roles.

Part 2- The Sirens

Sirens Band Photo

The Sirens circa 2007

35 years after Glam Rock first made its mark on the world, a group from Detroit, Michigan, called the Sirens, are putting a long overdue female twist on the typically male style of music. Since their inception in 2000, The Sirens have toured in North America and Europe, including a record breaking tour of Serbia which lasted consecutively for over 2 weeks, and made them the first U.S. band ever to play that many shows there in a row. They have released two albums of Glam covers, their most recent, More Is More, during early 2007. The current line-up of the group includes: Muffy on vocals, Melody Licious and Miggy Starcrunch on guitars and backing vocals, Miss Lela on bass and backing vocals, and Malarsh on drums.

During the Spring of 2007, I was able to sit down with  Melody Licious for a chat at a favorite hometown hangout of hers called The Belmont. Licious wasn’t a founding member of the group, but still feels as if she has helped to carve out their sound. She says, ” A bunch of Detroit rock chicks got together [including vocalist Muffy, as well as some current and former members of the Gore Gore Girls, which is a band that Licious was also involved with] and they wanted to do a ’60s Girl Group thing, and they started doing that around 2000. Fast forward 7 years and now we’re this Glam Rock Powerhouse. Muffy loves Girl Groups, Glam Rock, and Fashion. She is a fashion genius and Muffy is the Sirens. The band started out wearing awesome outfits and doing covers of groups like the Shangri-Las and the Shirelles. I got asked to join the Sirens in 2001, and I told Muffy I wasn’t going to join the band unless I could bring my metal zone pedal with me. I brought a metal sound to this ’60s Girl Group type of scenario, and that kind of made it a lot heavier.”

On More Is More, Licious’s metal influence can be heard on quite a few tracks.This is especially apparent when they cover, “1-2-3-4 Rock And Roll” by Girlschool, whom themselves were not a Glam band, but were influenced by the genre’s sound, as were some other metal groups. Not surprisingly, Licious chose for the song to be on the album and it is one of her favorite tracks that they do. “Hellraiser” by Sweet, which is also on the album, would be another example of a hard rocking Glam song that later went on to influence metal groups, like Girlschool, Def Leppard, and Motley Crue. There is even a hidden track, which includes a very tongue-in-cheek cover of Poison’s “Talk Dirty To Me”, so throughout the album, they not only acknowledge Glam itself, but what preceded it and what it has influenced as well. They give a shout out to their hometown of Detroit’s musical roots by covering the MC5’s “High School.” They show off their pop sensibilities when they cover the Bay City Roller’s “Saturday Night”. Keeping in step with the earliest incarnation of the Sirens, they pay homage to the Shangri-Las, whom have long been known as an influence on Glam, especially on the New York Dolls, by covering their song, “Right Now Not Later”. A nod is also given to the musical Hedwig And The Angry Inch, which like the Sirens’ themselves, is a modern day take on the ’70s Glam Rock sound. The varying styles of the covers they choose, from radio friendly pop to harder rock, enables the group to show off their versatility as instrumentalists, as well as in Muffy’s vocal style. Her vocals are able to walk an androgynous line when she evokes the raw, grittiness of Noddy Holder [from Slade] to sounding pretty and feminine like Mary Weiss [of the Shangri-Las], and she is able to find a balance between those two very different singing styles.

The Sirens original intention was to be an all-female band. Licious says, “At one point the Sirens had three guitar players, a bass player, a singer, and a drummer, all female, and all from Detroit. That was around early 2003. One of the guitar players kind of wandered off, so then it was five girls for awhile, instead of six. In 2005, we got asked to go to France for a tour, after our first album came out, which was self-titled. It was produced by Michael Ivans who was the bass player for the Flaming Lips, and was put out by Get Hip Records. We toured France, but our bass player couldn’t go because she had a baby, so we got this guy in the band [Malarsh who started out playing bass for them, then switched to drums]. Muffy had one requirement for him. She said, ‘You want to join this band, I got two words for you, Cod Piece.’ Once we let a guy in, and Muffy totally dressed him up in a gold leather jacket, chest hair ablazing, with a cod piece, and 7 inch platform boots, it just changed the tone of the band completely.”

Muffy’s fashion expertise comes from her line of work which she does outside of the band. She is the Visual Design Manager for Neiman Marcus in Detroit, and is known across the country for her work with the company. She has taken this fashion know how and has applied it to the Sirens’ extremely over the top and campy Glam Rock look, which is very apparent on the cover of More Is More. Muffy thinks up the bands’ costumes for their gigs, which are different for every show they play, and usually have a theme to them. The spectrum of costumes includes everything from gold lame and platforms, to the Un-PC Indian look, which is inspired by Sweet’s performance of “Wig Wam Bam”, to being covered in flames like Slade, to looking like characters from the movie The Road Warrior, to being Glam Rock Mechanics.

In regards to the fact that the Sirens’ only play cover songs on that album, as well as the preceding one, Licious had this to say, “We play the songs we want to play, we put our time and energy into making a good show, and looking and sounding good, and entertaining a crowd. Where as a lot of bands put all their energy into songwriting [instead]. Jazz singers, Blues singers, even Pop singers, nobody bats an eyelash if they don’t write their own songs, in fact it’s almost expected. But with a Rock band, if you don’t write your own songs, you’re considered either a fake or just a cover band, but I think that in the nature we do it, much like the Detroit Cobras, our style precedes the fact that we don’t write songs. We choose to focus [instead] on our musicianship, our stage shows, our costumes, and having fun.”

Licious is in her late ’20s, so she doesn’t remember the ’70s. Many things have changed since that decade, especially in regards to how people view women musicians, but in certain ways, they’ve stayed the same. She says, “When I was growing up [in the '90s], being a woman musician, you were limited in who you could be influenced by [in terms of other female musicians]. And now I’m really glad that people have [more of] a choice, like you can decide between Kittie and the Donnas. When a girl band does good it no longer turns into a feature article just about how they’re chicks. But I’m still waiting for the female versions of the Rolling Stones and Led Zepplin. I don’t know if it’s the marketing, if it’s the women [musicians] not having enough confidence in themselves, the record labels thinking it won’t sell, or the public not wanting to believe it, but women have been playing music for decades, and I don’t understand why there hasn’t been an all-female band that has been held as highly as those guy bands. Female Rock Gods are few and far between. You have Bonnie Raitt, Joan Jett, Chrissie Hynde. But where’s the female Keith Richards or the female Eddie Van Halen? Women can play just as well as men, why aren’t they considered Rock Gods?”

An edited version of this story appeared on Venus Zine’s website back in June of 2007.

Cheap Perfume

NYC’s first all-female Punk band discuss the joys and hardships they faced while paving the way for the next generation.

By Bess Korey

Cheap Perfume Band Picture

Thirty-years-ago Rock N’ Roll was still a boys’ club. Even though all-female rock bands had existed before 1977, many of these bands were driven into obscurity. Most were seen as novelty acts, had short-lived careers, and/or were not given a proper chance to record their music.

In recent years, the music of many all-female Garage and Psychedelic bands from the ’60s has resurfaced, including: She, the Ace Of Cups, the Luv’d Ones (whom I have also written about, and the article is posted in this blog), and the Daisy Chain, and has been released by retro-themed labels like Ace and Sundazed. But by the mid-late ’70s, this rich musical history of all-female bands remained mostly lost. Female musicians who wanted to play in bands had to create a new path for themselves.

The members of Cheap Perfume (Lynn Odell on vocals, Susan Palermo on bass, Brenda Martinez on drums, Nancy Street on rhythm guitar, and Bunny on lead guitar), an all-female band that began in 1977, certainly felt like that was what they had to do. Born out of the early New York Punk scene, the fact that they were breaking new ground for female musicians, made them stand out from other bands, but it also sometimes worked against them. In regards to this, Bunny says, “That there were so few female musicians at the time proved to be helpful, but we felt we had more to prove to our audience — that we could actually play as well as the next band of male musicians — so in a way there was more pressure on the band to shine musically, as well as visually.”

But despite this added pressure put on them because they were an all-female group, Bunny still feels that, “The punk scene was definitely more welcoming to female musicians. Before punk, the music scene was mainly male bands and disco, with female singers, but without all-female bands.”

Punk not only opened a door for Cheap Perfume as female musicians, but it’s DIY mantra proved to be inspiring as well. Palermo says,“I was working as a waitress at CBGB, and after watching several other bands perform, I decided to form Cheap Perfume. I thought, ‘hey we could do this just as well’. Everyone was eager to hear and watch female musicians and I was just as anxious to get the music out there.”

Through CBGB’s scene, Palermo was fortunate enough to know a few other female musicians who shared a similar goal and desire, and was able to find the rest of the members through auditions. Funny enough, both Palermo and Bunny started playing guitar at the age of 13, and Palermo also tried to form her first all-girl band at that age as well, but unfortunately not to much success. Bunny stuck to her playing, but Palermo gave it up for a number of years. It wasn’t until closer to the time that Cheap Perfume formed, that Palermo learned to play bass. She was dating the bass player of the Tuff Darts, John DeSalvo, and he played a role in her wanting to learn the instrument.

The group did not have much confidence in themselves early on. Palermo says, “When we started, Brenda, Alison [was the name of the original guitarist, Bunny was her replacement, and did not join until later] and I would play for 3 hours every Saturday afternoon at Cottage & Castle, no matter what. It took us almost a year before we were competent — and confident — enough to start looking for a singer. You have to remember, there were few female musicians, and we really had no role models at that time. Once Lynn and Nancy joined the band, we auditioned at CBGB’s about 3 months later.”

Once they started writing songs, the band used influences from both the past and the present to carve out their own sound. The fact that they were 5 unique individuals with different musical tastes shows through the versatility of their music. Unfortunately, the group never put out an album, but there are a handful of tracks that have been recorded. “You Won’t Stop Me” is a straightforward punk song, loud and fast, with defiant lyrics, which could even be considered feminist, since the girl in the song refuses to let a boy stand in the way of what she wants to do. “Forever Damaged” verges on having a metal sound, and not only does it rock hard, but it also tells the tale of a woman who has lived too hard.  A cover of the Shirelles’ “Boys” which they make their own, completely switches gears from the latter songs by being poppier, as well as being heavily influenced by the music scene of 1966. It is a gender-bending response to the Chocolate Watchband’s “Let’s Talk About Girls”, with a little bit of Tommy James And The Shondells’ “Hanky Panky” and the Capitols’ “Cool Jerk” thrown in for good measure. Like “Boys”, “Bittersweet” also has more of a pop feel, and it’s verse is reminiscent of Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire”, but it is more like Blondie’s cover of the song than it is the original.

Their musical diversity doesn’t only point out the conflicting tastes amongst the band members, it also serves as a testament for the scene they were a part of, which had such a wide range of bands, with very different influences, all being considered Punk.

Once the group started playing gigs on a regular basis, they would go back and forth between CBGB and Max’s Kansas City every weekend. Peter Crowley, who was manager of Max’s Kansas City at the time, remembers them as being one of the most popular groups to play at the club. The fact that boys found the band attractive only helped their popularity, but Crowley feels as if there was more to it than that. He says, “I remember they had lots of boy groupies, but also -because they played with as much energy and skill as any of their “competition” – they attracted a much bigger following than they got from being pretty girls.”

Two of the “boy groupies” who went to see the band play back then were Michael Zuko and Freddie Katz. Both men look back quite fondly at the Cheap Perfume shows they witnessed in the ’70s. Zuko says, “I used to see CP at CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City. Yeah, yeah, all girl band, very cute – but the songs really struck me, very hooky choruses, harmonies, good musicianship, etc. I would remember them from time to time. I do shows quite a bit in NYC, would talk to people about them, and remember the titles of the tunes – “Tommy”, “Ordinary Girls”, “Overnight Angel” – so their songs did stay with me. I remember our girlfriends would get in a huff, ‘…oh, you wanna see Cheap Perfume because they’re cute, right?’ (well, yeah, sure!), but they were great live – 5 girls, full sound, always an element of ‘uh, oh, what’s gonna happen here’ – in my opinion, better than similar groups that were out there at the time.”

Their music also left a lasting impression on Katz. He says, “The fact is they were a great rock-n-roll band.  Part of the proof I can offer of this fact is that although I have no recordings I still can remember many Cheap Perfume songs all these years later. Titles like “Haunted”, “Too Bad”, “Tommy’s Such A Tease”; I could play them on the guitar and sing them for you right now!”

Katz is currently a sound engineer in NYC, and has kept in touch with the band after all these years. Despite their popularity in the city, he feels that since they did not have a chance to record an album, it made it difficult for them to gain recognition outside their hometown.

Not having an album to promote wasn’t the only slight that hurt the band. In general, they felt very misguided. Bunny says, “We were a young band. We really did not have the management. We had no knowledge of which direction to go in a field that was not really open to female musicians til later.”

The gap that had always existed due to them having differing musical tastes grew larger over time, and there were some personnel changes as well. Bunny ended up leaving the group and things were never the same after that. Susan was the next to leave, and they were unable to recover. The band broke up shortly after her departure in 1981.

Cheap Perfume Group

The reunited members of Cheap Pefume playing together in 2006.

Flash forward 25 years later to 2006. Max’s Kansas City is long gone, and CBGB is on it’s last legs.

The members of Cheap Perfume were feeling a common bond of heartbreak over the impending closure of CBGB, and it ended up bringing them back together. This led to them playing CBGB again before it closed for good, and wowing both new and old fans alike.

Shaunda is a new fan that witnessed that 2006 show, and she says, “I remember standing in the back area with my friends and Cheap Perfume went on. I could not take my eyes off of of the drummer Brenda and guitarist Bunny. The entire band performed with such confidence and flair. I mean New York Dolls unspeakable cool. Brenda and Bunny made me want to get up and play right at that moment!”

Shaunda is not the only new female fan that the band has gained since they reunited. Bunny says, “I feel we have a lot of new young female fans, so our audience is pretty well balanced now. Since there are so many female musicians performing now–unlike the ’70s and ’80s–the audiences now are very receptive.”

Cheap Perfume still have a hold over their former “boy groupies” as well. Zuko, who is a musician himself, recently got to play a gig with them, and had this to say about their set, “When the girls took the stage after midnight, it all came back to me – the raw energy, even as a trio- Bunny’s straight ahead locomotive guitar (she also handled lead vocals), Susie’s stylistic bass lines, and Brenda’s powerful backbeat (that girl packs a wallop!). They did a few of the songs I remembered – hell, I sang along! Cheap Perfume played the way I’ve always liked it – fast, loud, kinda sloppy R&R, and no encores, dammit. Ok, they’re cute, too!!!”

The group will be playing gigs at NYC venues such as Siberia and Don Hills, during May and June of this year [2007], and have also started to work on their long overdue album. Drummer Brenda Martinez says, “We are currently working in the studio recording some new and older material. So, we will be releasing more music…we will keep everyone up to date on our MySpace page. We weren’t able to record all that we wanted in the ’70s and ’80s…which is something to look forward to now because recording has changed and improved so much…we are really excited!”

Even though the closing of CBGB was quite a blow for the band, Bunny feels as if, “…Rock N’ Roll never dies and we believe the spirit of CBGB and the New York punk scene will always live on and that is proven if you give a listen to some more recent Punk bands out there that have kept that spirit alive. Hopefully everyone will help keep it alive by supporting Cheap Perfume and all the other bands that are keeping that message out there.”

This story first appeared on Bitch Magazine’s Blog during April of 2009. I titled it The Secret History of Women In Rock- Charlotte and Christine Vinnedge of the Luv’d Ones, and was hoping that it could turn into a series of blogs on that website where I could chronicle underrated all-female bands from the ’60s-’80s, but that never came to pass. Now that I have started this blog as a place for my work,  I will try and carry out that goal here.

The Secret History of Women In Rock- Charlotte and Christine Vinnedge of the Luv’d Ones

By Bess Korey

Luv'd Ones group performing

Charlotte and Christine Vinnedge were two sisters that decided to step outside of traditional gender roles and play Rock music together during the mid-‘60s. They became the foundation of two different bands, the Tremolons and the Luv’d Ones, and were acting on Feminist principles before the Second Wave of Feminism had even become a national movement. Being ahead of their time ended up hurting them more than helping, and even though the Luv’d Ones had the talent and drive needed to become a huge success, their band leader Charlotte was not willing to comply with what was proper behavior for women in a man’s world, and the band ended up paying the price for her rebelliousness.

Charlotte was the eldest of her 7 siblings, and the Vinnedge girls grew up in an atypical household for the time. It may have been the ‘60s, but they came of age during the early to mid part of the decade, and the country was still having a ‘50s hangover when it came to the roles of women. Instead of being groomed to be housewives and mothers like many of their peers were, they were encouraged to follow their dream of playing music by both of their parents, and their father even built them a studio in the basement of their Niles, Michigan home. In 1964, women that wanted to be involved with music had limited choices for what they could do; they could be a folkie and play acoustic guitar like Joan Baez, or they could be a pop singer like Lesley Gore, or they could join a singing group like the Supremes. The idea of women playing Rock music was pretty much unheard of. If they did choose to start their own band and play their own instruments, they were expected to be cute and wear matching outfits, to play cover versions of popular songs instead of writing their own material, and to embrace the fact that they were nothing more than a novelty.

When the Tremolons started playing together in 1964, they were temporarily willing to adhere to the guidelines above. The group consisted of: Charlotte on lead guitar and vocals, Christine on bass guitar, Mary Gallagher on rhythm guitar and Faith Orem on drums. This line-up would stick together for close to 5 years and would later morph into the Luv’d Ones. Christine’s son and Charlotte’s nephew, John Sorensen, was not born yet when the Tremolons formed, but was raised on his Aunt and Mother’s stories of their ‘60s musical escapades, and had this to say about their earlier band, “They actually sort of followed the Beatles-esque type look, they had matching outfits and their hair in the ’60s bobs that they had back then for girls. They were not allowed to do what they wanted to artistically. The record labels and managers they were meeting with wanted them to fit a mold and [dictate] the kind of music that they played. They were at a crossroads. Did they do what they wanted to do artistically or were they supposed to listen to those guys [and change themselves in order to] make it [in the music business]? They decided to go a different route and the Luv’d Ones was the breakout from the Tremolons.”

By forming the Luv’d Ones, the girls were finally able to assert their individuality and Charlotte could showcase her songwriting skills, thus enabling the band to stretch their musicianship to new depths. Though they were more pop oriented early on, and were influenced by popular genres such as surf and girl (singing) groups, the deep emotions that lurked below the surface of their music made it more than just frivolous pop. Charlotte was influenced by the underrated ‘60s Garage Rock Visionary, Sean Boniwell of Music Machine, to not be afraid to touch on the darker side of life. Her low alto voice fit those kind of themes well. She also tuned her guitar down to a lower pitch, which became her trademark, and was able to wail on it just like her hero, Jimi Hendrix, which led to her being nicknamed the “female Jimi Hendrix” by her musical peers. On the Sundazed release, Truth Gotta Stand, her musical progression with the band can be heard; from playing catchy yet melancholic pop songs, to dark Psychedelic masterpieces which are way ahead of their time and could even be considered Proto-Goth.

Picture of Luv'd Ones album cover.

The aforementioned Sundazed release is a collection of singles, demos, and live material. Unfortunately the Luv’d Ones were never able to record a full length album. They did record some singles for Chicago’s Dunwich Records and managed to get some radio airplay in the Mid-West, but it was the band’s initial rejection of being controlled and not wanting to act like a cookie-cutter female group, that led to their commercial failure. Sorensen overheard his Mom and Aunt talking about the difficulties they had with that label, and this is what he recalls, “They pressed several singles through Dunwich. The label didn’t know what they had [when it came to the group's talent] and the group went a different way. Char was a very headstrong bandleader. She wanted things her way when it came to what direction the band would go, and the problem with that was that it was the ’60s and she was female. Record executives just weren’t listening to a woman in the ’60s who told them what she and her group wanted to do. They frowned at that. It was back when [the general male attitude was that] women raised children, made dinner, stayed at home and the man put food on the table and went to work.”

Though Charlotte and the band were disappointed that they were unable to achieve the commercial success they deserved, it did not cause them to break-up. In 1969, Christine became pregnant with John so she quit, and since they were unable to continue without such an important member they disbanded. In the early ‘70s, Charlotte went on to record a Hendrix tribute album with a former Hendrix bass player named Billy Cox. The album was called Nitro Function, and it ended up being a huge hit in Europe, finally giving Charlotte a taste of success. Unfortunately, the album was mostly unknown in the States, and the Luv’d Ones remain to be as well.

In 2009, both Charlotte and Christine have passed away, but their music remained an important part of both their lives until the very end. Sorensen feels grateful to have had a chance to grow up around these strong and talented women. He says, “I was weaned on the music, and it was funny because even when I was growing up I admired my mother and Aunt and I knew from an early age, from just listening to the music and without anyone else telling me, that they were ahead of their time. They did something that nobody else around them had heard of. There was no other band that came out of the ’60s that had their sound or attitude. I was very proud of them and I knew they were doing something unusual.”

Daughters of Eve

Debi Pomeroy and Andrea Levin Parnes share their recollections of being members of Chicago’s first all-girl band.

By Bess Korey

An edited version of this story appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of Ugly Things.  I first found out about this band back in the ’90s when I acquired volume 1 of Girls in the Garage and they left an impression on me that has lasted until this day.

Daughters of Eve 45

During the mid-late 1960’s, the Rogers Park/Edgewater neighborhoods of Chicago were a hotbed of youth culture activity. Senn High School, located on Ridge Road, near Hollywood Avenue, was the home base of two local bands, the Daughters of Eve and the Dirty Wurds. It was more than just the High School that tied these bands together, a pair of siblings played an integral part in the formation of these groups as well. Debi and Justin Pomeroy shared a love and enthusiasm for music that was encouraged by their father, whom happened to be a Pastor. He went on to be nicknamed the “Rock N’ Roll Preacher”, for being willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to help his kids make their musical dreams come true. When Justin started a Chicago Blues influenced, Garage Band, called the Dirty Wurds, the “Rock N’ Roll Preacher” became their manager. In an era when the idea of women playing in Rock bands was seen as an anomaly, Debi’s father was still willing to nurture her musical aspirations as well.

The renowned Chicago Music Institution, Old Town School of Folk Music, which was located by Wells Street and North Avenue at the time, ended up playing a key role in the Pomeroys’ musical story.  Justin and Debi were both enthralled with the Folk music scene which was occurring there, and it inspired them to re-create that scene in their own neighborhood of Edgewater, which was located about 20 minutes north of the school. Debi says, “I was studying at the Old Town School of Folk Music, which is where I learned to play guitar, and my brother and I were having hootenannies in our basement. We’d go down to Old Town School of Folk Music and we’d beg these Folk artists to come perform at our hootenannies, and they would. We had the stage set up, and the lighting, and it would be packed [with people]. We had great music, and we’d have a lot of our friends playing. It was just all about music back in those days, and it continued on when I started in the Daughters of Eve.”

Andrea “Andee” Levin [Parnes] was learning to play guitar around the same time Debi was, and also took inspiration from the Folk scene. “I was really interested in Folk music. I was listening to Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul & Mary, and I was copying all of their stuff. I would put the needle on the record and listen and try to figure out what chord it was, and continue back and forth, and then finally I ended up knowing what I was doing, and practiced so hard that I was actually getting quite good at Folk music.”

At that time, Debi, Justin and Andrea were all attending Senn. Justin stood out at school for being a rebel that was ahead of his time. He was the first guy there to have long hair, and it was before the hippies had made it fashionable. Andrea ended up meeting Justin before she met Debi, and was able to bond with him over their love of Folk. It wasn’t until Justin had invited her over to the Pomeroy house that Debi was able to meet her. The house was connected to their father’s church, which had a gymnasium inside of it, and the kids were able to use it as a music practice space.

Debi vividly remembers the first time she saw Andrea. “She [Andrea] came over to the house, she had long red hair, and she always wore black, and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s a pretty cool chick. Who is she?’ I was getting ready for rehearsal with my surf band and I had to carry all of my equipment to the church gymnasium. We were in the gym, [Andrea was there] so I asked, “Who is she?” [And was told], “Oh that’s Andee.”

Debi played lead guitar in that surf band and was the only female member. Becoming friends with Andrea gave her a chance to play music with girls too. Andrea, Debi and a friend named Sue started a trio together where they all played guitar and sang. This trio played together just for fun, but it foreshadows the musical direction that both Andrea and Debi would end up going in soon after that.

Debi was never intimidated by the fact that the world of mid-‘60s Rock music was male dominated. Her passion for music drove her past the boundaries of what was feminine and what was masculine. Feminine was being a folkie and playing acoustic guitar. She rejected this notion by playing electric guitar, and then she developed an interest in playing drums, and that became her instrument of choice. Debi’s involvement in Rock musicianship proves that Justin wasn’t the only member of the Pomeroy family that was ahead of their time. This was 10 years before Heart and the Runaways, and the idea of women as Rock musicians was hardly a blip on the mainstream radar. But just because the mainstream was unaware of the fact that women wanted to play Rock music, doesn’t mean that this desire didn’t exist. Debi wasn’t alone; there were many other women that had developed the same interest, and they went on to start bands like: the Luv’d Ones, Hairem/She, the Ace of Cups, the Feminine Complex, the Daisy Chain, the Shaggs, and a plethora of others. In the 2000’s, many of these groups have finally gotten the recognition they deserve, and have even had their music re-released by labels like Sundazed and Ace Records, but for the decades preceding that, they were mostly forgotten, and the chauvinistic nature of music journalism could perhaps be blamed for their omission from the annals of Rock history.

Andrea had been following the female folkie path before Debi had come into her life. Even after they became friends, she hadn’t developed much of an interest in playing Rock music, but this was soon to change. Debi’s transformation from guitarist to drummer led to an important musical opportunity being presented her way. This happened during 1966 when she was 15 years old. Debi says, “Carl Bonafede [who was a famous Chicago DJ, and the manager of the Buckinghams; a Chicago group who went on to national renown with hits like "Kind Of A Drag" and "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" ]  was looking to start an all-girl band [to be the Buckinghams' sister group]. Marsha Tomal [Guitar and Vocals] and Judy Johnson [Also on Guitar and Vocals, had already both joined the group at that point] knew John, a friend of mine at the time, and we were jamming in the basement [of her house, her brother was there too, and she was playing someone else's drum kit], and John said, “Hey, would you like to audition for an all-girl band? You play really good drums.” [And she said], “But I don’t have a drum kit.” And he said that was ok, that I could bring the kit in the basement [to the audition] and told me about the band and how they had management. So we went out to Marsha’s house, and I auditioned [for Carl] and I guess I did everything right. Carl said, “Wow, we’ve got to get you a set of drums!” So he went over to talk to my parents, and said “Debi’s a really good drummer.” and asked for my parents to buy me a set of drums.”

 

Debi Pomeroy playing drums

Debi Pomeroy on the drums with Daughters of Eve.

This group would go on to be called the Daughters of Eve [DOE]. The “Rock N’ Roll Preacher” was the one who coined this name. He had mentioned that all girls were the Daughters of Eve, and those involved agreed that it would be a good name for the group. Marsha, Judy and Debi became a fixture of the group, but the line-up wasn’t quite cemented yet. Andrea says, “Debi, being a drummer, was recruited to be in an all-girl band. It was Marsha, Judy and Debi, and some bass player, whose name I don’t even know, because she apparently flaked out all of the time and never made it to rehearsals. There was this one Saturday that Debi invited Sue and I [to DOE's practice], so we went there and they couldn’t start their practice because the bass player didn’t show up. So Carl was going nuts, ranting and raving, and the band was bummed out because they couldn’t practice without the bass player there. Up until this point, I had never picked up a bass. But I was good musician, I knew my music, so I said, “How bout I fill in until she gets here?” So they gave me a [bass] guitar and I just started playing. I don’t even know how I knew how to do it [play bass] but I just did. I guess Carl was impressed, because he asked if I wanted to be in the band.”

Because of her Folk background, Andrea had some reservations about joining a Rock band, but it was ultimately her parents that made the decision for her. Carl had called them up and was able to charm them into letting their daughter join the band. Andrea reluctantly agreed to do it. This reluctance did not stick with her in the long run, and she started to enjoy being in the band.

Carl was all business and wasted no time in getting some gigs together for the girls once Andrea was in the band. Though the fact that they were an all-girl band was enough to make them a novelty, Carl still wanted them to have a gimmick, and that was for them to wear matching outfits. Andrea recalls one of the outfits that they had to wear with much disdain. “We ended up with these outfits that were so God awful, they were like green jeans and a burgundy colored velour V neck, and not only were they God awful, but we actually had pictures taken in them. That was the first uniform when we actually got work.”

Once they had begun gigging, interest quickly grew in the band, and they started to draw a following. The girls were received well, even by male audiences, and Andrea feels as if it was more than just the novelty factor which drew people to them. She says, “We had a good sound and a good energy, and the audience was always very receptive, just thrilled. I never felt that anyone was looking at us going, “Oh My God, who do they think they are?”  It was like, “Wow, you guys are great, and you’re girls!”  It was a novelty, but I don’t think they were thrilled [with the band's performances], or just liked us, [only] cuz it was a novelty. They really liked the music.”

Debi also felt as if the audience reaction to their band was very positive, and was even able to compare their smaller scale of success with that of the Beatles. She says, “I got to go to their [The Beatles] concert and after that day, I just couldn’t believe what kind of impact they had on people, especially the girls. And then when I got into Daughters of Eve, and we played, it felt kind of like the same feeling, because all the boys [in the audience] got all crazy, since they had never seen an all-girl band play [before]. When you’re young like that, you can go, “Wow, we’re like the Beatles!” It’s such a fantastic feeling to have people like you, and want to hear you play.”

The band’s success with Andrea as a member ended up being pretty short lived. She had only been 13 at the time she joined, and found herself in the middle of a tug of war between her parents and Carl. Debi says, “It just so happened that Judy’s parents didn’t get along with Carl, and Andee’s parents didn’t get along with Carl. It was a constant struggle. That was the only bad part about the whole thing, when you’re young, because you’re at your parents’ mercy.”

These circumstances had an affect on Andrea prematurely exiting the band. The group continued on without her, but Debi feels as if things weren’t the same. This definitely had to do with the fact that Andrea and her were such close friends. But despite that, Debi stuck with the band, and remained their drummer up until their demise in late 1968. The band had two other bass players before they broke up, a girl that Debi had known who was named Mary Lou, and a girl who Carl had found who was named Lori Wax.

During their two and a half years together, they put out 4 singles, all of which remain hard to find today and have never been released together on a CD [Note: Debi has these songs in her own personal collection, and would like to put them out on CD someday]. As for their musical output which can be obtained at this current time, their breathtaking cover of the Animals’ “Help Me Girl”, which was gender-bended and re-titled, “Help Me Boy”, can be heard on the compilation, Girls With Guitars [Ace Records].  The dreamy, otherworldly sound of the music, and the enchanting vocals, entices the listener, and makes their version stand out dramatically from the original Animals’ track. A more upbeat, as compared to the melancholic feel of the former song, surf influenced number, “Don’t Waste My Time” can be heard on Illinois in the ’60s: Volume 1 of the Psychedelic States [Gear Fab]  and on Volume 1 of the ’90s compilation series, Girls In The Garage [Romulan Records].

All these years later, Andrea and Debi remain friends. Although both women no longer live in Chicago, having both relocated to California since the ’60s, music remains an important part of their lives. More than 40 years later, Debi continues to play drums, and has created an extremely lengthy band resume for herself; which included a brief association with an all-girl Garage band from Michigan called the Luv’d Ones, whose lead singer and guitarist, Char[lotte] Vinnedge,  was thought of by Debi, and by others, as the female version of Jimi Hendrix. Before leaving Chicago, Debi was also in another all-female group of a different genre, Country, called Jeannie Wright and the Western Wonders. After moving to L.A. during the late ’60s, Debi went on to play with numerous other groups including Marlane and the Swinging Dolls, and the drummer she replaced in that group, Jenny Jones,  became a famous Talk Show host in the ’90s. Her drumming skills even drew the attention of Rock Svengali, Kim Fowley, who considered adding her to the line-up of his soon to be legendary all-girl band, The Runaways, but changed his mind when he found out that she was older than her young looking appearance. The Runaways, like their predecessors DOE, were meant to be a teen only band. DOE had even turned away a female musician in her 20s who wanted to join because she was considered too old, and ironically enough, the same thing ended up happening to Debi 10 years later.

After DOE, Andrea was in another all-female, Chicago group, called the Weaker Sex. It was a bit of a departure from her former band, being a 6-piece group, including horns, and having a funkier sound. After moving to California, shortly before Debi did in 1969, Andrea decided to give up the Rock N’ Roll Lifestyle, and became a wife and mother. Her love of music remained permanently ingrained in her, and even though she was no longer playing in bands, she took on the profession of being a music teacher, and continues to impart her musical wisdom on students today. Andrea, as well as Debi, come across as much younger than the middle-aged women that they are, and this definitely has to do with the fact that neither of them has let go of the youthful, rebellious spirit of Rock N’ Roll that began to shape their lives when they were in DOE.

I am a writer named Bess Korey and I have started this blog as a place to compile my articles that have been published since 2007 about female musicians from the 1960’s to the present (most of the emphasis here will be on the ’60s-’80s, but there may be some more recent exceptions), and to share any relevant news and/or musings having to do with this topic.

When I was a teenager back in the ’90s,  I came across a compilation of CDs called Girls In The Garage, which ended up changing my life. These CDs featured bands with female musicians from the ’60s (yes, such a thing existed, believe it or not!), and I became hooked on them. About a decade later, I started to write about female musicians from the ’60s, and got to do pieces on two of the bands that were featured on the Girls In The Garage comps (the Daughters of Eve and the Luv’d Ones). These articles are posted here, as well as some of my other work that is about female music pioneers.

When the Runaways biopic came  out in 2010,  it inspired me to start this blog, since I wanted to dispel the myth that they were the first all-female band (that is not meant to be disrespectful towards them, since they have been a huge influence on me and I have been listening to them for many years) but I am the kind of music writer that insists on always getting her facts straight, and quite simply, the Runaways were not the first all-female band, there were many others before them, and they deserve credit and recognition, and that is what I have been trying to do with my writing.  My work has appeared in Venus Zine, Ugly Things, Girlistic, and Bitch Magazine I also recently started writing for a new women’s music magazine called Boxx

I decided to name this blog, Girls In The Garage, since an interview I did with Julie Patchouli of the Pandoras in 2007 had that title (which I  re-posted here) and to also pay homage to the Girls In The Garage comps and all of the women musicians that appeared on them and still have not gotten the recognition they deserve for being trailblazers.

I also wanted to say welcome to my visitors, and that I hope you will comment and let me know what you think about this blog, the bands I write about, and the articles I will post. Thanks for stopping by!

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