Monthly Archives: October 2013

Suzi Quatro Rocks!

IMG_3075Suzi Quatro kicked off the MEOW Conference in Austin Thursday night, her first performance in her native country in years, with a rollicking five-song set. “Let’s go back!” she shouted, and back we went, 40 years to her breakthrough singles “Can the Can” and “48 Crash,” songs that made the young Detroit rocker a star in Europe, Japan, Australia — most of the Western world, except in the sexist old States. Quatro is a living, breathing, wise-cracking, string-slapping pioneer. The badass bassist was joined on stage by her sister Patti; they and their other sisters formed an all-girl band, the Pleasure Seekers, 11 years before the Runaways were a glint in Kim Fowley’s eyes. Then little Suzi had to go overseas to get some respect.

Before the set, Quatro was honored as a Woman of Valor at the MEOW Banquet; former Go-Go and current Bluebonnet Kathy Valentine handed her the plaque. (Valentine is Saturday’s keynote speaker and musical guest.) Longtime Austin scribe Margaret Moser was also honored, in a moving and tearful ceremony. The “Texas Blonde” had surgery for colon cancer last week, but was on the dais anyway. We women in rock, we’re survivors.

I’ve got to go see Suzi deliver today’s keynote speech, then give my own presentation on Queens of Noise. Tonight: Frightwig, the ’80s all-girl psych-punk band who recently reunited, and who I had the great pleasure of dining with last night. They are SO cool.

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Fowley on Lita and Cherie

“They’re easier to deal with as women than they were as girls,” says Kim Fowley of his recent collaboration with Lita Ford and Cherie Currie. It had been 36 years since the Sunset Strip provocateur had been in the same room with the two Runaways, and there had been a lot of shit talk during that time. But when the three sat down at a recording console to see if they could somehow reach artistic accord, Kim says that they found, lo and behold, that they had all grown up — even him.

“They’re very professional and knew their stuff,” the septuagenarian Svengali says of the women he used to call “dog cunts,” back when they were his teenage charges. “They knew more than they knew then. They had 36 years of knowledge. And then the cops came.”

Yes, that’s right, on a Saturday night in Hollywood, someone actually called the police complaining about the noise coming from the recording studio. Apparently LAPD were bemused to find the wheelchair-ridden Fowley with his various body-fluid bags in tow and a couple of  hot-looking women in their fifties. “When somebody says turn it down, there’s danger in the air,” Kim says.

The producer/songwriter, who’s battling bladder cancer, says the material is in Ford’s hands; this time, the ladies are in control.

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This Week: Austin!

I take the Queens of Noise show on the road this week, when I present the book at the MEOW Conference in Austin on Friday, Oct. 25, at 2:30 p.m. The conference includes a keynote and performance by Suzi Quatro, a keynote by Kathy Valentine, and lots of panels and performances featuring or discussing women and music. Plus, I’m going to eat lots of barbecue!

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Legendary Lita Ford Interview

Lita Ford talks about her new live album to the Rock River rockers of Legendary Rock Interviews.

via Lita Ford On Her Killer New Live Album,Upcoming Book, Single, Days of The Dead Convention and More! | Legendary Rock Interviews.

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Nico Reborn (Plus a Legendary Cowgirl)

Nico

Tammy Faye Starlite as Nico. Photo by Bob Gruen

Today would have been the 75th birthday of the enigmatic art chanteuse Nico. I saw her reincarnated last night, in a spot-on, dead-funny, brilliant show by the performer Tammy Faye Starlite, at the louche Pico Boulevard cabaret lounge Mint. Tammy impersonates the Teutonic beauty with the arch exaggerations of a classic drag act; her makeup-encrusted eyes zoom wide with sarcastic disdain at errant laughs or remembered inanities. But the interpreter’s sense of humor is sharp, wide-ranging, and wicked – she sings like Joan Baez, but she jabs like Lenny Bruce. Her targets shift from Nico’s legion of legendary lovers (Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, David Bowie, Jackson Browne) – “I mean friend euphemistically,” she says — to today’s crackpot legislators.

Starlite makes fun of the former Velvet Underground singer’s deadpan, drugged-out affect and German arrogance. “Jews are my go-to trope when I find something execrable,” she says. But she also sings Nico’s songs beautifully, funny accent and all. In the midst of her deconstruction of this cultish icon, Tammy resurrects her’s music, from the Velvets’ “Femme Fatale,” to Browne’s “These Days,” to Dylan’s “I’ll Keep It With Mine” –all songs written for Nico.  Starlite’s Chelsea girl is more than a muse for great men (though she is that); she’s an underestimated talent too proud to feel sorry for herself.

The show ended with Starlite’s ace band (Petey Andrews on guitar, Richard Feridun on guitar and mandolin,  Keith Hartel on bass, Erik Paparazzi on keyboards, and Aaron Conte on drums) tearing “Heroes” to shreds. Tammy sang Bowie’s epic with all shtick gone, only real sentiment now.

While Tammy left the stage to “do something,” Carlene Carter came out and played a walloping “I’m Waiting for My Man.” Carter – daughter of June Carter and a country star in her own right — has a great Janis Joplin voice and looked awesome in cowgirl shirt, shorts, black stockings, and boots. Incredible night. Thanks Tammy. Happy birthday Nico.

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Joan Jett Snubbed

The Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame has once again proved that they don’t think women count as rock’n’roll. Only one female artist is nominated this year, the eminently worthy Linda Ronstadt. (There are also two women in the band Chic.)  After being nominated the past two years, Joan Jett was completely snubbed in this year’s nominations. This is pathetic, ridiculous, infuriating, and nauseating.  Ladies, we need to convene at the MEOW Conference in Austin next week and plot the revolution.

 

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Miami Book Fair Here I Come

I will be presenting at the Miami Book Fair, Sunday, November 24, at 12:30 p.m. I’m on a great panel of fellow music scribes:

LYNN GOLDSMITH on Rock & Roll Stories, DAVID N. MEYER on The Bee Gees: The Biography, EVELYN MCDONNELL on Queens of Noise: The Real Story of the Runaways and MARK KURLANSKY on Ready For a Brand New Beat. Location: Room 8202, Building 8.

It will be great to be back in the 305!

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