Matt Giles interviewed me for a Topic magazine story on women in the music industry circa 2000. I’m in great company: Allison Wolfe, Melissa Auf der Mar, Louise Goffin, JD Samson, Amy Finnerty, etc. There are intriguing and often divergent POVs in here, as one would expect/hope. A few comments particularly strike me. One is when Auf der Mar talks about her decision to join Hole being a statement of feminist solidarity:
“I felt a higher calling about women in rock, and quickly understood that this was much bigger than me. It was about women in general.”
And when Samson reflects on touring with Le Tigre, she perfectly expresses what grrrl power is all about:
“We wouldn’t have been who we were without the audience. Those people in that room, thinking about those things, sweating, feeling safe in our bodies, taking up that space, breathing the same air—that’s what we needed.”
On a more personal note, I love the moment when New York Times deputy culture editor Sia Michel talks about starting her career as my intern at SF Weekly, and how San Francisco criticism was led by women including Ann Powers and Gina Arnold:
“In my mind, music journalism was something that women did.”
Elsewhere, Ultragrrrl Sarah Lewitinn reflects on how Michel supported her career (as she did NYT music editor Caryn Ganz). I see us as a feminist music-critic bucket brigade, passing each other these support lines. These are all examples of the importance of women helping other women, creating safe spaces for each other to exist — musical matriarchies and matrilineals.
There’s nothing like playing a batch of your favorite records to set your head right. Thanks McAllister and Cass Monster for allowing me to take over She Rocks KXLU last night. Here’s what I played:
Bratmobile- Cherry Bomb
The Runaways– Yesterdays Kids
The Runaways- American Nights
Joan Jett- Bad Reputation
Suzi Quatro- 48 Crash
The Bags- We will bury you
Tribe 8- Manipulate
Fifth Column- Donna
Hole– Softer Softer
Suture- Pretty Is
Jayne Cortez – Sacred Trees
Nina Hagen- Future Is Now
Upset. Photo by Kyle Anderson
How cool is this: Girl-rock supergroup Upset will play outside the William Hannon Library after my Faculty Pub Night there April 22. The members of Upset are Patty Schemel (Hole), Ali Koehler (Vivian Girls), and Jenn Prince (La Sera). KXLU is cosponsoring the event and will be streaming my reading live out across the Los Angeles airwaves. I’m the girl with the most cake!
Usually, the train stays on the track, and nobody writes about it. Hole played the Fillmore at Jackie Gleason in Miami Beach Friday night and the show was probably most remarkable for what didn’t happen: No Courtney Love insulting her own fans with racist comments, no three-hour wandering self-indulgent marathon, no inability to play the chords and finish a song, no mass exodus by the audience. In other words, a totally different show from the disasterfest that made for such a great review by David Malitz in The Washington Post recently. (I hereby nominate said writeup for the Best Music Writing anthology of 2010.)
Unfortunately, since Love long ago gave up on letting her music be what’s important and compelling about her, it made for a rather boring show. Hole made some of the best songs of the ‘90s; tracks like “Doll Parts” and “Live Through This” still seem smart and powerful and timely. But for Love, fierce cock-rock blocking long ago became just another pose. She looked great, but in a tailored, expensive way: cascading Hollywood hair, perfectly lifeless breasts, little black dress. She bragged about her Raleigh penthouse — er, how punk rock. She opened with “Sympathy for the Devil” and sounded like a cross between Keith Richards and Bob Dylan, spiked with her own inimitable roar. But that roar has become a mannerism, not a statement. I’ve always wanted Love to succeed, to not just live through it all but triumph through it. Even when she’s not totally screwing up, she still disappoints.