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
The Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame announced this year’s inductees today: Nirvana, Kiss, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens, Hall and Oates, the E Street Band, Peter Gabriel, and two 1960s managers: Brian Epstein and Andrew Loog Oldham. Not a bad bunch, but yes, once again, a lot of males — white males in particular, this year. Contrary to some reports, Ronstadt is not the only woman: I’m assuming Patti Scialfa will be inducted with the E Street Band, and I hope Soozie Tyrell will be (though she’s not mentioned on the Rock Hall’s site).
I’ll take this opportunity to announce that I too will be at the Rock Hall: giving a presentation January 25 in honor of the library’s two-year anniversary. Given that I’ve been a vocal thorn in the hall’s side in the past, it’s generous of them to invite me and I’ll be a gracious guest — while making a case for why Suzi Quatro, the Runaways, and Joan Jett all deserve their own places at the podium one day. I’m looking forward to spending some time in the archives; they’ve been acquiring an impressive collection, and as a researcher, I’ve been dying to get my hands in it. So hit me up, Cleveland people.
Suzi and Patti Quatro at MEOW Conference
Kathy Valentine told two stories about the importance of rock’n’role models to an audience of mostly women, from 13-year-old You Tube troubadours to gray-haired guitar-slinging pioneers, this past weekend at the MEOW Conference in Austin, Texas. First story: While visiting relatives in England, the Texan teen turned on Top of the Pops to see a woman clad in black leather playing bass guitar and singing. Nearly forty years later, Valentine handed Suzi Quatro the Woman of Valor award at MEOWCon’s opening night. Continue reading
Suzi 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.
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!
I had an amazing reading at my local hangout The Corner Store yesterday. It’s now time to take the Queens of Noise show on the road! My first stop will be Austin, where I’ll be presenting at the MEOW Conference on October 25. MEOW stands for Musicians for Equal Opportunities for Women. The event is organized by Carla DeSantis Black, she of Rockrgrl magazine fame. Suzi Quatro will be keynoting, and a lot of other amazing women musicians, activists, and scholars will be participating.
Just in case you had any doubts that there is need for women to be empowered in the music industry, Jean Synodinis put together this inforgraphic of Women in Music By the Numbers.
Please include attribution to MEOW Online with this graphic.
Fifty-three years ago today Joan Jett was born into a June Cleaver world. Muscle-flexing ‘40s role model Rosie the Riveter had been sent back home from the factory, and new icons of femininity, like Doris Day, twirled in poodle skirts or, like Marilyn Monroe, shimmied in bathing suits.
Thankfully for Joan, by the time puberty began agitating her bones, sending her exploring the world, there were new idols to aspire to. Joan has told me in interviews that her first two inspirations were Liza Minnelli in Cabaret, and Suzi Quatro (it’s a point also made in Bad Reputation, the just-released, drippily written, but still interesting unauthorized biography of Jett). Both sheroes defied the hyper femininity of the Eisenhower Era, toying with tomboy masculinity — and exuding a sexy toughness to those of us who like our women on top. Quatro sang the Beatles’ “I Wanna Be Your Man” exuberantly, no postmodern need for irony. Liza was mesmerizing, transcendent. Eventually Joan would adopt Liza’s black tomboy cut and Suzi’s leather jacket — and become an adrogynous style icon of her own. Continue reading