After she’d spoken openly and sung movingly about domestic abuse, after she’d talked about coming to terms with her bisexuality and detonated Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream,” after she’d read a passage from her memoir where she destroys an “insect”s glasses, after she answered lots of questions from myself, copresenter Ruben Martinez, and enthralled students, Alice Bag sang a song from her childhood. It was an old tune, familiar to the chicano/a students in the audience (though not to this gringa); one young lady came up to the mike and sang along with the woman also known as Alicia Velasquez: two chicanas claiming their place.
Alice Bag was the lead singer of pioneering LA punk band the Bags in the late ’70s. They performed, briefly, with bags over their heads — a brilliant statement on Hollywood looksism, and a prequel to Pussy Riot’s balaclavas. Violence Girl: From East LA Rage to Hollywood Stage is a blunt but poetic memoir that began as a blog — required reading for all acolytes of punk feminism and Chicana identity. Joined by bassist Angie Skull, she drew a SRO crowd March 19 in the LMU English Department village.
Afterwards, Alice, Angie, two women’s studies students, and myself piled into Ms. Bag’s Honda Fit to hear “Salad,” a balls-out vegetarian anthem by the all-girl band No Small Children. It felt so great, rocking out to a new band with a pu
Me, Alice Bag, and Ruben Martinez
nk legend and the next generation of rabble rousers. I’ve met a lot of incredible woman artists in my life, but Alice is truly special: brilliant, open, generous, articulate, fierce.
For the final act in my series of posts about my collaborators for All Hail the Queens of Noise, I wrote about the artist I’ve known the longest. I first met Karyn Kuhl back in the 1980s when I was a fledgling journalist in Providence. It’s incredible that our paths are crossing again this Thursday. I chose Karyn as a Woman Over 38 whom I admire for a special issue of the website Tue/Night. I can’t wait to hear her wail Joan Jett style Thursday night. Be there or be sad.
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.
Kimberly Austin has a great webcast called Rock Book Show, and this week, I’m her guest! See my shiny face in the echo chamber of my office closet.
via Queens Of Noise: The Real Story Of The Runaways Book Interview With Evelyn McDonnell – Rock Book Show.