Thoughts on an epic duel–Scott Pilgrim style

Disclaimer: These are some very late night thoughts, feel free to dismiss them as none other than wandering thoughts from someone who honestly should be sleeping right now, but is currently running strong on that great post-show-adrenaline, which you’ll hear more about tomorrow, provided I can rouse consciousness to make a blog happen.



You know that scene in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World where it’s band vs. band? Remember, the poster with too many exclamation marks? The amp vs amp? The epic scene where the music roared to life in ways that you wish would happen at a real show?

Well, here’s a question for you. Do you have bands that you’d like to see at an amp vs amp, band vs band situation? Because after tonight, I definitely have some thoughts on the matter!


On one side, we have Stolen Babies, from the sunny state of Cali fronted by the leave-no-holds-barred-attack-now-ask-questions-later-accordion-slaying Dominique Persi. They are heavy. They are brutal. In short: they kick ass. Need convincing? sure, okay. I can work with that. .

Okay. On the other side of this band vs band you have a band that thrives on frenzied punk rock of the play fast, play hard variety. Piñata Protest was founded by another equally badass accordion player by the name of Alvaro Del Norte as well as drummer JJ Martinez. Now these guys don’t shy clear of  heavy. In fact I think my favorite way to describe them is to ask you to get the song by Gogol Bordello “Immigrant Punk” in your mind. Remember the lyrics: “they’re coming rougher! They’re coming rougher! They’re coming rougher every time”. Yeah that’s these guys. they’ve got a sense of traditional tejano and hardcore punk and a huge variety of influences that makes them what the punk rock revolution of our generation SHOULD sound like. And live—these guys leave no survivors. Need some proof? Okay. Here ya go.


So back to the subject that brought me here…..Can you imagine an amp vs amp battle between these two bands? Epic would be an UNDERSTATEMENT.

I don’t expect this to ever happen, so until then, Universe, if you’re listening: please throw these bands together on a tour or on a festival stage, because these two bands need to somehow work together in some form. It’s a match that’s got to play out. Somehow. Someway.

And on that note….If you were to chose a winner from this round of Scott Pilgrim style amp-vs-amp battle, who would it be? and Why? and do you have bands you’d like to see in a battle till the death amp vs amp match? feel free to share in the comments!

When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution: The Mission Statement Revised

When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution is a blog based out of Salt Lake City, Utah, and can be used as a local and national resource as a reference to all things ‘women-in-rock’ related. In additional, frequent commentaries on feminism, social injustice/revolutionary thought, art, and rock-n-roll, as well as a focus on creating and defining our own voices.

In addition to an online presence, When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution meets in real life every fourth Saturday of the month at Mestizo Coffeehouse (unless otherwise noted) for an open mic. All forms of performable arts are welcome including–but not limited to–poetry, prose, music, dramatic readings, etc. The open mic strives highlight the voices of women and trans artists, but it an inclusive event dedicated to supporting and encouraging all works of art in a safe space.

When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution is dedicated to encouraging everyone to find their own voice, and to highlight the voices that need to be heard.

Want to be part of When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution as a reviewed or featured artist/open mic participant? Speak up! Email

For more information:
Facebook (Group):
Facebook (Blog Page):
Twitter: @rebelgrrrl


For those of you who have been longtime followers of the blog, you’ve probably noticed (how could you not?) the scarcity of frequent/consistent posts. It’s been a rough couple years, as I’ve emphasized in many other entries. This isn’t meant to be an excuse. I could have posted and didn’t. But sometimes it takes a rough patch and falling off the wagon to make you remember exactly what you’re missing out on. With the renewed mission statement and with the renewed sense of dedication to this path, I intend to bring back the original purpose of this blog: Highlighting bands with kickass women musicians who you may or may not have heard of and letting you have a front stage pass to why women in rock/pop MATTER so much in the music industry.

I’m excited to be back. The time is now.

All Hail the Rock Revolution

This weekend was so full of live music that I feel like I could crash right now and wake up next week. It was intense.

Friday night I went to see BugGiRL and Adrian and the Sickness rock the fuck out like there was no tomorrow and it was everything I could have asked for. I love the energy and the feel of rock and metal. There is just nothing like the sound of blazing guitars and the heavy drums. It’s like an aural shot of adrenaline. And both bands delivered everything I’d hoped for and more. Amber, of BugGiRL is a pure shot of rock-n-roll energy. Her influences are definitely classic rock, from AC/DC to Mötley Crüe and beyond. She wields her guitar like the cock-rock instrument it’s been immortalized as, full of that incredible dirty, sexual energy that makes rock-n-roll the genre that it’s supposed to be. Her energy is frantic and fun to witness and be a part of.

And Adrian, of Adrian and the Sickness? oh my. You have not lived until you’ve seen a guitar goddess in action. Her fingers flew over the fretboard of her wireless guitar and she was in fact a woman possessed by the spirit of the music. It’s no wonder that she’s named her band Adrian and the Sickness. Anyone with a connection to music knows that it is powerful, and a force that can be all consuming–in other words: a sickness. A disease that grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go. Adrian proved that. Her technique and her energy was impossible to resist. Part of me wonders how many guys she has made feel incompetent (or at least uncomfortable) due to her incredible mastery.

Between BugGiRL and Adrian & the Sickness, it was hard not to be inspired. Why fear the guitar when you’ve got women onstage proving that the instrument itself is not gendered. Anyone can make it their own. And if you know a woman who wants to get into learning the guitar (or are one yourself!) I suggest you look into both of these bands. They’ll get ya on the right track.

Saturday I went to an all day concert put on by a local rock radio station, 97.5 The Blaze. Saturday was wonderful. It was an outdoor concert in the heart of Salt Lake City (known as Gallivan Plaza) and I’m sun burnt. The music was great, especially the local bands. Believe it or not, SLC has a damn good rock scene. While a few of the names are well known to the local music community (the most notable being Royal Bliss, who really owned the stage–their reputation is well earned), I was familiar with none of them. Which on one hand is exciting, because you’re in the best place to discover new bands and musicians. The day was well spent, I enjoyed the music, the bands, the crowd, and the station’s effort throwing this incredible bash, but after spending the night before with talented/bad ass women musicians I couldn’t for the life of me shake this nagging feeling that….well…

….there was something missing.

97.5 has a good relationship with women. They’ve brought in acts like Halestorm into Utah, so it’s not like their ignoring the women who’re paving their way into the rock/metal scenes. The lineup for 2011’s Viva Salt Lake, well…it’s just what it is, right? It’s who they could get. Chill out, it’s not a big deal…Can we move on now?

But see, this right here, this very attitude, is exactly why women–especially in the rock/metal scene–aren’t getting the same respect the boys are getting. This attitude has been in place since June Millington picked up a guitar and started the band Fanny with her sister and some friends in the 70s. This is the same attitude that saw laughing record executives look at Joan Jett post-Runaways and say “Ohhh no, we’re not signing you.” Joan Jett had to go it alone and release her music independently. Today she’s still going as a musician and she’s still running her label Blackheart Records, where she’s making sure she’s signing acts like Girl in a Coma (3 piece alt/rock) and the Dollyrots (awesome pop/rock). It’s unquestionably a women-forward label.

Women have been a significant part of every music scene, from the blues, to jazz, to alternative, to rock to punk….WE’VE BEEN THERE. Yet women musicians are constantly left out of the rock picture despite the fact that more and more women are taking up instruments with the help of Rock’n’Roll Camps for Girls and other supportive parents and friends. The 90s saw a grrrl revolution in punk. With the leadership of musicians like Kathleen Hanna, Allison Wolfe, Carrie Brownstein and so many others, women finally found themselves represented in boy dominated scenes in a real way. Suddenly women could kick ass. Suddenly women could go to the local punk rock venue and actually HAVE a space to scream out their frustrations.

And yet, despite the progress, despite the work of musicians such as Courtney Love, Kat Bjelland, Otep, Kittie, Tairrie B., and so many others, women are still marginalized in a system that is happy stuck in the status quo. Women fronted bands are still regulated mainly to the rock magazine “hottest women in rock” issues instead of being a real and balanced part of the rockpages. This is NOT OKAY. This cannot continue to be the case. We’ve been fighting this war in different stages since the 60s and 70s, and it’s bizarre to think that as much accomplishment that we’ve had, you can still listen to a local rock radio station for more than an hour and not hear women represented. It’s bizarre to look at the rock charts and see no women-fronted acts represented. A quick glance at the Billboard rock charts reveals that the only act on the top 10 for the past couple weeks with a woman is Sick Puppies, which has Emma Anzai on bass. Thank goodness we have some representation. It’s better than none. But one woman among a male dominated field is not enough.

It’s hard to find faith in a system that is clearly broken. At the same time, the fact that the system is as broken as it is gives me a chance to do what I do, and bring amazing women artists to public attention. I’m happy to keep that gig. That said, I would like to see a balance in the mainstream rock world. I would like to see more women recognized without the feminist journalists/critics reminding people why it’s important that the musician is recognized for MORE than her looks. I’d like to see artists profiled in Bust/Bitch profiled equally in Rolling Stone/Spin. This disconnect is not okay.

I’m going to end this blog with a challenge. It’s a challenge to myself and it’s a challenge directed at anyone who reads this and who feels similarly.

It’s simple in essence. The challenge is to speak up. To pay attention. To request, request, request music on radio stations you listen to. Send music suggestions to music magazines/radio stations and if their coverage of women musicians is scarce or sexist, call them out on it. Don’t let that magazine/radio station be anything less than the best. You are a consumer of that media and as such, you have some power. Use it. Speak up.

Do you like a band? Join their street team. Support the hell out of them. Get them heard in whatever way you can. Write about them. Talk about them. Go to their gigs and bring friends. Buy their albums.

Don’t. Be. Silent.

Do. Be. Persistent.

The women-in-rock revolution is still ongoing, and the only way to make it real is to be part of it, and to own your role in it. So whether it’s as a musician, a writer, a radio host, OWN IT.


BugGiRL & Adrian and the Sickness: The SLC Invasion

There’s something amazing about women in rock. and I’m not talking the pop/rock, the alt/rock, I’m talking pure balls to the fuckin’ wall ‘old school’ drugs, alcohol, sex and take no survivors kinda rock.

The word fierce covers it. Wiktionary defines fierce thusly:

(US Slang) Of exceptional quality, exhibiting boldness or chutzpah.

This weekend is pretty exciting for me. A couple weeks ago, thanks to the infinite powers of the internet, I stumbled upon the page for BugGiRL, a rock-n-roll band from Australia. Let’s take the song “Dirt in a Skirt.” From the very beginning the song grabs you and won’t let go. It’s driving, it’s aggressive, and Amber’s got the perfect rock vocals. Think…The Donnas, but imagine that they’ve had a lot more to drink (and by the way, the local dude who prides himself on his ability to drink anyone under the table….I’m pretty sure Amber’s standing over him as he’s lying on the floor, passed out, laughing her ass off) and they don’t mind the groupies.

BugGirl is a sister/brother act made up of Amber (guitar and vocals), Clinno (drums) and their bassist Heather Webb. If you like rock-n-roll that is pure in sound (but not so pure in intention) then this band is absolutely for you. It’s fun and perfect for headbanging.

And the best news of this entry thus far? Well. If you live in Salt Lake City and surrounding areas, they’re gonna be here, at one of my personal favorite venues, Burt’s Tiki Lounge. If you like rock-n-roll, this is absolutely a show that you SHOULD NOT MISS. Why? Well, because they’re awesome. They are THE definition of the rock sound.

And they’re traveling with another kickass rock band–Adrian and the Sickness– from Austin, TX that is made up of bassist Heather Webb (yep, same one in BugGiRL), lead guitarist Adrian Conner. Adrian Conner is no stranger to the rock genre. She’s part of one of the most infamous AC/DC cover bands, Hell’s Belles (wait, you haven’t heard of them? Well Angus Young has, according to the band’s page, and he loves ’em. So if you haven’t heard of ’em….well, you just ain’t listening hard enough, are ya?) and has been recording with Adrian and the Sickness since 2004 and are working on their 5th album. Their music has been described as an undeniable front of infectious pop concoction wrapped around electric, bombastic rock and roll. Hard hitting, infectious riffs are a staple, and Adrian’s ability as a musician has been described as “exciting, rambunctious and kinda scary” in Guitar Player Magazine (2007).

If you like rock then this gig at Burts (6/10/11) is a MUST-SEE. Here, have a few videos to tide you over. And I’ll see ya there.

BugGiRL: Dirt in the Skirt

Adrian & the Sickness: Listening

MilitiA is Coming…(You can run, but you can’t hide)

Craigslist…your ultimate source for finding roommates, used furniture, an apartment, a few laughs in the “Missed Connections” section and…starting a brand new metal band that will quickly take over the mainstream consciousness?

It can happen. And has. Just ask MilitiA and the rest of the guys in the band Swear On Your Life.

Swear On Your LifeIn 2005, Ed Strohsahl (bassist) and Marc Reischer (guitarist) placed a notice on Craigslist for a singer and soon found MilitiA-who’d already been heavily involved in the music business (which included appearances on MTV2 & Fuse).

In 2007, with the inclusion of Chip Thomas as drummer (the original SoYL drummer left the band in 2006) the band recorded the “Burn My Crosses” EP-a hard hitting, rhythmic tour-de-force. With heavy bass lines that will make you think of Skunk Anansie’s bassist, Cass (ok, if you don’t know Skunk Anansie, you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. So pick up Paranoid & Sunburnt. Like, NOW.) and remind you that bass isn’t *just* a supporting instrument, SoYL shoots straight for the gut. With cleverly written lyrics (including the song “Hate Out Loud” which actually contains the words “textual deviation”) and the vocals of MilitiA–forceful and dominant, she will win you over–SoYL is posed for definite success. So, go look up their EP, “Burn My Crosses” and check ’em out for yourself.

In case you need a little more persuading–here’s an interview with the goddess of metal herself: MilitiA.

1. How’d you go from classically trained pianist to bassist to metal
queen extraordinaire?

I started taking private piano lessons when I was 7. I played mostly
classical music: Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart… Over the years, I won
awards and placed in several state competitions, played a ton of recitals,
etc. By the time I got to college, I “tested out” of piano. so then I
would just play for my own enjoyment in my school’s practice rooms. When
I moved to New York, I didn’t have room for my piano in my apartment and I
despised the feel and sound of keyboards. So I said, ‘fuck it’ and
decided to learn to play an instrument that I could carry. So, I picked
up the bass. I finally started writing heavy music and it was like aMilitA rocks out
drug. I wrote songs, played bass and did death metal vocals (aka cookie
monster vocals.) Now, mostly I sing without playing an instrument because
I love to move and use my whole body to get the song out. But that’s
always subject to change…

> 2. What attracted you and keeps you in the heavy metal genre?

It’s not just “the heavy metal genre,” per se, I generally like any kind
of music that is heavy, has an edge and some originality: whether it be
metal, hard rock, grunge, industrial, punk… Yeah, if you were to look
at my iPod you would find mostly metal bands on it. But what I crave is
intensity. The massive sound. The raw power of it. Something that feels
good when it’s loud.

> 3. While music is *mostly* equal in terms of male/female performers, metal and rap have both managed to keep a heavy emphasis on male musicians(=the norm) while female vocalists/musicians/rappers remain a novelty. What has your experience been like as a bi-racial female in the world of heavy metal?

Often, people look at me as some kind of novelty: “Ooh, ahh…wow, look!
It’s a black girl who sings metal!?!” I’m pretty used to that reaction,
because, yeah, I guess it is a novelty. Interestingly enough, I’ve had
plenty of black and bi-racial kids who say that they wish that they could
admit that they like metal and rock music because at their school or in
their neighborhood it’s looked down upon or they would be looked at as
“less black” or something. That shit isn’t fair. You can’t help what
turns you on. It’s no different than liking redheads or guys that wear
eyeliner or girls with plastic titties or whatever. Certain things are
just in your nature and metal is in mine. It’s male dominated, for sure.
Musically, perhaps it’s too intense for a lot of females. In rap music, I
feel like there is more of a female representation than in metal, but, it
seems like the numbers are starting to grow.

4. Are you a feminist/riot grrrl? 🙂


5. There’s a video on Youtube of you covering Madonna’s “Ray of
“–though I know Madonna is an important pop culture icon, it still
surprised me! what impact has Madonna had on you?

What child of the eighties DIDN’T worship Madonna? She definitely raised
the bar as to how a pop star should look, act and be. And also, she set
the benchmark for how to put on a larger than life live performance and
what an artist can do to reinvent themself while staying cutting edge.
That, and she knows how to sell freakin records!

A good friend of mine, Cathy Cervenka, puts together a Madonna tribute
every year on Madge’s birthday, appropriately called “The Madonnathon” at
BB King’s in Times Square. She invites some of best NYC artists and
musicians to perform and each year it seems to get bigger and more out of
control. I bring the hard edge interpretation to Madonna’s music. I
chose “Ray of Light” because it is one of her more vocally dynamic songs
and I knew I could make it rock really hard. I even do a heavy metal funk
version of “Human Nature.” heh.

6. Speaking of influential people–who do you feel has influenced you as a
person? As a musician, who are some of your influences?

As a person- definitely my parents, even though they might wonder about
that sometimes…Swear On Your Life

As a musician- I guess I’m influenced by everything I see and hear- good
or bad, in my opinion. I am definitely inspired by the classics: Mozart,
Chopin, Berlioz… Musical and film scores- Steven Sondheim, Danny Elfman,
Ennio Morricone. As far as bands/artists, consistently: Nine Inch Nails,
Metallica, Tori Amos, Depeche Mode, L7, The Cure, John Lennon, Tool…

Vocally, my muses are: Freddie Mercury, Janis Joplin, PJ Harvey, Dio and
Tina Turner.

7. You worked on Dee Snyder’s heavy metal/opera Van Helsing’s
Curse–what was that experience like? and is Dee Snyder as cool as he
seems to be on the VH1 metal-related document
aries? 🙂
Van Helsing’s Curse is an unbelievable experience. The music is very intense, very evil and sooo fucking cool. I’m lucky enough to have been a part of it since the first touring production in 2004 and each year it continues to grow and gain popularity. Our last production of it was at The Joint in Vegas- ooh, what fun! We set that place OFF. If you haven’t heard any of the music yet- you’re really missing out! Go to: And yeah, Dee’s a cool motherfucker 😉
8. How did Swear on Your Life come together?
Ed and Marc and I met via Craigslist and Chip and I met through mutual


9. Describe the band in three words or less! (creativity counts 😉
Existential Funk Metal
10. How does the songwriting process work for the band?
I write the words and the melodies and as a group, we bang out the music.
11. When can we expect a full length album?
Most definitely!
12. For all the musicians out there, it’s always interesting to know/compare gear–so what kind of equipment do you use?
Right now, in rehearsal and onstage, I use an Audix OM 5 microphone. It can take a good beating without getting bent outta shape like other mics.
It’s great for capturing my live sound without crazy feedback and helps my
vocals cut through our wall of noise. I carry it in a Coffin Case microphone case.
13. What’s your favorite live show experience?
For me, there is nothing more exhilarating than being onstage singing my own words, telling my own stories and playing our music. I’d do it anywhere, at anytime. Sometimes it’s hard for me to enjoy other artists live shows because it just makes me want to be playing in that moment as well!
14. What words of wisdom do you have for aspiring musicians/ others working towards some far off goal?
If you’re a musician- you gotta play. If you’re a singer, you gotta sing. A lotta good it does you if you’re all talk and no action. You gotta do it. Make your noise. Own your craft. Each step you take in the right direction will add up. Then, your goals won’t seem so far off.

Salt Lake’s True Colors

True Colors

Tomorrow marks the fourth day of the True Colors Tour. Comedian Margaret Cho and bands like the Dresden Dolls, the Cliks and Cyndi Lauper will give the good folks of Chicago a taste of good times and good (oh-so-good!) music.

I made it out to the second stop on the tour–Salt Lake City. The show started at 6:10 at a huge ampitheatre and my aunt and I had seats not too far away from the stage (but not all that terribly close, either). We got there just as the Cliks hit the stage. and you know I did a blog about the Cliks here before, right? so of course as soon as I heard that I ran to find our seats in the audience. I didn’t want to miss more than I positively had to. And I’m glad I did. The Cliks are indeed worth every second live. Great music, great stage presence, everything about them is phenomenal. Lucas and the gang were worth the $87 I paid, alone. well, they would’ve been if they’d gotten to play a lot longer!! I do hope that they’ll be headlining a tour soon instead of just opening, so I can pay to see them!


I could’ve met the band members, but as soon as they left the stage, The Dresden Dolls came and replaced them. And I will not miss the Dresden Dolls. I’m sorry, but for nothing do I miss seeing Amanda Palmer. She is amazing in her own right, and I cannot wait to see what she does outside of the Dresden Dolls.

Amanda Palmer-a modern goddess


Amanda v. Brian

One of the best moments of the night was meeting Amanda and Brian, although ’twas a very brief meeting! It consisted of me getting my official True Colors T-Shirt signed and me getting my picture with the Dolls. Currently, this photo is my default for facebook, myspace and my desktop. Am I a fangirl? Yes, oh yes god help me, I am.


(oh, one of the frequently asked questions of the night of me: “Did you get that shirt from this tour? It’s really cool!” Me: “No, actually. I’ve had it for a while!” Even Amanda asked me where I got it. yeah Debbie Harry! 😉

So of course I did see the one and only Debbie Harry. She didn’t do any of the well known Blondie songs, but she still had a lot of fun pop songs, and it was amazing seeing her. I’m still half in shock. Here’s a pic of this one woman legend 😉


Oh, and if you think the audience was the only one enjoying Debbie Harry, think again! From our seats my aunt and I could see the side of the backstage…and I got a glimpse of Margaret Cho dancing around and enjoying the show! (Also, while the Dolls were on, Harry was dancing and having a good time!)

dance, dance!

hmm. in retrospect I shoulda cropped that random head. oh well. After Debbie Harry came Erasure, who I’d never heard about before but they were a lot of fun! and where I hadn’t heard of them before, I’m pretty sure everyone else in the audience had. Not only were people dancing around, but they were singing the lyrics! And the frontman had a shirt that said ‘bi-pride’ which was hello awesome. We need more celebs like this. 😉

Finally, Cyndi Lauper came on. Outside of a few of her more popular songs, I didn’t know much by her, but oh-my-goodness, does this woman have stage presence. To some extent, Debbie Harry is showing her age. Cyndi Lauper-Not so much! She was ohmigod amazing. I don’t even know where to start, so I will give a few pics and see if any words come to mind!


I don’t know what was up with the funny hat thing, but it was still awesome. If she auctioned it off, I’d probably try buying it. If I had the funds, of course 😉


So one of the things that struck me most about Cyndi, like I mentioned, was her stage presence. In addition to gallavanting about onstage (she could definitely give bands like the Hives and the Killers with their spastic seeming energy a run for their money), she interacted really well with both the audience and the musicians onstage. She was absolutely brilliant! and her voice is amazing. and oh my goodness, her legs! She is indeed something else.

In the crowd

Cyndi walks offstage and into the hordes of admirers below! In case ya don’t know, Cyndi would be the woman with the short purple colored hair. see the picture below:

Cyndi without the red wig (is HOTT)

So Cyndi left the stage to earshattering applause and screaming  (a good .05% being mine, of course) and soon came out for an encore with the rest of the band. she performed “time after time” and “girls just wanna have fun” and then left the stage again. My aunt knew the show was not over, mostly because the song “True Colors” a Cyndi song, hadn’t yet been performed. and she was right. After another bout of earshattering applause and screams and yells, the entire cast of the True Colors SLC came out (well, I didn’t get a glimpse of Debbie Harry…) and after throwing massive colorful balloons into the audience began a few group numbers. and OHMIGOD it was beautiful. An absolutely phenomenal experience. There is seriously nothing in my life that compares quite to this. It was overwhelming, it was beautiful, incredible, etc.

The True Colors Tour

Who Can You See?
(If you can make out anyone in this picture, you’re awesome. Otherwise, it’s still cool. kinda psychedelic-like.)

I should also mentio that the True Colors tour was the brainchild of Cyndi Lauper and is a way to connect with all of her GLBTIQ fans and show her support for them. In this world, we are all human, and that was the main thing the tour was trying to get across. and that was also awesome!

IF YOU CAN MAKE IT (and if you can, TRY!! It’s worth every minute):

Tuesday June 12th, 2007
Chicago, IL / Auditorium Theatre

Wednesday June 13th, 2007
Colombus, OH / Jerome Schottenstein Center

Friday June 15th, 2007
Atlantic City, NJ / Borgata Hotel

Saturday June 16th, 2007
Boston, MA / Bank of America Pavilion

Sunday June 17th, 2007
Columbia, MD / Merriweather Post Pavilion

Monday June 18th, 2007
New York, NY / Radio City Music Hall

Tuesday June 19th, 2007
Toronto, ON / Molson Amphitheatre

Thursday June 21, 2007
Atlanta, GA / Chastain Park Amphitheatre

Saturday June 23, 2007
Dallas, TX / Smirnoff Music Centre

Sunday June 24, 2007
Woodlands, TX / Woodlands Pavilion

Wednesday June 27, 2007
San Diego, CA / San Diego State Open Air Theatre

Friday June 29th, 2007
Berkeley, CA / Greek Theatre-U.C. Berkeley

Saturday June 30th, 2007
Los Angeles, CA / Greek Theatre

**Keep in mind that in addition to the main acts there will be many another act, including bands such as the Gossip and the Misshapes. and for those of you who see these bands….I do envy you!!*************

Oh, and if you go, don’t settle for lawn seats. seriously, spend a little extra to get as close as the stage as possible.

quick mini-update

Exciting/not so exciting stuff keeps happening. I have a job now, which is interesting. the job itself isn’t the greatest and it will NOT be a career thing (for one thing, it doesn’t involve writing! I wish the place had a need for PR, I could attempt that, haha.), it keeps me pretty busy.

On the other hand, I’ve had a lot of time to think up blog entries and here’s a warning in advance. I’ve a lot of ideas. At the very least, there will be an ode to Durham, some thoughts on women in metal, and the effects of all-women music festivals. These will come soon. if they don’t and you have myspace, you can send me many an angry message. or bribe me with cookies 😉

In other happy news, I’m happy to say that little sisters are fun! Remember how I mentioned I have younger sisters? well the youngest, at 9, is happy to know what I know. so today I started a “class” with her and a friend of hers (the 12-year-old joined mid’class’) and I taught them a bit about the Raincoats/The Slits. I may give ’em homework in the future, haha. I might give a listening quiz….make up a CD for them with stuff we listen to (because we did of course listen to “Typical Girls” by the Slits and “Fairytale in the Supermarket” by the Raincoats) and make ’em memorize artists and songs.

It’ll be awesome. I sort of scheduled out the classes, but it’s tentative. Here’s what I have so far:

Class 1: The Slits/The Raincoats (obviously, this class is done.)
Class 2: Janis Joplin/Joni Mitchell/Fanny
Class 3: Patti Smith/Blondie/Tina Weymouth (talking heads) (actually this class will be particularly exciting b/c I will have seen Debbie Harry live!!! woohoo!!!)
Class 4: The Runaways/Joan Jett/The Pretenders/Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth
Class 5-The Bangles/B52s/Heart
Class 6-Cyndi Lauper/Madonna
Class 7: Riot Grrrl-Bikini Kill/Bratmobile/Heavens to Betsy
class 8: Hole, Babes in Toyland/L7
class 9: Alanis Morisette, Sarah Mclachlan, Lillith Fair
class 10: Garbage/No Doubt/ Sleater-Kinney
Class 11: Modern pop-Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, etc.
Class 12: The Gossip, Le Tigre…. (know any other quality pop bands? do help with this one 😉

actually if anyone has oldschool B-52s/Sonic Youth could you send me some?

rock on, loves!

Without sexiness, can she sell?

 It’s funny how things many of us know to be true, aren’t so widely known among widely respected media sources—take for example CNN.

Last Thursday, an AP story appeared on CNN with the headline If You’re a Female Singer, You’d Better Be Sexy.”

Um…duh? Where was this AP writ‘niqueer when the song “Video Killed the Radio Star” came out? (Or for that matter, the creation of MTV.)

The article continues to point out that women like Melinda Doolittle from “American Idol” could not possibly be successful due to her “matronly” appearance. On the other hand, women such as (and I quote) “‘America’s Top Model’ Avril Lavigne” and “blonde stunner Carrie Underwood” among others are going to be more successful. 

Again—where is anything in this article new? Exposé’s are supposed to expose something unknown, not ‘expose’ something that is obvious.

But seriously, this article isn’t all bad. On a positive note, it does remind us that our culture is one where sex sells. And yes, women with figures like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera are unquestionably going to be seen as more desirable as well as talented (though some of these appealing women may have little actual talent…cue The Spice Girls…and more recently, The Pussy Cat Dolls. Really, it isn’t the music that made these groups popular).

The article continued to be very negative towards the idea that women lead singers could be anything but attractive. They asked country star Gretchen Wilson if a frontwoman with so-so looks and sex appeal could get a record deal and she replied, “they can’t.”

While the negative attitude is understandable, it’s not the way things have to be. Those of us who listen to music, buy CDs/songs on iTunes and have an interest in what music we hear are active consumers. We have agency and an ability to act on our interests. For us to take what the media empire gives us and not question what we’re getting is unacceptable.

And despite the fact that the modern front woman still looks—for the most part—thin and sexy, there are beautiful exceptions.

One needs look no further than Beth Ditto.
The Gossip

Ditto isn’t your average front woman. Not only does she not fit into the image set by tight-short-wearing Shakira, she’s also an out lesbian. And she’s outspoken. Her songs aren’t about sweet summer romances—they’ve got a message that comes straight from her political viewpoints.

Though The Gossip is US based, they weren’t really embraced in the “land of the free” ‘till Britain found them.

Love her or hate her, Ditto is the antithesis of the “only hot women can be successful in music” idea. Ditto is attractive—in a way that suits her. She commands power and does thing her way. And I’m positive she isn’t the only one.

If you’re sick of perpetuating the idea that ‘only the hot survive’ look for artists who defy the conventional beauty standards. Look for women who are what they are and do what they want despite what’s ‘expected.’ The search can start from your local music scene. Or it could branch out into the bigger indie/underground music scene. But keep looking. And remember to ask the question–who’s defining ‘sexy’ anyway? 😉

And keep the music alive! Remember it’s about the music—not the image.

P.S. I final note–Kelly Clarkson also of “Idol” fame, spoke out recently about her experience with sexism within the music industry. And her new video from the upcoming album isn’t half bad. I judged her too quickly (I judge everyone on “American Idol” too quickly….I don’t like the show…).
At any rate, Yay Kelly! 🙂

and p.p.s.–what’s with the cheating kick Hollywood is on? Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood and Kelly….wtf?

Guitar Goddess

Lita FordWhile pop culture has (for the most part) embraced women musicians–especially as lead singers–it hasn’t so much embraced the women guitarists.

As Evelyn McDonnell noted in “She’s in the Band”, female lead guitarists have remained few and far between. Perhaps, McDonnell suggests, it’s because guitarists are expected to display a virtuosity and bravado not normally included on the list of desirable ‘feminine’ qualities.

“…guitars are the ultimate symbol of rock phallocentrism,” McDonnell says. And it’s a fact. (Watch “All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix and look closely at his style of playing.)

While women such as Tina Weymouth (the Talking Heads) and Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) began paving the way for more inclusion of female bassists, a mixed gender band with a female guitarist continues to be unusual.

“Boys like the things they do to seem real hard like it takes a lot of strength to control them. But I tell you, guitar-playing’s not hard. I mean, they’re just little strings! I don’t know why guitar playing is considered a masculine art, except it’s just been appropriated that way. It doesn’t require any great strength or some male brain pattern. In fact, it’s sort of feminine. That’s why I wish more women would play guitar, because there’d be more variety in the sowhoa Lita!und of rock music.” –Ivy Rorschach
After the Runaways disbanded, Joan Jett and Lita Ford both went on to make careers for themselves.

Through her musical talents and some connections in the rock world (for example…Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne), Ford was able to make her way onto the charts. One of her first singles to reach the charts (she had had some in previous years, but they hadn’t hit the charts) was her duet with Ozzy- “Close My Eyes Forever” (#8 on the US Hot 100).

Though Ford had released two other albums (Out For Blood and Dancin’ on the Edge) before her self titled album in 1988, it wasn’t until that self-titled album that she was noticed and felt comfortable with where she was at. She had switched managers and began working with Sharon Osbourne.

Ford’s music was that of 80s “hard rock” (honestly, genres have changed quite a bit…thus the quotes.) She did play guitar and began making a name for herself as a rock guitarist.

The quote I brought up earlier, by the Cramps guitarist Ivy Rorschach is an important quote because it so beautifully captures the way certain instruments are gendered. If you look back in history you’ll note how various instruments have been gendered male and others female. Pianos have been an acceptable form of musical expression for women, and eventually flutes were added to that list, but for a woman to play something like a trumpet was unusual. And so it remains with rock music. The gender divisions are definitely still there.

Failing to recognize women guitarists such as Ford, Chrissie Hynde, Kat Bjelland, PJ Harvey and Joni Mitchell can normally be attributed to a)ignorance that the bands exist (Not everyone is familiar with Babes In Toyland!) and b)a culture which continues to perpetuate the idea that gender divides and when men are good at one thing, women aren’t supposed to be good.

Yet, listening to any of the artists above, you’ll find that there’s a lot more to music than gender. Believe it or not, women can pick up a guitar and play, just like a guy can. Playing a guitar does not require a male body, it requires dedication, practice and above all else, passion.

Women like Lita Ford should not only be recognized as a great talent among the guys that filled (and continue to fill) the world of rock, but serve as an inspiration to grrrls and women everywhere: pick up that guitar! If he can do it, then so can you! 😉

all hail the queen of noise

Born To Be Bad

From the song “Born to Be Bad” by the Runaways:

I called my mother from hollywood the other day
And I said “mom, I just called to tell ya I joined a rock and roll band
And I won’t be coming home no more”
You know what she did?
She started crying and weeping and wimpering like all mothers do
She woke up my father and told him about it and he said
“there ain’t a damn thing we can do, thats the way she is
She was just born to be bad”

Exciting news: The Runaways are coming to the bigscreen in a movie called “NeonThe RUNAWAYS w/ Cherie Currie & Joan Jett Angels”. The film will explore the career of the 70s all girl-teen band, The Runaways… including the ups, the downs, and the highs and falls….


“The Linsons (producers Art & John Linson) secured music rights and deals that allow them to tell the stories of members Joan Jett, Cherie Currie and the late Sandy West. An unpublished memoir written by lead singer Curie will be used as a resource for a drama that intends to bare all the drugs, sex and heartache experienced by girls who struggled to be viewed as musicians, not sex kittens with guitars.”

Anyone else excited?

Joan Jett will be the executive producer of the film. The director is Floria Sigismondi, who has directed music videos for artists such as David Bowie and Marilyn Manson.

This year is looking good for a re-discovery of the pioneering women in rock. Only two days ago, three of the four original Fanny members re-grouped to perform and receive the ROCKRGRL Women of Valor Award at Berklee College of Music!

I have been thinking a lot about my own interest in women in rock and I believe that once women also are recognized as key players of any given time period, women will stop being the ‘other’ in the rock world. And based on the current trend I think we may be getting somewhere. But ’till then, you have me. 😉