i was sitting around thinking one day (when does that NOT happen, right?) about the numbers of women who inspired me- the multi-instrumentalists, the composers, arrangers… The women who rejected the notions of what they should do, and how to be. The ones who laid the foundation for not only me, but all the kids who today and yesterday who have been marginalized (by gender, class or culture).
i wanted to make a post honoring these women, but it was difficult to know where to start. Do i start with Betty Davis? Phyllis Hyman? Teena Marie? Alice Coltrane? LaBelle? Chaka Khan? Marlena Shaw? Randy Crawford? Angela Bofill? Rachelle Ferrell? Memphis Minnie? Do i go with Mother’s Finest? Silverfish? DQE? ESG? Skunk Anansie? To make it a little easier i narrowed it down to all-women bands. And still, that’s not easy… because you have everything from Girlschool to Fanny to The Runaways to Big Joanie to Cub to the 5,6,7,8s to L7 to the Bangles to The Go-Gos to Luscious Jackson to The Raincoats to The Slits to (two of my favorite current bands, Voice Of Baceprot and The Warning)… you get the picture.
So i narrowed it down a bit more… and it ended up developing into creating a longer post then usual.
i think i’ll start with ‘Catnip Dream’ by Shonen Knife, because cats are the GREATEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. They have other cat songs as well, ‘I Am A Cat’ and ‘Like A Cat’. If you make a number of songs about cats, i automatically like you.
(And of course, my hat is actually applicable here.)
Slant 6 was one of my favorite bands from the ’90s. They were only around for three or four years. In those years i saw them live about 2 or 3 times, and even interviewed them for a fanzine i was doing at the time.
To me, ‘Don’t You Ever’ (from Soda Pop * Rip Off) is one of the greatest album openers. i am just playing drums here. ‘Semi-Blue Tile’ was the b-side of the ‘What Kind Of Monster Are You’ 7″. For this song, Christina Billotte’s vocals remain, but i play bass, drums and guitar.
The Lunachicks was one of the funnest shows i have ever seen… and they made a love song to Mabel King. Perhaps the ONLY love song to Mabel King!
It was interesting to edit and look back on this series of videos, because i tend to forget about being covered neck to foot in tattoos (despite seeing them every day). i don’t wear shorts a lot (outside of the time i’m practicing with the prosthetic), so it was funny to see my leg bouncing up and down with the kick drum, with all the visual tattoos and scars. i also forgot the shirt i was wearing has a hole, so you can see a peek of my rib piece (if you look close enough- of course, that rib piece has to do with cats). Outside of forgetting my own canvas, i absolutely love and am obsessed with people who are covered- especially women. So seeing the Lunachicks makes me very happy.
i’m playing drums to the title track to the album Jerk Of All Trades. This song goes after my heart, because i’ve had to punch a few dudes for touching me without my consent.
Speaking of never underestimating a woman… Klymaxx wants to inform you to never underestimate our power.
Before they gained popularity with songs like ‘The Men All Pause’, ‘Meeting In The Ladies Room’, ‘I Miss You’ and ‘Divas Need Love Too’, they were more of funk band. Solar Records had some gems, for sure. Before i was a burgeoning punk kid, Klymaxx was the first all-women band i recall being familiar with, by name. Maybe even before the Bangles and the Go-Gos.
i am playing to the title track of the album, Never Underestimate The Power Of A Woman. i know my drumming isn’t as funky or in the pocket as Bernadette Cooper (who co-wrote the song), but i obviously aim to be respectful.
Another band i have seen live (and if you’ve ever seen them you will not forget it) is Tribe 8. A few of the members currently identify as trans; however i still am posting one of their songs because during the existence of Tribe 8 they all did identify as women (and if i am wrong about that, i apologize). Tribe 8 had no qualms about pointing out the intersections of oppression (i think having band members comprise of Indigenous, African and Asian folks helps), and they were unapologetic in their queerness. Also, they are incredibly cool people. At least they were when i met them.
The song i am playing to here, ‘Republican Lullaby’, speaks to the pro-militarism, jingoism, xenophobia, disinformation campaigns and racism/white supremacy permeating the republican party (in the u.s.); i would argue though, that these lyrics should extend to democrats as well. If you pay attention close enough to the policies (and not these low hanging fruit issues they want you to focus on) you will find little difference between the two.
One of the most well-known groups coming out of the Riot Grrrl movement was Bratmobile. They were a band who used humor to relay messages around sexual violence, racism, and more. i ended up forming a pen pal/friendly relationship with guitarist Erin Smith (who was living in Maryland, if i’m not mistaken). Whenever they came to town i would see her, and hang out a bit.
Bratmobile remind me a bit of the Misfits- tonally, not visually. They actually did cover ‘Where Eagles Dare’, so i may not be too far off. Here, i play to ‘Brat Girl’, which was probably an anthem for many a punk girl (or boy, or agender person) who got groped at a show, or taken advantage of in other ways. There’s no bassist in the most well-known incarnation of the band, so i decided to experiment with what that would sound like here (as well as (obviously) play drums).
And finally, i decided to play one of my own songs- a song i haven’t played since i was about 17 or 18 years old. In fact, it’s a song you can hear in the very first post i made for this site.
As mentioned in that post, i was in a band called The Girlymen. It was the first band i was ever in, with Mayumi (drums), and Abby (bass). i honestly have no idea what most of the lyrics are to this song (save for the title: ‘Chock Full Of Crap’), so i kept Abby’s original vocals, and just played guitar, bass and drums. i need to see if SHE remembers!
And yeah, i am using a China cymbal. Oh no… i really AM turning into Lars!
It always comes back to that, don’t it? Hee hee…