inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #76 of 208: Berliner (captward) Wed 14 Sep 05 10:25
    
I once did a story on "women in rock" for US magazine (which got
turned into something else entirely after it left my hands), during
which I got to interview the Talking Heads. Tina gave me absolutely one
of the best quotes I've ever gotten -- and I definitely couldn't use
it. I was impressed by the way she just fit in -- no chick singer, just
the bass player, and a good one -- so I asked her how she felt being
such a good instrumentalist and yet being "the girl in the band." "Oh,
you know, I hardly think of myself as a girl," she said. "Why, naked, I
look sorta like Rudolf Nureyev." 
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #77 of 208: David Gans (tnf) Wed 14 Sep 05 10:27
    

BTW, when I was researching my book on Talking Heads, I was told (off the
record, dammit) by an engineer that David Byrne used to sneak into the studio
after sessions and replace some of Tina's bass parts.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #78 of 208: Berliner (captward) Wed 14 Sep 05 10:35
    
You know, now that I posted that, it occurred to me that the whole
story of that piece is interesting from a feminist viewpoint. I was
asked to write a story called "The Queens of Rock," and, it being late
'77, there was no better time for that: Blondie was out, the Heads were
out, there was Joan Jett, I had a lot of favorites that I listened to
who were women or had women in the band, so I went and interviewed as
many as I could. 

Sent the piece in, and Us freaked. "Who *are* these people?" Well, I
said, they're up-and-coming performers who are female. I believe all of
them are very important right now and will get more so. "We need
people that our readers have heard of!" (I should add that this mag
was, at the time, owned by the NY Times, not Wenner Media). 

So I went out to try to get interviews with the Usual Suspects, with
no particular luck. I did get flown up to Seattle to interview the
Wilson sisters of Heart, who were tedious and boring beyond belief, but
I wrung a couple of good quotes out of them anyway. But Carly, Linda,
Stevie, Joni eluded me. 

So I sent it in, was told I'd done a horrible job, was paid half what
I'd been promised and told to go away. 

Feb 21, 1978 (for some masochistic reason I still have the magazine
here) it came out, with Linda, Joni, Carly, and Stevie on the cover.
What the fuck? Well, they'd gone and stolen quotes about Linda Ronstadt
from John Rockwell, and Stevie Nicks, I think from Ben Fong-Torres.
Fortunately, Rockwell and I had a mutual friend, and we patched it up
over a dinner I cooked. Unfortunately, Ben didn't talk to me for 25
years after that. I got a reputation as a plagiarist from some of the
other writers who'd had their work stolen, and work just stopped. To my
horror, because of the Times connection, it was picked up and sent all
over the country by the Times Syndicate. 

All because the powers that were at Us Mag didn't believe that ugly
women (Patti Smith was so described to me) or new wave women were
"Queens of Rock." The horror with which they greeted Tina Weymouth was
palpable from the other coast. But it made me wonder how insecure you
could be in your cultural bearings when you had to lean on the sort of
soft chick stuff to describe a "rock queen." 
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #79 of 208: Berliner (captward) Wed 14 Sep 05 10:36
    
Slippage: that's not surprising, but it has more to do with
control-freakage than bass talent. 
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #80 of 208: David Gans (tnf) Wed 14 Sep 05 19:20
    

Ben didn't believe you?
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #81 of 208: Dennis Wilen (the-voidmstr) Wed 14 Sep 05 19:46
    
Wow.  
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #82 of 208: Berliner (captward) Wed 14 Sep 05 23:52
    
No, Ben didn't believe me, and I quit writing for a while and got a
job at Levi-Strauss on Embarcadero Plaza. 

Working there, I got a phone call that said the Austin
American-Statesman needed a critic, and that led to meeting Margaret
Moser and Lisa Rhodes! See how it all connects?
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #83 of 208: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Thu 15 Sep 05 06:36
    
That's an amazing story, Ed. What a nightmare.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #84 of 208: Lisa Rhodes (lisarhodes) Thu 15 Sep 05 07:39
    
Ed, it was the same thing when you were being interviewed or reviewed
(esp. mags like People, which was very kind but very clueless). "So how
does your music compare to (FILL IN THE BLANK WITH ANOTHER WOMAN
MUSICIAN)." It was like there was only room for women who fit into
certain molds, a sort of journalistic tokenism. I thought the most
ludicrous comparison was when one reviewer said that my voice sounded
like Maria McKee's! (I have a fairly deep alto). 
I realize that it is important to establish some reference point for
your reader, but isn't it ok to just say "and now for something
completely different..."
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #85 of 208: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 15 Sep 05 08:35
    
I thought US and People always pillaged their stories from other news 
sources. Hmm.

Sorry I'm so late to the party, and now that we've got Margaret (my 
former editor when I wrote for the Austin Chronicle) and Lisa on the 
WELL, we should all encourage 'em to stay!

Re. Tina Weymouth, I always thought it was weird that the Heads brought
the lates Busta "Cherry" Jones on tour with 'em - that was the Remain in
Light tour - and wondered what Tina thought about that. I was kind of 
conscious at that concert at the Armadillo, and it seemed to me that they 
were both playing.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #86 of 208: My free and simple demeanor set everybody at ease. (pdl) Thu 15 Sep 05 09:40
    
lisa--i'm just going to barge here and ask an out of context question.  I'm
curious to know more about the women musicians, arrangers, and producers from
the 50s-70s who are not well known.  Although Carol Kaye has never received
the general recognityion she deserves, she's pretty well known among
musicians and people with a more than casual interest in the pop music of
the 60s. She even seems more well known than other memebers of the Wrecking
Crew.

I'm not talking about the stars--the singers or even people like carol king
who wrote songs before she became famous as a singer.  I'm curious about the
people I do not know anything about.  Surely there were other women who were
important instrumentalists, arrangers, etc. besides Carole Kaye.  Who were
they?  What did they do?
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #87 of 208: David Gans (tnf) Thu 15 Sep 05 09:53
    

Great question!
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #88 of 208: Lisa Rhodes (lisarhodes) Thu 15 Sep 05 10:03
    
pdl, I, too, am curious. That's why your question is basically the
subject of my next book. I am going to include some of the better known
musicians like Kaye and the folks from Fanny, but I need to find out
more. Kaye said that the only other union players that she knew who
were women were string players (violin etc.). I am just starting my
research (and teaching full time and directing a program, but I'll
sleep when I'm dead). So it may take me some time to answer your
question. 
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #89 of 208: My free and simple demeanor set everybody at ease. (pdl) Thu 15 Sep 05 10:27
    
i look forward to reading your next book, then!

Weren't there a few women arrangers and writers at motown?
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #90 of 208: Dennis Wilen (the-voidmstr) Thu 15 Sep 05 10:36
    
My late friend Linda Creed was half of the magic behind the Spinners,
et al., with her partner Thom Bell.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #91 of 208: Berliner (captward) Thu 15 Sep 05 11:05
    
But as a songwriter. My take on this is that women who didn't sing
were mostly percussionists and drummers, for some reason: Sheila
Escovedo, Bobbi Humphrey, Marcie Levy (who I think started out as
percussionist with that band Kokomo -- I wouldn't take that to the
bank, though). 

Good title for the book -- if, in fact, there is one, which I'm not
sure there is -- from a wonderful calypso song: There's A Woman On The
Bass! (Sparrow, I think, or else Lord Explainer). 
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #92 of 208: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 15 Sep 05 11:12
    
I hadn't thought about Fanny in ages...

Dig this: http://www.rhinohandmade.com/browse/ProductLink.lasso?Number=7734
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #93 of 208: Are You My Caucasian? (shmo) Thu 15 Sep 05 11:41
    

That Fanny box that Rhino put out reminded me what an underappreciated
guitar player June Millington was. In general, Fanny's music doesn't do all
that much for me, but June's playing sure was great and, um, "ballsy."
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #94 of 208: Low and popular (rik) Thu 15 Sep 05 12:12
    
Ovariesy.   Pronounced "over easy".
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #95 of 208: Dennis Wilen (the-voidmstr) Thu 15 Sep 05 13:32
    
As former National Director of Album Promotion (boy that dates me!)
for Mushroom Records, let us not forget the fabulous Wilson sisters of
Heart!
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #96 of 208: Darrell Jonsson (jonsson) Thu 15 Sep 05 13:50
    

or all the uncharted punk divas between the covers 
of maximum R'N'R.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #97 of 208: Darrell Jonsson (jonsson) Thu 15 Sep 05 14:03
    

While i'm lurking and slipping here , there have been a few 
independent films in the last 5-8 years depicting women in the music
business, that I've seen but I can only remember 2 titles -- 'Georgia',
also another one called 'Sugartown'. Both were interesting.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #98 of 208: Gary Lambert (almanac) Thu 15 Sep 05 14:09
    

There was that one with Illeana Douglas playing the Carole King-like
songwriter. Interesting, but not good. But it did bring Elvis Costello
and Burt Bacharach together to write "God Give Me Strength."

The title just came back to me: "Grace of My Heart."
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #99 of 208: Lisa Rhodes (lisarhodes) Thu 15 Sep 05 15:18
    
I always liked June's playing too. I interviewed her after a show she
played with Chris Williamson and Tret Fure(?), which I thought was an
odd combo. I was impressed that she had a GP-8 effects processor, as I
love their tone (even though it is a relic). I believe the last I heard
from her she is doing a music camp in MA and playing in a band with
her sister, Jean, called the Slammin' Babes. She is a real pioneer
among women lead players.
  
inkwell.vue.254 : Lisa Rhodes: Electric Ladyland
permalink #100 of 208: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Thu 15 Sep 05 20:00
    
Kate Bush.
  

More...



Members: Enter the conference to participate

Subscribe to an RSS 2.0 feed of new responses in this topic RSS feed of new responses

 
   Join Us
 
Home | Learn About | Conferences | Member Pages | Mail | Store | Services & Help | Password | Join Us

Twitter G+ Facebook