Hi, I’m Francis

Ever since I remember; there’s been rock-n-roll. Music is the first thing my cognitive mind latched onto. I’m a child of the seventies and a teenager of the eighties. Punk rock once saved my life.IMAG2111 What I dug about punk was that it was outsider art. Most importantly it broke down the star/audience paradigm that created the rock star/groupie mentality that made rock music such a sexist-boys club through much of its history.

In the late eighties I was introduced to the D.I.Y. punk scene through a group called The Dayton Anarchist Collective. It was a scene that was fairly woman centric. (In fact we spent a lot of time arguing how to spell “Women”) The main players in the collective that set up shows and ran the potlucks were women. An important aspect of this group was creating safe spaces for women. One of the coolest things I remember the D.A.C. doing was volunteering to provide escorts in and out of Planned Parenthood at a time when there were mass anti-abortion protests outside clinic and health centers. After that I got involved with a record store/ info shop/ show space in Dayton called Network. This was in the heyday of Riot Girl. We distributed zines and records. We focused on small independent labels and tried to stock our store with records that came from a pro-feminist, queer positive perspective. One of the main people that kept Network running was a woman named Heather. At this time I also played in a band. When I got burned out on performing, I then used my PA and equipment to set up shows. I wanted to focus on the importance of supporting other people’s voices. I also did a zine that went out of it’s way to support and review records and zines made by women.

Punk rock changed my life, but I don’t think I’m punk rock anymore. I don’t prescribe to any ideologies or isms these days. I currently work in the nonprofit sector as a tutor and an educator. I do this because I believe everyone should be aware; think for themselves and possess a voice that is heard!

IMAG0739_1What I’ve been consistently over the past few decades is a writer/poet. (I want to do for poetry what Patti Smith did for rock-n-roll.) As a poet I’ve been most influenced by rock journalism and zines. I believe in rock and roll as a force of subversive good. I really believe in Women In Rock as a way to celebrate women’s voices and encourage creativity. I’m thankful that Izzi and Roxie have asked me to be part of this endeavor.
I currently play in a band with three women (Cheers to Roxie, Sarah and Jenny). I also used to share songwriting and front person duties with Maria in Defective Males. I still hear dudes say, “Chicks can’t rock.” So many women have told me how they wanted to play music, but were too intimidated by male guitar teachers, guys in music stores and even boyfriends. Women that make music, do so despite all the extra bullshit they face.

Like Joan Jett said: “I love Rock-N-Roll, so put another quarter in the jukebox and dance with me.”


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