• A Little Slice of History,  Album Reviews

    Wendy O. Williams–Metal Priestess

    Wendy Orleans Williams was born in 1949 in Webster, New York. Her father was a chemist for Eastman Kodak and her teachers and classmates remember her as a ‘shy, quiet girl who played the clarinet.’ I mention this because she is probably the most over the top performer to ever wander through the wasteland of punk and metal. At age fifteen, she ran away from home and hitchhiked across the country before landing up in Times Square. There she met her lifelong musical and romantic partner, Rob Swenson. In 1976, Rob was using his conceptual art degree from Yale to create experimental happenings under the banner of “Captain Kink’s Sex…

  • A Little Slice of History,  Artist Spotlight

    Girlschool–The Real Queens of Noise

    The late 1970’s was a bleak time economically in England. Working class youth were unemployed, living off of the dole with no sense of a future. Out of this frustration and boredom, came punk rock to save the day (or so the story goes). Most of you know that story. What you may not know is that these same conditions gave birth to another musical renaissance known as The New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Inspired by Motorhead’s stripped down no holds barred approach, a new crop of bands rose up that were heavier, louder and more straightforward than the likes of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. The bands didn’t…

  • A Little Slice of History,  Album Reviews

    A Look at Roberta Flack’s “First Take”

    Summer is finally here. It’s been unbearably hot and muggy for days. What everyone needs is a record to chill out with. One that is light and airy. One that blows through your mind like a cool breeze. Women in Rock readers, I offer you First Take by Roberta Cleopatra Flack. Now, I know a lot of you are thinking Roberta Flack equals schmaltz. After all, she is known for a string of sentimental pop singles during the mid seventies like “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and “Killing Me Softly.” Famous rock critic, Robert Christgau, (also known as the guy wearing a Wussy shirt in The Replacements…

  • A Little Slice of History,  Album Reviews

    Blondie’s Parallel Lines

    How we attach ourselves to music is based on how we come across it, and who or where we are when we first hear it. For a long time I didn’t get Blondie. Awhile back I picked up a copy of Parallel Lines. For a few days it was the only record I wanted to hear. It was the right time and the right context. I’d like to take some time to share with Women In Rock why Blondie and this record are so important in the history of punk, women and my life as an audiophile. I started buying records around 3rd grade. I listened to the radio and…

  • A Little Slice of History,  Album Reviews

    Simple Machines: The Wheel featuring The Juliana Experience and The Holy Rollers

    Looking back on my life I feel I was really lucky to be who and where I was in the early nineties. I was in my early twenties and tapped into the D.I.Y. punk scene. I was part of a volunteer run record store called Network in Dayton, Ohio. My life was records, bands and zines. It felt like my friends and I were creating our own culture. It was the time of Riot Grrrl and Queer Core and the doors were wide open for everyone. There’s certain artifacts in my seven inch collection that I go back to over and over again and they still hold up. I like…

  • A Little Slice of History,  Artist Spotlight

    Penelope Spheeris–Rock and Roll Anthroplogist

    Back in the 80’s there was no internet which means no YouTube. Back then a large part of learning about punk rock was swapping homemade cassettes and VHS tapes. Two very important movies in my circle of friends were The Decline of Western Civilization and Suburbia. These movies heavily influenced what bands we listened to, but more importantly they portrayed the tribal culture of punk dress, dance and worldviews. When Izzi suggested that we make a movie list for this issue of Women in Rock, I immediately thought of these two films. Not because they focused on female bands, but because they were made by a female. I decided to…

  • A Little Slice of History

    Janis Joplin, A Woman Left Lonely

    I’ve always felt an undeniable connection to Janis Joplin. I’ve been drawn to her music; her raw yet powerful vocals and beyond expressive performances. But there’s something beyond the music that I feel a connection to; a strange combination between strength and loneliness. Today, on Janis Joplin’s 47th anniversary of death, I want to take a closer look at who this woman was and why her life was so lonely. I like to think of Janis as my soul sister and often I’ve turned to her music for strength at rough points in my life. Songs like “Down on Me” and “Women Is Losers” have put a smile on my face…

  • A Little Slice of History

    A Sexy Sunday Morning: Lydia Lunch and Jonnine Standish with Rowland S. Howard

      It’s pretty obvious I’m obsessed with duets right now. I’ve been pretty deep into Rowland S. Howard‘s library this past month and two of my favorite songs are made totally sexy and beyond cool by Lydia Lunch and Jonnine Standish. In 1982, Lydia Lunch and Rowland S. Howard released a single that included “Some Velvet Morning” (previously recorded by Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra) and “I Fell in Love with a Ghost.” Their version of “Some Velvet Morning” is romantic but in a slightly more goth way than the original version. While Rowland S. Howard and Lydia Lunch capture the basic vibe, they take the song and exaggerate the…

  • A Little Slice of History,  Book Reviews

    The Collected Lives of Patti Smith

    Someone asked if I would consider Woolgathering a fairy tale. I have always adored such tales but I am afraid it does not qualify. Everything contained in this little book is true, and written just like it was. ~Patti Smith Two years ago, a dear friend gifted me a signed copy of Patti Smith’s little book, Woolgathering. Published in 1992 — nearly two decades before the National-Book-Award-winning Just Kids & a full twenty-three years before the bestselling M Train — Woolgathering is a lesser-known work, an unassuming 76 pages of lyrical vignettes and photographs depicting Smith’s early life. I read Woolgathering during a time of upheaval in my life, a series…