Am I the only one who’s sad that the Riot Grrrl movement is over? Alright, so I’m a bit too young to remember all of it. But if we’re going to split hairs here, then I’m also too young for Nirvana, which basically means my life is over. So let’s agree: no hair-splitting.
Kat in her mid-90's grunge glory
I just wish I could have witnessed the riot in the flesh: Kat Bjelland blowing people away with her screaming vocals in Babes in Toyland. Nowadays, a girl in a rock band is a novelty. If I had a dollar for every “Looking for female bassist/guitarist/drummer” Craigslist ad I’ve seen for an otherwise all-male band, I could buy a new bass.
Really, what is it that makes us grrrls in bands some type of rare bird, present only for others’ amusement? Or, even worse, an object to be watched and critiqued with every pound we gain or lose? Women in rock bands are often seen as the same thing: a pretty face to be watched closely in an otherwise “boys only” picture. But last time I checked it wasn’t 1950.
"You're pretty good for a girl." "Thanks? You're pretty nice for a jerk."
Not to sound too cynical but mainstream female musicians aren’t helping matters. Ask the average 15 to 20-year-old female to name the first “girl rocker” that come to mind, and I bet you’ll hear Avril Lavigne (she says she writes all her songs but her writers say otherwise), Gwen Stefani (is she still a rocker? or maybe a designer? or just a holla back girl?) or even Ashlee Simpson (she lip syncs and there’s nothing punk about that).
Now the question is, “what can we do to change people’s perceptions of women in rock?” The answer is simple: don’t tell people, show people. The only way to get deserving rocker chicks the RIGHT kind of attention is to share their songs and let the music do the talking. Check out the playlist below for starters. This short but sweet list of songs was hand chosen from my personal favorite OurStage ladies. And it’s not about production value or rankings, just rock.
*Note: Andrea from Tunnlvision isn’t the singer, she’s responsible for that killer bass intro in “On the Fly.”
Want to check out the coolest chick guitarist you probably haven’t seen before? Watch Boris guitarist Wata shredding.