Dedicated to Jane and female fronted rock bands!
Jane- Jefferson Starship Jane 7"
Burned Out Love- Shoes Shoe's Best
Iggy and Angus- Sloan Navy Blues
She Said She Loves Me- The Scientists The Scientists
Girl From Washington- The Windbreakers Time Machine (1982-2002)
The Capitol- Visqueen Message To Garcia
Bedroom Craze- The Sighs S/T LP
Outdoor Miner- Wire Outdoor Miner Single
^A Girl In Trouble (Is A Temporary Thing)- Romeo Void A Girl In Trouble 7"
It's Your Heart Tonight- The Secrets Titan: It's All Pop!
Just Another Teenage Anthem- New Hearts New Hearts 7"
Psychic Lighting- Free Energy Stuck on Nothing
One More World- The Starjets God Bless Starjets
Sentimental Favorite- Owsley Owsley
*Wild- The Nuns The Nuns
*Nothing Special- Schematix Jagged Edge 7"
*No Long Good-Byes- VKTMS 100% White Girl 7"
*The American In Me- The Avengers S/T 12"EP
*You Got It (Release It)- Pearl Harbor and The Explosions Drivin' 7"
*I Gave My Punk Jacket To Rickie- Mary Monday I Gave My Punk Jacket To Rickie 7"
Sneaking Kisses- Senseless Things Postcard C.V.
Black Cloud- Dipsomaniacs Freakin Eureka
Get Out And Take Your Mother With You- Airship Get Out... 7"
Feather- Big Kid You Must Be Kidding
Everything Will Work Out In The End- Beagle Sound on Sound
This Ain't My Time- The Barracudas Drop Out With
>Down On Me- Big Brother and The Holding Company Down On Me 7"
Grown Up Wrong- Dirty Angels Dirty Angels
Please Don't Lie- DM3 Dig it the Most
Life On The Line- Eddie And The Hot Rods The End Of The Beginning
Wait Till Next Week- The Flashcubes Bright Lights
Somebody To Love- Jefferson Airplane Somebody To Love 7"
Never Say Never- Romeo Void The Best Of 415 Records
^Power Pop Peak: #35 Billboard Hot 100 9/1/84
*SacroSet: San Francisco Female Fronted Rock Bands
>Power Pop Prototype: 1967
One of the things I loved most about punk rock when I first discovered it in Junior High is that you didn't have to look like a model, be a great musician or have the latest expensive gear- if you had the guts, you could get up on stage and make noise. Unlike Yes and Emerson Lake and Palmer fans, who I imagine felt like musical peasants, punk rock bands inspired their audience to "do it yourself." In other words, punk gave rock and roll back to the people and that included women. Popular music has always had its share of pretty female faces up front taking orders from a bandleader or manager. The women in the punk and new wave bands of the late 70's and early 80's smashed this mold and if not their group's leader, were usually an integral part of the creative process. Every major music scene of the era had at least one female fronted band:
LONDON- X Ray Spex, Penetration, The Pretenders
BOSTON- Robin Lane and The Chartbusters, The Thrills, The Maps
NEW YORK- Blondie, Patti Smith Group, Cherry Vanilla and the Staten Island Band
LOS ANGELES- X, The Motels, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts (not to mention several great all-female bands, but that's not what tonight's show is about.)
As tonight's SacroSet proves, San Francisco has all these cities beat. Perhaps it's the legacy of Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother and The Holding Company (pictured above). Admittedly these bands were led by guys with a female singer up front, yet Grace Slick and Janis Joplin no doubt influenced the next generation of Bay Area female lead singers:
The Nuns (Jennifer Miro)
Schematix (Jill Fido)
VKTMS (Nyna Napalm)
The Avengers (Penelope Houston)
Pearl Harbor and The Explosions
(Pearl E. Gates)
Mary Monday and The Bitches
And one I'm kicking myself for forgetting....
Bonnie Hayes and The Wild Combo
Sadly, both Nyna Napalm (d. 2000) and Jennifer Miro (d. 2011) are no longer with us. You may have noticed that I skipped Romeo Void, performers of tonight's Power Pop Peak "A Girl In Trouble (Is A Temporary Thing)." That's because as forward thinking as the late 70's Bay Area female-fronted band explosion was, those nasty old "market forces," most likely in the form of a douchebag A and R guy, played a huge part in the way this band was presented to the public. In addition to having a fantastic voice, lead singer Deborah (pronounced "de-bore-uh") Iyal is a large and lovely lady. Contrast these Romeo Void pictures with those above, or with those of any other of female singer:
FOR GOD'S SAKE DUDES GIVE THE LADY SOME ROOM! Romeo Void's "Never Say Never" was a sorta "hit" on WBCN in Boston in 1982 and my friend Ted was the first to buy the EP. Yet, even when they were on indy label 415, there were NO pictures of the band in their singles, the EP or their LP It's A Condition. Once the early photos, like the one immediately above, started to surface my friends and I could tell something was up. Even in the video for "Never Say Never," Deborah isn't established as the singer of the band until the 1:30 mark:
I suppose I should be glad they let Deborah on screen at all or didn't stick her behind some lame scrim or filter like Elizabeth Taylor in those "White Diamonds" perfume commercials. Still, it's pretty lame considering Deborah's vocal performance dominates the song. Just sing "I might like you better if we slept together" and see if you don't get smiles of recognition from most people over 40, especially women. Revolutionary sounding band, edgy/sexy lyrics- no problem ... but a large lady up front "NO WAY!" I'd like to think things are better for women today and maybe we've turned a corner with Adele's success. I certainly hope so. On the other hand, Adele is probably only a size 14 and when I asked Jaime and Nica to name another plus size pop singer from the 2000's? Well, we'll just have to wait and see.
Download tonight's show below (Right click and "Save Link As"):