Taoist mythology, Lanna history, mythology, the nature of time and other considered ramblings

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Location: Chiangrai, Chiangrai, Thailand

Author of many self-published books, including several about Thailand and Chiang Rai, Joel Barlow lived in Bangkok 1964-65, attending 6th grade with the International School of Bangkok's only Thai teacher. He first visited ChiangRai in 1988, and moved there in 1998.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Female rock stars

For years now, I’ve used the internet an average of an hour a day; mostly because I pay for a minimum of an hour. I really don’t even need it that much. To fill some of my hours, I’ve wasted time with facebook, through which I answered a questionnaire on “what female rock star” best fits your personality (or something). I got Siouxie (of the Banshees). That got me wondering who all might be on their female rock star list.
Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Ann Wilson & Nancy Wilson, Debbie Harry, Annie Lennox, Pat Benetar, Tina Turner, Chrissie Hynde and Patti Smith made the grade, as far as I was concerned, in my radio-listening years. But I wanted to think of a dozen.
Joan Jett, Suzi Quatro, Rachel Sweet, Lydia Lunch, Linda Love, Cyndi Lauper, Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks – well, maybe. Cheryl Crowe, Tracy Chapman, Cher, Joan Baez, Linda Thompson, Madonna? Much as I like some of them, well, no. On the web I found Belinda Carlisle and Sandy Denny mentioned. I like one of those two, but rock star? No.
Despite the brief, flamboyant “mod” style of 1967, rock and roll has never really been about pretensions to class or sophisticated, elegant refinement – despite Grace Slick, Chrissie Hynde, and Fleetwood Mac (after Peter Green and taking females into the band) – one might like them, but their back-beat bop utility can only be seen as minimal at best. The Shangri-las are considered pop, despite a bad-girl rep and appearing with the Beatles, James Brown and even the Zombies. Mary Chapin Carpenter, the Indigo Girls, the Spice Girls and the Go-Gos (“power pop”) similarly shouldn’t be included. The Supremes, whom I dearly love and admire, made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but somehow I see Motown as Motown, not rock. Could be a personal problem.
From the 90s, I found Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan and Sophie B Hawkins mentioned on the web. I think I’ve heard of Sophie B Hawkins, but can’t remember a song of hers, so… maybe I’m just old and out of it, but to me rock has a back beat, at least any rocker should, sometimes if not always, and, well, about the last powerful back-beat performer I remember is the in many ways embarrassingly unfortunate Ted Nugent. What or where’s the line between rock and pop, anyway? Between rock and country? Rock and folk? I bet Sophie B Hawkins showed some guts and gumption, but don’t know. Maybe she’s a star, I don’t know that either.
What I do know is that it isn’t sexual discrimination that make the ranks of female rockers so much smaller than that of males. The stars I listed as having made the grade fail nowhere in being feminine, and they certainly represented rock and roll to me. I’ve known lesser female luminaries who could rock – one of them intimately.
Long, long ago I tried to interview a female rock band (with male drummer) for a local paper. When I asked if they’d encountered anything like a male groupie, they got defensive, cagey and then suspicious… what was I insinuating?
I wonder if that kind of thing has something to do with it. Most women, feeling more bound by family and class, find need to be so much more careful than men… and rock music was assertive, aggressive, animistic, and promiscuous. We pretend many social conventions are set, then other realities leak through…

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Blogger Mythorelics said...

Thanks margaret, appreciate that!

8:12 PM  

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