Giving female rockers their due
If you listened to rock stations in the late ’70s or early ’80s you may recall that name due to a song called Stillsane. Mas was promoted as the female Springsteen because her songs had a sax-infused sound reminiscent of The Boss.
Other than the late, great comedian David Brenner, Carolyne is my most treasured Facebook celebrity friend. I’m one of her just under 5,000 friends but every year I wish Mas a happy birthday, sometimes with a Stillsane reference, and she responds with a “thanks” or a like.
I may be in the minority but many of my favourite rockers have been, and continue to be, female. Wanda Jackson, Etta James, Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks, Lee Aaron, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Lucinda Williams, Shelby Lynne….
and bands fronted by females…Jefferson Airplane (Grace Slick), Heart (Ann Wilson), Evanescence (Amy Lee), Hole (Courtney Love), Halestorm (Lzzy Hale), Paramore (Haley Williams), Courage My Love (the Canadian Arn-Horn sisters Mercedes and Phoenix).
But, from The Donnas back to the Runaways, chick rockers have had to endure sexist and misogynistic treatment from club owners, radio stations and pretty much everyone else who has a penis.
“Is that your boyfriend’s guitar?”
I’ve never understood how playing guitar or drums was regarded as something only men could do. It’s all about dexterity, not strength. We’re not talking about throwing a football 60 yards. Go back to the ’40s and gospel star Sister Rosetta Tharpe routinely beat male guitarists in what were known as head cutting contests. Bonnie Raitt’s slide playing is regarded as as being as good as anyone in the history of electric guitar, man or woman.
So…why do the ladies have to prove themselves over and over and over?
According to Wikipedia, New York native Carolyne Mas has always been more popular in Europe and Canada than in the United States. Maybe because we know great rock and roll when we hear it, and don’t categorize the likes of Mas as female rockers.
They can sing. They can rock and often times they have more balls than their male counterparts.