Tagged: Rock Goddess

No, I never “grew out of it”….

Dozed off on the train on my way home, and when I woke up, just a few minutes before my station, the girl next to me smiled and said:

– I remember you from junior high!

I looked at her and I could have sworn I’d never seen her before. But I generally suck at remembering faces, which gets me in trouble as people probably think I’m a stuck up bitch for not remembering them…

She turned to my colleague, pointed at me and said:

– She was the only girl in the entire school, who was into heavy metal. 

Well, okay then. Apparently she DID know me. :D

– So… I guess you’ve grown out of it now, huh…? she said and smiled.

Grew out of it? Of what? Being a metalhead? Are you kidding?

Hell, NO.

– No way, I’m still a rock chick, always were, always will be. Well it was nice to see you! I said, still not knowing who she was.
She said she used to be in a grade above us. Okay, that makes it even better. Back in those days you definitely didn’t socialize with anyone YOUNGER, that was very uncool. So, I must have left quite an impression if even one of the “older chicks” noticed and remembers me – from 1983!

My mind just wandered off to those days, when I started my walk home. 1983. Junior high.
I don’t remember much from that time really, other than being intensely crazy about heavy metal.

I was still a kid, trying to find my identity – which was especially hard being the only girl in school who was into metal. I had no one to share that with and I didn’t really belong anywhere.
I used to hang with the guys, which of course the other teenage girls in my class didn’t do, unless they wanted a boyfriend. So, I guess I was just…different. :)

There were very few female role-models for me. I remember getting into Rock Goddess but they were pretty much like guys… Same thing with Girlschool, guys with tits.

Then Lita Ford came along and that changed my whole world. She became my “guiding light” through the jungle of metal where girls simply didn’t belong back in those days. She was a tough woman, but still a woman. Not a dude-chick.

I was so in love with the whole heavy metal scene that I couldn’t focus on ANYTHING else. It was ALL about hard rock/heavy metal.
I would go and buy those cheap LP’s with cut-outs from Spain, cause I couldn’t afford anything else. I remember buying ScorpionsBlackout” and it had all the titles translated! Hang on, I’ve still got all that shit here…. Yeah, this is what it looked like:

Scorpions

I would sit and carve the names and logos of the bands I liked, on my school desk with a sharp pencil – leaving permanent traces of where I’d been. I guess you could call it an obsession, cause it really was.
My backpack was decorated with the same thing – the Judas Priest logo and a bunch of Van Halen and Def Leppard-buttons and patches.

I read everything I could get my hands on, any metal magazine – which of course would be from the UK or the US cause we didn’t have anything like that in Sweden. Until the music mag OKEJ came along.

I used to hang outside the newsstand every Wednesday morning when a new issue of OKEJ would come out, right before going to woodwork class. Then of course, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else all day, I would read that freaking thing, cover to cover, not missing a WORD! :)

And it had all these cool posters too. This was my first Judas Priest-poster, that was from OKEJ. ME – I looked dorky as hell, but the whole world of rock’n’roll was all still new to me. Before I “converted” to metal, I had been a BEATLES-fan…! Quite a transition to say the least.

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My parents worried. This was not supposed to happen, they wanted big things for me, I was supposed to go to university and make something of myself. Not listen to that….noise.

Dad used to say that music wouldn’t “put food on the table” and I needed to focus on the IMPORTANT things in life. Well… When I got my first job writing about metal 5 years later, he couldn’t really use that as a motivational speech anymore. ;)

dio

Eventually my parents accepted that this was my call in life. I loved the music, it was very important to me and I incorporated it into my life with a passion.

[14 years old, just started decorating my walls with ugly longhaired men dressed in black leather!]

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And no – I never “grew out of it”!

I told the girl on the train, that there is nothing to “grow out” of – because metal is the ULTIMATE music in my book. There is no higher level.
Many are always going to think that classical music is fancier but when it comes to complexity, you will find a lot of those influences in metal as well, only modernized and better suited for electric guitars and amps.

She looked surprised but I walked away with a sense of pride. Yeah, I have to say that I actually felt proud to be remembered by someone, 31 years later, for being the only female rocker in junior high – and STILL BE that girl! :)

I don’t know what my life would have looked like if I hadn’t fallen in love with metal, but I’m so glad that I never had to find out, because I’ve really lived a life I could never have dreamed of when I was a kid- and I owe it all to rock’n’roll.

It’s the love of my life and will be in my heart & soul till the day I die. :)

The metal queens that left a mark

When you’re on vacation you suddenly have a LOT of time on your hands. I ended up spending hours on YouTube last night watching videos by some of the female bands/artists that inspired me as I was growing up.

I’ve always collected albums by female rockers, whether it was all-girl bands or female fronted male bands or even the very few women who got a gig playing in a male band (not just singing).

The very first heroine was of course Lita Ford. When I was just a kid with very little knowledge of the music world, I remember stopping in the record store being totally in awe of the cool girls on the cover of this Runaways album:

Lita was of course the one who caught the eye of a curious 8-year old cause she wore that silver-thing on her arm. Then when she released her first solo-album in 1983, I really started collecting Lita-stuff. She was definitely the number one role-model.

[Cheesy early Lita-video, title track of her debut solo-album “Out For Blood“]

Joan Jett never appealed to me as much. It was only last year at Sweden Rock Festival when I attended her press-conference and saw her live, that I truly got why she’s stayed on the top in this business all these years. She is genuine and breathes rock’n’roll! She ruled the crowd, they loved her!

In the early 80’s, there were very few females playing metal. One of my favorite bands was Rock Goddess. The youngest member, drummer Julie Turner, was so young at the time that they even had trouble getting her into some of their own gigs!
They came to Sweden opening for Def Leppard in 1984 I think, but I wasn’t allowed to go. My parents were still not happy about the fact that their daughter was into heavy metal, it was something they had heard “bad things” about. Needless to say, they had to change their minds along the way… ;-P

[Rock Goddess with the asskicking Jodie Turner on vocals and guitar!]

I picked up whatever I could – Girlschool, She, Lita, Joan, Headpins, and then of course Lee Aaron. The Metal Queen. When I first heard her, it was on the radio (must have been some local station, they didn’t normally play heavy metal on the national Swedish radio back in those days) – I thought it was a guy…! Man, the lady had quite a set of pipes! And she was beautiful too, not to mention a bundle of energy on stage. Well, that’s how I imagined her, because I never saw her live and there was no YouTube so I had to rely on the reviews I read in the metal magazines I could get my hands on in 1984. I was happy to finally see her live at Sweden Rock Festival last year and she blew me away! She is still stunning and hasn’t lost her vocal range one bit!

[Quite cheesy video but these were still the early years of music videos…]

As the years went by, the world of metal started to expand and more women fought their way in. Cause it sure as hell wasn’t easy being a woman in metal in the 70’s or 80’s! There were very few, and the ones who DID manage to secure their place in the business, constantly had to deal with stupid juvenile sexism. It was automatically assumed that heavy metal was a man’s world and as a woman you simply couldn’t play.

At its best, you would hear comments along the lines of “well… pretty good – for a chick“. It was still pretty bad when I joined my first band. When we played, I would constantly hear some drunk asshole (and his equally drunk idiot pals) yell: “Show your tits!”. Well, show your d***k if you can find it, son of a b…. It was a pain in the butt, but you couldn’t let it stop you.

Late 80’s presented the classy ladies of Vixen for instance. Eventhough I wouldn’t call them metal, I loved everything about them. I was young, thought of them as inspirational not only as great musicians but also as fashion-statements for women in rock. :-) I had the pleasure of talking to them a few times during their fairly short, but successful career and loved their personalities.

Other ladies that I listened to during this period was Femme Fatale fronted by a lady with an attitude – Lorraine Lewis. She’s still active, playing the Monsters of Rock Cruise for instance. Would love to see her, cause most of those American bands never made it to Europe for some reason.

Doro had been around since…forever! Starting out with Warlock, I’d say she’s also one of the few true, 200% dedicated and impressive metal queens out there. Doro and Lita won every poll for “best female artist” back in those days. I love Doro, who doesn’t?! She’s a wonderful, humble person with a true love for heavy metal.

Another band that I really liked, but who never made it commercially (they stayed somehow “underground” eventhough MTV aired their videos) was Phantom Blue.

They were the first and only female band to be signed to Mike Varney’s Shapnel Records (only 3 months after forming!). Just as a bit of trivia, guitarists Michelle and Nicole were both students of Paul Gilbert and Bruce Boulliet of Racer X. Great guitarists and to top it all off – the amazing Gigi Hangach on vocals.

They couldn’t compete with the likes of Vixen or Lita in terms of airtime or albums sold, but they made a mark in music history for sure. Michelle married John Norum (ex-Europe) and moved to Sweden where she formed the band Meldrum. I remember being in touch with her back and forth about a gig at my club Hard Break in the mid-, late nineties, but due to a double-booking it fell through. Michelle was anything but happy about it, to make a long story very short… :-( It sucks that things had to go so wrong. She passed away in 2008. Read more about the band here. The actual promo video for this great song used to be on YouTube but I’m sure some idiot had it removed for whatever reason… The only thing left is this incredibly inspiring “look at this photo”-video, but at least you can still HEAR the music.

As far as VOICES…there was only ONE that could blew off the competition. Not that there ever was any competition. This woman was on her throne and nobody ever came even CLOSE to her vocal power! Ann Wilson of Heart. That voice amazes me to this day, she was and is one of a kind.

Then, of course, there was the CHEESE.

Some stand out as worse than anything. I bought records by these “ladies” but they’ve only been played once and then took their place in the collection just as “fill-outs”, never to be played again.

Lisa Dominique, she was in Kerrang! all the time, but the only reason she was, was because she was selling her “sexy image” more than her music – she couldn’t sing if her life depended on it! Take a listen to this (warning for possible injuries on sensitive eardrums….)

Then there was the super-cheesy Betsy Bitch from the band….Bitch. I’m lost for words, this is just about the cheesiest crap I’ve ever seen or heard in most aspects, especially lyric-wise! :)

Granted, she was one of the very first female metal vocalists, starting out in 1980, but that doesn’t help, at all. This song especially is horrible. Check it out:

Another uh..lady, that must be placed in the cheese-department is The Great Kat. It’s not that she didn’t know what she was doing; she was a classically trained violinist, graduated from Juilliard and had been touring playing classical music before she became…that.

Once again, she ends up in the cheese-department simply because…well, you’ll understand when you watch the video below. She could play, has even been listed as one of the top shredders of all time by Guitar One magazine. Maybe she would have passed unnoticed if she hadn’t created this insane persona, where she often claimed she was Beethoven reincarnated. ;)

Enjoy…(or something)!

Jesus, I think I’ll have go and take a break after that. :-)) Hope you’ve enjoyed the rundown!

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Honorable mentions that didn’t fit into the article above but that you should take a listen to:

Canadian rocker Joanna Dean, loved her album “Misbehavin

One HELL of a voice – Chrissy Steele (who was recruited to take over vocal duties after Darby Mills in Headpins. This is from her solo album “Magnet to Steele“)

 

Songs before and after

I was out driving with my sister the other day and “Ain’t No Love In The Heart of The City” started playing in the car stereo. She said she loved that song, but was well aware that it wasn’t Whitesnake’s own tune. It’s an old R & B-song from the 70’s actually, but not too many people know that. Whitesnake have somehow made it their own.
 
 Some songs just work better the second time. Maybe because the timing is better, or because everything can be perfected. Either way, it’s an interesting phenomenon. I went for years thinking that Diamonds and Rust and Green Manalishi were Judas Priest-originals. Probably because those were on the first Priest-album I ever bought, Unleashed In the East. I figured those were all their own songs.
 
I’m sure you can think of a bunch of great covers that were improved and modernized to fit a different (and often larger) audience – but here are a few that I could think of from the top of my head:
 
I LOVE ROCK’N’ROLL
(original by Arrows 1975 – covered by Joan Jett in 1981)
 

 
  
  
AIN’T NO LOVE IN THE HEART OF THE CITY
(original by Bobby Blue Bland 1974 – covered by Whitesnake in 1978)
 
 
  
  
DIAMONDS AND RUST
(original by Joan Baez 1975 – covered by Judas Priest in 1977)
 
 
 
GREEN MANALISHI
(original by Fleetwood Mac 1970 – covered by Judas Priest in 1979)
 
 
 
 
ACTION!
(original by The Sweet 1975 – covered by Def Leppard in 1993)
 
 
 
 
 

I DIDN’T KNOW I LOVED YOU (‘TIL I SAW YOU ROCK’N’ROLL)
(original by Gary Glitter 1972 – covered by Rock Goddess and more in 1983)