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  1. #221
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    Leave it to a drummer...
    IAAL...and an MBA. No, really!
    Metal School Founder; Campaign Ideas; my 3.X Databases: The Monk, The Martial Arcanist, Aquatic Ideas, The Psychonomicon

 

  • #222
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz
    Leave it to a drummer...
    I'll take that as a complement.
    Headmaster of Metal School

    "I may be unconscious, but at least I still look good!" - - Me (at the Halfling Musketeers game GenCon '06)

    On one hand, taking away their weapons is a dead giveaway that they will need them. On the other hand, by the time conflict starts the players will already have opened the rulebooks and found the parts that deal with bare-handed combat, performing disarm moves, and using improvised weapons. Players may blunder through dialog with shocking ineptitude, forget the name of the country they are in, or get confused about which side they are on, but once it comes time to roll for initiative they all turn into Sun Tzu. - Shamus Young DM of the Rings

  • #223
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    Definitely!
    IAAL...and an MBA. No, really!
    Metal School Founder; Campaign Ideas; my 3.X Databases: The Monk, The Martial Arcanist, Aquatic Ideas, The Psychonomicon

  • #224
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    Chapter 6 – Women in Metal, Hawt and Heavy!!!!

    Hard Rock and Heavy Metal have pretty much always been the prevue of white males, whether as groups or solo acts the middle aged white male has almost always dominated. But occasionally something soft and round and alluring prances on the stage and things are changed, at least for a while. And while the objectification of women is a proto-typical theme in heavy rock, these young ladies didn’t seem to mind and often jumped into it themselves.
    Side note about this article, unlike my other entries this one will cover a history up to and including some modern-day acts instead of limiting itself to a single time frame, there are also some parallel genres and acts that will be noted to show the progression from soft and feminine to Hawt and Heavy. This article aims to be all inclusive, but like every other article, there is just not enough space to include everybody, so if your favorite artist was not included, please understand that it was due to space and time, not to any bias.

    Female groups in rock n’ roll are nothing new, even in the very beginning groups like the Supremes, the Ronnettes, etc were churning out hits right along side their male counter parts, but while the gamut of music created by men spanned all different genres and subjects, women were relegated to cheesy love songs and broken-hearted cry fests. (q.v. “Leader of the Pack”, “Goin’ to the Chapel”, “Be My Baby”, “It’s My Party (And I’ll Cry if I Want To)”, etc.) There are several examples of women trying to break the mold and ending up as fodder for the trashcan and the cutting room floor. Ronnie Spector tried to update her sound in the 60s and ended up being cut from her husband’s roster of artists (as well as his bedroom and life.) Disco gave a new genre for women to express themselves, but again, it was a one trick pony for the lasses. However, a couple of sisters from Canada hit the stage in the mid to late 70s that proved women were far from frail and fragile.

    Heart released their breakout album “Dreamboat Annie” in 1976. It contained the requisite soft and fluffy song “Dreamboat Annie” (not once, but three times). However the opening track “Magic Man” was different, more Led Zepplin than The Ronnettes, telling the tale of not lost love, but how the singer’s life was changed by an older man that led her away from home and showed her “true” love or at least the end of her sexual innocence. This was not allowed in the previous world of women in music, because love was a noble goal of women in the world at the time, open sexuality was still frowned upon. Even thought the sexual revolution was ending and women’s rights were on the rise, this was not “socially acceptable” in the realms of what “nice girls” did. The casual listener would have shrugged this off, but the most popular single from the album “Crazy on You” and the third track talked about not just having sex but enjoying it… what kind of hussies were these Wilson sisters!!! To cap it all off, the track “White Lightning & Wine” tells the story of a one night stand left on the highway after the young female sobers up, after she enjoyed a night passion. The Wilson sisters would stick around for another 18 years on the charts in various amounts of success, singing about love, lust and heat in various amounts and with both soft subtle tones and blistering guitar licks. Though not as talented as some later groups it is hard to argue that Heart is one of the most influential on women’s music in the later years and are sited as an influence by several prominent female artists over the next several decades.

    Another group that garnered a little success during this period is noted more for what each member did after they left the group rather than what they did while a member of the group. The Runaways were an L.A. based all-girl rock band (the first of their kind) that ended up playing a few opening shows for such noted performers as Cheap Trick, Van Halen and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, however it was when they opened up for The Ramones that the band found their niche and quickly became part of the US punk movement. Never really reaching success, this group was the training ground for Joan Jett (solo and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts), Lita Ford (solo), Micki Steele (The Bangles), Ann Bolyne (Détente) and Peggy Foster (Steve Vai). Their brand of straight ahead rock n’ roll while infectious was suited more for movie soundtracks and bubblegum shows than serious FM radio-air play, however once again the lyrical content proved girls were no longer made of sugar and spice and one song “Saturday Night Special” proved they might be made of whips and chains…

    After leaving the Runaways, Joan Jett proved to be the greatest female rock act of all time (at least for a while anyway) through the early 80s. She garnered a series of successful albums and singles that have become all time rock anthems “I Love Rock n’ Roll” and “I Hate Myself for Lovin’ You” proved she had the chops when left to her own designs and proved that you can’t keep a good women down. While not as sharp as some other acts to follow, her straight ahead no-nonsense brand of rock kept the door open for other female acts.

    Lita Ford retreated from the professional music world immediately following the Runaways, but kept making music, it wasn’t until she hooked-up with Ozzy Osbourne’s wife and manager Sharon that Lita would get a chance to show that she could sing, write and play. Unlike every other female guitarist, she was a true rock n’ roll lead guitarist, she refused to hire a lead guitarist, insisted that she play all the leads on her first album and pulled it off. Though most known for her duet with Ozzy “Close My Eyes Forever”, and the radio-friendly “Kiss Me Deadly”, the little known “Back to the Cave” and other music shows that when she wasn’t selling out, she was rocking out.

    Punk was a much more forgiving proving ground for female acts with Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and the Waitresses all breaking the mold with strong female lead singers that were unafraid of their sexuality or the power of the, female genitalia. While only the Waitresses scored any real chart or airplay success (discounting the one of pop anthem “Peekaboo” by Siouxsie, each changed the musical landscape that followed, while each group could have a separate chapter on their own, I will leave their contributions listed as, unheralded and numerous. Be warned that the fluid nature of punk and new-wave allowed each of these acts to produce songs that were both hard and heavy and sweet and sugary – it’s a mixed bag so be warned that not everything sounds like it belongs on a head-banger’s iPod.

    While the Runaways were moving from rock to punk another all-girl group was moving the other direction. The Go-Go’s started their musical career playing the punk scene, wearing garbage bag dresses and spiking their hair, a far cry from their spit and polish image that would later turn out such pop anthems as “Vacation” and “We Got the Beat”. While not as talented musically as the Runaways, it was obvious that they were not swayed by their size (the tallest member of the group was drummer Gina Schock at 5’ 7”) or ability. With the only alternative for young girls in music being Madonna or Banarama, the Go-Go’s were both easy to look at and listen to. As the group’s popularity increased they however, started to lose the edge they began with and moved closer and closer to the tried and true bubblegum sound that ‘good girls’ were supposed to play, as evidenced by Belinda Carlisle’s singles once she left the group.

    Another all-girl band that started hard and ended with a fluffy thump was The Bangles. Before the video camera (as well as the pumping hormones of about a million teenage boys) fell in love with Susanna Hoff’s eyes, The Bangles were a group of equality, built upon the foundation by former rock star Micki Steele of The Runaways, each member provided musical talent and vocals, splitting the work load over each member. Talented and beautiful they quickly rose to fame, however MTV ruined it by introducing them to the world and video producers quickly made Susanna Hoff’s the ‘lead’ vocalist, much to the chagrin of her band mates.

    While Pop rock was trying to cross-over women’s roles in rock Doro Pesch made a splash in the Metal group Warlock. This classic Aryan beauty and harsh vocals of Doro coupled with the heavy blistering guitar and bass work provided by the all-male musicians kicked the male listening metal fans around the world in their collective groins. Where Heart, Joan Jett and Lita Ford had at least an inclining of femininity in their style, there was no telling Doro’s vocals from any other male metal singer of the 80s, aside from the range, until you actually saw a picture. While not gaining a lot of commercial success, two major exceptions were the 1986 single “Fight for Rock” and 1987s “All We Are” both enjoying some radio airplay.

    The only all-girl heavy metal act to hit the scene was 1980s hair metal group Vixen, formed by the dregs of a combination of failed Sunset strip bar bands, Vixen broke the charts and hearts of a world of male metal heads (I really wanted to find a back-beat with the bassist), finding not only commercial success, but acceptance among their peers as a legitimate group. The radio friendly cuts “Edge of Broken Heart”, “How Much Love” and the requisite heart-break ballad song “Cryin’” spun around the world and enjoyed heavy rotation of MTV, a feat that many of their male counterparts couldn’t even accomplish. Sadly, like other 80s metal bands, their success was short-lived thanks to the rising emergence of grunge, so we never really got to see what these young ladies could really do.

    As well as those mentioned there are also a string of one hit wonders that emerged in the 80s that, while having no real effect on music as a whole and whose careers (if they can really be called as such) are much more of a drip than a splash kept the fires alive in the gaps while the next big group came along. Among these beauties are Sandy Saraya “Love has Taken it’s Toll” and the blues inspired Alannah Myles “Black Velvet” (A favorite of strippers everywhere), research is the best way to find what appeals to you, but make sure you check the musical fem-fatales out.

    And so, for years there was a drought, where metal once again became a boy’s game and an underground game at that. However, there is a re-emergence of heavy rock talent that means that things might once again show promise. Lacuna Coil, Otep, Lullacry, Paramore, Nightwish and many others show that females in metal are back and most likely here to stay. And I for one say, I’m am truly thankful, leather & lace just looks better on women, doesn’t it?

    Keep your head bangin’ and your ears bleedin’,
    Your headmaster of pain ~ Thunderfoot
    Headmaster of Metal School

    "I may be unconscious, but at least I still look good!" - - Me (at the Halfling Musketeers game GenCon '06)

    On one hand, taking away their weapons is a dead giveaway that they will need them. On the other hand, by the time conflict starts the players will already have opened the rulebooks and found the parts that deal with bare-handed combat, performing disarm moves, and using improvised weapons. Players may blunder through dialog with shocking ineptitude, forget the name of the country they are in, or get confused about which side they are on, but once it comes time to roll for initiative they all turn into Sun Tzu. - Shamus Young DM of the Rings

  • #225
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    Thunderfoot, excellent post as usual...but with two glaring omissions.

    Any mention of women in rock is incomplete without mentioning Janice Joplin. Some of her stuff was as heavy as Zep's, and she definitely proved the girls could bring the noize! She had power in her vox unequaled until present day vocalists like Melissa Etheridge (I saw her post-chemo rendition of a JJ song, and she NAILED it), and hard rockers like Doro and the current crop (from bands like Arch Enemy and Straight Line Stitch).

    Also, you forgot to mention Blondie's emergence from the NYC punk/new wave scene- arguably the (comercially) biggest and (artistically) important band fronted by a woman in those genre. I'd at least put Blondie ahead of the Go-Go's and The Bangles.

    A third omission, though not glaring in any way, is that of semi-obscure guitar wizardess, Jennifer Batten. You may not know the name, but you've seen her mane- her sky-high bleach-blond poofador was the equal of any 80's metal shredder's. So is her technique- she's the big-haired axe-azon you'd see copying EVH's shredding on Michael Jackson's "Beat It" tour (and concert vid). She was also a member of Jeff Beck's band for a while- and you know you can't get that gig if you can't play.
    IAAL...and an MBA. No, really!
    Metal School Founder; Campaign Ideas; my 3.X Databases: The Monk, The Martial Arcanist, Aquatic Ideas, The Psychonomicon

  • #226
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz View Post
    Thunderfoot, excellent post as usual...but with two glaring omissions.

    Any mention of women in rock is incomplete without mentioning Janice Joplin. Some of her stuff was as heavy as Zep's, and she definitely proved the girls could bring the noize! She had power in her vox unequaled until present day vocalists like Melissa Etheridge (I saw her post-chemo rendition of a JJ song, and she NAILED it), and hard rockers like Doro and the current crop (from bands like Arch Enemy and Straight Line Stitch).

    Also, you forgot to mention Blondie's emergence from the NYC punk/new wave scene- arguably the (comercially) biggest and (artistically) important band fronted by a woman in those genre. I'd at least put Blondie ahead of the Go-Go's and The Bangles.

    A third omission, though not glaring in any way, is that of semi-obscure guitar wizardess, Jennifer Batten. You may not know the name, but you've seen her mane- her sky-high bleach-blond poofador was the equal of any 80's metal shredder's. So is her technique- she's the big-haired axe-azon you'd see copying EVH's shredding on Michael Jackson's "Beat It" tour (and concert vid). She was also a member of Jeff Beck's band for a while- and you know you can't get that gig if you can't play.
    As usual you are there to patch up the cracks in my otherwise perfect exterior.... Now STOP IT ALREADY.. (just kidding)

    As I said, there would be omissions, Janice Joplin is indeed a stellar performer, however, I'm unsure that you could really categorize her as...oh who am I kidding, I just plain old forgot about her. Of course history shows that her star was quite brief and that against the advice of her family and her band, she plunged further and further into harder drug use; a life ending spiral. She could have been THE woman of rock, however, her career was over before it began and though noteworthy, didn't last long enough to really change the scene, though she did inspire a ton of future boat-rockers (including the Wilson sisters and Joan Jett) As you mentioned M. Etheridge, her real splash was in Indy Rock/Country hell-raiser set.

    Blondie I left out on purpose, though, while their hard rockin' stuff was amazing, Blondie straddled too many genres to really include in the Chapter. While breaking in with the punk/new wave beat, they rocketed to success in the disco market and while there entrenched themselves in the pop market. Versatile, yes, talented, it goes without saying, but unfortunately, their 'all over the map' approach ultimately made me leave them out. Otherwise Crystal Gale, Rosaline Cash & Linda Ronstadt could have made the list and that's just plain weird....

    Batten played that solo more times than Eddie did, probably knew it better than Eddie too.... If you start naming individual instrumentalists, I would still be posting my original Chapter. Shelia E comes screaming to mind...

    Peace, love and bacon grease! (three things you won't find in the Middle East)
    Headmaster of Metal School

    "I may be unconscious, but at least I still look good!" - - Me (at the Halfling Musketeers game GenCon '06)

    On one hand, taking away their weapons is a dead giveaway that they will need them. On the other hand, by the time conflict starts the players will already have opened the rulebooks and found the parts that deal with bare-handed combat, performing disarm moves, and using improvised weapons. Players may blunder through dialog with shocking ineptitude, forget the name of the country they are in, or get confused about which side they are on, but once it comes time to roll for initiative they all turn into Sun Tzu. - Shamus Young DM of the Rings

  • #227
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    Blondie I left out on purpose, though, while their hard rockin' stuff was amazing, Blondie straddled too many genres to really include in the Chapter.
    Bah-Humbug!

    If you can cite the Bangles & Go-Go's, I can add Blondie!
    IAAL...and an MBA. No, really!
    Metal School Founder; Campaign Ideas; my 3.X Databases: The Monk, The Martial Arcanist, Aquatic Ideas, The Psychonomicon

  • #228
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moulin Rogue View Post
    Metal musicians tend to pride themselves on technical skill, so the ability to play monster drum kits and 12-string basses inevitably became part of the whole bombastic nature of the genre once the shredfest thing got going in the '80s.
    Do you "da bomb fantastic?" Because that's not what bombastic means...

    Anyways.

    I guess I'm the only one who enjoys being crushed by sludge metal? :antiawesome:

    Also, I saw something about metalcore before. My opinion, at least it's not deathcore. lawlz
    Inspiration from your damnation. Your breath blackens my lungs.

  • #229
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurashu View Post
    Do you "da bomb fantastic?" Because that's not what bombastic means...

    Anyways.

    I guess I'm the only one who enjoys being crushed by sludge metal? :antiawesome:

    Also, I saw something about metalcore before. My opinion, at least it's not deathcore. lawlz
    Actually I think he got it right.

    Bombastic ~ adj. - Raucous, boisterous, rowdy, over-bearing, flashy. Sounds like he was right on time.
    Headmaster of Metal School

    "I may be unconscious, but at least I still look good!" - - Me (at the Halfling Musketeers game GenCon '06)

    On one hand, taking away their weapons is a dead giveaway that they will need them. On the other hand, by the time conflict starts the players will already have opened the rulebooks and found the parts that deal with bare-handed combat, performing disarm moves, and using improvised weapons. Players may blunder through dialog with shocking ineptitude, forget the name of the country they are in, or get confused about which side they are on, but once it comes time to roll for initiative they all turn into Sun Tzu. - Shamus Young DM of the Rings

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    It also means pretenious.
    Inspiration from your damnation. Your breath blackens my lungs.

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