I contributed a chapter of this book edited by Julia Downes, published by Supernova, on the figure of the ‘all girl band’ in Oct 2012. My chapter is on international currents in punk and hardcore, with a focus on women’s involvement during musical eras that aren’t first wave UK punk or early 90s US riot grrrl, in an attempt to rebalance the narrative and amplify some forgotten contributions.
Here’s the intro:
From a curious vantage point in the centre of the unlikely venn diagram where feminism, punk and cultural theory meet (and usually eye each other suspiciously) I still could not help but notice a gaping hole in those library shelves. Thirty years on, hardcore punk — the wayward child of New York’s art damaged noise (training ground for Iggy and Patti; inspiration for Malcolm McLaren and his band of spitting white boys) and California’s sprawling suburban decay — remains almost entirely overlooked in these dissections. When granted a mention, hardcore is best an unsavoury footnote, a foolish sonic experiment in extremity destined to annihilate itself. At worst, it is painted as a complete dead end, a cultural desert of violence and machismo, a youthful misdemeanor; the worst excesses of punk’s death drive. More pertinently, hardcore in the history books maintains an unpleasant reputation as a scene off-limits to women, queers and people of colour, almost by design. Meanwhile, the smattering of books dealing exclusively with women in punk tend to focus either on the more gender-fluid exuberance of ’77 era punk, where Siouxsie and Poly’s pioneering screams echo, or on rewriting the flash of activity around riot grrrl in the early 90s to act as a convenient ‘ground zero’ for punk rock feminism. So the stories of women in hardcore and DIY punk outside of these overexposed punk poscards remain, for the most part unrecognized; their work uncredited, experiences marginalised names forgotten. While Henry Rollins and Rollins Mackaye are the closest thing punks have to ‘household names,’ how many know Cheslow, Pickering or Droogas?
I posted some outtakes from interviews here. Order here or here.
Publication: October 2012