November 12, 2020 by Rachael Contreras & Traci Turner
Not all girls love bubblegum lyrics and boy bands. Many of us love growling vocals, screaming guitars, black leather, tattoos, and want to rock hard.
Surprising as it may be to today’s music lovers, those of us in, uh, a “higher” age bracket, we did not have many female rocker role models.
When Cherie Currie from The Runaways, Jane Wiedlin and Kathy Valentine from The Go-Go’s first started playing music, the small amount of female rock band influence they had was Suzie Quatro from The Pleasure Seekers.
These ladies had to carve their own path in the predominantly male world to make a name for themselves, and leave a trail for other females to follow.
Currie is a true trailblazer and remains a standout rock icon who continues to put out great music. She said when they started out, “we did not have girl rockers” and there were no girl bands to see. But thankfully, “things have gotten better than they were in the ‘70s. We’ve come a long way!”
THE FUTURE IS NOW!
“Female energy is the future”
Kathy Valentine | The Go-Go’s
“It’s a great time to be a woman!”
Margaret Cho | Actress / Comic
The annual She Rocks Awards celebrates the women who have lead the way for today’s female musicians, and truthfully, musicians regardless of gender. The 9th annual She Rocks Awards will include honorees The Go-Go’s, Cherie Currie, Lzzy Hale, Margaret Cho, Cindy Blackwell Santana, Amy Lee, Starr Parodi, Sharon Hennessey, Ann Mincieli, and Gwen Bethel Riley.
Rock awards shows like She Rocks Awards are important for many reasons, but here’s what the honorees told us this week:
Go-Go’s guitarist/singer/songwriter Jane Wiedlin said the She Rocks Awards are important to lift up other women musicians. She said, “I’ve been wondering since the ‘80s why it wasn’t a 50/50 split between men rockers and women rockers… why aren’t we represented? I still feel like we have a really long way to go, but I think acknowledging and sharing and supporting other women musicians is so important and that’s why She Rocks rocks (laughs)!”
Drummer Cindy Blackman Santana stated, “Music is like prayer… I love events like this because they equalize the playing field in terms of sharing the energies that everyone’s putting out and putting into the music and all the energy that people are offering. It’s only fair if you’re making music and presenting music and inspiring others to do the same, to me, it should be recognized and that doesn’t, in my opinion have anything to do with gender, it’s just fairness of equality.”
Margret Cho may not come to mind first as a musical rock star, but she is a rock star from breaking barriers in stand-up comedy, acting, fashion design, and as a singer-songwriter. Cho said, “I think it’s important because as women artists, we have to be twice as talented and work twice as hard to get less than half of the credit. I think rock and roll is the art of the outsider and there’s no bigger outsider than women. Rock and roll has been deeply important to me.”
Guitarist, bassist and songwriter from The Go-Go’s, Kathy Valentine offered, “There’s an amazing strength and feeling that kind of bond (with women in rock). I think we put up with a lot of stuff with how we are supposed to look and how we are supposed to age and what we’re supposed to do and how long we’re supposed to do it for and how long we’re supposed to do it. I think rock and roll is the perfect realm to bust that shit wide open and say, ‘No, we don’t have those rules, we don’t have those boundaries.’”
Lzzy Hale from lead vocalist and guitarist of Halestorm commented, “It’s such a beautiful thing to be a woman in music and in rock music in particular. You don’t set out to be a role model, you set out because you feel a physicality to your instrument and it’s almost like the music chooses you, you don’t choose it.”
The She Rocks Awards honor women who “display leadership and stand out within the music industry,” and counts Pat Benatar, The B-52s, Lita Ford, Gloria Gaynor, Sheila E, Melissa Etheridge, Chaka Khan, and The Bangles, as previous winners. The awards are put on by the Women’s International Music Network (WiMN), which was created by Laura B. Whitmore and “unites women who work within all facets of the music and audio industries.”
These amazing women – and more – will be honored at the She Rocks Awards on January 22, 2021. You can watch online for free, but there are also VIP packages available.