Episode 47: Women Who ROCK with Evelyn McDonnell, Shana L. Redmond and Alice Bag

Here’s to another week How Do You Like it So Far? crew!  Henry and Colin have a fantastic group of women join them in Recording Studio B this week.  They welcome Evelyn McDonnell, an Associate Professor of Journalism at Loyola Marymount University and former music editor at The Village Voice, Shana L. Redmond, a Professor of Global Jazz Studies Musicology at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and Alice Bag, an author, feminist and lead singer/co-founder of The Bags, a punk rock band that dates back to the initial wave of punk in Los Angeles.  Their lively panel discusses “Women Who Rock: Bessie to Beyonce. Girl Groups to Riot Grrl,” edited by McDonnell with Redmond and Bag serving as contributing essayists.  This book celebrates 104 of the greatest female musical artists in the 20th and 21st century.  Each profile is accompanied by artwork by female artists to create a lively portrait of the musicians in this book.  They analyze the women featured in the book from Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes to Aretha Franklin. McDonnell, Redmond and Bag highlight the importance of this book with an examination of the gender disparities in the music industry and the legacy system that keeps those inequalities in place.  They talk about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Board stacked with mostly white men and the music industry’s role as one of the last bastions of the patriarchy. Listen in as McDonell, Redmond and Bag dissect music as a strategy to incite action for change and call for more women in the music landscape. An added bonus: McDonnell is also a former student of Henry’s!

Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Rock She Wrote: Women Write about Pop, Rock and Rap (First book Evelyn edited)

Shana L. Redmond’s Work:
Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora
Forthcoming book – Everything Man: The Form and Function of Paul Robeson 

Alice Bag’s memoir “Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, A Chicana Punk Story” 

Alison Wolfe – Contributor to the book | Formed Riot Grrrl

Artists mentioned in this episode:
Aretha Franklin
Brittany Howard
Lead singer of Alabama Shakes
Jamie – Recently released solo album
Queen Latifah
June Millington
Formed a band called The Svelts
Formed Fanny
Founded a school
Worked in the women’s music movement
Olivia Records
Fanny Walked the Earth – released new music last year
Invited a lot of groups to sing back up: The Runaways | The Bangles
Bessie Smith
Sister Rosetta Tharp

List of songs mentioned in the episode:
Joni Michell – “All I Want
Alabama Shakes – “Don’t Wanna Fight
Brittany Howard – “Stay High” and “Tomorrow
Fanny Walked the Earth – “When We Need Her, She Comes
Alice Bag – “Turn It Up
Dolly Parton – “Working 9 to 5

Rock & Roll – Rooted in the blues and gospel

Iconic Grace Slick self-portrait

Women historically marginalized in music

Brandi Carlile performed Joni Mitchell’s Blue 

Elton John at The Greek with Taron Egerton

Yoko Ono Tribute at The Greek

Music industry as the last bastion of patriarchy

Go-Gos first all-girl band to have an album hit #1 

Female artists on Top 20 of country radio charts

Rock &  Roll Hall of Fame has small percentage of female inductees
Few women on the Board

Punk focus on white suburban men
Patti Smith as a woman who stepped up and made punk rock

Transgress Fest – pioneered by a transgender artist

Spinal Tap – “Turn it Up to an Eleven

Turn It Up show in July

Ken Burn’s Country Music Documentary for PBS

Women in Country Music Hall of Fame:
Carter Sisters
Patsy Cline

Number of women in the Country Music Hall of Fame

Share your thoughts via Twitter with Henry and Colin and also through email at [email protected]!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *