back when there were babes in boyland

A friend whom i will refer to in this entry as Friend invited the Hubby and I to watch his gig. Friend happened to have an amateur rock band. It was at this rather decent, un-shady place anyway, so we thought there was no harm in dropping by to support him.

It might be useful to mention that Friend is a younger friend, like early-twenties, i.e., a decade delayed.

At the end of the evening, Friend and a few of his other pals asked to hitch a ride to the lot where they parked. As they crowded together in the back seat, i eavesdropped as they exchanged their thoughts on the night's other performances. They were all just amateur bands that night, seemingly playing for kicks if not for a bit of exposure. Most if not all of them were composed of guys who were in their early-to-mid twenties and /or boys who were still in college - their delusional dreams of rock stardom still fresh in their psyche.

One band seemed to have caught their attention, though not exactly in an approving sort of way: it was this all-girl rock-reggae band. The band wasn't astoundingly great, but hey, they weren't that bad. They in fact had enough chops to compare with those other (all-guy) bands. So Friend and his friends who sat in our back seat (both guys and girls) chuckled at how those band-girls even dared to be in a domain where men ruled, sort of implying it was ridiculous of them. Friend and his friends didn't even say anything bad about the music - in fact, I think they even liked the way those chicks played. Then, with the disapproval of chauvinistic old women, Friend and his friends commented at how stupid those girls were to wear showy clothes at a bistro.

I wanted to butt into the conversation, but conscious of the lack of relationship, I just thought in my head: Have you ingenue never seen an all-female rock band before? They were even pretty good. Look, they probably wore those things on purpose knowing what kind of crowd they were getting into, because chicks in bands know their male fans would want to see some skin. And you guys sound more naive then they are. Like, when were you born - Spanish colonial times?

At the risk of appearing like their grandmother in a when-I-was-your-age sort of harangue, I kept my musings to myself. It became apparent to me that these early-twenties guys - these mere kids who were born in the late eighties / early nineties - are prolly unfamiliar with the concept of an all-girl rock band. Oh, they've surely seen girly pop groups on TV, or bands here and there with a female vocalist or bassist. But probably never an all-girl ROCK band.

Coming to think of it, there haven't been many lately, and hardly any have made it mainstream. I'm trying to think of some, but the ones I can think of are either virtual unknowns or carryovers from the '90s.

Though the rock music scene has always been dominated by men, there was a time when all-girl rock bands weren't such an alien concept. Despite the fact that they never sounded as aggressive and as progressive as their all-male counterparts, chick bands were actually quite cool, i.e., they had a critically massive fan base of both males and females.

Back in the '80s were The Bangles, The Go-Go's, L7, Silverfish.

A movie called Satisfaction came out in '88, starring Justine Bateman, Liam Neeson and Julia Roberts. It was this corny chick flick about a girl band. Loved that movie, watched it when i was ten. I recall reading articles about how this or that real-life girl-band was inspired by this movie.

photo from here

In the '90s, there were the riot grrrrls. All-female acts donned their heroin chic - Babes in Toyland, Hole, The Donnas. Even those Japanese chicks Cibo Matto and Shonen Knife.

In the local scene, we had KeltsCross (which later evolved into Pinup Girls), Tribal Fish, Fatal Posporos (lead vocalist Kris Gorra later fronted for the new Eraseheads). An interesting one to note is death-metal act Cherry Bomb - yes, death metal, screamo galore.

Rock acts today are mostly these guys who wear too much eyeliner and gook in their hair (and most of them sellouts who have lost their characteristic sound - but that is for a whole other entry). Lady musicians seem to prefer divalicious soul or sexed-up, thechnofied dance these days. Oh well, whatever rakes in the money, right?
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