shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


girls without guitars

David Segal discusses the lack of "guitar heroines" and why it may be so. Seems to me that the rock bands around these parts are always improved by a girl with an instrument. But Christopher and I have had this same conversation. And Segal offers a balanced look, discarding the easy, trite and wrong options why (Chick can't rawk!) there are fewer girls with axes in the pantheon and, frankly, I admire his guts for taking this topic on.

One thing is obvious: Women basically sat out, or were sidelined during, the first 20 years of the development of the rock guitar. There is a limit, naturally, to the number of different sounds and styles that can be wrung from any instrument, and by the time women like Raitt arrived on the scene in the early '70s, many of those sounds and styles had been staked out. More than 60 percent of the names on the Rolling Stone list earned their reputation well before Woodstock happened. It's as though there was a gold rush and the women started panning after all the good lodes were claimed. Some guitarists -- like Johnny Ramone, the guy who popularized the head-bang strum of punk guitar for the Ramones -- are great not because they did something difficult but because they did something first.

But this just reframes the question. Why didn't more women push toward the frontier of the guitar back when the frontier had plenty of acres in it? And why have so few been pushing since? For answers, I called a bunch of female guitar players -- including Joan Jett -- and a few sociologists, and asked them to cough up some theories. Here's what they said.

worm "Case of You," Joni Mitchell

namecheck Ted "Barbecued Stingray" Chiang


  • At 10:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    You know, "A Case Of You" is kind of the ultimate Canadian love song.

    Not because she draws the map, or because of the brilliant bits about the devil, but because it uses the being in love is like being drunk metaphor in a very Canuck way--"I could drink a case of you and still be on my feet".

    Mmm love beer.



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