With today being International Women’s Day I felt this would be a great day to honour hard rocking ladies. I know there are a ton more, and since I chose to go in a harder rock vein, there will probably be some here that you had not heard of, or forgot about. Either way, here they are:
10) KiTTie – This London, Ontario band was formed in 1996. They sprang to the scene in 2000 with their debut album, Spit and even though fully in the Nu Metal scene, they did not sound like any of the Limp Kornskit wannabe bands out there at the time. They had a myriad of bassists over the years, and have not released any new material since 2011, but have never broken up. The video below features the recently deceased former bassist, Trish Doan (RIP)
9) Babes In Toyland – This Minnesota band had their peak in the early 90`s. They were sort of at odds because the front woman, Kat Bjelland looked so cute in her baby doll dress, but she could scream her punk fueled lyrics like a banshee. From the mid 90`s to early 2000`s they were constantly breaking up and reforming but in 2001 they called it quits. They have since reformed again in 2014. They only ever released 3 studio albums, but influenced a great deal of musicians of both genders.
8) The Donnas – This California band formed in 1993, and achieved mainstream success in the early 2000`s by mixing punk, metal and hard rock. All of the band members took on the first name of Donna, hence the band name. There are constant rumours of a new album, but their last album was in 2007, and their last performance was in 2012.
7) L7 – Another band from California that formed in 1985. They took their name form a 1950’s slang meaning square (uncool). They were a popular 90’s band featured in many festivals of the day including Lollapalooza. They went on indefinite hiatus in 2001 and reformed again in 2014.
6) Phantom Blue – Another California band, Phantom Blue formed while members were students of Paul Gilbert and Bruce Bouillet at the Guitar Institute of Technology. The band were the first and only all female band to be signed by Mike Varney’s Shrapnel Records, and their debut LP was produced by Marty Friedman (who also was a guest shredder on their second album). with all of these positive metal influences, the band was sure to succeed, and they did well until their breakup in 2001. The video below shows the axe work of Michelle Meldrum(RIP), the widow of Europe guitarist John Norum.
5) The Slits – The early version of this band was a straight up, all female punk band from London England in the mid to late 70’s playing alongside The Clash, Subway Sect, The Innocents and more. Some fighting with manager Malcolm McLaren led to the departure of drummer Palmolive, and she was replaced by male drummer Budgie (later of Siouxsie and the Banshees). The band changed styles a bit and got a little more commercial, but eventually broke up in 1982. They reformed in 2005 until the death of founder and lead singer Ari Up(RIP).
4) Fanny – One of the first noticeable, all female bands, the third to be signed to a major label, and the first to record an album was the California band, Fanny. David Bowie was quoted as saying about the band “One of the most important female bands in American rock has been buried without a trace. And that is Fanny. They were one of the finest… rock bands of their time, in about 1973. They were extraordinary… they’re as important as anybody else who’s ever been, ever; it just wasn’t their time. Revivify Fanny. And I will feel that my work is done.”
3) Vixen – Another Minnesota band, Vixen was formed in 1973, and moved to los Angeles in 1985, and signed to EMI in 1988. They were part of the glam metal scene of the 80’s but broke up in 1991. They have since re-formed, and their last studio album was in 2006. The band was in the movie The Decline Of Western Civilization II-The Metal Years along with many of their L.A. musical peers. The original lead guitarist of the band, Jan Kuehnemund (RIP) died of cancer in 2013.
2) Girlschool – The world’s longest running all girl band is this NWOBHM band from London England. They formed in 1978, are still going today, and have released 13 studio albums, 6 EP’s and many compilations and live albums. The Canadian connection to the band is due to album sales. Canada is the only country in which their album sales went gold. This was for their second album, Hit And Run(which in North America, was actually a compilation album that included songs from the first two Girlschool albums).
1) The Runaways – This short lived, Los Angeles band was only together from 1975-1979, but they released 4 albums during that time. Two of the members, Joan Jett and Lita Ford went on to even bigger fame after the bands demise. Although The Runaways were not as well received at first in their home country, they did well in Canada, Britain, and especially Japan. Their live album, Live In Japan, became one of the biggest selling import albums in US and UK history. The drummer Sandy West(RIP), a heavy smoker, succumbed to lung cancer in 2006.
Are there any I’ve missed? Feel free to comment.
Happy International Women’s Day, and unlike a certain President, I actually do have a great deal of respect for women.