Monday, 10 October 2011


This book covers that period in the 1990s where the DIY feminist punk of riot grrrl was filtered through more rock-orientated bands like Hole and L7 and the more photogenic media-friendly anger of artists like Fiona Apple and Alanis Morrissette before eventually tricking down to the shallow pop consumerism of the Spice Girls and their ilk.

The author also links the rise of pop stars like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera with the kind of "raunch feminism" described in Ariel Levy's Feminist Chauvinist Pigs. She seeks to place the Spice Girls catchphrase of Girl Power and their feminism-lite in some kind of context - after all, the Spice Girls were appealing to a much younger and more mainstream audience and even something as simplistic as Girl Power gave young girls confidence and the idea that they mattered. But as she points out, too often it became a meaningless catchphrase that avoided political activism or even any sense of cultural interaction for trendy fashions and consumerism.

It does focus very much on the American scene so bands like Fluffy, Kenickie or even All Saints get missed out and she didn't want to write about metal/rock bands so I do feel some of the female-fronted bands around at the time like Jack Off Jill and My Ruin are criminally overlooked. However, Shampoo get several mentions (and The Nymphs and Period Pains are mentioned in passing). However, she does make the point that she's only covering one particular period in history rather than the whole scope of women in music.

She also writes a bit about some of the female-centric music festivals such as Lillith Fair, Ladyfest and Michigan Womyn's Festival (which is often slated for its trans exclusion policy which she does discuss here) and she even mentions Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains.

I do feel like if you were around in that period then you'll already be aware of a lot of what she's talking about but it's nice to have a book that attempts to give an overview of that period and place it all in some kind of context (and we're already nearly twenty years away from it so there will be a whole generation of music fans who weren't actually there to see/hear these things firsthand.)

"Girl Power is, as Professor Alison Pepmeier says of her own 10,000 Maniacs and Suzanne Vega obsessed college years, about "seeking a culture of women's voices. I knew I had things to say and I wanted to find women who were making a public space for themselves." Girl Power allows each of us to map out what it means to be a woman in the world, one song at a time."


Sunday, 28 August 2011


Jack off Jill split up in 2000. EDITED TO ADD: Jack off Jill have reformed and have played some live dates in 2015.

(For information on Jessicka and Helen Storer please use the relevant tags).

Robin Moulder (Agent Moulder) founded TCR along with TC formerly of the band, Triggerpimp and they released an album called The Chrome Recordings in 2004 (which also featured contributions from former JOJ members Chris Vrenna and Scott Putesky). Robin is now married with two children.

Tenni Arslanyan (Tenni Ah-Cha-Cha) who co-founded the band along with Jessicka and Michelle Oliver (Michelle InHell) founded Set to Zero. In 2010 Tenni began playing with Zombie Queen.

I know the soundtrack to Down and Out With the Dolls features a song by a band called Lo-Ball that had Claudia Rossi in but I've never been able to find out anything more about them. Claudia founded a band called One of the Loudest Tragedies Ever Heard and apparently skates for the Angel City Derby Girls.

Laura Simpson (Lauracet Simpson) and Jeff Tucci (Ho Ho Spade) are apparently now no longer in bands and are both working in the Florida area.

Scott Putesky (SMP, also known as Daisy Berkowitz when he was with Marilyn Manson) filed a lawsuit against Marilyn Manson after he left/got kicked out of the band (accounts vary). He used to play in a side project of Jessicka's called The Linda Blairs as well as being in Jack Off Jill for about a year.
He formed a band called Three Ton Gate. He then had a band called Rednecks on Drugs which evolved into Stuck on Evil who recorded an album called Suntanic in 2001 beforre reverting back to the name Three Ton Gate. He joined Kill Miss Pretty in July 2010 and is working on a new album with them.

Chris Vrenna and Clint Walsh play in Tweaker. They've released two albums, The Attraction to All Things Uncertain and 2 A.M. Wakeup Call as well as EPs and singles.  They've both played as part of the live band for Gnarls Barkley (and Clint has also played guitar for Juliette Lewis and the Licks among others).
Tweaker's official website
Chris Vrenna was also the drummer in Nine Inch Nails as well as working as a producer for artists like David Bowie, Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins, Hole, Marilyn Manson and Rasputina. He's also done the music for several videogames such as Doom 3, Enter the Matrix and American McGee's Alice. He's now the new drummer for Marilyn Manson

Norm Block now plays drums for Mark Lanegan.

Official Jack Off Jill website

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


The Lunachicks, a New York quintet of hard-rockin' ladies, are probably one of the most important all-fmeal bands of the 1990s; yet they are practicially written out of any history about girl groups of this time.

The Lunachicks original line-up comprised of tattooed blonde and sometime model, lead singer Theo Kogan, lead guitarist and illustrator Gina Volpe, bassist and tattooist Squid, drummer Becky Wreck and rhythm guitarist Sindy.

The Lunachicks had it all - they were attractive, loud, unafraid, had a sense of humour and what's more they were able to combine good musicianship with feminist lyrics. Unlike the Riot Grrrl acts such as Bikini Kill that they were dismissed alongside, the Lunachicks combined a tight, punk rock sound with lyrical content that ranged from the absurd (Cookie Core, Spork, Mabel Rock) to the political (Binge & Purge, Spoilt, Luxury Problem) and covering subjects including menstruation (Plugg, #@!?) female body image (Less Teeth, More Tits), bestiality (Making It With Other Species), transsexuals (Mr. Lady, Lil' Debbie), abortion (Fallopian Rhapsody), Barbie Dolls (Bitterness Barbie), drug abuse (Pin Eye Woman 665) and even the state of their own career (Nowhere Fast)! The Lunachicks have a substantial, impressive body of work that comprises 5 studio albums, 1 live album and a DVD "home movie"/promo video collection.

The Lunachicks burst onto the music scene around 1989, with their debut release Sugar Luv released on Blast First records. This was soon accompanied by their first album Babysitters on Acid, originally Sonic Youth were called in to help out - but a conflict between them and the band (Lunachicks wanted a 'tune', SY didn't!) meant that they soon left the 'chicks to it. Unlike their contemporaries, including Hole and Babes in Toyland, the Lunachicks debut failed to garner much critical acclaim. Maybe it was just too damn weird; maybe John Peel, Everett True et al, didn't appreciate the girls' toilet humour, stupid name and ridiculous antics. Despite a catchy start with opener Jan Brady, and the first single Sugar Luv,  the rest of the album is a chaotic mix of sludgy guitars, silly voices and incomprehensible lyrics, rendering it unlistenable to most people. It didn't have the angry rage of early Babes in Toyland/Hole records - in fact, Lunachicks were just happy mucking around and their musicianship was not yet honed!

Nevertheless, the Lunachicks released their second album in 1992, this time on label Safe House. Binge & Purge would be an indication of the Lunachicks future sound - a faster, punkier sound, coupled with overtly feminist lyrics - Chicks Are Superstrong - and spawned the Apathetic  single. The cover featured the band post-food fight: covered in regurgitated food - they had literally binged and purged! The only let down is the production of the album - it's very quiet, and most of the heavy rock riffs sound muted ...
Around this time the 'chicks also appeared in seminal 'women in rock' film Not Bad For A Girl, alongside Babes in Toyland, Courtney Love and L7.

After much touring which saw the 'chicks develop a small fan base, original drummer Becky Wreck left the band to be replaced by newcomer Chip, and the band moved to NYC-based punk label, Go Kart Records, where third album Jerk Of All Trades was released in 1995. This was a real indication of how far the band had come - both image-wise (the band sport many new tattoos on the album sleeve) and sound-wise (a much louder, tighter, punkier sound) - the guitar on tracks such as Fingerful & FDS was really fast and hard! Lunachicks were a bonafide punk band now. They continued touring and their larger than life songs were showcased by a cartoonish stage presence - wigs, make-up & crazy costumes were always present at Lunachicks shows, as was the odd classic cover song: rock ballads such as Feel Like Making Love  and
More Than A Feeling  became set list regulars.

1997 saw the release of Pretty Ugly - an album that fused humour, pop punk and fun - it probably remains the Lunachicks most mainstream record. As usual, the cover sported the standard controversial cover image - a blonde hairstyling head covered in gunk. Don't Want You was released as a single with a funny video of the girls on a Blind Date style show. In my opinion, this should have been their break into the mainstream. It wasn't. More touring, including a stint on the Vans Warped Tour, continued and a live album in 1998 accurately captured the live experience of the Lunachicks - it is extremely fast & contains most of the content of the previous 2 albums, plus a cover of Iggy Pop's The Passenger. Early 1999 saw the release of Lunachicks - Naked XXX - a combination of promo videos, home movies and larking around.

Later that year, the Lunachicks released their last album to date, Luxury Problem, and perhaps this was a fitting end to what was now a 10-year career. The sound, as usual, was hard and fast - but perhaps now bordering on metal, and a million miles away from their somewhat sloppy debut Babysitters On Acid. It still fused comedy (Down at the Pub), feminism (Bad Ass Bitch) and an apt swansong in Nowhere Fast - the 'chicks had now been slogging away for 10 years and any kind of real success had eluded them. Alas, no one was interested. (I myself can attest to this - I sent a review of Luxury Problem  to Melody maker & received a call from the reviews editor complimenting me on my writing style, but unimpressed with my subject matter - he suggested I get myself to a Travis gig! - of course, dear reader, I did no such thing!) After the odd mention in UK metal magazine Kerrang! Lunachicks soon dwindled into obscurity again.
Maybe it was time to quit.

After a brief tour in support of the album, which saw now departed drummer Chip replaced by Helen Destroy, all went quiet in Lunachicks land. Although it has never been confirmed, the Lunachicks went their separate ways: lead singer Theo Kogan released a disco-ish solo album, and guitarist Gina Volpe formed new band Bantam. The girls reunited briefly for a gig in New York aptly titled The Lunachick Fringe - Bantam, Theo, bassist Squid's new band (Team Squid) and the Lunachicks played together. Since then, Theo has embarked on numerous modelling assignments, magazine spreads and bit parts in films such as Bringing Out the Dead and In the Cut.
Never ones to neglect their political roots, the Lunachicks reformed in 2004 for a Pro Choice benefit, the likes of another album however, look bleak.

For me, the Lunachicks encapsulated feminism like no other band - not overly concerned with image, sex appeal or being cool, the 'chicks combined good music with feminist lyrics and honed their craft over many years - it's just a shame they never got the popularity or recognition they deserved.

Recommended Listening
Don't Want You (Single, 1997, Go Kart Records)
Drop Dead Live (Album, 1998, Go Kart Records)
Sushi A La Mode  (Japanese only EP, 1993, Benten Label)

Website for Gina's band Bantam


Monday, 30 May 2011


Scarling haven't released anything new since the City Noise single a few years ago but they are working on a new album.

Jessicka and guitarist Christian Henjal were married in 2007 and took Addams as their new surname.

Christian works as a digital effects film producer and has worked on movies like Spider Man 3 and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.

Jessicka made a cameo appearance in the film, Ellie Parker and also appeared in an episode of Germany's Next Top Model in March 2009.  She has also exhibited her artwork at several shows.

She also contributed to Cherry Bomb and is quoted in Girls Against Girls, I Love Geeks: The Official Handbook and Roman Dirge's Lenore issues 5 - 8.

Scarling official website

Official site for Jessicka's artwork
Jessicka on Facebook
Jessicka on Twitter

Monday, 2 May 2011


Promo video for Imitating Angels
Promo video for Sad and Damned

There's also some other live stuff/clips up on YouTube.

Nymphs on Norwegian TV 1992 (also features Dave Navarro)

Trailer for Hooked on a Feeling (Inger Lorre documentary)


Inger played a gig in July 2004 where she performed a mix of Nymphs songs, cover versions and new songs but I've been unable to find out any more details about what songs were performed or find any recordings.  She was supposed to be working on a new album and also an autobiography (in the form of a graphic novel) and possibly a book of poetry but there's no news on these projects being completed.

The Nymphs played several live dates in 2006 but again, I was unable to find if they performed or recorded any new material.  Sadly, their drummer Alex Kirst was killed in a hit and run accident in 2011.

One of Inger's songs appears on the soundtrack to the documentary, The Treasures of Long Gone John (about the art collection of the founder of Sympathy for the Record Industry record label).  She also wrote the soundtrack and some original songs for the movie, The Jesus Factor (see updates/links for Prey For Rock & Roll for further details).

She's quoted in several books on Jeff Buckley and also in the book, Whores (an oral history of Jane's Addiction).

There's also a trailer for a documentary about Inger called Hooked on a Feeling up on YouTube but there's no news if/when it has been completed.

2007 interview with Inger
Inger Lorre on Twitter

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


Courtney finally released Nobody's Daughter in April 2010.   It was released under the band name, Hole, but Courtney was the only original remaining member of the classic line-up.   The rest of the band consisted of - Micko Larkin, Shawn Daily and Stu Fisher.   The version that was released differs from the demo version that had been knocking about - the track listing was different and some of the songs had been remixed.   Several new songs had been added (Skinny Little Bitch - the 1st single, Honey, Samantha, Someone Else's Bed and a bonus track on the i-Tunes version, Codeine - a cover version) and some songs had been dropped  (Stand Up Motherfucker, Car Crash and Sunset Marquis - if you do a search on YouTube you can usually find these and they're well worth a listen).

Courtney has been touring again and released a single called Miss Narcissist. She's also been acting again, appearing in TV shows like Empire and Sons of Anarchy.

A documentary called Hit So Hard about Patty Schemel, Hole's drummer, has also been released and it features archive footage and includes interviews with Courtney, Eric Erlandson and Melissa Auf Der Maur.
Site for Hit So Hard documentary

Courtney Love website

Monday, 25 April 2011


Roxy was supposed to be releasing a DVD about her UK tour but although a trailer was released, I don't think the project was ever finished.

Orphan Child was released on CD (which I've read is a re-release of her debut album) and she also released Heart Attack on i-Tunes (a 6 track EP and collaboration with Andy Huxley of 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster.   There's also a video for a new song called America up on YouTube.

She co-starrred as Lillith (a goth stripper) alongside Jenna Jameson and Robert Englund in cult horror movie Zombie Strippers and the soundtrack featured several of her previously unreleased songs such as Smother You and Don't Kill The Star.

She also did have a clothing line called Trash Couture which produced one-of-a-kind customised dresses but I don't know if it's still going.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Gina Gershon released a DVD of the tour she went on called Rocked With Gina Gershon in 2004.

Cheri Lovedog made a documentary short, Hollywood Trash and Tinsel about the making of the movie that won Best Documentary Directorial Debut at the New York International Film and Video Festival in 2004 (the same year the documentary was released, I've been unable to find out if it was released on DVD or is available to download/watch online anywhere).

The original theatrical recording for Prey For Rock and Roll is now available on CD from CD Baby and I think it's also available as a MP3 download from the likes of Amazon.

Cheri wrote and directed another movie called The Jesus Factor which was released in 2009.   The film also featured original songs/score by Inger Lorre.

Cheri is also the co-owner of Lovedog Tattoo Studio with her partner, Robin Prey.


Prey For Rock and Roll is a film based on a play written by Cheri Lovedog about her experiences as a female musician in the Los Angeles alternative music scene.  The film was released in 2003 and even though it played at several film festivals, it never got a widespread release.  The star of the film, Gina Gershon, went on tour with a backing band and released a DVD of that tour.  The film itself came out on DVD in 2004.  The only extra it features is a director's commentary which I wasn't that keen on - I would rather have had interviews/commentary from the cast or Cheri herself.

Gina Gershon (from Showgirls and Bound) plays the central character, Jackie, who's based on Cheri Lovedog.   Drea De Matteo (from The Sopranos) plays the bassist, Tracy and Lori Petty (from Tankgirl and Point Break) as the guitarist, Faith and Shelly Cole as the drummer, Sally.   Perhaps the strangest piece of casting is Marc Blucas (who played Riley in Buffy) as Sally's brother, Animal, an ex-convict covered in tattoos.  Although Gina Gershon did the vocals for the songs, the band on the soundtrack album featured Samantha Maloney from Hole, Gina Volpe from The Lunachicks and Cheri Lovedog herself.  Linda Perry also contributed a song and Stephen Trask who'd done the music for Hedwig and the Angry Inch helped to arrange the music for this movie.  Gina was also an executive producer on the movie and involved in casting some of the minor roles.  So on paper at least, this sounded like a great movie but sadly, it got somewhat fucked up in the execution.


The first time I saw this movie I lost interest about halfway through and I thought it sucked.  But the second time I saw it I actually got really into it and started appreciating its good points, which is not to say it's a great movie but I really don't think it's as bad as some people have said.  The film tells the story of Jackie and her band, Clam Dandy.  Jackie has just turned 40 and is wondering whether to turn her back on her dreams of being a rockstar after spending 20 years as a struggling musician.  The band are offered their big break in a couple of weeks time.  In that short space of time, the band have to deal with the aftermath of being an incest survivor, lesbianism, drug addiction, abusive boyfriends, rape, violent retribution and death.  That's a lot to get through in about 90 minutes.

I think that's the main problem with the movie and what really lets it down --- the storyline feels really melodramatic and to have to get through it all in a 90 minute movie makes it feel like it's just one thing after another and highlights some the implausibilities in the script (like how come Jackie had been in a band with Sally for years and didn't even know she had a brother let alone one who was in prison for murdering their stepfather?).  It's a shame because I think the script is mostly well-written with some great characterisation and some smart one-liners but a couple of the scenes do fall a bit flat because it feels like the writers are trying to force in as much drama and as many issues as possible.  The way the characters move on from discussing the most traumatic events possible to going about their everyday business seems hurried if not downright schizophrenic.  In order to deal with these kind of issues, I think they really needed a TV series to give them time to develop the characters and the aftermath of these events properly rather than trying to race through it all in 90 minutes.  I would like to have seen the original play by Cheri Lovedog to have seen if that worked any better.

Having said that, the main performances are all really good.  I thought Gina Gershon was brilliant --- really quick-witted and tough with a vulnerable side and she still looks stunning.  I thought their onstage performances looked pretty genuine so I do think it's a shame Gina couldn't have toured with an all-girl band.  I really loved the songs in the movie --- most of them were written by Cheri Lovedog.  There's a couple of songs by Texas Terri who makes a cameo performance doing a live gig.  They're mostly storming glam-punk numbers.  At first I wasn't too keen on Marc Blucas as Animal as I thought he still had his essential nice guy quality but when I thought about it, it did sort of make sense.  His character was essentially a decent guy who murdered his stepfather to defend his sister so although he looks like this tough ex-convict, he's not a hardened criminal or scumbag.  I never liked him in Buffy but I ended up quite fancying him in this --- it must have been the mix of nice guy and tattooed hard boy.  The more I think about the performances in the movie the more I like them although Faith and Sally are under-developed given their pivotal roles in the story.

Despite it's drawbacks, there's an amazing energy to the film and an authentic attempt to recreate the feel of the alternative lifestyle.  There's quite a positive message to the film but because by the end you've been put through the wringer, it kind of degrades the ending and makes it feel like a trite Movie of the Week cliche which is a great shame because this movie had a lot of potential.  But I still enjoyed the movie (especially the music) despite its failings and I think it's worth trying to see although I'd say it's more one to rent/watch at the cinema rather than shell out for the DVD.

You can still buy the DVD and soundtrack CD via Amazon. 

The official website has been taken down but there are still a few interviews with the cast around on the internet.


Sunday, 9 January 2011


The current line-up of the band is Miss Eva Von Slut (also sings with The White Barons), Nikki Nightbreed, Andrea, Mistress Mandy, Jenna Ferocious and Nishone (also plays with The Vaudevilles).

Since I reviewed their EP in PussyRock, the band have been busy touring the US and have been featured on several compilations as well as releasing a split 7" vinyl with The Grit.   They've also released 2 albums, Revenge Served Cold and The Devil's Outlaws.
As far as I'm aware, Eva is still doing occasional burlesque performances and she also appears in a documentary about Marian Anderson, the late lead singer of The Insaints.

Thee Merry Widows official website
Eva Von Slut on Facebook
Eva Von Slut on Twitter