Preservation of the stories of music’s most unsung participants is my job, though there are times I’ve questioned the motivation and sanity behind my choice in career. Thanks to a quick trip to Texas, I can recommit to my own calling, writing the stories of the under-looked and unjustly underappreciated people of arts and letters who make history everyday by living creatively and pursuing their own truth, sometimes at great risk: They are paying the wages of our liberation. The freedom singers profiled in Keep on Pushing had plenty of experience with perseverance and faith-keeping; it’s partly why I went in search of their stories at such a deeply troubled time in our history. I also could venture a guess that ninety percent of the interviews archived here feature artists who persist, despite the revelation, there are no free refills for the taking: They are the ones who inspire me not only to write and storytell, but to live authentically myself.
Across town at MEOWCon, a couple hundred women convened for the first-ever event organized to honor women’s history and contribution to rock, roll, and other popular music, with the intention of bringing along younger women and empowering them with tools for equal opportunity. After 50 years of taking part in rock’n’roll collectively, many of us still find rock’s smoke, mirrors and glass ceiling firmly in place, discouraging our participation in it on all levels, from music to media. It’s only when we come together that we realize, we can and have done every aspect of the business well, and yet the history of our success has largely gone unrecorded. This theme of under-documentation emerged again and again at the three-day conference. It was present while Suzi Quatro played (where was the national press for this rare stateside appearance by one of rock’s living, vital foremothers?); it took a direct hit during Kathy Valentine’s keynote address (as she pointedly asked why she and her band the Go-Gos still hold the record for being the only female band to have written and recorded a number one album?) and it was upended during the panel and performance by the women of These Streets: Seattle grunge players who’ve taken it upon themselves to document the scene they were wholly a part of, yet the role of women rarely gets a mention in texts devoted to the ’90s music explosion there. I would say the same for the Q&A with Frightwig, the reunited band from ‘80s San Francisco who though under-appreciated in their first incarnation will go down as vastly influential, especially as they continue to bring new meaning to what it means to be a mid-life, punk generation woman playing on in the 21st Century.
Meeting and mingling with women who paved the road for us, from Patricia Kennealy Morrison and Robin Lane, to solid sisters like Julie Christensen, and young women like Aly Tadros, Shelby Figueroa, and Wendy Griffiths of Changing Modes to whom we hand the torch, was an experience I hope to repeat, and document more extensively. Thanks to Carla DeSantis Black for the putting together the whole shebang: Many years ago, the editor/publisher of ROCKRGIRL printed my piece on Jane Weidlin, and today it lives in an anthology titled A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over the World: Writings From the Girl Zine Revolution. I’m humbled to have witnessed and survived that revolution, and recommit to finding more untold stories of women—and the men who support us—rising, as we document and preserve our herstory.