I had a great conversation today with Tina Schlieske (of Tina and the B Sides & Genital Panic). I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve always enjoyed her music but she became a hero to me last year with Genital Panic, her all female punk band that focuses on a politics and social commentary. I grew up listening to Tina and by that I mean, we’re the same age and she was living the life I wish I lived. That was never truer than it is right now – although I’m pretty happy with the life I live too.
Tina started Genital Panic in reaction to Trump and so much that he stands for but she also started it in her late 40s as a reaction to realizing that while the music industry might find a woman invisible, it’s a good time for women to speak up for themselves. It was a perfect storm. In producing and performing songs, such as Pussygrabber and Lick My Impeachment, Tina found she wasn’t alone. She has heard from many how the music speaks to and for them – both women and men appreciate her art.
I will be listening to Tina and Genital Panic on the soundtrack for Women’s March on Saturday – with any luck I’ll bump into her too.
We were delighted to meet up with Haley (Bonar) to talk about Women’s March and her experience in a post March world. She marched in DC in 2017 where we was re-energized and she plans to march in DC again this year. I’m delighted to know that she’s there representing for Minnesota women. She’ll make us all look good and by that I mean sound smart!
We talked with Haley about changes in the music industry – how musicians are being defined less by their gender. We spoke off camera about how Haley has called out event hosts for inviting her as a token female – especially when she was the only female and the bill lacked people of color. That is a bold action to take and I applaud her for it. For a long time I think, out of desperation, women clung to those token positions.
It sounds like in the last year, Haley has really taken control of her music and the business of her music. She has found her (business) voice and is doing what works for her and again I applaud the gumption and confidence is takes to do that. She’s a role model for other women.
And her music has taken a change her latest album Pleasureland is instrumental with a much heavier techno vibe. I love it. I loved Bad Reputation too but appreciate the new direction. I am a fan of many of Haley’s projects, perhaps Gramma’s Boyfriend most. I like to see how she reinvents herself. I like to see how the visual and production are part of the music; the reinvention cements a deeper interest. It was fun to talk to her and see a little bit into the thought process that makes it work.
I am so pleased to include music from The Nightingale Trio on the Women’s March playlist. They bring old stories to new light in songs from Eastern Europe and the Balkans. I enjoyed my conversation with Sarah Larsson from the band. We talked about the impact of the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement on life in and out of music. We both agreed that we grownups are really learning a lot from the next generation – especially some very powerful young women of color. Our job may be to set the stage for them.
It was also fun to talk about where we are in women’s history. Sarah told me about Na Dvore Dozhd, a Russian song of solidarity among women about being married off. Traditionally women were married off and moved to the towns of their betrothed, often very far away. The chorus translates into when it rains, it pours. There’s a resignation in the sentiment that we wouldn’t see today. We may have a long way to go – but we’ve also come a long way!
We are working with Women’s March Minnesota to create a playlist and podcast for the March on January 19. You can check out the growing playlist any time. In the next two weeks, we’ll be interviewing musicians for a podcast that we will compile and will play on WMCN once Macalester College is back in session.
Corine Caouette, Pamela Laizure and Kim Mancini of the Black Widows
Last night we had the distinct honor of talking with Corine Caouette, Pamela Laizure and Kim Mancini of the Black Widows. They play awesome old school garage surf music. It’s retro girl band at it’s best with heightened feminist themes in the lyrics. We discussed a few of their songs specifically – Mummy Mama Boogie, about an ancient age when women were silenced for speaking their mind. The song has specific historical references – and we’re hoping that everyday we’re getting farther and farther away from the theme.
One comment that struck me was the increasing focus on women working together in the music industry – despite differences. I think to move forward we need to continue to get better at that and that the Women’s March is the time and place to renew that pledge.
Sam Stahlman from She Rock, She Rock
The Black Widows were playing a benefit for She Rock, She Rock so we got an opportunity to speak with Sam Stahlman, Co-Director of the organization. She Rock is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering girls, women, trans and nonbinary folks through the art of music. They have music lessons and camps for all ages and have for 13 years. Sam was involved in the first year as a student. Anyone I have ever talked to about She Rock has loved it. Almost makes me wish I were musical. (But I think I’ll stick to dance!)
Also joining the show and shown below are the Bloodies, who are rooted in resistance and Getting By, who list smashing the patriarchy as an interest.
We are working with Women’s March Minnesota to create a playlist and podcast for the March on January 19. You can check out the growing playlist any time. In the next two weeks, we’ll be interviewing musicians for a podcast that we will compile and will play on WMCN once Macalester College is back in session. In the meantime we’re going to post interviews as we can starting with (drumroll please)…
Jenna Enemy of The Von Tramps
We saw The Von Tramps at Mortimer’s. I was wowed. The band is co-ed but decidedly led on stage by Jenna. It’s a ska punk band, which is right up my alley. I have to admit though it was the Dolly Pardon themed songs that really drew me in. There’s a feminist version of Jolene. Who doesn’t love the music of Jolene and who has been angered by the singer groveling to Jolene not to take my man? The Von Tramps turn that around. They also do I Will Always Love You. That Jenna girl can sing. That’s all I’m saying. Which takes us to our Women’s March pick from the Von Tramps – Bitch from their album The Future is Female. Hear a bit about it and Jenna’s take on post-March music industry below.