Women in Rock: Some Things Never Change

Baton Rouge has a new radio station: 103.3. Well, not a new radio station, but an old station with a new format. The new format is “Music for Generation X.” The old format was “Divas.”

It’s quite a Frankenstein’s monster of genres, playing everything from Nirvana and Guns-n-Roses, to C+C Music Factory, with pit stops at Salt – n- Peppa, and REM, not to mention mid to late 80s disco, hip hop, rock, and the weird, bad music everyone forgot existed.

Funny, though, because I recognized every song, which demonstrates the way that music in the 80s and 90s was homogeneous despite the generic differences that existed.

Still, after about four hours of listening, guess what…no women in rock.

Ok, one, Alanis.

About three years ago, I noticed that the local alternapop station, 104 the X, rarely played any women musicians. Rarely means never. I emailed one of the DJs (I should have sent the email to the station manager). Admittedly, 104 the X has made great strides in bringing music to Baton Rouge, and so I appreciate them for that feat. Nonetheless, their reply email disappointed. The DJ basically gave a short list of women in rock. I didn’t need the list; I need THEM to PLAY that list. Nothing has changed since that email. To be blunt, I expected that.

Back to 103.3. They did play women musicians like Madonna, , Janet Jackson, and TLC. Great, no one ever has a hard time finding women R&B or disco singers. But after the 90s, we should have had more women rock musicians on the commercial airwaves.

THE NINETIES station!!! Seriously. That’s when Sarah McLachlan gathered an army of women musicians, and performed across the country (and even outside of it) in a music festival. You might even have heard of it:

The Lilith Fair

The impetus for this music festival was this precise problem. Radio stations refused to play two women back to back, and concert promoters refused to book a female group to open for another female band. McLachlan called BS on that, and went on to make millions of dollars, thereby disproving the old, worn-out myth that women musicians outside R&B or disco aren’t economically viable.

I am listening to a Gen X radio station, and no Melissa, no Indigo Girls, no Sinaed O’Connor, no Meshell Ndegeocello, no Sheryl Crow, no Liz Phair, no Poe, no Hole.

This idiocy is not limited to Baton Rouge, either. Lilith Fair is getting minimal buzz in Rolling Stone and other media outlets. The only reason I’m up to date is Facebook. Needless to say, I’m frustrated. What the happened to the women’s movement? Where did it go?

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  2 comments for “Women in Rock: Some Things Never Change

  1. Gretchen
    February 20, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Oh thanks for reminding me of Liz Phair! Time for a revisit. Also made me think of Juliana Hatfield. BTW I dont know when the Atlanta date is for Lilith Fair but please keep me posted via Facebook. I might try to go and Emily Saliers’ restaurant is not far from my house so maybe we could meet for dinner?

    • ~LS~
      February 20, 2010 at 10:21 pm

      Definitely! Dinner and Lilith! It’s a date.

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