Fuck Jann Wenner.
If you haven’t been saying that for 45 years, I hope you’re saying that now. It feels good. Go ahead: Fuck. Jann. Wenner.
And fuck his aptly titled tribute to male dominance and control of the music industry, The Masters, a paean to the pop patriarchy, an ode to old white men.
For your consideration:
In 1974, I was 12 years old and head over heels in love with Chaka Kahn and absconded with my mom’s Rufusized, which she must have won on a radio station. I wanted to be like her when I grew up, and so I began singing in the mirror into my hairbrush: “Please pardon me, but I’m longing to speak….”
That same year, Court and Spark came out, and I was trying to marry her with Chaka. (Who knew that later, Chaka Kahn would profess to be a huge Joni Mitchell fan, covering many of her songs and justifying my love for them both?)
When I was 14, Horses and Radio Ethiopia matched my newly darker places. Godmother of Punk? More like a gateway drug and life raft in one. She helped me during some teenage depression to find my own voice and stay alive, and she urged me to find other voices like hers.
That same year, I learned that girls—GIRLS—could rock. Because of Joan Jett and the Runaways’ first album, I signed up for guitar lessons at Gordon Miller Music. I didn’t know then that Joan had quit lessons because her male guitar teacher told her she couldn’t play an electric guitar. Mine had me playing “Hot Cross Buns.” My buns were hot and cross, too. I wanted so badly to progress to playing rock music, but the closest I got was an America songbook and “Sister Golden Hair.” I quit, but the chords stayed with me, and so did the guitar for a while. Now I have newer guitars, even an electric one.
Suzi was on my radar long before her appearance on Happy Days. I loved everything about her, especially that she sang while playing bass. She was a major influence on Joan Jett, and I somehow expected her to join forces with Rick Derringer. In my mind, they were a rock-and-roll match made in heaven. And why isn’t Suzi in the R&R Hall of Fame?
A woman can play drums? And sing at the same time? With a three-octave range? And write?
She was the first woman to grace the cover of Rolling Stone. A singer, songwriter, actor, and author, she’s the fucking Queen of Rock and Roll.
Bonnie Fucking Raitt and Pat Fucking Benatar
What the fuck.
Everyone wants representation, but it’s about so much more. We want to know that someone who looks like us, who came from circumstances like ours, did a thing so well that they are revered and admired. Those pioneers cement the viability of our dreams.
To think that any one of these women would be found less articulate and intellectual than any man on Wenner’s list (Jerry Garcia? c’mon) is pure misogyny.