This is a study of women playing instruments in bands: pop, rock, indie, soul etc. from the punk era until today. The author, an academic and musician, carried out over 100 interviews with women playing in British bands from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s. Although the book is primarily sociological, it is easily accessible to the general reader and rich with quotations. It explains the shortage of female instrumentalists and explores the routes and life experiences that have been taken by those exceptional women who do play in bands.
This is the first ethnographic study of women's popular music-making. It is based on over 100 in-depth interviews as well as participant observation by the author, a sociologist, who has herself played in various bands since punk. Bayton covers the period from the late 1970s until the mid1990s, focusing mainly on women instrumentalists in female and mixed bands. Amongst others, interviewees include Skin from Skunk Anansie, Debbie Smith from Echobelly, Candida Doyle from Pulp, Gail Greenwood from Belly and L7, Natasha Atlas from Transglobal Underground, and Vie Subversa from PoisonGirls. Although female vocalists have always been common, women playing instruments in bands are still proportionally rare. Frock Rock explores the social factors that keep women from playing and those routes that have enabled women's involvement. The book then examines the everyday worlds of women'smusic-making from bands just starting up to the professional stage: songwriting, rehearsing, the first gig, getting a manager, record companies, recording, and touring. Easy to read and packed with fascinating quotes, Frock Rock makes an invaluable contribution to the field of popular music studies and will become a key text in cultural studies, media studies, women's studies, and sociology of culture courses.
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Oxford University Press, Incorporated
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"A very well documented description of the inner workings of all-girl bands in London."-- Ethnomusicology
'A rare study in that its emphasis is on local music-making: instead ofbeing one of those books that pay attention only to widely-known actors andproducts, it is truly interested in the experiences of the jobbing musician. Thebook is handsomely produced... and will certainly be of value to thoseconcerned with issues both of women's access to music and of how localmusic-making operates.'Allan F. Moore, Music and Letters
Acknowledgements Preface 1. The Position of Women in Popular Music 2. Constraints 3. Routes into Rock 4. Punks, Feminists, Lesbians, and Riot Grrls 5. Joining a Band 6. Going Public 7. Going Professional 8. Conclusion Appendix 1. Media Surveys 1988 and 1996 Appendix 2. Alphabetical List of Interviewees Appendix 3. Some Useful Addresses Select Discography Bibliography Index
If ever there was a feeling that there is nothing left to fight for...then here is a book to wake us up, give us focus and make us angry again./ ...impressive ethnographic study.../ ... any woman involved in any genre of musicwould find... many inarticulated problems ... clarified and pinned to the wallin a way that is absolutely spot on./ Suzanne Chawner, Women in Music Now,June-July 1999.
This is the best study I know of the everyday life of the popular musician, packed with insights about the sheer hard work of music making, and salutary reading for anyone who's ever thought that rock stars are just lucky.
This sociological study is a first in its field - SIBYL 1/3/99
an interesting overview of the involvement of women in popular music from technician to talent scout.../ The book is free from obscure jargon and unneccessary terminology, a rare quality in an academic study of this subject./ ... I admire this book for being systematic, leaving no aspect of the industry unprobed./ There is no other serious up-to-date study of women in popular music to rival 'Frock Rock'. Ronita Dutta, THES, 05/02/99
is broad, thorough, packed with useful tables, has a fine index / Zoe Williams, London Evening Standard/ 14/12/98'A rare study in that its emphasis is on local music-making: instead of being one of those books that pay attention only to widely-known actors and products, it is truly interested in the experiences of the jobbing musician. The book is handsomely produced... and will certainly be of value to those concerned with issues both of women's access to music and of how local music-making operates.'Allan F. Moore, Music and LettersIf ever there was a feeling that there is nothing left to fight for... then here is a book to wake us up, give us focus and make us angry again./ ... impressive ethnographic study.../ ... any woman involved in any genre of music would find... many inarticulated problems ... clarified and pinned to the wall in a way that is absolutely spot on./ Suzanne Chawner, Women in Music Now, June-July 1999.This sociological study is a first in its field - SIBYL 1/3/99