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Twisted Sister — Liz McAdams vs Local Radio

A long time music fan and a writer stuck in the boonies, Liz McAdams is one who keeps her friends close and her enemies closer, and you might say there’s a good reason why she doesn’t have many neighbours. Rumour is the last one’s still tied up in her basement.

So when this pint sized force of ferocity heard her local rock radio station broadcasting their ‘Tribute to the Ladies’ weekend, she tuned in eagerly expecting to hear classic female musicians such as Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Joan Jett, and Stevie Nicks.

Music history has long overlooked female artists – both vocalists and musicians, and is only now just starting to recognize the work of women who have been historically buried in the shadows. The documentary 20 Feet from Stardom is about the backup singers, predominantly black women, whose voices are the soundtrack to contemporary music. They bring life, and a point of human connection to the song. You can hear them buried in the tracks of artists ranging from The Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, Alabama, and Sting, to Britany Spears, Madonna, and Michael Jackson. Most popular music from the 1940s onward would not be the same with out them.

Any they get next to no credit for it.

The documentary The Wrecking Crew is a glimpse into the hidden world of studio musicians from the 1960s to mid 1970s – they were the unseen, but heard, grandparents of rock, including bassist Carol Kaye. She is the force behind Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking,’ and played on countless albums, including The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds.

This was in a time where the studio musicians were paid performers who provided the tight sound and precision required for recording, while other performers (the actual band or singer) took credit for it on the actual album, and then tried to pull it off live.

Think of it as a form of musical ghostwriting.

You do the work, and get paid, but don’t receive public credit for it.

So, given the recent trend toward unveiling the history of the behind the scenes lives of artists, Liz was fully expecting to hear female musicians acknowledged, a sort of righting of musical history, and listen to some of the classic female vocalists of our time.

You can imagine how surprised she was when she heard songs like The Beach Boy’s ‘Help Me Rhonda’ (where Carol Kaye played bass), The Police’s ‘Roxanne’, Santana’s ‘Black Magic Woman’, and the Rolling Stone’s ‘Brown Sugar.’

They are all songs ABOUT women. NOT a ‘Tribute to the Ladies’ unless perpetuating the male gaze and objectification was their intent. And NOT A SINGLE FEMALE MUSCICIAN was to be heard (or acknowledged for backup vocals or playing an instrument).

To say she was not impressed is an understatement. Followers on Twitter were witness to an spectacular spray of venom spiralling across the county (and internet). And yes, the radio station eventually acknowledged its oversight, and adjusted programming as best it could.

Trust me, you don’t wanna mess with Liz. She’s still pretty hot about the whole thing.

But, as she says, when the radio station played Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It the very next morning, she knew she had won.

She had been heard.

{Ed. Note – stepping (very far) away and letting Liz McAdams take over for a discussion on representing women in the arts. And, Caleb Echering, you might want to keep Liz away from any moose balls in the future.}

And if you’re brave enough, you can find Liz McAdams on Twitter @lizmcadams753 or connect through https://lizmcadams.wordpress.com/

Dorothy sneaks up behind Richard, hiding the pillow that she’s gonna smother him with.
Celebrating International Women’s Day around Twisted Sister

 

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