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Access all areas: a backstage look at women’s experiences in the West Coast rock music scene Hammond, Leanne 1995

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ACCESS ALL AREAS: A BACKSTAGE LOOK AT WOMEN'S EXPERIENCES IN THE WEST COAST ROCK MUSIC SCENE by LEANNE HAMMOND B . A . , The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , 1991 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of S o c i o l o g y We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming t^ the r e q u i r e d s tandard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l 1995 (c) Leanne Hammond, 1995 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of 5oO o / o c f The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT This study attempts to address a gap i n e x i s t i n g subcultural research. While there has been extensive work done on the experiences of men i n subcultural groupings, the examination of women's experiences i s sadly lacking. Using a combination of part i c i p a n t observation and ethnographic interviewing, t h i s study looks at the r o l e women play i n the l o c a l rock music scene. Some in t e r e s t i n g themes emerge that challenge e x i s t i n g notions that women are either marginal or absent from subcultural a c t i v i t y . Women i n the scene occupy a r i c h l y contradictory s o c i a l p o s i t i o n . While they exercise an impressive degree of sexual and f i n a n c i a l autonomy, as i l l u s t r a t e d by t h e i r i n i t i a t i o n of relationships and breadwinner roles i n partnerships with male musicians, they also adopt many goals and behaviors t y p i c a l l y associated with mainstream constructions of proper femininty. Women i n the rock scene are seldom performers, instead they are concentrated i n the ro l e of the "nurturent caretaker" (Cole 1993: 89/90) allowing the male musicians to r e t a i n recognition, prestige and power i n the scene. This construction of the male r o l e as central r e f l e c t s the acceptance of p a t r i a r c h a l ideology i n the scene and obscures the contribution of women to the material maintenance of the subculture. Women's roles i n the scene can be characterized as a simultaneous acceptance and r e j e c t i o n of mainstream il p r e s c r i p t i o n s for feminine behavior. While women i n the rock scene are undeniably the focus of much sexual o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n and exploitation, they cannot be viewed as either passive or dependent. Women are described by scene members as sexually powerful decision makers, and although women's power i s cast i n disappointingly sexual terms, i t i s the active nature of t h i s sexuality that leads me to describe women not as "passive" sexual objects, but rather as "active" sexual objects. Women's experiences i n the rock scene are i n e x t r i c a b l y linked to heterosexual r e l a t i o n s with male musicians. While rock women focus on the same goals of marriage and motherhood as mainstream women, t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s are characterized by complications imposed by the rock l i f e s t y l e . According female participants, the overt sexuality of the scene, lack of f i n a n c i a l s t a b i l i t y , and the consuming nature of the music business combine to challenge the maintenance of a healthy r e l a t i o n s h i p with a musician. However, while women's willingness to deal with such obstacles i s puzzling, i t can be seen as determination to transcend t r a d i t i o n a l l i m i t a t i o n s on masculine and feminine r o l e s . The rock scene, despite i t s disproportionate consequences for women, off e r s both women and men alte r n a t i v e s to mainstream constructions of masculinity and femininity. The scene i s i d e n t i f i e d by both female and male pa r t i c i p a n t s as o f f e r i n g excitement, spontaneity and passion absent i n mainstream society. CONTENTS ABSTRACT i i . CONTENTS i v . PREFACE 1 INTRODUCTION 5 METHODS 18 THE FINDINGS CHAPTER I. ACROSS A CROWDED ROOM: WOMEN AT WORK 24 CHAPTER II. SO WHAT'S THE ATTRACTION? 33 CHAPTER III. SUPPORT SYSTEMS 41 CHAPTER IV. ROMANTIC RESIDUE 50 CHAPTER V. OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS 57 THE FAT CHICKS 65 REMAINING HAZARDS 69 CHAPTER VI. FINDING POSITIVE IN THE NEGATIVE 74 CHAPTER VII. BURNOUT 82 CHAPTER VIII. BLURRING BOUNDARIES: 86 CHANGES IN THE BIG PICTURE CONCLUDING DISCUSSION 93 NOTES 111 BIBLIOGRAPHY 112 APPENDIX A PROBLEMS AND THOUGHTS 114 APPENDIX B INTERVIEW GUIDE 118 iv. PREFACE Perhaps I should begin right o f f by explaining how I came to have an inte r e s t i n rock culture. It wasn't from reading some fascinating academic account of a musical subculture, although i t i s my hope t h i s account turns out to be one; rather i t was a very r e a l i n t e r e s t and p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n such a subculture myself. Like many teenaged g i r l s , I found long haired, bad boy rock i d o l s i n f i n i t e l y more i n t e r e s t i n g than t h e i r clean cut, preppy counterparts. While I l i s t e n e d to a l l sorts of music ranging from heavy-metal to jazz to c l a s s i c a l and dance pop, i t was a poster of David Lee Roth i n black leather that occupied the place of honor above my bed. Some may assume that I went to a working class school and hung around with a rough and ready crowd, a commonly held but contested stereotype of the "rock type". Quite the opposite, I went to a school where many kids received cars for t h e i r sixteenth birthdays, the most " i n " thing to do was be on a sports team and most of the parents were successful professionals. My best friends were childre n of doctors, lawyers, and successful entrepreneurs. We were a l l on the honor r o l l consistently, and we even babysat the p r i n c i p a l ' s kids. I was hardly the picture of a harsh, intimidating smoke p i t crowd g i r l . I didn't smoke, or drink, and I c e r t a i n l y didn't wear heavy metal band t - s h i r t s and black Page - 1 leather. Black didn't seem to be my colour, I looked more the part of a preppy, well adjusted teenaged g i r l . So why the fascination with such harsh music and sexually provocative images? It could be dismissed as natural adolescent c u r i o s i t y I suppose, but I never did grow out of i t . I s t i l l enjoy heavy metal, although I have long since given up hanging up pictures of rock gods on my walls and reading a r t i c l e s about my favourite musicians i n magazines. I abandoned that long before I even f i n i s h e d high school for fear that i t would be construed as immature, adolescent enthusiasm. My i n t e r e s t i n famous rock p e r s o n a l i t i e s was replaced by a more immediate and r e a l i s t i c i n t e r e s t i n boys around me who approximated the image. This was where giving the impression of cool nonchalance became use f u l . Up and coming l o c a l musicians were far more attainable, closer to my own age, and far less l i k e l y to burn out and go bald before I reached twenty. The l o c a l music scene i n my home town was concentrated i n a d i f f e r e n t area than where I grew up. I guess you could say i t thrived on the "wrong side of the tracks". There didn't seem to be many musically i n c l i n e d people at my school, regardless of genre, they were too busy playing rugby, basketball and f i e l d hockey. While sports d i d not come na t u r a l l y to me, music did. I had been taking piano lessons since I was six, and found the culture of music far easier to r e l a t e to than that of a t h l e t i c s . While my t r a i n i n g was primarily c l a s s i c a l , I also loved to play Page - 2 contemporary rock that offered any sort of technical challenge. (It i s probably t h i s technical knowledge that gained me respect among the musicians I was to know throughout my l i f e . ) The musical talent i n town was concentrated at a school about 2 0 minutes from where I l i v e d . I had a cousin who l i v e d there and went to that school, so I had an " i n " . Although I went to a pretty high end school, my family background was simple; my mother was born and grew up i n that small town just l i k e her mother before her. My father was an e l e c t r i c i a n , I guess that made us working class although we never used terms l i k e working class or middle c l a s s . I didn't learn those terms u n t i l my f i r s t year sociology class at college. "Class" at my school referr e d to how well you dressed, spoke and behaved. There were obvious s o c i a l d i v i s i o n s between those "with" and those "without", but we never "consciously" i d e n t i f i e d the r o l e of one's economic background i n the process. We were a group well fed on ideas of s o c i a l mobility and i n d i v i d u a l p o t e n t i a l . My parents had been brave enough to buy a house early i n an undeveloped area that l a t e r became the prestigious area of the c i t y . As t y p i c a l l y happens, property values rose, making the area unaffordable for anyone i n our f i n a n c i a l p o s i t i o n unless they bought i n before the market broke. My mother was not o f f i c i a l l y employed, but l i k e many women of her generation she recognized the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of Page - 3 supporting a family on my father's income alone. She ran a daycare out of our home, allowing her to generate income as well as preserve the stay at home mom image that was so valued at the time. I c e r t a i n l y never got a car for my sixteenth birthday, and I did a l o t of babysitting to keep up with the fashion parade at school. As soon as we could drive, my best f r i e n d Alex and I would borrow the family car and explore other areas of the c i t y . Neither of us f e l t a part of the jock culture at our school, so instead we frequented cafes and areas that musicians and a r t i s t s hung around. This eventually l e d to the complete abandonment of the s o c i a l scene i n our area, and the adoption of an alternative, music oriented subculture. The friendships formed here have remained important into my adult l i f e . Some of them w i l l be discussed l a t e r i n t h i s t h e s i s . Page - 4 I N T R O D U C T I O N One of the key purposes of t h i s project i s to examine, v i a the l i v e d experiences of subcultural p a r t i c i p a n t s , the expected roles of women and men i n the rock scene. These ro l e s have an obvious e f f e c t on the dynamics of rock re l a t i o n s h i p s and the maintenance of gendered i d e n t i t i e s i n s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n i n the scene. The personal s t o r i e s and observations presented i n t h i s paper are derived from p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the scene. While t h i s project focuses pr i m a r i l y on the experiences of women i n order to address a gap i n the l i t e r a t u r e , men's experiences, opinions, and personal s t o r i e s have also been included as they are obviously engaged d i r e c t l y i n the relat i o n s h i p s and s o c i a l a c t i v i t i e s discussed. This work takes as a basic assumption the b e l i e f that gender i s s o c i a l l y constructed. As Susan G. Cole explains, Gender describes a s o c i a l dynamic through which members of both sexes take on prescribed sex roles through a s o c i a l i z a t i o n process. ... The process of gendering has several aspects. One of them i s the s o c i a l separation of roles, a c t i v i t i e s , q u a l i t i e s , and behaviors according to male and female categories. Thus, according to t y p i c a l sex roles, women are nurturent caretakers while men are active doers. (Cole 1993: 89/90) We w i l l l a t e r see evidence that these gendering processes are a l i v e and well i n the construction of feminine and masculine rock i d e n t i t i e s . Like myself, Cole i s interested i n how these gendered s o c i a l practices influence the a c t i v i t i e s of women and men i n the rock scene. She Page - 5 continues by stat i n g that gendering not only constructs difference, but assigns d i f f e r e n t i a l value to gender r o l e s . ... the gendering process does not stop with t h i s "difference." It gives d i f f e r e n t value and status to those male and female q u a l i t i e s . So, the ac t i v e q u a l i t i e s i n males are considered more valuable than the q u a l i t i e s of nurturence that are ascribed to females. (Cole 1993: 90) As Cole points out, " A l l these dynamics of gendering- gender roles, gender values, and changing values depending on sex-occur i n one way or another within the context of popular music." (Cole 1993: 90) As L e s l i e Roman and Linda Christian-Smith suggest i n t h e i r introduction to Becoming Feminine, popular culture may be, ... a possible s i t e or set of practices around which feminists might intervene to understand how the r e l a t i o n a l categories of femininity and masculinity are constructed as unequal meanings and sets of power re l a t i o n s for gender. (3) These authors express a view shared by feminists, including myself, that patriarchy and the subordination of women are neither natural nor inevita b l e ; and must therefore be continually maintained by the force of c u l t u r a l hegemony. What i s s o c i a l l y constructed i s obviously unstable, and a po t e n t i a l arena of struggle. As L e s l i e Roman and Linda Christian-Smith point out, We turn our attention to contemporary popular c u l t u r a l forms because l i k e H a l l , we f i n d compelling the argument that popular culture i s an important s i t e i n the struggle for and against c u l t u r a l and i d e o l o g i c a l hegemony of dominant groups. ... If one takes a Gramscian p o s i t i o n on the r e l a t i o n s h i p of popular culture to hegemony, then popular c u l t u r a l forms matter for feminist m a t e r i a l i s t struggle because they are Page - 6 involved intimately i n securing and producing the consent of women and men to p a r t i c u l a r hegemonic meanings for gender (the r e l a t i o n a l categories of femininity at a p a r t i c u l a r h i s t o r i c juncture) and sexual difference. (Roman and Christian-Smith 1988: 3/4) While Roman and Christian-Smith's c o l l e c t i o n draws attention to the omission of women i n popular c u l t u r a l theory, the focus of most of the a r t i c l e s remains on the l e v e l of textual analysis. Examples include the analyses of f i l m (Elizabeth Ellsworth 107-119), magazine advice columns for women (Erica Carter 60-75), and adolescent romance novels (Linda K. Christian-Smith 76-101) and t h e i r e f f e c t s on women's i d e n t i t y formation. L e s l i e G. Roman's analysis of women's experiences i n the Punk Slam Dance i s one exception (Roman 143-184). My c r i t i c i s m of the tendency for s o c i a l t h e o r i s t s to work with c u l t u r a l texts i n i s o l a t i o n from l i v e d experience w i l l be discussed l a t e r i n t h i s introduction. This leads us to a general discussion of how gender issues have been approached i n the f i e l d s of sociology and c u l t u r a l studies. As Angela McRobbie asserts i n her a r t i c l e , " S e t t l i n g Accounts with Subculture: A Feminist C r i t i q u e " : Although 'youth culture' and the 'sociology of youth'-... have been central strands i n the development of c u l t u r a l studies over the past 15 years, the emphasis from the e a r l i e s t work of the National Deviancy Conference (NDC) onwards has remained consistently on male youth c u l t u r a l forms. (McRobbie 1991: 16) In McRobbie's discussion of " G i r l s and Subcultures", co-written with Jenny Garber, she notes that, Page - 7 Very l i t t l e seems to have been written about the r o l e of g i r l s i n youth c u l t u r a l groupings. They are absent from the c l a s s i c subcultural ethnographic studies, the pop h i s t o r i e s , the personal accounts and the j o u r n a l i s t i c surveys of the f i e l d . When g i r l s do appear, i t i s either i n ways which u n c r i t i c a l l y r einforce the stereotypical image of women with which we are now f a m i l i a r ... or else they are f l e e t i n g l y and marginally presented. (1) While t h i s a r t i c l e f i r s t appeared i n 1978, i t has been reprinted i n a number of books and journals, and i t s point s t i l l holds.^ As S. Rowbotham notes, It i s as i f everything that relates only to us comes out i n footnotes to the main text, as worthy of the odd reference. We come on the agenda somewhere between "Youth" and "Any Other Business". We encounter ourselves i n men's cultures as "by the way" and peripheral. According to a l l the r e f l e c t i o n s we are not r e a l l y there. (S. Rowbotham, i n McRobbie 1991: 1) As McRobbie asks, How do we make sense of t h i s i n v i s i b i l i t y ? Are g i r l s r e a l l y not present i n youth subcultures? Or i s i t something i n the way t h i s kind of research i s c a r r i e d out that renders them i n v i s i b l e ? (McRobbie 1991: 1) Because most d i s c i p l i n e s were founded by men, they have become androcentric i n t h e i r methods, t h e i r recognition of s u i t a b l e topic areas, and t h e i r subsequent des c r i p t i o n of s o c i a l l i f e , leading Barbara Du Bois to suggest that, "The androcentric perspective i n s o c i a l science has rendered women not only unknown, but v i r t u a l l y unknowable." (DuBois i n Bowles and K l e i n 1983: 107) Similar c r i t i q u e s have developed i n most academic d i s c i p l i n e s , including c u l t u r a l studies. By challenging the d i s c i p l i n e to deal with sex and gender, along with e x i s t i n g issues of race and class, feminists intend to reshape the way c u l t u r a l studies i s defined. Page - 8 According to McRobbie, to better understand the place of women/girls i n subcultures i t i s necessary to address the following concerns: -Are they present but i n v i s i b l e ? -Where present and v i s i b l e , are t h e i r roles the same, but more marginal than the boys, or are they quite d i f f e r e n t ? -Is the p o s i t i o n of g i r l s s p e c i f i c to the subcultural option, or do t h e i r roles r e f l e c t the more general s o c i a l subordination of women i n mainstream culture? - I f subcultural options are not re a d i l y a v a i l a b l e to g i r l s , what are the d i f f e r e n t but complimentary ways i n which g i r l s organise t h e i r c u l t u r a l l i f e ? -Are these, i n t h e i r own terms, subcultural? (McRobbie 1991: 3) While the temptation to ignore male subcultural work and forge a new independent analysis of female culture i s appealing, i t i s of course both impractical and s e l f -d e f e a t i s t . Female culture i s embedded i n the larger p a t r i a r c h a l society which both men and women inhabit. McRobbie cautions that by dismissing e x i s t i n g works on the basis of sexism, we would miss the opportunity to 'grapple', "with questions which, examined from a feminist perspective, can increase our understanding of masculinity, male culture and sexuality, and t h e i r place within class culture." (16) McRobbie encourages us to examine female experiences and gender r e l a t i o n s i n context. Otherwise, she claims "Questions about g i r l s , sexual r e l a t i o n s and femininity i n youth w i l l continue to be defused or marginalized i n the ghetto of women's studies." (18) According to McRobbie, the other option i s : ... to combine a clea r commitment to the analysis of g i r l s ' culture with a d i r e c t engagement with youth Page - 9 culture as i t i s constructed i n s o c i o l o g i c a l and c u l t u r a l studies. Rather than simply being dismissed, the subcultural ' c l a s s i c s ' should be re-read c r i t i c a l l y so that questions hitherto ignored or waved aside i n embarrassment become ce n t r a l . (McRobbie 1991: 17) While McRobbie recognizes Dick Hebdige's c l a s s i c work, Subculture: The Meaning of Stvle. as the "most sophisticated account to date of youth culture and s t y l e " , she c r i t i c a l l y points out that, Ostensibly h i s argument i s that i t i s on the concrete and symbolic meeting-ground of black and white ( i m p l i c i t l y male) youth that we have to understand the emergence and form of subcultural s t y l e , i t s syncopations and cadences. ... Despite h i s emphasis on the neglect of race and racism i n youth and subcultural work, he seems oblivious to the equal neglect of sexuality and sexism. (McRobbie 1991: 23) She continues her c r i t i q u e by suggesting that, "If only he had pushed h i s analysis of s t y l e further, Hebdige might well have unravelled the question of sexuality, masculinity and the apparent redundancy of women i n most subcultures." (25) Rock music i s a d r i v i n g force i n the s o c i a l i z a t i o n and i d e n t i t y formation of North American youth. As McRobbie suggests, Rock music has been so much a part of post-war youth cultures that i t s presence has often just been noted by writers; the meanings s i g n i f i e d by i t s various forms have not received the attention they deserve. Dick Hebdige does something to redress t h i s , but again without developing a perspective s e n s i t i v e to gender and sexual d i v i s i o n . (McRobbie 1991: 28) Most of the e x i s t i n g l i t e r a t u r e that focuses s p e c i f i c a l l y on rock music and rock culture has been written by and about men without incorporating any sort of gender analysis. (Bennet 1980, Curtis 1987, Fletcher 1981, Harker 1980, White 1987) These works focus on the p o l i t i c a l Page - 10 capacity of rock music, the analysis of l y r i c s , the changing technology of the c r a f t , and the experiences of male performers i n the scene. While some works have taken race and e t h n i c i t y into account due to the i n f l u e n t i a l r o l e they have played i n the development of musical s t y l e s , gender has for the most part been l e f t untouched. (Curtis 1987, Hebdige 1979) The key figure i n the s o c i o l o g i c a l analysis of rock culture has been Simon F r i t h , a B r i t i s h s o c i o l o g i s t who has published several volumes on rock and popular culture. As F r i t h and Goodwin suggest, The academic study of pop and rock music i s rooted i n sociology, not musicology (for which, even now, popular music i s at best of marginal i n t e r e s t ) , and the sociology of pop and rock i s , i n turn, rooted i n two nonmusical concerns: the meaning of "mass culture" and the empirical study of youth (and delinquency). ( F r i t h and Goodwin 1990: 1) F r i t h i s one of the few writers who recognizes and addresses the issue of gender i n rock culture. While rock culture i s seen by many as challenging s o c i e t a l r e s t r i c t i o n s on sexual behavior, the rock challenge i s s t i l l f i r m l y anchored on p a t r i a r c h a l and heterosexual terms. As F r i t h states, The male chauvinism of rock i n general i s r e f l e c t e d i n rock l y r i c s , which with t h e i r assertions of romance, of male supremacy, narcissism and s e l f - p i t y are hardly 'counter-cultural'. As far as musicians' culture i s concerned what i s s i g n i f i c a n t i s women's exclusion from the heart of the players' l i v e s . . . . The Great Live Rock Experience i s often presented as an ex c l u s i v e l y male a f f a i r ; female fans are reduced to sex objects, teeny-boppers, p o t e n t i a l groupies. ( F r i t h 1987: 194/195) Page - 11 I f , as F r i t h asserts, t h i s i s the p o s i t i o n most women i n the scene f i n d themselves i n , then t h i s i s where my project s h a l l begin. F r i t h acknowledges the sexism i n rock, the powerful images of male sexuality, and the narrowly prescribed roles for women i n rock culture. His 1990 book, On Record, coedited with Andrew Goodwin, includes several a r t i c l e s that address issues of feminism, marginalization of women and female performers i n popular culture. Angela McRobbie's " S e t t l i n g Accounts with Subcultures" was re-published i n t h i s c o l l e c t i o n , along with several other relevant a r t i c l e s such as Mavis Bayton's "How Women Become Musicians", F r i t h and McRobbie's "Rock and Sexuality", and Sheryl Garratt's "Teenage Dreams". Mavis Bayton's work examines the d i f f i c u l t i e s women experience i n becoming rock musicians. According to Bayton, "... young g i r l s do not see rock musician as a r o l e to which they can aspire." (239) In ta l k i n g to women who have stepped outside s o c i e t a l expectations to become musicians, Bayton discovered that s o c i a l and family demands i n t e r f e r e with women's a b i l i t y to define themselves as musicians. According to Bayton, women lack the confidence and the freedom that society allows men i n the pursuit of musical careers. F r i t h and McRobbie begin "Rock and Sexuality" by stating, "Our s t a r t i n g point i s that the most important i d e o l o g i c a l work done by rock i s the 'construction' of sexuality." (373) According to F r i t h and McRobbie, "rock Page - 12 i s a male form." (373) The construction of sexuality i n rock culture, although p o t e n t i a l l y l i b e r a t i n g , c l o s e l y p a r a l l e l s the heterosexual norms that ex i s t i n mainstream society. While F r i t h and McRobbie characterize "cock rock" as the most aggressive and blatant form of sexuality i n male rock performance, they also point out that, If the music tends to treat women as objects... i n attacking or ignoring conventions of sexual decency, obligation, and security, cock rockers do, i n some respects, challenge the ways i n which those conventions are l i m i t i n g - to women as well as men. (381) F r i t h and McRobbie acknowledge that men are also presented as sex objects i n rock, however, i t must be noted that images of male sexuality are t y p i c a l l y associated with active male power and often r e s u l t s i n further e x p l o i t a t i o n of women. According to F r i t h and McRobbie, Cock rock presents an ide a l world of sex without physical or emotional d i f f i c u l t i e s , i n which a l l men are a t t r a c t i v e and potent and have endless opportunities to prove i t . (382) F r i t h and McRobbie end t h e i r discussion by asking, "Can rock be nonsexist?" and "How can we counter rock's dominant sexual messages?" (389) These are obviously important questions, unfortunately, they do not o f f e r any suggestions. Sheryl Garratt's, "Teenage Dreams" looks at the obsession of women with male musicians. While Garratt s p e c i f i c a l l y focuses on adolescent women, and "pop" as opposed to "rock" musicians, she makes some i n s i g h t f u l points. Bayton, perhaps because of her own musical and sexual i n t e r e s t s , suggests that softer male pop performers Page - 13 enjoy female attention while hard rock performers do not. I strongly disagree with her claim that, ... although many of t h e i r l y r i c s t e l l how g i r l s c ontinually l u s t over t h e i r i r r e s i s t i b l e bodies, Rainbow, Whitesnake, or even the more enlightened, younger heavy metal bands just don't get women screaming at them. The people most attracted to the id e a l of the hard, hairy, v i r i l e hunk of male are, i n fact, other men... (402) According to Garratt, "Women seem far more excited by slim, unthreatening, baby-faced types who act vulnerable and who resemble them." (402) As we w i l l see, the women i n my study obviously prove otherwise. Although I disagree with Garratt's depiction of the hard rock scene as less appealing to women, I agree with many of her points. As Garratt suggests, With so few rol e models to follow, to fantasize about being on stage as a female performer may be almost a contradiction i n terms. Instead, most of us dream of being a pop star's g i r l f r i e n d : fame and recognition by proxy. (407) While there has been a recent explosion of feminist work on gender and sexuality i n c u l t u r a l studies, as suggested e a r l i e r , the bulk of t h i s work has focused on the analysis of c u l t u r a l texts, rather than on l i v e d experience. (Roman and Christian-Smith 1988; Modeleski 1991; Budgeon 1993; Kaplan 1987) Such work provides fascinating insights into the s o c i a l construction of gender and draws on techniques of semiotic and textual analysis. While such developments are both useful and encouraging, t h i s project endeavors to bridge the widening gap between the t h e o r e t i c a l Page - 14 study of gender and the l i v e d experiences of subcultural p a r t i c i p a n t s . As Angela McRobbie points out, studies that engage d i r e c t l y i n l i v e d experience are becoming increasingly rare i n sociology. She claims that sociology i s becoming less i n t e r a c t i v e , and less w i l l i n g to fund research s t y l e s that engage with subjects i n more than a s u p e r f i c a l or anonymous way. While ethnographic works are s t i l l revered within the d i s c i p l i n e as " c l a s s i c s " (Whyte 1943; Humphreys 1975; Liebow 1967), there has been a s h i f t towards more pol i c y - o r i e n t e d research or abstract, t h e o r e t i c a l work. McRobbie f e e l s that ethnography i s i n "deep danger of dying out altogether." (McRobbie 1991: x i / x i i ) I agree with McRobbie's suggestion that, Without studies of t h i s sort, sociology remains a dry and unexciting subject given over either to empiricism and the presentation of s o c i a l facts and s t a t i s t i c s ... or to the development of broad s t r u c t u r a l i s t accounts of the objective conditions of existence ... . ( x i i ) She contrasts such work with the " l i v e d experience studies of the l a t e 1960's through mid-1970's" which she characterizes as "exciting" and "engaging". ( x i i i ) As McRobbie notes, "These studies also created t h e i r own t h e o r e t i c a l insights and paradigms. They represent an important and too e a s i l y neglected t r a d i t i o n . " ( x i i i ) McRobbie's comments resonate well with my own observation of the d i s c i p l i n e and experiences undertaking t h i s project. Some of these feelings w i l l be discussed i n more d e t a i l i n Appendix A of t h i s t h e s i s . Page - 15 Robert Walser makes an analogous point i n h i s 1 9 9 3 work, Running With the D e v i l : Power. Gender, and Madness i n Heavy Metal. Walser i s c r i t i c a l of work that attempts to analyze c u l t u r a l a r t i f a c t s without exploring the viewpoints of the i n d i v i d u a l s whose texts are being examined. In p a r t i c u l a r , Walser i s c r i t i c a l of E. Ann Kaplan's work on sexism i n heavy metal video. While he compliments and agrees with parts of her analysis, he sees her work as methodologically flawed. As Walser points out, "Kaplan's comments appear to be uninformed by any ethnographic or personal contact with the heavy metal musicians and fans whose texts and l i v e s she presumes to explain." ( 1 1 2 ) As Walser suggests, "This i s not to argue that metal videos are unimportant but rather to say that they do not operate i n a s o c i a l vacuum: t h e i r analysis must be i n f l e c t e d by knowledge of the l i v e s and c u l t u r a l investments of the viewers." ( 1 1 2 ) As Walser points out, "... i t i s c r u c i a l for the c u l t u r a l c r i t i c to develop an understanding of the i n t e r e s t s and a c t i v i t i e s of the communities that f i n d meaning i n t h e i r encounters with these texts." (Walser 1 9 9 3 : 1 1 4 ) (This argument w i l l be discussed further i n the "Methods" section.) It i s my hope that t h i s thesis goes some distance towards t h i s goal. This project focuses s p e c i f i c a l l y on p a r t i c i p a n t s ' own s t o r i e s and observable behavior i n the rock music scene. My work d i f f e r s from e x i s t i n g work i n that i t p r i v i l e g e s the Page - 16 e x p e r i e n t i a l ; i t examines l i v e d s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s rather than textual representations as a strategy for understanding gender roles i n subcultural groupings. This study aims to provide a voice f o r women, whose l i v e d experiences have been conspicuously absent i n the subcultural discourse. I t i s my strong b e l i e f that women are not absent from the rock subculture, but that they are in f a c t an i n t e g r a l part of the scene. Women i n the rock scene occupy a r i c h l y c o n f l i c t e d s o c i a l p o s i t i o n . While they have undeniably experienced intensive sexual o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n , they cannot be viewed as either passive or dependent. Women i n the rock scene play an active r o l e i n seeking and maintaining heterosexual re l a t i o n s h i p s as well as providing a necessary foundation of economic and emotional support. These women are simultaneously engaged i n a c t i v i t i e s that r e j e c t as well as reinforce dominant mainstream prescriptions for appropriate female behavior. The purpose of t h i s project i s to examine these contradictions, along with the roles and s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s of women and men i n the rock music scene, paying p a r t i c u l a r attention to women's experiences and interpretations of t h e i r s o c i a l world. Page - 17 METHODS The material i n the study was obtained through p a r t i c i p a n t observation. A more s p e c i f i c discussion of my technique w i l l follow the explanation of why such a method i s appropriate. The use of ethnographic research techniques for t h i s project was the most natural, and i n fact the only reasonable choice. As James Spradley, a respected ethnographer notes, Ethnography i s an e x c i t i n g enterprise. It reveals what people think and shows us the c u l t u r a l meanings they use d a i l y . It i s the one systematic approach i n the s o c i a l sciences that leads us into those separate r e a l i t i e s which others have learned and which they use to make sense out of t h e i r worlds. In our complex society the need for understanding how other people see t h e i r experience has never been greater. (Spradley 1980: v i i . ) Ethnography i s a method of describing a culture from the viewpoint of that culture. As Spradley explains, Fieldwork, then, involves the d i s c i p l i n e d study of what the world i s l i k e to people who have learned to see, hear, speak, think, and act i n ways that are d i f f e r e n t . Rather than 'studying people', ethnography means 'learning from people.' (Spradley 1980: 3) It has been my commitment throughout t h i s project, to describe as well as explore patterns of behavior i n the rock scene without making the t y p i c a l academic mistake of rendering the information gathered unrecognizable to the p a r t i c i p a n t s . The point i s to gain a clearer understanding of how the members of t h i s subculture interpret t h e i r own behavior. Page - 18 As Spradley suggests, It has become increasingly c l e a r that our culture i s not homogeneous, that people who l i v e i n modern, complex s o c i e t i e s a c t u a l l y l i v e by many d i f f e r e n t c u l t u r a l codes. ... As people move from one c u l t u r a l scene to another i n complex s o c i e t i e s , they employ d i f f e r e n t c u l t u r a l r u les. Ethnography o f f e r s one of the best ways to understand these complex features of modern l i f e . It can show the range of c u l t u r a l differences and how people with diverse perspectives i n t e r a c t . (Spradley 1980: 16) Ethnography, as a method, has most often been used to understand foreign cultures. While such a goal i s obviously important, i t i s my b e l i e f that the understanding of 'alternative' cultures within our own culture i s an equally valuable yet often overlooked goal. As suggested e a r l i e r , e x i s t i n g s o c i o l o g i c a l research on subcultures too often remains on the l e v e l of textual analysis. While academic analysis of c u l t u r a l a r t i f a c t s such as rock videos or fan magazines may be both i n t e r e s t i n g and il l u m i n a t i n g , i t must be recognized as o f f e r i n g only a l i m i t e d picture of the scene i t s e l f . As Spradley notes, Any explanation of behavior which excludes what the actors themselves know, how they define t h e i r actions, remains a p a r t i a l explanation that d i s t o r t s the human s i t u a t i o n . The tools of ethnography o f f e r one means to deal with t h i s fact of meaning. (16) Ethnography's concern with esta b l i s h i n g meaning as seen by c u l t u r a l members themselves i s perhaps i t s most d i s t i n c t i v e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c . As Spradley states, "It says to a l l investigators of human behavior, 'Before you impose your theories on the people you study, f i n d out how those people define the world.'" (14) Page - 19 THE NITTY GRITTY The data i n t h i s study were gathered by p a r t i c i p a n t observation supplemented with ethnographic interviews. As well as being a regular participant i n the rock scene over the past ten years, for the purposes of t h i s study my observation of the scene was i n t e n s i f i e d and recorded for the period of approximately one year. (September 1993-February 1995) Observation took place i n a number of locations. The i n i t i a l focus was on a c t i v i t i e s i n f i v e l o c a l bars, but moved to part i e s and more personal discussions i n one on one in t e r a c t i o n . While observations and areas of inquiry arose as a consequence of being i n the bars an average of 2-4 times per week, such venues are not conducive to more i n depth exploration of issues. I discovered more d e t a i l e d information i n conversations I had with both men and women on the telephone, at private parties, and i n one on one s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n s . While the l a s t 3-4 months of f i e l d work focused more s p e c i f i c a l l y on interviews, I s t i l l attended gigs 2-3 times per month. Each period of observation was followed by ca r e f u l and d e t a i l e d note taking, often referr e d to as "logging the data". The written observations, e s s e n t i a l l y f i e l d notes, form what i s c a l l e d the "ethnographic record". Recording f i e l d notes was done as soon as possible a f t e r an i n t e r a c t i o n i n the f i e l d or a conversation with a pa r t i c i p a n t . However, when a c t i v i t y i n the f i e l d was Page - 20 p a r t i c u l a r l y l a t e at night, I would take notes immediately upon waking up the next morning. As long as there was no d i s t r a c t i n g s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n i n between, t h i s method proved e f f e c t i v e . As Lofland points out, Happily, i t has been found that memory decays very l i t t l e during sleep. That i s , for g e t t i n g has more to do with the a c q u i s i t i o n of new experience than with the sheer passage of time. Therefore i t i s reasonably safe to sleep on a day's or evening's observations and to write them up the f i r s t thing next morning, thus avoiding the necessity of staying up h a l f the night. (64) While most of the material was e a s i l y gathered i n informal conversation, a more intensive interview format was used near the end of the project to supplement and explore issues that appeared to be primary i n the scene. A t o t a l of 12 structured interviews (8 female and 4 male) were conducted i n my home or the pa r t i c i p a n t s ' home. The par t i c i p a n t s were both women and men i n the scene whom I had approached or whom had offered to be interviewed for the purposes of t h i s study. (Some of the pa r t i c i p a n t s had been to my home before, and had supplied information during informal s o c i a l i z i n g . ) Interviews ranged from one to four hours and were tape recorded and l a t e r transcribed s u b s t i t u t i n g pseudonyms for a l l people, places and bands mentioned. Interviews were loosely structured; a copy of the interview guide i s included i n Appendix B. Participants were c l e a r l y informed of the purposes of the study, and were Page - 21 assured of c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y . They were also reminded of t h e i r r i g h t to end the interview at any point, and skip any questions they found offensive or inappropriate. Participants were encouraged to bring up issues they f e l t were important and to l e t me know i f any of my questions seemed i r r e l e v a n t to t h e i r experiences. While the questions were used as a point of departure, p a r t i c i p a n t s usually used them as a spring board for more personal, e x p e r i e n t i a l s t o r y t e l l i n g . Questions were i n t e n t i o n a l l y open ended and e l i c i t e d responses that often exceeded f i f t e e n minutes per question. Other than the formality of reading and signing the consent form, and l i s t e n i n g to an explanation of the study, the interviews proceeded informally and i n an unselfconscious manner. Overall, p a r t i c i p a n t s seemed comfortable with the conversation and appeared enthusiastic about sharing t h e i r experiences. The l e v e l of discussion was dependent on the l e v e l of trust established between myself and the p a r t i c i p a n t . While i n most cases t h i s had been achieved through continued contact over an extended period of time, some partic i p a n t s shared intimate d e t a i l s about t h e i r l i v e s i n our f i r s t conversation together. It seemed that I had tapped into a need for these i n d i v i d u a l s to t a l k about t h e i r experiences that c l e a r l y existed p r i o r to and independent of my research. One p a r t i c u l a r woman seemed about to burst from a l l the f r u s t r a t i o n and questioning i n her l i f e . We met at a party Page - 22 and shortly a f t e r being introduced she launched into an unprompted three hour discussion of most of my key areas of i n t e r e s t . Such events should not be s u r p r i s i n g given that my areas of inquiry and ethnographic questions emerged out of continued observation i n the f i e l d . A l l the topics I broached with the part i c i p a n t s were received as both natural and relevant areas of inquiry, reassuring me that I was, as Stoddart suggests, "addressing the concerns native to the domain of i n t e r e s t " . (Stoddart~1986: 8) As testimony to p a r t i c i p a n t s ' enthusiasm, a f t e r an interview they often volunteered to r e c r u i t other scene members for interviews. It should be noted that the decision to stop at a r e l a t i v e l y small number of interviews (12), was made on the basis of the already extensive quantity of data recorded i n my f i e l d notes. Page - 23 THE FINDINGS CHAPTER I. ACROSS A CROWDED ROOM: WOMEN AT WORK Any discussion of "relationships" i n a s o c i a l scene should l o g i c a l l y s t a r t with the par t i c i p a n t s own descriptions of how such relationships began. The following s t o r i e s are based primarily on discussions with p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the scene as well as my own observation i n the scene. The story of how Devon and Jamie met i s perhaps the most twisted, but fascinating of the beginnings I witnessed. E r i c a phoned me, she was having a party, ... of sorts, actually, she was having people over to her place for a get together a f t e r L e s l i e ' s funeral. To provide context I w i l l backtrack, L e s l i e had been a fr i e n d of Eri c a , Lynne and Angle's whom I had met only once, many years ago when Alex and I had come to Vancouver to v i s i t Craig, Scott and Kevin, musicians o r i g i n a l l y from our home town. We were going out to the bar, and we had to stop o f f at L e s l i e ' s so she could help Craig do h i s ha i r . Hair was a r e a l l y b i g thing i n those days, l i t e r a l l y , "big hair" was a big thing. We must have spent an hour at L e s l i e ' s watching them back comb, ha i r spray, blow dry, and repeat the whole process a l l over again u n t i l they had achieved heavy metal perfection. The whole thing was quite fascinating to Alex and I who had never back combed at a l l and barely used hairspray. These were r e a l , hardcore rockers and we were accepted because we had known Craig, Scott and Kevin even longer than them. Page - 24 Anyhow... now almost 10 years l a t e r I was going to a party with these same g i r l s , but L e s l i e was dead. She died of cancer, not some morbidly glamorous drug over dose. E r i c a was convinced that L e s l i e would have wanted her friends to party. I took Devon and Brenda with me. They didn't know these people other than though me, but we had been out to the bar a m i l l i o n times recently and i t was always the same crowd. E r i c a and I immediately started t a l k i n g about our t r i p s to L.A. to v i s i t Craig, who had moved there i n search of stardom. She had gone about a month before I had, and we looked through her pictures. Devon seemed to be handling things a l l r i g h t . There were a l o t of people there and I saw her chatting to a few of them comfortably. Then, just l i k e out of a sappy novel, t h i s guy across the l i v i n g room made tracks straight for us. Well, I suppose i t wasn't exactly as romantic as a Harlequin, he kind of stumbled and appeared to have consumed a considerable amount of alcohol. He was intent on finding out who we were. So we a l l introduced ourselves. His name was Jamie, and E r i c a seemed to have a p a r t i c u l a r maternal concern for h i s well being, the reason for which I found out l a t e r . Devon and Jamie seemed to h i t i t o f f well, and became engrossed i n conversation. It was decided that some of us would go to the area bar and catch a friend's band's l a s t set and maybe l a s t c a l l . Jamie seemed to r e a l l y want to get out of there, and Devon was the one who was d r i v i n g so he Page -25 joined i n . E r i c a t o l d us to take good care of Jamie and bring him back to her place when he passed out. This turned out to be an accurate predic t i o n . Upon reaching the bar Jamie immediately jumped up on stage and commandeered Tyler's guitar; he t r i e d to play Baracuda, somewhat unsuccessfully, with Tyler shooting me "help", get him o f f the stage looks. While Jamie f l a i l e d around drunkenly, we r e a l i z e d that the sound man had turned him p r a c t i c a l l y o f f , and a l l you could hear was the rest of the band t r y i n g to make the best of a bad s i t u a t i o n . Eventually Jamie was led o f f stage and the band resumed t h e i r regular set. Everyone seemed to know Jamie, the waitresses were bringing him free drinks, the owner was hovering around a t t e n t i v e l y , and everyone was asking how he was. When Tyler came o f f stage he p u l l e d me aside and asked how we had come to babysit Jamie. I explained where we had been, and Tyler explained Jamie's behavior. Apparently L e s l i e had been Jamie's fiance, and t h i s was his way of dealing with h i s los s . Although he did end that evening sleeping i t o f f back at Erica's, he spent the next few nights baring h i s soul and forging a new r e l a t i o n s h i p at Devon's. Of course not a l l relationships began under such dramatic circumstances. The most common format for a blossoming r e l a t i o n s h i p was: boy plays i n band, g i r l sees band, g i r l chooses target, g i r l gets boy. L i s a and Dylan personify the storybook rock romance beginning. L i s a t o l d Page - 26 me she was eighteen when she met Dylan, she had gone out of town to stay with a f r i e n d for the weekend a f t e r a " f i z z l e d r e l a t i o n s h i p " . Her f r i e n d took her to a bar where Dylan's band was playing; the remainder of the story i s most e f f e c t i v e l y t o l d i n Lisa's own words, The f i r s t time I saw them (the band), they were a l l s i t t i n g at the bar ... so I turned around and I looked behind me and there they were; a l l I saw was just "hair". ... They started playing and I checked out the band, and then I saw Dylan, and that just d i d i t ! ... and so I was t r y i n g to get his attention through the whole f i r s t set and I couldn't t e l l i f he was looking at me or not, ... he needed a hair cut. It turns out l a t e r , he was looking at me ... i n between the f i r s t and second set one of the waitresses brought me a glass of white wine and she said that was from the guitar player... I was too chicken to go t a l k to him, so when they came up for t h e i r second set I kinda nodded thanks, and he nodded back and from then on the whole rest of the night we just looked at each other, and i t was l i k e we were the only two that were there. According to Lisa, t h i s was her e x c i t i n g introduction to the rock scene. It was the f i r s t time she had ever seen a l i v e band, and i n her words, she " l i k e d i t ! " I didn't t a l k to him u n t i l the end of the night and then I talked to him for about ten minutes ... I thought I'd probably never see him again. He asked me for my phone number so I gave i t to him, which I never do, and then just before we l e f t I asked him for a hug and apparently I just r e a l l y shocked him. ... I didn't think he was going to c a l l me for l i k e three weeks, (the band was supposed to play i n Calgary, where L i s a l i v e d three weeks later) a l l the way home I couldn't eat, I couldn't eat for about three days, I could hardly sleep. So I got home and the next night he c a l l e d from Castlegar and he c a l l e d me probably close to every night a f t e r that while they were on the road. ... They were supposed to come to Calgary and then they f i r e d t h e i r drummer, ... so i t turned into three weeks, i t turned into f i v e weeks, f i n a l l y I thought, okay, screw t h i s , I'm not going to wait for him to come to me, I'm going to f i n d out what's going on, i f I r e a l l y do l i k e him. So I t o l d him I was going to come v i s i t him, I t o l d my parents I was going to Cranbrook, and I Page -27 took a f l i g h t that went to Cranbrook but continued on to Vancouver! (laughs) According to Lisa, her i n s t i n c t s had been r i g h t . She and Dylan f e l l i n love, she moved to Vancouver to be with him, and a f t e r l i v i n g together for two years, they were married. The women i n the rock scene demonstrate a high degree of " a c t i v i t y " i n choosing and pursuing p o t e n t i a l partners. Most women I observed were anything but passive. They reported a s i g n i f i c a n t amount of planning and method involved i n sett i n g the stage for a po t e n t i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p . As one woman explained, Well a f t e r you pick who you're af t e r , you have to make him notice you. You have to make sure you're i n p l a i n view, by dancing near him when he's playing, hangin' out near him i n the bar when he's not on stage, and hopefully getting him i n a conversation. It has to appear r e a l l y natural, otherwise you come o f f looking l i k e a groupie. ... Indirect beginnings are the best, I know a l o t of people i n the scene, so i f I know someone he knows and can ta l k to them when he's nearby i t can lead n i c e l y into an introduction to him. ... You do a l o t of hidden work set t i n g up p o t e n t i a l s i t u a t i o n s for getting together. You make sure you end up at the same parties, go to the same gigs, you know... . The women I talked to continually noted how important i s was to be introduced by the "right" people. I f you couldn't get him to notice you and approach a l l by himself, i t was imperative that the people you were observed with were "respected" members of the scene. While the women generally claimed that most men were oblivious to the female "work" going on, some men also recognized that women i n the scene play an "active" r o l e . Near the beginning of t h i s project I was t a l k i n g to Craig, Page - 28 now a pa r t i c i p a n t i n both the l o c a l as well as Los Angelos rock scenes. His immediate comment was that anyone who thinks the women i n the scene are powerless and passive should look again. He suggested that women a c t u a l l y " c a l l a l l the shots" when i t comes to sex and s t a r t i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p s . It was h i s opinion that a woman i s i n far more control of her sexuality than a man because i f she goes out with the intention of fin d i n g someone to have sex with, she has close to a 100% chance of being successful. On the other hand, a man looking for a sexual encounter i s at the mercy of the woman's power to say yes or no. It was his contention that the women i n the scene are the true holders of power. In his experience, they choose who they w i l l become involved with and when the r e l a t i o n s h i p w i l l become intimate. This view i s obviously premised on some problematic assumptions. The f i r s t assumption i s that men are, for whatever reason, always interested i n sex. On the average he believed that more men would be w i l l i n g to have sex than would women, meaning that by sheer a v a i l a b i l i t y of p o t e n t i a l partners women held power. In saying that a woman holds the power to control whether or not the evening ends i n sex, he also assumes that any decision the woman makes w i l l be respected. However, regardless of the deeper issues, he operates within the scene b e l i e v i n g that women are both active agents and Page - 29 sexually powerful decision makers. This i s a power more often a t t r i b u t e d to men by mainstream society. Craig's characterization of the scene i s obviously informed by his own experience. Having known Craig for over twelve years, I f e e l compelled to f i l l i n some of the relevant background information. Craig's experiences, while fascinating, are not unique, I know many male musicians who have had s i m i l a r experiences. Craig i s an unusually a t t r a c t i v e heavy metal g u i t a r i s t who has never had to seek out romantic attention, women have always pursued him. We both spent our teenaged years i n the same small town and s o c i a l i z e d with the same core group of musicians. One by one we a l l moved to Vancouver and took up positions i n the Vancouver rock scene. Craig played i n various rock bands i n our hometown and l a t e r i n Vancouver. His relationships have usually been with b e a u t i f u l , attentive women who have been attracted to him i n hi s capacity as a g u i t a r i s t . Even when he was not on stage, Craig was usually the focus of much female attention. In some ways Craig has been o b j e c t i f i e d by women. He i s pursued based on hi s sexual appeal. While t h i s has usually worked to h i s advantage, allowing him r e l a t i v e sexual freedom, i t has also made him vulnerable to some of the same i n s e c u r i t i e s t y p i c a l l y associated with women. He has on occasion f e l t "used", and has had to fi g h t being valued for his appearance alone. As attractiveness fades with youth, Page - 30 such a p o s i t i o n i s threatening to a man just as i t i s to a woman. Craig was recently married, a f t e r what seemed to me l i k e a l i f e t i m e of promiscuity and sexual abandon. The past few years have found him increasingly valuing i n t e l l e c t u a l connection and compatibility over sexual a t t r a c t i o n . However, hi s r e l a t i o n s h i p with h i s wife Jenna began as most rock r e l a t i o n s h i p s do, based on mutual sexual a t t r a c t i o n i n the bar. Craig and Jenna met i n a nightclub. She had been admiring him from across the room, and had made several comments to the women she was with. Unknown to her, one of her companions started sending Craig drinks from a "secret admirer". According to Craig, and most other musicians I know, free drinks are always welcome to those that are perpetually poor. Craig claimed to be e s p e c i a l l y g r a t e f u l because according to the waitress the sender preferred to remain anonymous, r e l i e v i n g him of the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of meeting and engaging i n a conversation with t h i s woman out of indebtedness. However, a f t e r receiving several drinks, the waitress informed him that the donor had expressed an inte r e s t i n meeting him. According to Craig, when he approached the group of women to express h i s thanks, Jenna became embarrassed and i t was discovered that one of her friends had been sending the drinks on her behalf. However, af t e r a period of awkwardness, they d i d share a conversation, and ended up Page - 31 spending the night together. While i n t h i s case, Jenna hers e l f d i d not arrange the meeting, i t was s t i l l a woman who took steps to address her a t t r a c t i o n . According to most scene par t i c i p a n t s , when a rela t i o n s h i p , be i t a one night a f f a i r or a more permanent involvement, begins with the purchase of a drink, i t i s almost always a woman who sends the man a drink. According to p a r t i c i p a n t s , t h i s gesture translates loosely i n bar symbolism to, "I f i n d you in t e r e s t i n g and would l i k e to meet you." The most common scenario i s for women to send drinks to members of the band whom they f i n d p a r t i c u l a r l y a t t r a c t i v e . By musicians' own admission, they r a r e l y chase women, or buy anyone a drink. As they point out, except i n unusual circumstances, " i t i s not necessary". Page - 32 CHAPTER I I . SO WHAT'S THE ATTRACTION? B o t h w o m e n a n d m e n c l a i m e d t o b e a t t r a c t e d t o t h e r o c k s c e n e f o r s i m i l a r r e a s o n s . T h e y f i n d t h e m u s i c c o m p e l l i n g , t h e s c e n e i s f u l l o f e n e r g y a n d e x c i t e m e n t , a n d b e i n g a p a r t o f i t i s " f u n " . A t t r a c t i o n t o t h e s c e n e f o r m o s t w o m e n b e g a n d u r i n g t h e i r t e e n y e a r s a n d w a s o f t e n s o l i d i f i e d t h e f i r s t t i m e t h e y s a w a l i v e b a n d . M o n i c a ' s c o m m e n t s r e f l e c t t h e e x p e r i e n c e m a n y w o m e n h a d a s a n i n t r o d u c t i o n t o t h e s c e n e , I w a s i n my t e e n s , I d i d n ' t h a v e a c l u e w h o a n y o f t h e s e b a n d s w e r e , I w a s m o r e i n t o t h e d a n c e s t u f f , a n d t h e n g i r l f r i e n d s w o u l d c h e c k o u t s o m e p l a c e a n d s a y c o m e c h e c k o u t t h i s b a n d , s o w e w e n t t o t h i s c l u b a n d t h e r e w a s t h i s r o c k b a n d p l a y i n g a n d o f c o u r s e t h a t w a s i t ! ( l a u g h s ) Y o u s e e t h e s e g u y s o n s t a g e , l i k e w h o a ! I l i k e t h a t ! . . . t h e l o n g h a i r , t h e t i g h t j e a n s , t h e l o u d m u s i c , t h e p e o p l e , p r e t t y m u c h t h e w h o l e a u r a a b o u t i t , . . . y o u k n o w , a f t e r t h a t i t w a s t o t a l l y r o c k , i t w a s l i k e n o t h i n g e l s e m a t t e r e d , r o c k i s i t . . . . a n d i t ' s d i f f e r e n t f r o m g o i n g t o s e e a c o n c e r t w h e r e y o u ' r e n o t r e a l l y c l o s e . . . y o u c a n g e t o n t h e d a n c e f l o o r , y o u ' r e r i g h t t h e r e w i t h t h e a c t i o n s o t o s p e a k . W h e t h e r o r n o t t h e w o m e n h a d b e e n f a n s o f t h e m u s i c b e f o r e t h e y b e g a n g o i n g o u t i n t h e s c e n e v a r i e d , b u t m o s t i d e n t i f i e d t h e f i r s t t i m e t h e y s a w a l i v e b a n d a s t h e " c l i n c h e r " . A c c o r d i n g t o G i n a , t h e f i r s t t i m e y o u w a l k i n t o a r o c k b a r w i t h a l i v e b a n d , " Y o u K n o w " . Y o u . k n o w y o u ' v e f o u n d y o u r n i c h e . A s G i n a e x p l a i n e d , " T h e f i r s t t i m e I s a w a l i v e r o c k b a n d I t h o u g h t t o m y s e l f , y e a h , t h i s i s w h e r e I w a n t t o b e , I w a s t o t a l l y d r a w n t o t h e s c e n e f r o m t h a t p o i n t o n , a n d I ' v e n e v e r l o o k e d b a c k . " A c c o r d i n g t o D e v o n , P a g e - 3 3 It was fun, there were cool people... I l i k e d the music more than anything, we could go dancing, i t was good to dance to. ... It was exciting, i t was very d i f f e r e n t from my day to day l i f e , i t was a l i t t l e escape at night... i t was exciting, there was something Hollywood about i t , bigger than l i f e , e s p e c i a l l y i f you were " i n " at a l l . While women and men often gave s i m i l a r reasons for being attracted to the scene, they usually came to play very d i f f e r e n t r o l e s i n the scene. While most men aspire to b_£ musicians, most women aspire to be with musicians. For most women, a t t r a c t i o n to the scene went hand i n hand with a t t r a c t i o n to male musicians. According to most women, there were at least two le v e l s of a t t r a c t i o n to male musicians. The f i r s t being, i n the words of countless women, "the bad boy thing". It seemed to go without saying that longhaired, dark, dangerous looking men i n s p i r e d a high degree of desire. As one woman explained, They were d i f f e r e n t , d i f f e r e n t than boys you had dated i n school, d i f f e r e n t than the boys your mother wanted you to date, they were so much sexier, more powerful and i n t r i g u i n g . There was t h i s raw sexuality that r e a l l y turned me on. Looking back at my own a t t r a c t i o n to t h i s male image, I could r e l a t e to what these women were saying. As I wrote the preface to t h i s project long before the interview stage, the continual appearance of the phrase "bad boy" was p a r t i c u l a r l y relevant and f a m i l i a r to me, as I too had used t h i s term to describe the men i n the scene. Page - 34 According to many of the women, the other component to at t r a c t i o n i s the fact that these men are on stage. As Devon explained, It's exciting, a guy being up on stage and having a l l that attention, and a l l the women around wanting that man, and him looking at you and wanting you was a r e a l kick. It was l i k e peacock feathers. ... Wow, you're bigger than l i f e , yet you want me. Monica made a s i m i l a r point, although she added that i t was the musician's a b i l i t y coupled with h i s image that i n s p i r e d awe, It ' s the image, ... the way they look, the way they carry themselves, the fact that they're a star and a l l these other people want them. ... It ' s just the fact that someone's up there doing something they do best and whenever you see someone doing t h e i r best at something they're always a t t r a c t i v e . Both these comments convey a sense that these women i d e n t i f y performance with power and that t h i s makes performers sexually appealing. There i s a sense of vicariou s t h r i l l i n being associated with the power of the performer. Devon's statement i s a p a r t i c u l a r l y good i l l u s t r a t i o n of t h i s point. While men also demonstrate a desire to be personally i d e n t i f i e d with powerful figures, women often tr a n s l a t e t h i s desire into a sexual form. In my observation, men would hang around musicians hoping to be seen with them and share i n t h e i r limelight, however, women hung around musicians hoping to become romantically involved with them. There are of course exceptions to the rule, some women purposely avoid becoming p h y s i c a l l y involved with musicians because of such Page - 35 stereotypes. These women r e s t r i c t e d t h e i r interactions with musicians to friendships and professional exchanges. However, i n my view, exceptions were rare, only h i g h l i g h t i n g the existence of the pattern. These themes w i l l be discussed further i n the "groupies" section of t h i s paper. As suggested, women ra r e l y play the r o l e of musician i n the scene, instead they are concentrated i n the r o l e of spectators and fans. This i s not meant to imply that women form more than half of rock's audience, audiences are, as Robert Walser points out, roughly gender balanced. However, the bulk of musicians have t r a d i t i o n a l l y been and continue to be men. While women are increasingly w h i t t l i n g away at men's domination of the performance scene, the vast majority of women s t i l l f i n d themselves playing the r o l e of fan, g i r l f r i e n d , wife or pot e n t i a l groupie. This r o l e expectation was c l e a r l y recognized by both women and men i n the scene. As Devon explained, t y p i c a l roles for men included, "Playing any instrument or singing, roadie, management, any sort of agency p o s i t i o n . . . " When I asked her what most of the women i n the scene do, she explained that, "Women generally 'hang-out', they were there s o c i a l l y , to hang-out, or they were groupies..." Devon claimed that i t d e f i n i t e l y wasn't a professional scene for women. However, she admitted that although i t was rare, a woman could be a singer, or a musician, but never a roadie, never a manager, never an agent. Out of a Page - 36 dozen bands, one might have a female singer. Any other woman i n the scene was a coatcheck g i r l or a waitress. L i s a echoed Devon's description of men's and women's roles i n the scene as did most of the other p a r t i c i p a n t s I spoke to. When asked what men do i n the scene, Lisa's response was, "Pretty well everything: musicians, managers, road managers, agents, producers, club owners, roadies...". When I asked her what most women i n the scene do her response was, "That's changing a l o t , but i t used to be that women were more l i k e , just the people who came out to see them play, and were groupies or whatever..." . As one woman characterized i t , most women are i n the scene to enjoy the music, dance, and "chase a f t e r the men". Chasing a f t e r the men has a whole host of repercussions as well as rewards. According to Monica, The women, of course, are always considered l i t t l e bimbos, doesn't matter what type of music scene you're i n , i f you're wanting to get to know somebody, es p e c i a l l y i f i t ' s i n the band, you're considered a l i t t l e groupie, and you're considered that you have no morals, very, very st e r e o t y p i c a l . And also you had to dress a c e r t a i n way to get any attention, ... you had to have a m i n i s k i r t or ti g h t jeans, and d e f i n i t e l y the higher the heels that you wore the better reception you got, usually black, that was the " i n " color, black or red. ... While most parti c i p a n t s s t i l l i d e n t i f y women's primary r o l e i n the scene as fan and sex object, Lisa's response indicates an optimism that slowly women's roles are changing, ... now women are moving more into A&R ( a r t i s t s and repertoire) positions from record companies coming out to see bands play, there are some who are managers, not very many, there's a l o t more musicians who are female, um ... that's about i t , I mean l i k e i t ' s r e a l l y male Page - 37 dominated but i t s d e f i n i t e l y opened up a l o t more to women. Lisa, Devon, Monica and others a l l commented on the 80's rock scene as being the pinnacle of male domination of rock. As L i s a suggested, It was t o t a l l y male dominated before, i n the 80's, l i k e i f there was ever a female band, l i k e Vixen or whatever, i t was just, i t wasn't l i k e 'yeah, they're good musicians', i t was l i k e , 'well, they're good musicians, ... for g i r l s ' . It was more l i k e , well, not l i k e a freak show kind of thing, but, (laughs) you know, they were d i f f e r e n t because they were an a l l g i r l band kind of thing, but not a l o t of respect for them... I f you watch a video from the 80's, the men are a l l the ones who are musicians and the women were t o t a l l y just the sex objects kind of thing. Lisa's comments underscore the fact that women musicians, p a r t i c u l a r l y a l l women bands were not taken seri o u s l y by most members of the scene e s p e c i a l l y i n the 80's and early 90's. In my r e c o l l e c t i o n , a l l women bands were treated by both men and women as a "novelty". Their image and stage shows often played heavily on t h e i r sexuality making them a t t r a c t i v e to a male audience but simultaneously undermining any recognition of t h e i r technical a b i l i t y . Women were generally skeptical, finding such bands uninspiring and u n f u l f i l l i n g . As one woman suggested, We went to the bar to see sexy men on stage, not sexy women. It sounds t e r r i b l e , but the only reason I went to see those a l l women bands at a l l was that they usually drew a pretty good crowd of men, we went to check out the men, not the band. Women musicians who played i n bands with male members were not dismissed quite as vehemently. Women i n mixed sex bands usually played the part of the singer, which according to most women was okay because, "You s t i l l had the rest of the Page - 38 band to look at". Although female singers were "accepted", they were s t i l l r e l a t i v e l y rare, and were not necessarily respected or supported as much as t h e i r male counterparts by either men or women. Monica was one of the few women I spoke to who was a performer. She i s a singer and has played on the road. According to Monica, while being on the road could be both rewarding and fun, the attitudes and assumptions about women constituted an added burden for her. Even though there's more women performers coming out, you're s t i l l considered as a bimbo. You're just there to get l a i d and you're just there to pick up men and the only reason you're with the band i s because you're sleeping with someone i n the band, and that's the only way you got what you did. Monica had been hire d to sing back up vocals, with another woman singing lead, and although she had proved her talent and had been r e c r u i t e d out of a music program at school, she found a l o t of the emphasis for women was on assets other than t h e i r voices. The reason they wanted to have two g i r l s there i n the band was, having two g i r l s . For one, they could make more money, two, i t brings i n more men because there's women i n the band, they've got something to ogle, and three, there's more men, so i t brings i n more women. Monica admitted that as a performer, there was as much attention on her sexuality and appearance as there was on her talent and musical a b i l i t y . ... of course we had to dress a ce r t a i n way, the more cleavage the better, no f l a t shoes, always heels, you know, the shorter the s k i r t the better kind of thing, because i t s e l l s , and i t does unfortunately. ... the guys could pretty much wear whatever they wanted but we Page - 39 had to dress to the nine's because we were the women of the band and we helped give them t h e i r image. Both Monica and Nicole, another singer who has toured with a male rock band, stated that working i n hotels that have both a music venue and a s t r i p j o i n t , they were consistently mistaken for st r i p p e r s . The clea r assumption i s that men play i n bands, women "peel". According to Monica, on one p a r t i c u l a r occasion t h i s assumption could have worked to her f i n a n c i a l benefit, as the front desk manager kept t r y i n g to pay her the dancer's fee, which according to Monica was "a helluva a l o t more than the band made!". Such assumptions c l e a r l y s i g n a l l e d to the women that they were valued more for t h e i r bodies and sexuality than they were for t h e i r musical a b i l i t y . The bulk of t h i s project deals with women's experiences i n t h e i r r elationships with male musicians. Although Monica and Nicole are both experienced and talented singers, they have since abandoned performing and are pursuing a l t e r n a t i v e careers. According to most women, female performers experience f a r more discrimination and o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n than t h e i r male counterparts. Because of t h i s , many female performers get discouraged and quit. Nicole admitted that not being taken seriously influenced her move to the business side of the music industry. She i s now employed i n promotions and bookings, while Monica has l e f t the music business altogether. Both women are currently l i v i n g with male musicians and t h e i r experiences and observations w i l l be discussed throughout t h i s thesis. Page - 40 CHAPTER I I I . SUPPORT SYSTEMS Although many aspects of the rock scene appear to uphold t r a d i t i o n a l masculine and feminine roles, f i n a n c i a l arrangements within couples could a c t u a l l y be viewed as "counter"-traditional. The male as bread winner, female as homemaker i d e a l i s both rare and impractical i n most rock r e l a t i o n s h i p s . The most common f i n a n c i a l arrangement finds the woman bringing i n a steady income, however limited, and paying for rent, food and basic l i v i n g expenses. Because of the intermittent nature of income for musicians, they can seldom be depended on to do much more than "help out" with household expenses. In describing her r e l a t i o n s h i p with Jamie, Devon claimed that, He never paid rent. If he ever had a l i t t l e b i t of money, I allowed him to pay o f f h i s guitars, ... when I did eventually work i t out f i n a n c i a l l y , I figured a f t e r two years he owed me $10,000.00 ... I paid for everything. This system obviously runs counter to the s o c i e t a l i d e a l of males holding f i n a n c i a l power and therefore decision making power i n the household. When i t comes to household purchases, securing and paying for u t i l i t i e s and the l i k e , women appear to be completely i n cont r o l . In fact, most of the women I interviewed stated that t h e i r partners had moved into an already e x i s t i n g household s i t u a t i o n with l i t t l e more than t h e i r clothes, shampoo and musical gear. Page - 41 According to Devon, Jamie had been l i v i n g i n the recording studio he had been working for. E s s e n t i a l l y , he could sleep on the couch there i n exchange for r e p a i r i n g equipment and doing some studio work. That was where he was l i v i n g for about, not even a month a f t e r I met him u n t i l he moved i n with me, but b a s i c a l l y he was just always at my place. ... I t was just a gradual thing, he would stay, and stay- just continue to stay, ... he didn't have anything, he had no possessions, b a s i c a l l y he had a suitcase and that was how he l i v e d . ... I think as soon as he came back from being on the road, he just automatically came back to my apartment. ... i t was a gradual, but quick thing, ... he was just there. It also seems a common pattern for musicians to move i n with t h e i r lovers f a i r l y quickly. The males seemed almost nomadic, staying with friends, getting temporary places together etc. between re l a t i o n s h i p s . In fact, the word "nomadic" was used on several occasions by the musicians to describe themselves. It seems t h e i r present r e l a t i o n s h i p status could be taken as a d i r e c t indicator of where they would be found l i v i n g . ' The f i r s t time I v i s i t e d Craig i n Los Angelos, he was l i v i n g i n much the same s i t u a t i o n as Jamie. Upon the breakup of h i s previous relationship, he had moved out of h i s g i r l f r i e n d ' s apartment and into the warehouse rehearsal space where he and h i s band practiced. His l i v i n g conditions, and mine while I was v i s i t i n g , consisted of a mattress on the concrete f l o o r , a bathroom with a t o i l e t and sink, no shower f a c i l i t i e s , no hot water, and a r e f r i g e r a t o r with the r e q u i s i t e b o t t l e of wine and half-sac of beer. Page - 42 Craig was s t i l l i n contact with h i s e x - g i r l f r i e n d , (also a rock g u i t a r i s t ) who compassionately allowed him, and me, to use her shower every few days. The women i n the scene, as i l l u s t r a t e d , tended to be far more stable. Many had been l i v i n g i n the same apartment for years, t h e i r l i v i n g pattern disturbed only by the "moving i n " or "moving out" of a lover. The women themselves seldom "moved out" upon d i s s o l u t i o n of a re l a t i o n s h i p . The male usually chose to or was asked to leave, and since i n most cases he had arr i v e d a f t e r , and with fewer material possessions, t h i s usually seemed l o g i c a l . As alluded to above, musicians, perhaps as a consequence of t h e i r tendency to be "on the road" much of the time, often had few material possessions other than those re l a t e d d i r e c t l y to t h e i r c r a f t . According to Jodi, " B l a i r blew into my l i f e and my place with l i t t l e more than a guitar, amp, d u f f e l bag of clothes and two or three boxes of power cords and cables." Contribution to the household furnishings was usually minimal even according to the musicians themselves, As B l a i r explained, I moved around so much that I learned not to accumulate much s t u f f other that what I needed to play. When I was single and went on the road i t was such a b i g hassle to f i n d a place to store a l l my junk that f i n a l l y I stopped having any. Besides I couldn't a f f o r d much and a l l I r e a l l y needed was my gear, and a couch to crash on somewhere. It didn't have to be "mine". And then when I moved i n with Jodi she had a l l that house s t u f f anyway... Page - 43 The women c o n v e r s e l y had o f t e n a c q u i r e d a l l t h e p i e c e s we t y p i c a l l y a s s o c i a t e w i t h s e t t i n g up a home. A c o u c h , a b e d , t . v . , k i t c h e n ware e t c . Even i n c o u p l e s who h a d been t o g e t h e r a number o f y e a r s , most o f t h e f u r n i s h i n g s seemed t o have been c h o s e n by and p a i d f o r by t h e woman, o f t e n b e f o r e t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p b e g a n . To some d e g r e e a l l t h i s seems l o g i c a l , a f t e r a l l , t h e ma le m u s i c i a n knows he has a f u t u r e o f r o a d t r i p s and much m o v i n g a r o u n d ahead o f h i m . He i s u n l i k e l y t o r e c e i v e a s t a b l e o r s u b s t a n t i a l enough income t o s e t up and m a i n t a i n a p l a c e he w i l l o f t e n be a b s e n t f r o m . I t seems f a r more l i k e l y and more r e a l i s t i c f o r h i m t o spend any money he has on f u r t h e r i n g h i s c a r e e r by i n v e s t i n g i n e q u i p m e n t . The women, i n most c a s e s n o n - m u s i c i a n s , on t h e o t h e r hand , e x p e c t e d t o l i v e i n t h e same p l a c e f o r a t l e a s t some p e r i o d o f t i m e . Mos t r e c e i v e d a s t e a d y i n c o m e , however s m a l l , and made i t a p r i o r i t y t o e s t a b l i s h a c o m f o r t a b l e home. I n t e rms o f gende r r o l e e x p e c t a t i o n s , r o c k r e l a t i o n s h i p s p r e s e n t a c u r i o u s p a r a d o x . Women's p r e o c c u p a t i o n and i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h " the home" i s d e c i d e d l y t r a d i t i o n a l , as i s men ' s a g g r e s s i v e p u r s u i t o f t h e i r c a r e e r s . However , as s u g g e s t e d , t h i s i s n o t b a l a n c e d by t h e u s u a l norm o f ma le as f i n a n c i a l p r o v i d e r . Women have come t o p l a y t h e r o l e o f b o t h home maker and p r o v i d e r . W h i l e t h i s d e m o n s t r a t i o n o f i ndependence i s c o n s i d e r e d by Page - 44 many women to be a source of pride and power, i t i s also obviously an area of pot e n t i a l e x p l o i t a t i o n . Although most women were aware of the imbalance, they found i t the most s t r i k i n g a f t e r a r e l a t i o n s h i p ended. One woman explained that i t r e a l l y sinks i n when he's gone and materially, nothing changes. "Emotionally, you're a l l fucked up, but your apartment looks the same, you pay the b i l l s the same as usual, and you act u a l l y f i n d that you have a l i t t l e more spending money." What t h i s woman, and many others r e a l i z e d , was that "he contributed nothing". As Jodi pointed out, I guess I kinda knew that a l l along, but I hadn't admitted i t to myself. After B l a i r and I s p l i t up I couldn't ignore the facts any longer, I f e l t t o t a l l y used. ... The worst part of i t was that he ended up moving i n with another woman soon af t e r , and I ended up doubting his emotional contribution on top of the whole money thing... Women, consciously or not, provide a necessary economic base for the scene. According to Nicole, t h i s domestic arrangement was most v i s i b l e i n the l a t e 80's and early 90's when the Vancouver music scene was "peaking", Every band that was happening then was a male band, and I swear to you, i t was completely funded by females, you know, a l l the g i r l s were working, taking care of the guys i n the bands... Oh god! I remember... snake skin boots were i n , and every guy had no money, but they had a three, or four, or f i v e hundred d o l l a r p a i r of snake skin boots! ... and wicked leather jackets, and they're d r i v i n g these g i r l s ' cars while the g i r l s are at work a l l day ... It's true, i t was funded by females, for sure. In some ways, women played a r o l e more comparable to "mothers" than to "partners". They were the nurturers, Page - 45 f i l l i n g society's prescribed r o l e of caretakers, however, the f i n a n c i a l element added a new dimension to the p o s i t i o n . From my observation, and from many women's st o r i e s , t h i s s i t u a t i o n d i d not disappear a f t e r the 80's. According to Nikki, who i s only 21, and was not involved i n the 80's scene, the set up i s pretty common even among new members of the scene. She t o l d me about a male musician she knows who went home with a "groupie" one night and b a s i c a l l y never l e f t . According to Nikki, "now they're l i v i n g together and she's t o t a l l y supporting him, and he's r e a l l y doing nothing except snorting coke a l l day on her expense." Nicole also admitted that although she fe e l s she has outgrown such tendencies, "I c e r t a i n l y went through that thing of having to be the person bringing i n the money each month just so you had groceries..." She also spoke of relat i o n s h i p s she knew of currently operating under such circumstances. For most women, the dependency i s j u s t i f i e d by the b e l i e f that the s i t u a t i o n i s temporary. A strong admiration for t h e i r partner's talent and pot e n t i a l underpins the acceptance of such l i v i n g conditions. As Monica explained, Most of the time I understand (supporting him), but at the same time i t s s t r e s s f u l , you know, cause now I'm l e f t to handle a l l the b i l l s . He's s t i l l l i v i n g there, he's s t i l l eating and so on. It puts some s t r a i n , ... I have my l i t t l e tantrum and I get over i t . . . The willingness of these women to support t h e i r partners through economic and emotional hardship i s r a t i o n a l i z e d by a b e l i e f that one day "his ship w i l l come Page - 46 i n . " As most m u s i c i a n s p o i n t o u t , t h e m u s i c b u s i n e s s w o r k s on t h e " f e a s t o r f amine" p r i n c i p l e ; y o u s t a r v e w h i l e y o u a r e f i g h t i n g f o r r e c o g n i t i o n , b u t once y o u g e t s i g n e d y o u c a n p o t e n t i a l l y become r i c h as w e l l as famous. A c c o r d i n g t o most women, b e i n g i n a band a l r e a d y a f f o r d s m a l e m u s i c i a n s a d e g r e e o f fame even i f i t i s c u r r e n t l y l i m i t e d t o t h e l o c a l s c e n e . As e x p l a i n e d e a r l i e r , t h i s fame c o u p l e d w i t h a r t i s t i c c r e a t i v i t y and p o t e n t i a l makes m u s i c i a n s " v a l u a b l e " r e g a r d l e s s o f t h e i r l a c k o f f i n a n c i a l r e s o u r c e s . A n o t h e r theme t h a t emerges ou t o f d i s c u s s i o n s o f f i n a n c i a l dependency i s t h e c o n n e c t i o n be tween ma le r o c k m u s i c i a n s and f ema le s t r i p p e r s . A l m o s t e v e r y ma le m u s i c i a n I know has l i v e d w i t h , o r d a t e d a s t r i p p e r a t some p o i n t . When a s k e d why t h e r e has a l w a y s been t h i s c o n n e c t i o n , t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s p o i n t e d ou t t h a t n o t o n l y a r e s t r i p p e r s s e x u a l l y a t t r a c t i v e , and w o r k i n g t h e same " c i r c u i t " as t h e r o c k b a n d s , b u t more i m p o r t a n t l y , " i t ' s n o t o r i o u s t h a t s t r i p p e r s make h o a r d s o f c a s h . " M a l e m u s i c i a n s were t h e f i r s t t o admi t t h a t t h i s was p a r t o f t h e a p p e a l . A c c o r d i n g t o D y l a n , "The t r u t h i s , m u s i c i a n s a r e p o o r and d a n c e r s make huge c a s h , and m u s i c i a n s want t o s t a y w i t h them because t h e y buy them d i n n e r and g i v e them a p l a c e t o s t a y , and pay o f f t h e i r g e a r . " Many women saw t h e s i t u a t i o n i n e s s e n t i a l l y t h e same t e r m s . As Devon c o n c l u d e d , " . . . f o r t h e women I t h i n k i t was i d o l i z a t i o n o f t h e g u y s , t h e b i g g e r t h a n l i f e t h i n g , and f o r t h e guys i t Page - 47 was generally that the strippers had money and they would l a v i s h i t on the guys." Of course, women provide emotional support as well as f i n a n c i a l support. This aspect of the r o l e i s more i n keeping with s o c i e t a l expectations for women. As L i s a pointed out, You have to be able to l i v e with depression, t h e i r depression. Because being with a musician, they're very a r t i s t i c , they also have t h e i r f r a g i l e egos. ... a l l t h i s week Dylan's just been l i k e , on the r e a l low end of the r o l l e r coaster. You know, he questions h i s own career, ... you know l i k e that they're not going to get signed, i s i t worth i t and that kind of s t u f f . ... you have to learn how to l i v e with that. When I interviewed Dylan, he said the same thing. According to Dylan, a l l musicians have f r a g i l e egos and are prone to depression. As Dylan pointed out, a musician's well being i s based on staying on top i n an intensely competitive market. To l i v e with someone i n that kind of emotional flux requires patience, acceptance, and exceptional communication s k i l l s . Many women claimed they found the emotional demands exhausting. As Gina explained, while a l l r e l a t i o n s h i p s require emotional nurturence and support, l i v i n g with a musician poses i t s own unique challenges, Every musician I've ever gone out with needs constant ego stroking. I don't know, I guess i t s a part of the " a r t i s t " thing. They confide i n you, share t h e i r fears, the fear of f a i l u r e , the fear of lo s i n g the creative spark, fear of not getting signed... and your job i s to make them f e e l better, reassure them that they are talented, they w i l l succeed, that you believe i n them. It's a never ending cycle. Page - 48 In my observation, women provide both economic and emotional support to musicians i n the rock scene. Many par t i c i p a n t s f e e l the scene would collapse without t h i s support, i n d i c a t i n g that women are not marginal i n the scene, they are i n fact foundational. Page - 49 CHAPTER IV. ROMANTIC RESIDUE While most would say that a rock r e l a t i o n s h i p i s f a r from a t r a d i t i o n a l route to society's prescribed r o l e of wife and mother, most women i n the scene s t i l l held to these goals with romantic conviction. The f a s c i n a t i o n with the romantic ideals of marriage and family would s t r i k e most outsiders as a puzzling contradiction i n a scene that i s presumed to r e j e c t society's conventional roles by endorsing overt sexuality and casual encounters. Yet within the scene, notions of heterosexual.romance not so d i f f e r e n t from mainstream ideas, are seen to anchor s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s . As one woman explained, Although there's a l o t of short l i v e d f l i n g s i n the scene, I think the hope i s always that i t w i l l turn into something more meaningful. ... The fantasy, e s p e c i a l l y for women, i s that he w i l l pick you out of the crowd, y o u ' l l f a l l i n love, and y o u ' l l l i v e happily ever a f t e r . Relationships, such as L i s a and Dylan's, that approximated t h i s romantic i d e a l were held up as proof that even rockers could have meaningful r e l a t i o n s h i p s . As some women pointed out, the knowledge that "the odds are against you" only fueled t h e i r determination, I think that made i t even more exciting, the challenge of knowing that circumstances conspired against you, ... i t made being i n love r e a l l y e xciting, romantic, ... i t f e l t l i k e i t was you and him against the world. Like you had something to prove. v As Tyler pointed out, the challenge seemed to form a b i g part of the appeal. Tyler was not the only one who Page - 50 suggested that women seem to demonstrate a desire to "conquer" musicians. Many women characterized rock musicians as "wild horses", i n need of "breaking". Attracted by t h e i r wild, sexual appeal, the clea r intent was to be the one to "tame" him. According to Nicole, I don't know what i t i s , i f i t ' s women l i k e to see things and f i x i t and change i t , but i t ' s so funny, you see so many women that say, I love musicians because they're t h i s and they're that, ... and the larger percent of women that go for musicians ultimately want them to become accountants or something. I t ' s funny, ... I don't know, maybe i t ' s that women want to conquer. Whether or not a woman wanted the change to be so extreme varied, however, the desire to change him into a responsible and dedicated l i f e partner was c l e a r l y shared by most women. In my observation, women wanted the serious, stable love r e l a t i o n s h i p s so highly valued by mainstream society at the same time as they were drawn to the passion, c r e a t i v i t y and in t e n s i t y p e r s o n i f i e d by musicians. As one woman i n s i g h t f u l l y suggested, The problem I think i s that what most women are attracted to and what most women need i n a r e l a t i o n s h i p are two t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t things. I am passionately attracted to a r t i s t i c longhaired bad boys, instead of the responsible, normal mainstream men that would probably o f f e r me more s t a b i l i t y and future happiness. ... since relationships always begin with chemistry, I am powerless to change the pattern. ... I guess my dream i s to f i n d a stable, loving musician who can o f f e r me both worlds, ... good luck eh? According to most part i c i p a n t s , getting married i s a landmark accomplishment. Lisa, who has been married to Dylan for over f i v e years, remarked that "being married i s t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t . You get way more respect." To the Page - 51 members of the scene, there i s a huge d i s t i n c t i o n between a " g i r l f r i e n d " and a "wife". Being someone's wife commanded respect, i t distinguished you from a l l the other women i n the scene, i t s i g n a l l e d that your musician was serious about you and your future together. It was an i n d i c a t i o n of permanence, and i t contrasted sharply with the usual t r a n s i t o r y nature of most relationships i n the scene. As one woman suggested, It was the ultimate proof that you were not just a groupie. I remember when we got engaged, i t was l i k e 'see, he's committed to me! This i s not just another re l a t i o n s h i p , t h i s i s d i f f e r e n t , t h i s i s s p e c i a l . ' Although the goal of becoming a wife and mother remained important to most women, the l i f e s t y l e often complicated the process of reaching these goals. In some cases the order gets sort of screwed up, but most of the women I know want to get married and have kids. Sometimes i t seems easier to have kids than i t does to get married. (laughs) Maybe that's because one i s a 15 minute commitment for a guy and the other i s a whole l o t more. ... Getting married i s a big decision, most of the women I know would l i k e to get married but i t doesn't seem to f i t with t h e i r guy's v i s i o n of himself as a free rocker, and besides, planning a wedding doesn't f i t i n well with touring and lack of funds etc. ... But l o t s of women i n the scene have kids, and many of them ra i s e those kids by themselves. The above quote exposes a number of themes. While many women refuse to give up the goal of motherhood, they often abandon society's t r a d i t i o n a l route. As most women suggested, i f you want to wait for the diamond ring, the stable income, and the house with the white picket fence, i t ' l l never happen. For some, the l i f e s t y l e meant putting Page - 52 o f f c h i l d r e n f ar into the future, or out of t h e i r plans completely. For others, i t meant doing i t on t h e i r own and learning to be s e l f - r e l i a n t . Again, women's independence played a major r o l e i n t h e i r choices. A woman depending on a man for support was not a part of the scene r e a l i t y . When Brock met Heather she was a young single mother with two children and was c o c k t a i l waitressing i n the club where he was playing. According to Brock, Heather was f i e r c e l y independent, and he found t h i s a t t r a c t i v e and i n s p i r i n g . Brock and Heather's r e l a t i o n s h i p began as most do, by sleeping together f i r s t , and developing more serious intentions l a t e r . Brock could be characterized as a free s p i r i t e d , sexually open person. It was d i f f i c u l t for him to s e t t l e down, and going on the road d i d not help matters any. Although he t o l d me he was t o t a l l y i n love with Heather, l i v i n g together did not prove easy, and over a two year period they broke up too many times for me to keep track of. I r o n i c a l l y , at the point when they decided that l i v i n g together put too much s t r a i n on t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p , Heather became pregnant. They decided to keep the baby, but to l i v e apart. The baby i s now almost a year old, and Brock and Heather have accepted that t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p i s over. Although Brock i s excited and proud to be a father, h i s involvement i n h i s daughter's l i f e i s l i m i t e d . He i s also not i n a f i n a n c i a l p o s i t i o n to be of much help, as h i s band i s currently touring and focusing on promoting t h e i r f i r s t Page - 53 release. As i s common i n the scene, Heather bears the primary r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for r a i s i n g her children. Morgan i s also a single mother with a seven year o l d son. According to Morgan, whom I met at a scene party, she got married at 2 1 and had a baby at 2 2 . She pointed out that, unlike most women i n the scene, her pregnancy was planned, and she was happily married. According to Morgan, she was also happily divorced soon a f t e r . When I i n i t i a l l y asked Morgan i f she had any children, she had re p l i e d , "Yes, two." After t a l k i n g about her son for some time she introduced me to the man s i t t i n g next to her on the couch as "the other one." In Morgan's view, because her boyfriend Todd was a musician, and was unable to help with t h e i r household expenses, she considered him her second dependent. This was obviously a well worn argument, as Morgan l a t e r joked about her disappointment that her son was already showing an interes t i n the guitar. She claimed that she had no intention of encouraging him, "Because I don't want to support him u n t i l he's t h i r t y . " Her partner chimed i n casually, "What are you tr y i n g to say?" and they both laughed. Later, when Morgan and I were alone I asked her how long she and Todd had been together. "Oh, almost a year now", was her reply. According to Morgan, she and Todd were considering having a c h i l d together i n the next year or two. She was turning t h i r t y , and would l i k e to have at least one Page - 54 more c h i l d . She didn't think they'd bother getting married though, they hadn't r e a l l y talked about that. Morgan was neither naive, nor uninformed. She was well aware of the d i f f i c u l t i e s of l i v i n g with a musician. In her own words she was a "repeat offender", Todd was the t h i r d musician she had been involved with. We talked at great length about the problems associated with the l i f e s t y l e ; the lack of money, the threat of i n f i d e l i t y , and the lack of s t a b i l i t y . However, Morgan was convinced that she and Todd could struggle through. According to Morgan, she was strong, and Todd was "learning". Troy and Holly are another fascinating story. When I met Troy, I was shocked to f i n d out that he had a two year o l d daughter. Troy was only twenty three, and admitted i t wasn't how he had envisioned his l i f e at a l l . Troy played keyboards for a band c a l l e d "Riddler". According to common friends, Holly had been a "Riddler" groupie who followed the band u n t i l she successfully met and slept with Troy. Shortly a f t e r they started sleeping together, they moved i n together. As suggested e a r l i e r , t h i s i s a common pattern i n the scene, and does not necessarily indicate long term intentions. According to Troy, i t soon became apparent that they were not well suited and they agreed to separate. However, they continued to sleep together f o r a short time a f t e r they broke up, and during that time Holly became pregnant. Although Holly i n s i s t s her pregnancy was an accident, other members of Riddler claim she had t o l d them Page - 55 on several occasions that she and Troy had been t r y i n g to have a c h i l d together. She had also confided i n other women that she was hoping Troy would marry her when he discovered the pregnancy. After careful consideration, Troy decided not to marry her, but they continued to l i v e together for a year a f t e r the baby was born. After the baby's b i r t h , Holly went back to work, and Troy stayed home to care for t h e i r daughter. During that time his r e l a t i o n s h i p with Holly continued to deteriorate u n t i l i t was decided that he should move out and she should move i n with her parents. Troy has shown considerable concern for h i s daughter's well being and future. When I met him he was working a f u l l time r e t a i l job to give Holly support money, on top of rehearsing and playing with h i s band. He cares for h i s daughter two to three days a week and i s t r y i n g to see her more. Troy demonstrates an unusually responsible a t t i t u d e towards h i s daughter. It has become increasingly c l e a r to him that without an education, he w i l l be u n l i k e l y to f i n d a good paying job, so he recently l e f t Riddler to go back to school. Troy i s a rare example of someone who abandoned h i s dream because of h i s family obligations. Although Holly's dream of being married to a musician has obviously been derailed, she i s l u c k i e r than most rock moms who receive l i t t l e assistance from t h e i r former partners. Page - 56 CHAPTER V. OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS This chapter w i l l focus on what the women i d e n t i f i e d as obstacles to maintaining a stable, healthy r e l a t i o n s h i p with a musician. The most common complaint was fear of i n f i d e l i t y . This issue was brought up continually by both the partners of musicians, as well as the musicians themselves and went hand i n hand with complaints about touring and absence i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p . Overt sexuality i s often i d e n t i f i e d by those outside as well as those inside the scene as one of the most s a l i e n t aspects of the scene. While "cheating" i s obviously not a problem r e s t r i c t e d to rock relationships, the combination of the sexual nature of the scene with the s o c i a l nature of the business i s a mixture that most characterized as explosive. As one woman noted, What other s i t u a t i o n regularly puts your boyfriend out of town and out of sight, i n a dark smokey room f u l l of alcohol and people looking to get lucky? I t ' s obviously a l e t h a l mix! A musician's career routinely involves being on the road for up to, and sometimes exceeding three months at a time. According to most women, road t r i p s are the hardest times to get through. Musicians while on stage, and even when off , are perceived as figures to be admired, imitated and even i d o l i z e d . They enjoy the power to i n s p i r e "desire". As Devon explained, Page - 5 7 It was always there, i t was constantly there, I would say i n i t i a l l y I didn't have a fear of i t ( i n f i d e l i t y ) because I knew that he was very much i n love with me, but as things got rockier, I got jealous. I would react, I saw other situations happen with other band wives or other guys i n the band, that I would be witnessing them screwing around on t h e i r wives or g i r l f r i e n d s and thinking, geez, and they don't r e a l l y even have that much of a conscience about i t . They would look at me l i k e , 'yeah, I know you know, just keep your mouth shut' kind of thing... I would l i k e to think that Jamie was above i t , but ultimately he d i d come home at one point and t e l l me that he had kissed another g i r l , and I f l i p p e d ... According to Devon, one of the hardest things to deal with was the fact that not only had her partner broken her trust, but that a l l the other guys i n the band knew and had presumably t o l d t h e i r wives and g i r l f r i e n d s . He was k i s s i n g some g i r l i n the back room and Darren or one of the other guys walked i n , so not only d i d I have to deal with a f e e l i n g of i n f i d e l i t y . . . I had to deal with the humiliation of the rest of the band knowing. This point was suggested by many other p a r t i c i p a n t s as complicating issues between couples. As Nicole pointed out, when you become involved with a musician, you also become involved with everyone else i n his band. You take the weight on of everybody else i n the whole band, into your relat i o n s h i p , and nothing's sacred, nothing's private, ... that would be the hardest thing, just having so many people involved i n your l i f e . According to most women t h i s was a double edged sword. Along with knowing everyone else's business, you were also placed i n awkward positions of t r u s t . Many musicians followed the "code of the road", which was to keep road i n f i d e l i t y a secret, however, they usually t o l d t h e i r wives about t h e i r bandmates' i n d i s c r e t i o n s . This forced a woman to choose between betraying her husband's confidence, and Page - 58 betraying a woman who had usually become a fr i e n d . According to most women, t h i s was a no win s i t u a t i o n , as even i f you chose to "snitch", the news was seldom well received; few women were grate f u l to hear that t h e i r partners had cracked under the pressure. I was repeatedly t o l d s t o r i e s about women throwing themselves at male musicians, making o f f e r s of o r a l sex or intercourse, "no strings attached". I also witnessed several such si t u a t i o n s i n which women made i t c l e a r they were sexually ava i l a b l e regardless of whether the musician had a g i r l f r i e n d or not. In some cases women would a c t i v e l y pursue a musician even when h i s g i r l f r i e n d or wife was obviously present i n the club. Devon t o l d me, I saw some r e a l l y gross d i r e c t approaches from women, and the women i n the scene were always r e a l l y b e a u t i f u l at night when they were a l l done up, i n high heels and s t u f f l i k e that, and I had seen a very a t t r a c t i v e woman walk up to Dylan and just say "Can I suck you o f f ? " , and I'd just be l i k e , 'Oh my god, why are you doing t h i s i n front of me? I don't want to hear i t ! ' ... Everything was so d i r e c t . Such outrageous sexual o f f e r s , while i d e n t i f i e d as annoying and p o t e n t i a l l y threatening, were perceived as "to be expected" by most members of the scene. According to Nicole, the persistence and nerve of some women was amazing, "It seems that i f you're a musician, so many women think that i t ' s open game, and there's no respect for the g i r l f r i e n d . " Nicole t o l d me that some women went as far as finding out her boyfriend's phone number and c a l l i n g him at home, where he l i v e d with her. According to Nicole, Page - 59 even i f she answered, they didn't care, "I l i k e the idea of sisterhood, but l e t ' s face i t , there's a l o t of r e a l l y catty women out there, just as much as there are a l o t of asshole men." While such women, commonly referred to as "groupies", often succeeded i n bringing about a sexual encounter, they were not highly regarded by anyone, including the musicians who were the targets of t h e i r attention. The term "groupie" was usually used to describe a woman^ who followed rock performers seeking sexual attention. While on the surface groupies may appear to have a l o t i n common with the wives and g i r l f r i e n d s of male musicians, the d i s t i n c t i o n between them within the scene i s r e l a t i v e l y c l e a r . "Groupie" i s a t i t l e that i s earned by r e p e t i t i v e pursuit of male musicians without regard for personal pride or r e c i p r o c i t y . While a l l women i n the scene exhibit a high degree of sexual autonomy and pursuit of po t e n t i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s , groupies are i d e n t i f i e d as "r e l e n t l e s s " and most women are cautious of behaving i n any way that could be construed as "groupie l i k e " . As one woman suggested on page 28 of t h i s text, the best way to meet a guy you're interested i n i s through respected members of the scene. This emphasis on "respected" connections insures a degree of c r e d i b i l i t y . As she explained, although you are i n pursuit, your meeting has to be perceived as "natural, otherwise you come o f f looking l i k e a groupie." While f i r s t dates often end i n sex, i t i s Page - 60 the mutuality of the a t t r a c t i o n that distinguishes a po t e n t i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p from a meaningless groupie encounter. According to my own observation as well as comments from other scene members, groupies are t y p i c a l l y more d i r e c t , more focused on sexuality and less concerned with how they are perceived by anyone other than the man they are a f t e r . As Devon pointed out, they don't care who i s standing there, they w i l l just walk up to a male musician whom they have never met and o f f e r him a blow job, no stri n g s attached. While most par t i c i p a n t s associated groupies with the pursuit of sexual attention, Tyler offered a deeper explanation, claiming that a groupie i s , Someone who's looking for someone else to f u l f i l l t h e i r own l i f e , ... who's r e l y i n g on someone else to make them happy. ... Whether i t be going to bed with them, spending time with them, being able to say they know them, being able to gossip about them, make t h e i r l i v e s miserable, just because they get a sense of power out of i t - there's a l o t that do that. There's a l o t of people I would c a l l groupies that don't sleep with the people, but they t r y to get into a p o s i t i o n where they can manipulate them... because i t makes them f e e l powerful. ... the most obvious thing i s getting them into bed, ... you know personal s h i t about them, no matter what i t i s . Such behavior needs to be examined from the viewpoint of a l l the par t i e s involved, the wives/ g i r l f r i e n d s , the musicians, and the groupies themselves. According to the wives such f r e e l y offered and aggressive pursuit of sex posed the most serious threat to t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Page - 61 I think that's why I went to the bar so much the f i r s t year B l a i r and I were together. I was p e t r i f i e d that the minute I wasn't around some bar sl u t would throw hers e l f at him and he'd turn into some spineless hedonist. As Devon noted, although you could s t a r t out f e e l i n g confident and trus t i n g , the more you observed the harder i t was to have f a i t h , "As time went on I thought, no, ... i t ' s next to impossible to have that much candy put out i n front of you and not respond to i t at some point." According to the musicians, groupies were a "pain i n the butt". "It gets to the point where they l i t e r a l l y follow you to your room and don't leave you alone and send you l i t t l e love l e t t e r s and that kind of thing." Although most admitted that t h e i r f i r s t few times out on the road they had been f a r more appreciative and interested i n playing the game, they explained that once the novelty has worn o f f you become more discerning and even d i s i l l u s i o n e d . As Dylan explained, i t was the impersonal nature of the whole groupie thing that turned him o f f and encouraged many others to o b j e c t i f y the women. According to Li s a , Dylan often t o l d her about walking into the other guys' hotel rooms a f t e r a show. He'd be i n sweat pants and have h i s h a i r p u l l e d back i n a pony t a i l ; the women would ask i f he was i n the band, and he would l i e and say he was i n the crew. According to Dylan, at that point he usually ceased to be of any int e r e s t to them. Most male musicians found t h i s f a s c i n a t i o n with the ro l e over the in d i v i d u a l grounds for dismissal. According Page - 62 to most scene members, "a groupie i s somebody who doesn't care who the person i s , i t ' s just that they're on stage." As Devon explained, although most groupies f i x a t e d on a p a r t i c u l a r musician, they were usually open to change. It would be, "I want that one, ... but there would be a secondary choice, or a t h i r d , or a fourth, even sometimes going down to- they would never get a band member, but they would be with a crew member." According to scene members, there was a hierarchy between band members and crew members that r e p l i c a t e d i t s e l f i n the women. Band wives and g i r l f r i e n d s hung around together and were considered the core, whereas crew wives and g i r l f r i e n d s were on the margins. This r e p l i c a t e d i t s e l f once again amongst the groupies. As L i s a suggested, From the band's point of view, the g i r l s who would do the band as opposed to the ones that would go for the crew guys, ... they were considered more low. Although i n some cases, the novelty of easy sex wears of f , according to Tyler, ... i t doesn't wear of f for everybody. I know guys that are l i k e t h i r t y - e i g h t years old now, and they're s t i l l playing the bar c i r c u i t and t h e i r number one p r i o r i t y i s to get l a i d , and just t r y and do somebody d i f f e r e n t . Some suggest that groupie a c t i v i t y has diminished since the 80's rock peak, however others, e s p e c i a l l y musicians who tour, point out that i t i s s t i l l very much a l i v e . Like E r i c , our singer, I look at him, he's not a very a t t r a c t i v e guy or nothin', but that guy gets chicks, ... females a l l over him... If anybody thinks that's not happening, i t does for sure. Page - 63 Although most of the women I talked to would not i d e n t i f y themselves as groupies, t h e i r behavior sometimes t o l d another story. According to one woman, Usually the way the re l a t i o n s h i p goes i s that we'll just b a s i c a l l y see each other when we're out, i t s not l i k e we go out for dinner, i t s not those kind of relationships, you know, i t ' s b a s i c a l l y sex... Another woman made an i n t e r e s t i n g point, Why i s i t that men who have meaningless casual sex aren't questioned, but women who do the same thing are automatically assumed to be ei t h e r hoping f o r something more, or emotionally disturbed. ... you know, that idea that groupies are somehow pathological, or looking to f i l l some sort of void i n an inappropriate way. What does that make the men who sleep with them? How come nobody t a l k s about t h e i r emotional void and insecurity? I think some women just l i k e sex. It i s possible that women use men for exactly the same reason men use women, pleasure. This woman was not the only one to suggest such a p o s s i b i l i t y . According to Morgan, although she has le d a li m i t e d sex l i f e compared with her friends, she d i d have a " s l u t t i n g around year" between two of her serious r e l a t i o n s h i p s . As Morgan explained, she wasn't looking for a r e l a t i o n s h i p , her intere s t , pure and simple, was sexual g r a t i f i c a t i o n . According to Morgan, although she was active, she was "safe", and often didn't even have sex, "Sometimes I just took a guy home and made him 'give me face', and then kicked him out ... you know, guys do i t a l l the time, so why not?" Morgan claims i t was the best thing she's ever done, i t put her i n t o t a l control of her sexuality. Page - 64 It should be noted before moving on that "cheating" was not a s t r i c t l y male behavior. There were of course women who also found other lovers when t h e i r partners were on the road. According t o Tyler, although the incidence of male i n f i d e l i t y i s higher because of the a v a i l a b i l i t y of groupies and the security of being out of town, women have also been known to play the game. "I know g i r l s that have t o t a l l y f a i t h f u l boyfriends that are on the road and as soon as they're out the door, they're i n another band's tour bus." According to Nikki, i f your boyfriend i s away for an extended period of time, i t i s almost i n e v i t a b l e that something w i l l happen, What would you do? I mean, you're i n a r e l a t i o n s h i p with somebody and he's gone for three months, you're going to go out, you're going to meet new people, you're going to do other things. Who knows what he's doing, he's i n a band, you know, of course you're going to meet somebody els e . . . T H E F A T C H I C K S : V A R I A T I O N S O N T H E G R O U P I E T H E M E That's what we a l l c a l l e d them, "the fat chicks", not to t h e i r faces of course, we r e a l l y l i k e d them and wouldn't want to hurt them, but the guys always c a l l e d them that and i t stuck as the most obvious and des c r i p t i v e nick name for them. They were three s i s t e r s , Cheryl, Dana, and Barb. Sometimes they had a fr i e n d or two with them as well, but the three of them seemed to form the nucleus of the group. They were e s s e n t i a l l y aspiring groupies, and i f they had been t h i n and a t t r a c t i v e they would have been perceived Page - 65 e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t l y , but because they were a l l considerably over weight and not conventionally b e a u t i f u l , they were not perceived as a threat. They followed "Harm's Way", a band with whom I had a strong t i e , as my best f r i e n d Devon was engaged to Jamie, one of the guitar players. Dylan was also a member of "Harm's Way" at that point. The "fat chicks" were b a s i c a l l y a group of in c r e d i b l y supportive, enthusiastic "Harm's Way" fans. They would follow the band from bar to bar, and even from town to town. They made themselves friends of the band by being t h e i r most r e l i a b l e supporters, and showering them i n attention, free drinks, and even g i f t s . G i f t s ranged from clothing, to oversized margarita glasses with each of the band members' names custom etched into the glass. The " g i r l s " would attend gigs f a i t h f u l l y , always a r r i v i n g early enough to secure a good table, close to the stage. Even when the guys were playing i n Haney, they'd be there, an hour and 1/2 drive outside of the c i t y . For the guys, they were diehard fans, and for the band wives, they were f a m i l i a r faces i n sometimes less than glamorous venues. The wives admitted to me that although at f i r s t they found i t unsettling and "weird", they soon came to f i n d i t comforting to know the "fat chicks" were always around. According to Devon, they were a "safe" v a r i a t i o n on standard groupie behavior. They i d o l i z e d the guys i n the band and went to great lengths to please them, however, because they deviated from the acceptable standard of Page - 66 feminine attractiveness they were perceived as "harmless". As a general rule, groupies were treated with disdain and suspicion by the band wives and g i r l f r i e n d s . They were usually i d e n t i f i e d as malicious, manipulative troublemakers. According to most scene members groupies d i d l i t t l e to challenge t h i s image; they wasted l i t t l e time on other women, focusing a l l t h e i r attention on the men. The "fat chicks", however, made a point of maintaining good r e l a t i o n s with the band wives and consciously or not, they came to play a supervisory function i n the wives' absence. Whether or not the "fat chicks" ever had any fantasies about becoming involved with any of the guys was never revealed, i t seemed ir r e l e v a n t , as the l i k e l i h o o d of anything ever happening was remote. They chose to make themselves a l l i e s of the wives, rather than competitors, a wise strategy that prevented almost c e r t a i n animosity. The "fat chicks" became l i k e family for the band. They i n v i t e d the band, as well as t h e i r spouses over for dinner, phoned to make sure everyone had rides to and from gigs, and even provided a shoulder to anyone who needed one i n a struggling r e l a t i o n s h i p . The wives and g i r l f r i e n d s tended to confide i n each other, but the guys sometimes shared t h e i r problems with the "fat chicks". Because of t h e i r connection to the band, the "fat chicks" attained a degree of recognition i n the scene. As Tyler suggested e a r l i e r , "knowing" a band was often i d e n t i f i e d as a source of power and prestige. According to Page - 67 Devon, many women who wanted to get close to the band recognized the "fat chicks" as a valuable avenue of access. This probably afforded the "fat chicks" an increased sense of power and importance, as they not only kept the wives and g i r l f r i e n d s informed of any transgressions, but they also played matchmaker and screened p o t e n t i a l g i r l f r i e n d s for unattached band members. The band members came to tru s t the "fat chicks" judgement and were influenced by t h e i r opinions of other scene members. If the "fat chicks" didn't l i k e someone, i t was assumed they had good reason. The "fat chicks'" popularity i n the scene was s o l i d i f i e d by the r o l e they carved out for themselves i n influencing the guys' behavior. The "fat chicks" are an i l l u s t r a t i o n of hero worship that d i f f e r s i n some ways from t y p i c a l groupie behavior, but that also shares some key c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . These women pursued the band based on same admiration of the men as most groupies, however, the "fat chicks" were blocked from accomplishing t h e i r connection to the band through sexual means by t h e i r f a i l u r e to conform to the norms of acceptable rock femininity. Their weight prevented them from being perceived as p o t e n t i a l sexual partners, therefore the "fat chicks" were forced to replace the goal of sexual r e l a t i o n s with non-sexual friendship. The desire to be connected with powerful male performers was s t i l l at the root of t h e i r behavior, regardless of the movement away from sexual attention as a means of securing recognition. Page - 68 As Tyler suggested, t y p i c a l groupie behavior includes the desire to spend time with musicians, and being able to say you know them. According to most musicians, groupies derive a sense of power from being able to influence a band or band member. The "fat chicks" have undoubtedly secured themselves such a p o s i t i o n . REMAINING HAZARDS Although i n f i d e l i t y topped the l i s t as the biggest threat to a rock relat i o n s h i p , the consuming nature of the music business, and the negative e f f e c t s of the l i f e s t y l e on personal goals was also suggested. As most women pointed out, "they are married to t h e i r music, and you w i l l always come i n second". According to Devon, who has been involved with two musicians, It ' s l i k e they have a job, but they never ever leave i t . ... For both of them, they were r e a l l y dedicated to t h e i r music and that was t h e i r f i r s t love. And so I always f e l t . . . very secondary to what they were doing. ... Everything that he di d came f i r s t , the band came f i r s t , the l i f e s t y l e came f i r s t , the hours, h i s hours came f i r s t , i t was always him, him, him, ... yet he did not balance out what a t y p i c a l normal r e l a t i o n s h i p would be f i n a n c i a l l y at a l l , um, and emotionally, or even domestically. ... I was the breadwinner and everything else, and a l l he did was h i s music. Many women expressed s i m i l a r feelings about the l i f e s t y l e . As Monica explained, ... a l l he focuses on sometimes i s h i s music, which gets f r u s t r a t i n g , cause i t ' s l i k e , 'hey, I'm here too,' you know, sure I need some attention once i n awhile, not a l o t , but even just acknowledgement that I'm here, because a l o t of times the music becomes them, Page - 69 e s p e c i a l l y when they're writing. They just focus i n , they've got blinders on and fo r however long i t takes to write that song, or more than one song, you're just out of the picture. ... I t ' s strange, but you sort of get jealous with the instrument. I t ' s l i k e , 'why don't you put that stupid guitar away and spend some time with me,' ... i t ' s stupid because i t ' s an inanimate object, but you get jealous. ... The hours and out of town touring obviously figured prominently i n the concerns of the women. Most of the women I spoke to worked 9-5 i n r e t a i l or service sector jobs. Many were hairdressers, sales clerks or secr e t a r i e s . The following quote i s representative of many women's experiences, ... the whole hours, schedule, l i f e s t y l e thing i s completely screwed up because they would play at night, so he would get up at noon i f I was lucky. ... At about 6:00 we could p o t e n t i a l l y eat dinner together, maybe, i f there wasn't a sound check that night... at 10:00 at night he'd just be gearing up to a big night, he'd be out of the bar say at, again i f we were lucky, between 2:30 and 3:00 and home by 4, but bouncing o f f the walls because of a l l the adrenaline and alcohol... and maybe gear down enough to go to bed by 5:00 i n the morning. Well, I l i v e d a 9-5 l i f e . ... Ultimately i t gets draining on any woman i n that s i t u a t i o n who doesn't l i v e the exact same hours. But you can't l i v e the exact same hours cause how the heck would you have any money coming in? The musicians themselves acknowledged that the hours and l i f e s t y l e demands put s t r a i n on t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s . According to Tyler, making i t i n the music business requires a 24 hour a day commitment, The problems never change, ... one of the things i s back asswards schedules, because you're not working 9-5, you know, l i k e you could be i n the studio or rehearsal any time of the day, a l l night, you never know when you're going to get out. You could get c a l l e d up for a gig right at the l a s t minute, ... you just have to go. ... not being able to plan things, that's a r e a l l y tough one.3 Page - 70 As suggested, the e f f e c t s on women's l i v e s was enormous. According to Tyler, the demands of the l i f e s t y l e often lead to the breakdown of a r e l a t i o n s h i p . Musicians cannot guarantee t h e i r partners time, money, or future plans. Take my l a s t r e l a t i o n s h i p for example, and I never heard the end of i t , she wanted to be able to go o f f on great fabulous vacations and buy r e a l estate ... and there was so much that she didn't want to do without me, so she ended up not doing i t h e r s e l f and became very r e s e n t f u l . " S a c r i f i c e " was a theme that appeared consistently i n women's s t o r i e s . Many women claimed they stayed i n jobs they d i s l i k e d because they f e l t unable to leave. The necessity of a regular income to keep the rent paid was c i t e d as the main contributing factor i n keeping an u n f u l f i l l i n g job. As Jodi explained, I worked at that store for 3 years. You would think that meant I l i k e d i t . Actually I hated i t ! But I f e l t trapped. It didn't pay well, but i t paid the rent, and I couldn't count on B l a i r to contribute anything. I often thought of q u i t t i n g and f i n d i n g something better, but that seemed so u n r e a l i s t i c . I couldn't a f f o r d to be unemployed, s h i t , even missing a day or two of work when I was sick put us i n f i n a n c i a l hot water. I'd come home miserable day i n and day out. I dreamed of going back to school, maybe taking something I could make a career of, something I could be proud of, but how the h e l l could I ever a f f o r d i t ? ... B l a i r would give me these pep t a l k s a f t e r s h i t t y days at work, I thought he was so sweet, so understanding, you know, supportive. I suppose looking back i t was i n h i s interest for me to stay i n that job, i t was keeping a roof over h i s head too. Although the f i n a n c i a l burden of involvement with a musician has been thoroughly discussed i n a previous chapter, i t should be noted that i t i s a problem that Page - 71 p a r t i c i p a n t s brought up continuously. Most p a r t i c i p a n t s i d e n t i f i e d f i n a n c i a l uncertainty as a key element i n the suppression of long term and short term goals. According to Jodi, the money s i t u a t i o n a f f e c t s your l i f e on a vari e t y of le v e l s , It a f f e c t s your day to day l i f e by l i m i t i n g your choices. We had to survive on one income so luxuries l i k e going out for dinner were rare, new clothes were even more rare, and going on a vacation somewhere was out of the question. I'm almost t h i r t y years old, other people my age are buying condos and going to Mexico once a year, ... I'm lucky i f I can a f f o r d car insurance. ... The money sucks. Even the musicians themselves recognized the pressure that f i n a n c i a l i n s t a b i l i t y put on t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s . According to Tyler, ... i t ' s part of the starving a r t i s t syndrome, where you work at i t so hard ... but you're always broke. Musicians are a l l broke ... everybody that's t r y i n g to make a serious go of i t i s broke. If they t e l l you otherwise, they're t o t a l l y f u l l of s h i t . Subordinating t h e i r own goals for the sake of t h e i r partners' was a key source of resentment for the women. Many women claimed they f e l t "stuck", and feared that unless t h e i r partner "got signed" there was l i t t l e hope for change. Getting "signed" to a record l a b e l was i d e n t i f i e d by both musicians and t h e i r partners as the key to f i n a n c i a l s t a b i l i t y and freedom, and t h i s dream sustained many rela t i o n s h i p s through arduous times. Dylan and L i s a have been useful throughout t h i s project to i l l u s t r a t e that, despite the odds, some rel a t i o n s h i p s survive. According to Lisa, keeping focus on your own goals Page - 72 i s the key to preventing resentment. Although L i s a admits her goals and choices have been greatly influenced by Dylan's career, she fe e l s that having your own l i f e i s e s s e n t i a l . Dylan and L i s a began i n much the same s i t u a t i o n as most rock couples. Dylan was writing and playing and earning r e l a t i v e l y l i t t l e , while L i s a was working i n a 9 - 5 s e c r e t a r i a l p o s i t i o n to pay t h e i r l i v i n g expenses. According to Lisa, money was always tig h t , and t h e i r standard of l i v i n g remained low. Being an i n t e l l i g e n t woman, she began to f e e l u n f u l f i l l e d and unchallenged. According to Lis a , instead of allowing her unhappiness to destroy her marriage, she decided to apply f o r a student loan and went back to school. While Dylan was obviously not i n a p o s i t i o n to contribute f i n a n c i a l l y , he was emotionally supportive and they agreed to struggle by on as l i t t l e money as possible. L i s a recently graduated from her program and has opened her own business. The business i s t h r i v i n g , and although she i s currently repaying her student loan, her p o t e n t i a l future income has jumped dramatically. Dylan's band was also recently signed to Polygram records. After seven years together, L i s a and Dylan appear to have successfully overcome many of the obstacles the rock scene has thrown at them. Page - 73 CHAPTER V I . FINDING POSITIVE IN THE NEGATIVE While many women recognized that being involved with a musician posed many challenges, they also pointed out, a l b e i t sometimes s a r c a s t i c a l l y , how much of a character buil d e r i t could be. According to Li s a , "You ei t h e r f i n d . something p o s i t i v e , or you get out." S k i l l s and ch a r a c t e r i s t i c s fostered by rock r e l a t i o n s h i p s included independence, s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y , f l e x i b i l i t y and r e s i l i e n c e . The women I observed demonstrated an impressive degree of independence i n a l l areas of t h e i r l i v e s . This i s p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t i n g i n l i g h t of the commonly held view that women are by nature overly dependent. Women i n the rock scene, at least those intimately involved with musicians, claimed independence was a necessary s k i l l for making i t through, You need to be independent even when you're with them! You go to the bar together, but he's playing most of the time you're there, so you're l e f t wandering around or s i t t i n g by yourself. You learn to make friends fast, usually with the other guys' g i r l f r i e n d s and you hang out together. According to the women, even when t h e i r partners were o f f stage i n the bar they were l e f t on t h e i r own the majority of the time. "He'd be wandering around, t a l k i n g to t h i s person, t a l k i n g to that person, I could eith e r follow him around and stand there and look stupid, or wander o f f and do my own thing. I usually opted for the l a t t e r . " Page - 74 When the couples were not i n the bar, time together was sporadic. A musician's l i f e , as alluded to e a r l i e r , i s f i l l e d with rehearsal, studio time, meetings and extensive out of town touring. According to Dylan, even when i n town, he spends an average of 12 hours a day concentrating on h i s music. Most other musicians said the same thing. The women found themselves on t h e i r own a considerable amount of time. According to Gina, I used to hate being alone, but i n some ways i t can be a good thing. I get so much more done when Rick i s away. The place stays so neat and clean. I t r y to convince myself that's the best part of being on my own, no one to pick up a f t e r except myself. Half as much laundry, h a l f as many dishes, you know,... no mess to get pissed o f f about unless I make i t myself. ... I also read a l o t when Rick i s away. I get myself a treat, make a cup of tea and c u r l up on the couch for the evening. Many of the women discussed having i n t e r e s t s they pursued when t h e i r partners were out of town. Darcy had discovered she enjoyed c y c l i n g when she had been away v i s i t i n g her brother. When she returned to Vancouver she purchased a mountain bike and took up the sport seriously. She admitted that because her partner lacked an in t e r e s t and time for sports, she focused on i t more i n t e n s i v e l y when he was out of town. I've been thinking about i t a l o t l a t e l y . I f Ian hadn't been on the road when I went to v i s i t my brother he probably never would have taken me biking. Paul, (her brother) knows how hard i t i s to motivate Ian to do anything a t h l e t i c , i f he had been with me we probably would have spent the whole weekend watching movies and drinking beer. Page - 75 According to Darcy, although she t r i e d to in t e r e s t her boyfriend i n taking up the sport, i t was u n l i k e l y to become a shared i n t e r e s t . He always has some sort of excuse for why i t ' s not a good time for a r i d e . Either he's already showered and doesn't want to have to redo h i s h a i r for playing that night, or he's too t i r e d from being up l a t e the night before. There's always something! B a s i c a l l y he's just not an a t h l e t i c person, and I'm discovering I am. I t r y to r i d e even when Ian i s home, but I admit I do most of my r i d i n g when he's out of town. Then I can go on longer rides instead of just racing around the seawall or doing one t r a i l and t r y i n g to be home before Ian gets up. Darcy pointed out that i f Ian was home a l l the time i t would be hard to schedule i n time to pursue c y c l i n g . She f e l t that i f he was there when she got home from work she would be more l i k e l y to flop down on the couch, have something to eat, and waste the whole rest of the evening watching t.v. Darcy stated that knowing he wasn't going to be there when she got home gave her the freedom to plan a r i d e without f e e l i n g g u i l t y or worrying about cutting into t h e i r time together. Other women shared s i m i l a r feelings about being able to pursue goals and interests not shared by t h e i r partners. The a c t i v i t i e s the women indulged i n when t h e i r partners were away ranged from a r t i s t i c to physical to simple l e i s u r e pursuits. Two women admitted to having memberships to health clubs, but only going when t h e i r partners were out of town. Another woman claimed the best part of her boyfriend being away was, "Complete control of the remote control!" She was commenting on what she c a l l e d the innate male need Page - 76 t o c o n t r o l what i s b e i n g w a t c h e d on t . v . She c l a i m e d she t o o k p l e a s u r e i n w a t c h i n g " g i r l " shows, w h i c h she d e s c r i b e d as " a n y t h i n g w i t h women c h a r a c t e r s , a p l o t , and t h e absence o f b l o o d and g u t s " . One woman c l a i m e d t h e b e s t p a r t o f h e r b o y f r i e n d g o i n g away was t h e f reedom t o go ou t t o M e x i c a n r e s t a u r a n t s w i t h h e r f r i e n d s . I l o v e M e x i c a n f o o d . S t e v e h a t e s i t . When we were f i r s t g o i n g o u t , h e ' d go once i n a w h i l e , b u t i t was o b v i o u s he d i d n ' t e n j o y i t . H e ' s a hamburger and c h i c k e n f i n g e r s k i n d o f g u y . H e ' d c o m p l a i n and p i c k a t h i s f o o d so much i t was p a i n f u l t o w a t c h . H i s e a t i n g h a b i t s t a k e a l l t h e fun ou t o f e a t i n g o u t so we d o n ' t b o t h e r anymore . But when h e ' s away I c a l l G i n a and we go o u t and have a g r e a t t i m e . We o r d e r a l l s o r t s o f s t u f f t h a t w o u l d h o r r i f y S t e v e , and we d r i n k l o t s o f m a r g a r i t a s . S h e ' s fun t o e a t ou t w i t h , she a p p r e c i a t e s t h i n g s . A l t h o u g h t h e y a d m i t t e d i t was l o n e l y , most o f t h e women I spoke t o t r i e d t o see t o u r i n g t i m e as p e r s o n a l t i m e t o r e s t t h e m s e l v e s , i n d u l g e i n s p e c i a l i n t e r e s t s and g e n e r a l l y e x p l o r e p a r t s o f t h e m s e l v e s t h e y f e l t were s t i f l e d by t h e day t o day e x p e c t a t i o n s o f a r e l a t i o n s h i p . T h i s i s an u n u s u a l o p p o r t u n i t y f o r s e l f - d i s c o v e r y o f t e n a b s e n t i n t h e l i v e s o f women whose r e l a t i o n s h i p s l a c k s t r u c t u r e d t i m e away f rom t h e i r ma le p a r t n e r s . As w e l l as h a v i n g t i m e t o p u r s u e h o b b i e s and i n t e r e s t s , t h e women w i t h a b s e n t p a r t n e r s a l s o formed s t r o n g f r i e n d s h i p n e t w o r k s , o f t e n w i t h t h e w i v e s and g i r l f r i e n d s o f t h e o t h e r band members. W h i l e t h e guys were away, t h e women w o u l d g e t t o g e t h e r and have d i n n e r p a r t i e s , v i d e o n i g h t s , o r go ou t t o g e t h e r . The f reedom o f b e i n g on t h e i r own seemed t o Page - 77 a f f o r d them s o c i a l p o s s i b i l i t i e s most other married women had given up. We get together, usually at Gina's house because she has the most comfortable couches! We rent sappy romance movies and bring b i g bags of chips and Que Pasa salsa. I t ' s a r i o t , we talk, gorge ourselves, and get rig h t into the movies. I don't know which i s worse the tears over the stupid movies or the g a r l i c ! Many women noted the closeness of female friendships and suggested i t was probably the rock l i f e s t y l e that gave these friendships strength. According to Devon, during her re l a t i o n s h i p with Jamie she was, "solely surrounded by people involved i n the scene." To Devon, they were a, comfort zone, a support network that understood what i t was r e a l l y l i k e to be going out with another musician. ... you turn to people who you can r e l a t e to, or who can r e l a t e to your problems, complaints, highs, lows, whatever. ... It was easier for me to go to the other band wives and t a l k to them about things that were going on because they were probably experiencing the same things, or si m i l a r s i t u a t i o n s . Nikki said much the same thing, ... we b i t c h about the guys, the l i f e s t y l e , you know, a l l the s h i t we have to put up with. They r e a l l y understand, because they're involved with musicians too. I guess i t s a bonding thing. We t a l k about sex too. Those are the best conversations! When you get 4 or 5 women together and you st a r t t a l k i n g about sex! My friends are r e a l l y important to me, I don't remember my Mom ever having those kinds of close friendships. Her and my Dad seemed to only r e l y on each other, I don't think that was healthy. My Mom and her so c a l l e d best f r i e n d would only see each other sometimes once a month, or only when the men were there too. They didn't t a l k about anything important, you know, just c h i t chat, the s u p e r f i c i a l s t u f f , c e r t a i n l y not about problems i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s , d e f i n i t e l y not sex! I don't think she f e l t comfortable revealing anything intimate, women's friendships i n my mother's generation seem so shallow to me, you know, ... useless. Page - 78 While not a l l women's friendships outside the rock scene are necessarily s u p e r f i c i a l , the time factor involved i n a touring schedule d i d leave these women with an unusual amount of time to invest i n t h e i r female r e l a t i o n s h i p s . One woman c l e a r l y pointed t h i s out when she said, If I go for coffee with t h i s woman I work with I always f e e l l i k e we're on some sort of a schedule. We'll get into a r e a l l y good conversation, but then s h e ' l l s t a r t looking at her watch. Her boyfriend gets home from work the same time every night. She always runs o f f to be there when he gets home. It makes me sick. Most of the women I know ra r e l y go out i n the evening without t h e i r husbands. They're always so bloody concerned about leaving them alone, l i k e they're babies or something! It's hard to be a close f r i e n d with a woman l i k e that, there i s n ' t much to b u i l d a friendship on, a hal f hour here and there. My other friends, l i k e the band wives, have l o t s more time for me. When the guys are rehearsing we go out for dinner or do something. Even when the guys are around Debbie and I often take o f f and go for dessert together, you know, to t a l k . My friends are important i n my l i f e , I don't just drop them because my boyfriend i s home. Of course, as L i s a pointed out, who you hung around with and when, was based lar g e l y on who your partner was playing with and what t h e i r schedule was. As L i s a explained, For one thing, I'd go out to the clubs a l l the time, so they were always there, for another, we were a l l kind of i n the same boat, you know, a l l the g i r l f r i e n d s of the band ... so we had a l o t i n common. As many women who had been i n the scene for a long time pointed out, the bonding together of band g i r l f r i e n d s also has a dark side. As one woman suggested, In some ways I think a l l the band women hanging around together was harmful. We r a t i o n a l i z e d a l o t . ... I think only being with other women who were experiencing the same s h i t t y situations prevented me from recognizing that not a l l women put up with t h i s s t u f f . Page - 79 I think having friends outside the scene, and seeing how t h e i r relationships work has been a good r e a l i t y check for me. The following point i s c l o s e l y related, I think the reason I ended up spending so much time with the other band wives was because not only were they the only ones I could r e l a t e to, but they were the only ones who could r e l a t e to me. Any friends I had outside the scene eventually l o s t patience hearing about the f i n a n c i a l dependence and a l l the sexual b u l l s h i t . As suggested, when friendships are too narrowly l i m i t e d to other band wives and g i r l f r i e n d s , they have the p o t e n t i a l to become dysfunctional. According to Li s a , another major problem of r e l y i n g on the g i r l f r i e n d s of other band members was that your l i n k to them was jeopardized i f a r e l a t i o n s h i p broke up, i f someone l e f t the band, or i f the whole band broke up. L i s a claimed t h i s was one of the reasons she stopped spending so much time with the other band g i r l f r i e n d s . When "Harm's Way" dissolved, Dylan headed o f f i n a d i f f e r e n t d i r e c t i o n than most of the other guys. As L i s a explained, when the men parted ways, b a s i c a l l y so d i d the women. The connection to the band had been the s t a b i l i z i n g force i n these friendships. When Dylan formed "Noxious", L i s a was cautious about bonding with the other band members' partners. According to Lis a , her behavior was influenced by a v a r i e t y of factors. For one, she had taken a step back from the scene when she went back to school, and had developed a network of friends outside the music scene. Secondly, and perhaps because of Page - 80 t h i s , she f e l t she had less i n common with the other guys' g i r l f r i e n d s . As L i s a explained, I think i t was a combination of outgrowing the whole thing as well as not wanting to go through that pain los i n g people a l l over again... . Page - 81 CHAPTER VII. BURNOUT Burnout seemed an appropriate t i t l e for t h i s chapter because i t was a term suggested frequently by the women themselves to describe t h e i r s i t u a t i o n . Outgrowing the club scene was a topic brought up by many women. For some, the re s u l t was l i m i t e d to abandoning the bar scene, while for others the impact went much deeper, moving them to leave t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s behind as well. According to Devon, In the beginning i t was kind of e x c i t i n g . . . i t was neat to know a l l the l i t t l e things, l i k e i f you were watching the band, a l l those l i t t l e signs or signals that they would have, or, I would know i f something screwed up because I knew the songs so well, and that was kind of an e l i t i s t thing, a l l the band wives kind of stuck together and i t was an e l i t i s t thing, ... and then a f t e r awhile, i t was l i k e I knew every joke, every move, every l y r i c , every guitar r i f f , every everything. It became r e a l l y boring... . Devon claimed, "I completely l o s t the a b i l i t y to have any fun i n i t anymore... i t was no longer entertainment to me, i t was h i s job, and i t was a s h i t t y job." Even though L i s a and Dylan have a strong r e l a t i o n s h i p , she too fe e l s she has outgrown the bar scene. I hate going to bars now ... you know, when I f i r s t met Dylan, I used to go to the clubs maybe three or four nights a week, and you know, i t was fun, I was r i g h t into i t . But I was only l i k e between eighteen to about twenty-two, twenty-three. ... The people that are there are so much younger now, they're the age that I was when I was into i t , so I mean I guess you just grow out of i t , your int e r e s t s change. For many women, outgrowing the scene ran p a r a l l e l to outgrowing t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s . When I asked them how and Page - 82 why a re l a t i o n s h i p ended the t y p i c a l responses included: - I just couldn't take i t anymore. - one day I just woke up. - I couldn't continue l i v i n g l i k e that. - f i n a l l y I just "burned out". Many women claimed they s t i l l loved t h e i r partners when they dissolved the relationship, but f e l t that they couldn't continue the re l a t i o n s h i p despite t h i s . I couldn't handle not having him around- he was out of town a l l the time. I'd go to parti e s alone, everyone else I knew from work etc. would be there with t h e i r spouses, I always resented that. Even when he was i n town, everything revolved around him- he'd be playing so I'd go to the bar, i f we d i d get i n v i t e d to anything he usually couldn't go anyways, he had rehearsal, he had a meeting, he had a gig... I saw other couples, out for dinner, walking along the seawall, spending time together and I wanted that. I always f e l t lonely, even when we were together. According to Jodi, the l i f e s t y l e was t o t a l l y unfair, and l e f t her i n a perpetual state of d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n , When he was i n town he'd be out l a t e at night, playing, rehearsing, checking out other bands etc. I had to get up at 7:00 am to go to work- I either went out to watch him play or I went to bed alone. I f I d i d go out, I'd s i t at a table with the other band wives. He'd drink way more than I wanted him to, and I couldn't, I had to drive us home, and I had to get up for work the next day. We wouldn't get home u n t i l 3:00 at the e a r l i e s t , by the time he "tore down" and fin i s h e d smoozing at the end of the night. I hated i t -he had to t a l k to everyone, the fans, h i s frien d s . . . a l l I d i d was wait. Then he was always hungry so we'd stop on the way home for something to eat, I always found myself s i t t i n g i n some 24 hour Denny's somewhere when I should have been home sleeping. As Nicole pointed out, the irony of the s i t u a t i o n i s that, "The very thing that draws you to a person i s usually the thing that ultimately you s p l i t up over." According to Page - 83 most women, being involved with a musician i s exc i t i n g , at f i r s t , He was r e a l l y d i f f e r e n t . I was drawn to h i s c r e a t i v i t y . He was always the center of attention and I loved being a part of that. ... At f i r s t I loved the whirlwind l i f e s t y l e . But eventually the novelty wears of f and you r e a l i z e that what makes a r e l a t i o n s h i p work i s not passion and spontaneity, but s t a b i l i t y . I just wanted to s e t t l e into a routine, but with h i s l i f e s t y l e that was impossible. As Gina suggested, "It i s d i f f i c u l t to l i v e your day to day l i f e under conditions everybody else reserves for the weekend." When I asked women what changes they would l i k e i n t h e i r relationships, they i n v a r i a b l y wanted more f i n a n c i a l s t a b i l i t y , l e s s time apart, and more commitment from t h e i r partners. According to many women, road t r i p s severely affected t h e i r a b i l i t y to f e e l connected to t h e i r partners. As Devon explained, ...when he would come o f f the road, i t was l i k e s t a r t i n g a l l over again. It was l i k e , 'who are you? I know I'm supposed to be i n love with you, but you've been gone for four months, and a l l I remember was paying $400 phone b i l l s every month.' ...he would send me these wonderful romantic l e t t e r s , ...but i t was s t i l l weird, a l l that distance and a l l that time. And the longer that he would go away, the harder i t would be for me to come back emotionally... As Monica suggested, the intermittent nature of time together forces constant p a i n f u l readjustment. Being separated for awhile... being on your own... you get used of being on your own and t h i s person comes back and disrupts your schedule. And then when you're back into them again, then they leave and you're l e f t by yourself again. Page - 84 For many women, the l i f e s t y l e became unbearable. As Devon explained, I f e l t robbed, i t was such an abnormal r e l a t i o n s h i p . ... I f e l t angry, at having to l i v e that way, and then looking into the future was probably what got me to thinking about breaking o f f the r e l a t i o n s h i p , because I'd think, how long can I do this? ...ultimately I d i d not have the r e l a t i o n s h i p that I wanted, which was to have a partnership with somebody that would be there to share the day to day s t u f f . . . . Page - 85 CHAPTER VIII. BLURRING BOUNDARIES: CHANGES IN THE BIG PICTURE While most of t h i s thesis has dealt with the micro l e v e l of the rock scene, I think i t may be h e l p f u l to locate rock relationships i n the larger context. There has been an undeniable change i n the l o c a l rock mili e u . Anyone i n the scene w i l l t e l l you that for better or worse, " i t ' s not l i k e i t used to be". The scene i s i n a f a s c i n a t i n g state of t r a n s i t i o n . Some at t r i b u t e the change to the influence of the Seattle based and subsequently commercially exploited "grunge" movement, although others i n s i s t the changes were already i n motion long before anyone i n the mainstream Vancouver scene had even heard of grunge or any of the bands associated with i t . Grunge has been i d e n t i f i e d as a p i v o t a l force encouraging a convergence of the previously p o l a r i z e d rock and punk scenes. Although most scene p a r t i c i p a n t s characterize the current scene as "post-grunge", the r i s e i n popularity of such an a l t e r n a t i v e blend has had a profound impact on the music, . fashion, and s o c i a l organization of the scene. I w i l l begin by o u t l i n i n g changes taking place i n the music scene during t h i s project, and then move to a discussion of how these changes have impacted on gender expectations. According to most participants, the peak of the music scene i n Vancouver occurred i n the 1980's. However, they are also quick to point out that the 80's scene was anchored Page - 86 by rock clubs that offered "cover" bands. The premise of playing "covers" i s to o f f e r the audience a l i v e version of what has already proven successful i n the charts. While most musicians have a d i s t a s t e for playing covers, audiences generally respond well. In the 80's, i f a band was " t i g h t " i t meant that they could perform a t e c h n i c a l l y impressive version of someone else's material. The crowd showed t h e i r appreciation by flocking onto the dance f l o o r when t h e i r favourite song was played. Most pa r t i c i p a n t s agree that i n the 80's and early 90's more emphasis was placed on the s o c i a l scene than on the music i t s e l f . While t h i s study took place primarily i n 1993/94, for anyone over the age of twenty, the so-called 80's scene has been the primary s i t e of t h e i r experience. As seen throughout t h i s thesis, p a r t i c i p a n t s constantly move back and f o r t h between events that happened yesterday and events that happened a number of years ago. Participants also constantly point out and constrast the l a t e 80's with changes currently taking shape i n the scene. According to Dylan, who's band "Harm's Way" was a popular bar band at that time, The scene i n the 80's was more of a poser thing, where a l l the guys on stage t r i e d to look as cute as possible to bring out the g i r l s , so they'd bring out the guys and the guys would buy beer, and everybody could be happy. . . . I t wasn't about the music, i t was mostly about posing. I'm the f i r s t to admit i t . . . . While the appearance of o r i g i n a l bands was rare, the cover scene thrived. Most bands would appear at a club for Page - 87 a week. A "week" consisted of three sets of roughly f i f t y minutes each for s i x nights. At the most a band might c a r e f u l l y i n s e r t 4-5 o r i g i n a l songs into t h e i r l a s t set. Mid-week crowds were moderate and weekends clubs were packed. According to most part i c i p a n t s , i f you were involved i n the scene at that point i t was easy to become t o t a l l y immersed. As Monica suggested, We were out 4-5 days a week, yeah, or more, no one ever saw me, i t was l i k e you go to work, you get home, you take a nap, get dressed, you're gone, get back at 3 or 4 i n the morning, do the same thing over again every night. As Monica explained, dancing was a big part of i t , e s p e c i a l l y for women, Everybody danced, i t was just what you did, you know, ce r t a i n songs would come on and the dance f l o o r would be packed. . . . i t was a great f e e l i n g ... everybody was so into i t , the hair, the clothes and the s t y l e of music... Many par t i c i p a n t s characterize the 80's and early 90's scene as "glamorous". ...people used to dress to the nine's just to go to a l o c a l club, everybody, even the guys... i t was sort of l i k e being a peacock l e t t i n g your feathers go kind of thing... As Devon explained, " i t was d e f i n i t e l y a look, long hair, backcombed, l o t s of makeup, 'pretty', always made up 'pretty'". Clothing s t y l e s focused on sexuality. Both women and men spent a great deal of time and e f f o r t on t h e i r appearance. For men, t i g h t jeans, leather, and boots was the norm. For women, tig h t jeans, short s k i r t s and sexually Page - 88 provocative clothing was e s s e n t i a l . While many clubs, bands and scene members s t i l l subscribe to t h i s t r a d i t i o n a l rock look, the vanguard of the scene i s currently moving i n a new d i r e c t i o n . L i s a admitted, i n some ways she misses the 80's scene, . . . i t was more glamorous, i t was fun to get a l l decked out and wear high heels and you know... go out and have fun and be sexy. Whereas now you wear just jeans and a big s h i r t and whatever... i t ' s not a glamorous thing at a l l . Most p a r t i c i p a n t s agree, the 80's glam rock scene had a l i m i t e d l i f e expectancy and eventually burned i t s e l f out. While some mourn i t s death, others b i d i t good riddance. The Seattle based grunge movement could be viewed as the an t i t h e s i s of glam rock. According to Dylan, The grunge scene started because everything was so happy... i t ' s more the negative side of l i f e , they tune the guitars down so i t sounds deeper and heavier, sing about topics l i k e c h i l d abuse and starvation and more negative aspects of l i f e , which i s good. . . . i t ' s not just t h i s glossy rock and r o l l , l e t ' s party and get l a i d (mentality), i t ' s more about r e a l l i f e . . . i t ' s more r e a l . The fashion, l i k e the music became more r e a l . The grunge look i s i n t e n t i o n a l l y unpretentious, and i n fact, ungroomed. Baggy jeans, p l a i d s h i r t s , t - s h i r t s and doc martins are the base of the look. Big backcombed hair has been replaced by more natural, unkept s t y l e s . The message of grunge on appearance seems to be the less e f f o r t the better. Whether the explosion of grunge onto the scene caused the collapse of the glam rock scene or simply occurred at the same time, the Vancouver scene i s i n a state of Page - 89 t r a n s i t i o n . Musically, the emphasis i s moving from cover bands to o r i g i n a l music. Although cover bands s t i l l e x i s t , many of the venues that supported them have shut down. As Dylan suggests, "I think people are sick of hearing cover tunes, they want to hear something o r i g i n a l and see something e x c i t i n g " . The organization of the club scene i s also being affected. There has been a movement away from showcasing cover bands for a week at a time, to featuring o r i g i n a l acts for one nighters. This has also had a huge impact on the s o c i a l scene. While the behavior discussed throughout t h i s thesis i s s t i l l very much i n evidence, as the scene becomes more fragmented, patterns are not as e a s i l y discernable. As Tyler suggests, Where the music cycle i s right now, the trend i s a n t i -establishment, anti-money, underground. And i t ' s coming from that headspace so they're keeping that i n smaller underground less money making kinds of venues... the mainstream pop commercial industry i s taking a big beating. There are signs that t h i s musical s h i f t has had some ef f e c t on gender roles and expectations. As suggested, the most v i s i b l e change so far i s i n fashion. Whether the recent abandonment of s t i l e t t o heels and m i n i s k i r t s w i l l equate to more respectful treatment of women remains to be seen, however some scene members i n s i s t i t has already made a difference. According to Dylan, In the 80's women were treated l i k e s h i t , and i t ' s t o t a l l y true, they were looked down on as t o t a l sex objects and brain dead, and they seemed to play i t up a l o t too... Page - 90 As Gina noted, It's hard to be viewed as anything more than a sex object when you're wearing a bustier, m i n i s k i r t and f i v e inch heels. Even i n the 80's, I got treated with more respect i f I was just wearing jeans and boots. ...granted, the women i n mi n i s k i r t s got more attention, but I got more respect. As most parti c i p a n t s suggest, the 80's rock scene placed an inordinate emphasis on sexuality, e s p e c i a l l y for women. According to Nicole, I'm glad we're out of the 80's i n a big way. I think i t was damaging to a l l of us, ... that whole female image thing, we're working out of i t , women are getting the respect back... Many pa r t i c i p a n t s point to the current success of women bands as evidence that the gender climate i s changing. According to Dylan, Now there are great g i r l bands out there, before i t was l i k e , 'oh they can't play', . . . i n the 80's women bands were kind of laughed about. According to most scene members, women are making huge inroads as performers i n heavy rock. It i s i n t e r e s t i n g that the increased acceptance of women performers i n heavy rock coincides with the musical movement towards deeper l y r i c content and s o c i o p o l i t i c a l subject matter. On the one hand, women may f e e l t h e i r issues have more of a place i n the current music s h i f t , and on another, the audience has been "primed" to accept such challenging contributions. As Robert Walser suggests, there has been a move away from the "...standard leather/chains/eyeliner heavy metal band, with l o t s of t r a g i c macho songs about running, shooting, and f a l l i n g down..." (Walser 1993: 120) Page - 91 Contemporary hard rock has altered i t s course to include topics as diverse as romantic love, environmental issues, world p o l i t i c s , and gender inequality. While there have always been successful women i n rock, (Chrissie Hynde, Pat Benetar, Tina Turner, L i t a Ford, and Ann and Nancy Wilson) they have t y p i c a l l y been seen as anomalies, exceptions to the rule, ... the male r u l e . Rock has been a male dominated and male defined scene, however, according to both male and female p a r t i c i p a n t s , the male stronghold on the rock medium i s beginning to come under attack. While the changes currently taking place i n the scene at the performance l e v e l are r e l a t i v e l y new and beyond the scope of t h i s research, when a number of women bands c a l l themselves Riot G r r r l s and demand a 'revolution', i t i s hard not to be op t i m i s t i c . ^ Page -92 CONCLUDING DISCUSSION One of the purposes of t h i s thesis has been, "to provide a voice for women, whose l i v e d experiences have been conspicuously absent i n the subcultural discourse." (17) It has been my intention not only to provide an accurate des c r i p t i o n of heterosexual r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n the rock subculture, but also to highlight the importance of the r o l e that women play i n the perpetuation of the scene. The reason women have been absent i n most subcultural accounts l i k e l y stems from the i n v i s i b i l i t y and devaluation of the r o l e they play. As i n mainstream society, women and men have been s o c i a l i z e d to f i l l two d i f f e r e n t roles i n the music scene. While men aspire to be, and often are, musicians, women more often play the r o l e of fan, g i r l f r i e n d or wife. These roles support what Susan Cole describes as the s o c i e t a l stereotype of women as "nurturent caretakers" and men as "active doers". (Cole 1993: 89/90) Not su r p r i s i n g l y , because men are the "doers", i n t h i s case the performers, they have been i d e n t i f i e d by researchers as playing a more important r o l e i n the scene. However, while men dominate the performance aspect of the scene, performers are only one component of the subculture. The majority of individ u a l s i n the rock subculture are spectators. Examining women's behaviors and perceptions has led to some i n t e r e s t i n g observations. While on one l e v e l women f i t Page - 93 e a s i l y into the stereotype of caretaker or sexual object, on another, they exhibit behavior that r e j e c t s t h i s r o l e expectation. It i s as i f the appearance of the scene contradicts i t s material r e a l i t y : while women exhibit the stereo t y p i c a l feminine t r a i t s of preoccupation with physical attractiveness and f i x a t i o n on male attention, they also exercise agency, independence and f i n a n c i a l autonomy. Such t r a i t s have usually been associated with the a b i l i t y to exercise power, a t r a d i t i o n a l l y masculine c h a r a c t e r i s t i c . I r o n i c a l l y , while men enjoy v i s i b i l i t y and recognition i n t h e i r r o l e as a r t i s t s , the c u l t u r a l remuneration for t h e i r work i s inadequate. I am r e f e r r i n g here to what par t i c i p a n t s dubbed "the starving a r t i s t syndrome", (see p.72) While society claims to revere the a r t i s t i c , except i n advanced stages of recognition i t does l i t t l e to pay for i t s production. While some musicians have "day jobs" to pay for t h e i r l i v i n g expenses, most do not. According to most musicians, holding down a job i s impossible i f you are serious about your music. To become successful requires investing a l l avai l a b l e time and energy i n your music. (see p.70) As Tyler pointed out, making i t i n the music business requires a 24 hour a day commitment. Scheduling practice, rehearsal and gigs around even a part time job i s d i f f i c u l t . Therefore, most rock couples reverse the stereotype and es t a b l i s h male dependency on female material as well as emotional support. As discussed i n Chapter III, women t y p i c a l l y f u l f i l l the breadwinner r o l e Page - 94 i n most rock r e l a t i o n s h i p s . As Nicole pointed out, " . . . a l l the g i r l s were working, taking care of the guys i n the bands... i t ' s true, i t was funded by females for sure." (45) It could be argued, therefore, that without the support of women, the male dominated music scene would collapse. While the r o l e of providing economic sustenance i s devalued and obscured, i t i s an obvious contributing factor to the sur v i v a l of the scene. I f women are as marginal as most subcultural the o r i s t s have led us to believe, t h e i r withdrawal should leave the scene more or less i n t a c t . I would argue that the withdrawal of women from the scene would be detrimental, because as I stated e a r l i e r , "Women are not marginal i n the scene, they are i n fact foundational." (49) It would be useful at t h i s point r e f e r back to what Angela McRobbie i d e n t i f i e s as necessary questions concerning the place of women and g i r l s i n subcultures. (this text: 9) 1. "Are [women and g i r l s ] present but i n v i s i b l e ? " As I have argued above, women are d e f i n i t e l y present i n the rock scene. As Robert Walser points out, the audience for rock music, including heavy metal, i s now "roughly gender balanced." (Walser 1993: 110) Academic preoccupation with "the male" i s therefore informed by a focus on "musicians" at the expense of a l l other pa r t i c i p a n t s i n the subculture. While i t i s true that the majority of musicians, e s p e c i a l l y i n heavier s t y l e s of rock Page - 95 music are male, they are not the only members of the s o c i a l scene. The i n v i s i b i l i t y of women i s therefore a d i r e c t r e s u l t of "who" i s deemed worthy of study, and "how" research i s c a r r i e d out. The i n v i s i b i l i t y of women i n the contemporary rock subculture i s an a r t i f i c i a l l y constructed absence that i s not recognized by members of the subculture themselves. Subcultural participants, while recognizing the performance side of the scene as male dominated, characterize the s o c i a l scene as either gender balanced or driven by i t s female members. 2. "Where present and v i s i b l e are [women's] roles the same, but more marginal than the [men's], or are they quite d i f f e r e n t ? " I think there are two components to t h i s question with regards to s o c i a l roles i n the rock subculture. For the most part, women play a t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t r o l e than men i n the scene. Men are musicians; women are supporters. As Devon stated on page 36, "Women generally 'hang-out'... or they were groupies... It was not a professional scene for women." In the case of women as supporters, the female r o l e involves sexual service, admiration of male a c t i v i t y and accomplishment, and provision of an emotional and economic foundation i n rela t i o n s h i p s . While i n terms of su r v i v a l women's contributions are important, glory and recognition are reserved for the male a r t i s t . The focus on the male performer as the "hero" and reci p i e n t of public adoration e f f e c t i v e l y d i f f u s e s the accumulation of women's power and Page - 96 retains men as the center of attention. While women's contributions to t h e i r partners * success and subsistence are impressive they remain hidden, much the way a secretary's work makes an executive's accomplishment possible without e n t i t l i n g her to a share of h i s prestige. There are of course some women who have stepped outside the r o l e of woman as s i l e n t supporter to become musicians themselves. Unfortunately, the limelight does not automatically translate into r o l e equality with men; for women i t brings with i t gendered expectations. As most female performers pointed out, for women sexuality i s a key aspect of performance success. This i s not su r p r i s i n g given our society's construction of women as sexual objects. As Susan Cole suggests, and my study supports, the most acceptable p o s i t i o n for a woman i n a band i s as a singer, (this text: 36) According to Cole, a woman as singer i s consistent with the s o c i e t a l image of women as "to be looked at" and i d e n t i f i e d with t h e i r bodies. (Cole 1993: 90/91/92) According to c u l t u r a l stereotypes, women are "technologically impaired", therefore "Generally speaking, men play instruments, women play t h e i r bodies as instruments." (92) As Monica explained, much of the emphasis for female performers was on assets other that t h e i r voices: ... we had to dress a ce r t a i n way, the more cleavage the better, no f l a t shoes, always heels, you know, the shorter the s k i r t the better kind of thing, because i t s e l l s , and i t does unfortunately ... the guys could pretty well wear whatever they wanted but we had to Page - 97 dress to the nine's because we were the women of the band and we helped give them t h e i r image. (39) As I stated e a r l i e r , the message to women was clear, they "were valued more for t h e i r bodies and sexuality than they were for t h e i r musical a b i l i t y . " (40) As Cole points out, This i s not to say that men are never perceived as sexy, but only that when male pop stars convey sex, they are not reduced to sex, but rather elevated to positions of power. (96) The reduction of women performers to sexual objects was brought up by many women and men i n t h i s study. While male musicians recognized the contribution that sexuality played i n t h e i r own performances, the degree to which i t determined t h e i r success was perceived as less c r u c i a l . 3. "Is the p o s i t i o n of [women] s p e c i f i c to the subcultural option, or do t h e i r roles r e f l e c t the more general s o c i a l subordination of women i n mainstream culture?" This question i s c e r t a i n l y the most f r u i t f u l but d i f f i c u l t to examine. It i s my b e l i e f that women i n the rock scene occupy a r i c h l y c o n f l i c t e d p o s i t i o n with regards to the mainstream c u l t u r a l construction of femininity. I f the dominant culture defines femininity as submissive, restrained sexuality and dependence, women i n the rock scene c l e a r l y deviate from t h i s standard. As i l l u s t r a t e d i n Chapter I, women play an active r o l e i n i n i t i a t i n g and maintaining r e l a t i o n s h i p s . They exercise a great deal more power i n d i r e c t i n g t h e i r sexual behavior than i s t y p i c a l l y expected of women i n mainstream society. Page - 98 At t h i s point, however, I think i t would be useful to explore i n some d e t a i l the nature of women's "power" i n the scene. Women's power i s s t i l l undeniably linked to t h e i r sexuality. I t i s however the "active" nature of t h i s sexuality that somehow rejects society's behavioral norms at the same time that i t accepts them. Sexual o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n i s a complex issue i n a scene that encourages both men and women to display themselves i n a sexually e x p l i c i t manner. Perhaps the most accurate depiction would be of women not as "passive" sexual objects, but rather as "active" sexual objects. Many par t i c i p a n t s suggested that at the peak of sexism i n the rock scene, women appeared to a c t i v e l y embrace the focus on t h e i r sexuality as a source of power. As Robert Walser points out, "... the s o c i a l context within which heavy metal c i r c u l a t e s (primarily Western Societies i n the la t e twentieth century) are highly p a t r i a r c h a l . . . ." Walser discusses the tendency of rock music to portray women as powerful, but i n s p e c i f i c a l l y sexual terms. This theme i s esp e c i a l l y popular i n heavy metal videos. According to Walser, heavy metal has developed a "discourse of male v i c t i m i z a t i o n " i n which female attractiveness "threatens to disrupt both male s e l f - c o n t r o l and the c o l l e c t i v e strength of male bonding". (Walser 1993: 118) Walser o f f e r s an impressive characterization of female power i n the scene, and connects i t to the broader s o c i a l context, Page - 99 Female fans, ... are i n v i t e d to i d e n t i f y with the powerful p o s i t i o n that i s thus constructed for them. It's a f a m i l i a r one, since women are encouraged by a var i e t y of c u l t u r a l means to think of appearance as th e i r natural route to empowerment. (119) Walser believes, as do most feminists, that gender roles are constructed. I agree with Walser's assessment that, ... I see sex roles as contradictory, mutable s o c i a l constructions rather than as normative formations somehow grounded i n biology or an a h i s t o r i c a l psychology. ... no component of i d e n t i t y i s stable or natural. Heavy metal, l i k e a l l other culture, o f f e r s occasions for doing " i d e n t i t y work" -among other things, for "accomplishing gender." (109) The rock scene o f f e r s women an i n t e r e s t i n g v a r i a t i o n on the r o l e women occupy i n mainstream society. While the rock subculture allows an unprecedented degree of sexual choice and control f o r women, i t also firmly focuses women's aspirations on the maintenance of heterosexual r e l a t i o n s h i p s . The desire to become involved with powerful men i s not sur p r i s i n g given our society's measurement of women's success through t h e i r r e l a t i o n s with men. As Sheryl Garratt suggests, A l i f e t i m e of supervision means that few g i r l s dream of themselves becoming exceptional, instead, they fantasize about boyfriends who do i t for them, projecting t h e i r desires yet again onto men. (Garratt i n F r i t h and Goodwin 1990: 403) While Garratt's work focuses s p e c i f i c a l l y on adolescent g i r l s ' infatuations with male pop icons, her argument i s equally relevant to the rock subcultural context. As Devon explained, I t ' s exciting, a guy being up on stage and having a l l that attention, and a l l the women around wanting that man, and him looking at you and wanting you was a r e a l Page - 100 kick. It was l i k e peacock feathers. ... Wow, you're bigger than l i f e and you want me. (35) As I stated on page 35, many women thr i v e on the connection to famous men, "There i s a sense of vicario u s t h r i l l i n being associated with the power of the performer." Why i s i t that so few women aspire to be musicians? Does society drain g i r l s of t h e i r confidence so systematically that i t extinguishes t h e i r ambition even before they become aware of the i n s t i t u t i o n a l discrimination i n the music business? Most of the women I interviewed, although heavily involved i n the music scene, denied having any musical talent themselves. P a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the scene i n a s t r i c t l y s o c i a l capacity was considered p e r f e c t l y appropriate for women. Even women who were talented musicians were hesitant to i d e n t i f y themselves as such, and downplayed t h e i r accomplishments. I t seems that women i n the rock scene r e t a i n as many conventions of mainstream femininity as they r e j e c t . The gender construction of male as performer and female as spectator i s one convention that i s seldom broken, despite the resistance of some s p i r i t e d women. As Robert Walser suggests, "The sexual p o l i t i c s of heavy metal are, as we w i l l see, a c o n f l i c t e d mixture of confirmation and contradiction of dominant myths about gender." (Walser 1993: 120) While society discourages women from r e a l i z i n g the confidence necessary to become a performer, (Bayton i n F r i t h and Goodwin 1990) i t imbues them with the determination to Page - 101 seek and maintain relationships with others. For women, the necessity of securing a heterosexual r e l a t i o n s h i p with a man i s of the upmost importance. As Mavis Bayton explains, t h i s r e f l e c t s society's p r e s c r i p t i o n for proper female focus, Women are, then, expected to be most "committed" to t h e i r families, to t h e i r children and partners. A g i r l ' s search for a boyfriend i s conventionally more important than a boy's search for a g i r l f r i e n d . I t takes up more time and e f f o r t , and boys thus give a far more wholehearted commitment to t h e i r hobbies than g i r l s t y p i c a l l y f e e l they can... (256) The evidence of t h i s pattern i n the rock scene i s impressive. In the rock context, the male hobby, i n t h i s case the music, becomes the barometer of success. As Devon noted on page 69, It's l i k e they have a job, but they never leave i t . ...they were r e a l l y dedicated to t h e i r music and that was t h e i r f i r s t love. And so I always f e l t ... very secondary to what they were doing. Monica expressed a s i m i l a r f r u s t r a t i o n , "... a l l he focuses on sometimes i s h i s music ... a l o t of times the music becomes them... ." (69) As Bayton points out, s o c i a l i z a t i o n puts women and men on two d i f f e r e n t paths. Men work on t h e i r music, women work on t h e i r r elationships with men. The most s t r i k i n g thing about women's experiences with rock musicians i s t h e i r commitment to t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s despite what they i d e n t i f i e d as overwhelming obstacles. Dealing with issues of sexual promiscuity i n the scene, as well as lack of f i n a n c i a l s t a b i l i t y and regular time together put an incre d i b l e amount of pressure on rock Page - 102 r e l a t i o n s h i p s . As many partic i p a n t s suggested, although "the odds are against you", women display a strong dedication to making t h e i r situations work. As I stated on page 51, i f women are attracted to rock musicians "by t h e i r wild, sexual appeal, the clear intent [is] to be the one to 'tame' him." As one woman suggested, "... The fantasy, e s p e c i a l l y for women, i s that he w i l l pick you out of the crowd, y o u ' l l f a l l i n love, and y o u ' l l l i v e happily ever a f t e r . " (50) Women i n the rock scene c l e a r l y embrace notions of heterosexual romance, however they reject t r a d i t i o n a l male figures and conventional routes to the prescribed female roles of wife and mother. While women's willingness to deal with problems most would define as unfair i s puzzling, I think i t i s part of a bigger process. Rather than viewing women's behavior as s e t t l i n g for less than mainstream women, I came to recognize i t as a desire for "more". By becoming a member of the rock scene, women have not abandoned s o c i e t a l expectations of heterosexual p a i r i n g and relat i o n s h i p s , rather, they have rejected what they see as boring, t r a d i t i o n a l , routinized relationships offered by the mainstream. Most women claimed they are drawn to the excitement, the spontaneity and the passion of musicians. They are not r e j e c t i n g longterm r e l a t i o n s with men; they are re j e c t i n g involvement with what they i d e n t i f y as t y p i c a l l y boring, t r a d i t i o n a l l y defined men. Page - 103 In contrasting the rock scene with mainstream society, L i s a explained, ... i t ' s always changing, there's never anything that's the same, i t ' s very i n t e r e s t i n g . . . I l i k e i t , there's l o t s of things that other people wouldn't l i k e about i t , ... but I could never be with somebody who had just a normal 9-5 job a f t e r t h i s . . . just because i t ' s so di f f e r e n t , and i t ' s e x c i t i n g . . . I l i k e i t . In discussing her relationship, Nicole elaborated on t h i s idea, He's creative, and I think c r e a t i v i t y also i n a large sense means you're more i n touch with your feminine side, and musicians on the most part, are passionate or they wouldn't be doing what they're doing, and these are great q u a l i t i e s . It i s not that rock women are w i l l i n g to s e t t l e for less, as suggested by t h e i r acceptance of and struggle with the l i f e s t y l e demands. Rather, they are forced to struggle with these obstacles i n t h e i r pursuit of more. Whether or not musicians are t r u l y more sensitive, passionate and creative than other men i s r e a l l y inconsequential; the point i s that these women believe they are, and are attrac t e d to them for t h i s reason. Most people i d e n t i f y a r t i s t s i n a si m i l a r way; they are usually contrasted with t r a d i t i o n a l , p a t r i a r c h a l male figures. A r t i s t s symbolize c r e a t i v i t y , nonconformity and emotional depth. Women's pursuit of musicians could therefore be construed as a resistance to conventional images of masculinity. It would appear that masculinity and femininity are both decentered i n the rock scene. The rock scene o f f e r s both men and women alternatives to what they recognize as Page - 104 conventional gendered subject positions at the same time as i t establishes a heterosexual norm. As Robert Walser points out, Debates over the l i b e r a t i n g p o s s i b i l i t i e s of mass culture a l l too often proceed i n terms that neglect the gendered character of a l l s o c i a l experience. Yet popular music's p o l i t i c s are the most e f f e c t i v e i n the realm of gender and sexuality, where pleasure, dance, the body, romance, power and s u b j e c t i v i t y a l l meet with an a f f e c t i v e charge. (Walser 1993: 126) Although the rock subculture obviously maintains some gendered expectations from mainstream society, i t s challenges also underscore the i n s t a b i l i t y of gender and gender r o l e s . I agree with Walser, that the antics of rock musicians and scene members, p a r t i c u l a r l y the play with androgyny and glam styles, "Shakes up the underlying categories that structure s o c i a l experience." (134) As Walser points out, rock and a l l i t s spectacles "plays" with i d e n t i t i e s and the assignment of gender r o l e s . According to Walser, There i s nothing s u p e r f i c i a l about such play; fans and musicians do t h e i r most important 'identity work' when they p a r t i c i p a t e i n the formations of gender and power that constitute heavy metal ... unreal solutions are a t t r a c t i v e and e f f e c t i v e p r e c i s e l y because they seem to step outside the normal s o c i a l categories that construct the c o n f l i c t s i n the f i r s t place. (134/135) Walser strongly supports John Fiske's suggestion that, "Dismissing fantasy and escapism 'avoids the v i t a l question of 'what' i s being escaped from, 'why' escape i s necessary, and 'what' i s escaped to.'" (134/135) As Walser suggests, r e b e l l i o n and escapism are best understood as "an attempt to create an a l t e r n a t i v e community." (xvii) Page - 105 It seems evident to me that by d i f f e r e n t i a t i n g themselves from the mainstream, rock subcultures are automatically engaged i n a struggle over i d e n t i t y and r o l e s . What they choose to r e t a i n from the dominant culture and what they choose to rej e c t provides valuable cues to the s i t e of t h e i r resistance. The al t e r n a t i v e community dreamed of by the women i n the scene i n many ways r e f l e c t s mainstream aspirations. Rock women s t i l l desire f u l f i l l i n g stable relationships with men, however, they want t h e i r men to be i n touch with t h e i r creative, s e n s i t i v e and passionate c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . The dream of f i n a n c i a l freedom underscores both women and men's commitment to the scene. As mentioned e a r l i e r , "getting signed" i s i d e n t i f i e d as a t i c k e t to both freedom and s t a b i l i t y . It should be noted that subcultures are not homogeneous; t h e i r members display d i f f e r e n t degrees of commitment to the group culture. Resistance to society's notions of sexual propriety are obviously at the base of most youth music subcultures. During the U.S. Senate hearings investigating the impact of rock and pop music, ... those r i s i n g to pop music's defence conveyed t h e i r views that rock musicians challenge the s o c i a l order with t h e i r creative dissidence, i n p a r t i c u l a r with t h e i r increasingly sexually e x p l i c i t imagery. (Cole 1993: 89) The connection between rock music and resistance to r e s t r i c t i o n s on sexuality was brought up continuously by the par t i c i p a n t s i n t h i s study. While rock music has undoubtedly challenged s o c i e t a l norms of acceptable sexual Page - 106 behavior, i t has often issued i t s challenge i n disappointingly sexist terms. As Walser points out, Heavy metal perpetuates some of the worst images and ideals of patriarchy at the same time that i t stands as an example of the kinds of imaginative transformations and rebuttals people produce from within such oppressive systems. (135/136) There has however, been a recent explosion of women onto the heavy rock scene who challenge the sexist underpinnings of the scene. As Dylan and many others pointed out, "Now there are great g i r l bands out there." (91) Such challenges indicate a fundamental questioning of the subservient r o l e women have come to play i n the subculture. If the 80's and early 90's rock scene was characterized by an acceptance of gendered power r e l a t i o n s , the l a t e 90's appears to be developing i n strong opposition to such d e f i n i t i o n s . Heavy women bands are displaying an overt engagement with feminist ideals and are working such material into t h e i r music, fashion, and s o c i a l behavior i n the scene. The "Riot G r r r l " movement appears to q u a l i f y as what Walser c a l l s , ... many extant examples of rock music that use the powerful codings of gender a v a i l a b l e i n order to engage with, challenge, disrupt, or transform not only rock's representation of gender but also the b e l i e f s and material practices which those representations engage. (Walser 1993: 135) The point of such challenges i s to highlight the f l e x i b i l i t y of gender construction, and negotiate a more powerful and unconventional r o l e for women i n the s o c i a l structure. Although Robert Walser focuses h i s gender Page - 107 analysis on the construction of masculinity i n the rock scene, h i s comments i l l u s t r a t e the constructed nature of both masculinity and femininity, Masculinity i s forged whenever i t i s hammered out anew through the negotiations of men and women with the contradictory positions a v a i l a b l e to them i n such contexts. It i s also forged because masculinity i s passed l i k e a bad cheque as a promise that i s never kept. Masculinity w i l l always be forged because i t i s a s o c i a l construction, not a set of abstract q u a l i t i e s but something defined through the actions and power re l a t i o n s of men and women... . (135/136) The implications for gender roles are clear; they are a r t i f i c i a l constructions that have changed dramatically over the decades, and promise to continue changing i n the future. The r o l e of women i n negotiating t h e i r own i d e n t i t i e s i n the gender game i s becoming increasingly strong. As Joanne Go t t l i e b and Gayle Wald suggest, In the past, when women have p a r t i c i p a t e d i n rock culture they have tended to do so as consumers and fans- t h e i r public roles l i m i t e d to groupie, g i r l f r i e n d or backup singer, t h e i r primary function to bols t e r male performance. (Gottlieb and Wald, i n Ross and Rose 1994: 256) While the majority of the women i n t h i s study are s t i l l trapped i n t h i s role, i t appears that women are becoming discontented with such l i m i t a t i o n s , and are increasingly demanding more. As Go t t l i e b and Wald o p t i m i s t i c a l l y suggest, Despite r e a l fears about the erosion of t h e i r i n t e g r i t y , ... the signing of the three most recognizable "angry women bands" to major labels may signal mainstream commercial acceptance of a new r o l e for women i n rock and, most o p t i m i s t i c a l l y , the beginnings of a new ro l e for women. (252) Page - 108 In conclusion I would l i k e to say that women are not absent i n rock subcultures, nor are they s i l e n t . Women are increasingly finding t h e i r voices and r e j e c t i n g sexist gender constructions i n loud and confrontational ways. I have no doubt that women have the strength and independence to seriously challenge the e x i s t i n g s o c i a l order and negotiate themselves a new and revolutionary s u b j e c t i v i t y . Women i n the rock scene, as shown i n t h i s study, have already broken free from f i n a n c i a l dependence on men, however, they have only recently began questioning emotional dependence and personal i d e n t i f i c a t i o n through r e l a t i o n s to men. The recent acceptance of female performers who openly c r i t i c i z e the p a t r i a r c h a l construction of male power and female subservience i s i n d i c a t i v e of changing gender expectations. While Riot G r r r l a c t i v i t y i s r e l a t i v e l y recent and beyond the focus of t h i s research, slogans such as "Overthow cock rock, i d o l i z e your g r r r l f r i e n d " i l l u s t r a t e the p o t e n t i a l for new gender i d e n t i t i e s . Dick Hebdige concluded h i s discussion of Subculture by stat i n g that, It i s highly u n l i k e l y . . . that the members of any of the subcultures described i n t h i s book would recognize themselves r e f l e c t e d here. They are s t i l l less l i k e l y to welcome any e f f o r t s on our part to understand them. (Hebdige 1979: 139) It i s my hope that the participants i n my study dffi recognize themselves here, and i d e n t i f y the c o l l e c t i v e nature of women's struggles i n the rock scene. The enthusiasm with Page - 109 which p a r t i c i p a n t s shared t h e i r experiences leads me to believe that members of t h i s subculture d^o. want to be understood. Perhaps the point i s to take subcultures seriously and examine them on t h e i r own terms. Page - 110 NOTES 1 1976 Resistance Through Rituals edited by Stuart H a l l et a l . 1990 On Record: P O P. Rock and the Written Word edited by Simon F r i t h and Andrew Goodwin. 1991 Feminism and Youth Culture Angela McRobbie. 1980 Screen Education 34 . 2 According to most pa r t i c i p a n t s , the word "groupie" was usually reserved for females, however some males could also be c a l l e d groupies. The male groupie usually hung around bands with the hope of c u l t i v a t i n g a friendship. Participants suggested that most males were a f t e r noteriety by association and access to the female attention that was usually focused on rock bands. Male groupies were often accorded more respect that females and were allowed the less stigmatizing t i t l e of "fans". 3 Although I have always known that "making plans" with a musician i s d i f f i c u l t , Tyler's statement rang p a r t i c u l a r l y true during the interview part of t h i s study. The interviews I did with women were usually scheduled a week i n advance, and proceeded according to plan. The interviews with male musicians, on the other hand, were usually rescheduled a minimum of three times, with many no shows and l a s t minute cancellations. It was an in t e r e s t i n g taste of what many women were complaining about. 4 A f u l l explanation of Riot G r r r l a c t i v i t y i s beyond the scope of t h i s t h e s i s . As Joanne G o t t l i e b and Gayle Wald suggest, the Riot G r r r l movement refer s to the "recent explosion onto the independent or underground scene of a l l -women bands or i n d i v i d u a l women a r t i s t s making loud, confrontational music i n the ongoing t r a d i t i o n of punk rock." (Gottlieb and Wald, i n Ross and Rose 1994 : 250) Riot G r r r l s demonstrate a commitment to self-conscious and p o l i t i c a l exploration of female i d e n t i t y . As the authors suggest, "The recent v i s i b i l i t y of women i n rock not only signals greater access for women to male dominated realms of expression, but also s p e c i f i c a l l y frames these expressions i n terms of femininity and feminism." (251) Page - 111 BIBLIOGRAPHY Bennet, H. S t i t h . On Becoming A Rock Musician. 1980: The University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst. Budgeon, Shelley. Fashion Magazine Advertising: Constructions of Femininity i n Seventeen Magazines. 1993: Unpublished Masters Thesis, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of B r i t i s h Columbia. Cole, Susan G. "Gender, Sex, Image, and Transformation i n Popular Music." i n Limited E d i t i o n : Voices of Women, Voices of Feminism. Edited by Geraldine Finn. 1993: Fernwood Publishing, Halifax, Nova Scotia, pp. 87-105. Curt i s , Jim. Rock Eras: Interpretations of Music and Society, 1954-1984. 1987: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, Bowling Green, Ohio. DuBois, Barbara. "Passionate Scholarship: Notes on Values, Knowing and Method i n Feminist Social Science." 1983: i n Theories of Women's Studies. Edited by G l o r i a Bowles and Renate D u e l l i K l e i n . Fletcher, Peter. R o l l Over Rock: A Study of Music i n Contemporary Culture. 1981: Stainer and B e l l Ltd., London. F r i t h , Simon. The Sociology of Rock. 1978: Constable and Company Ltd., London. F r i t h , Simon. Sound E f f e c t s : Youth, Leisure, and the P o l i t i c s of Rock 'n' R o l l . 1981: Pantheon Books, New York. F r i t h , Simon and Andrew Goodwin. (editors) On Record: Rock, Pop, and the Written Word. 1990: Pantheon Books, New York. Gottlieb, Joanne and Gayle Wald. "Smells Like Teen S p i r i t : Riot G r r r l s , Revolution and Women i n Independent Rock." i n Microphone Fiends: Youth Music and Youth Culture. edited by Andrew Ross and T r i c i a Rose 1994: Routledge, U.S.A. Harker, Dave. One f o r the Money: P o l i t i c s and Popular Song. 1980: Hutchinson and Co. Ltd., London. Hebdige, Dick. Subculture: The Meaning of Style. 1979: Methuen and Co. Ltd. London. (1986) Humphreys, Laud. Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex i n Public Places. 1975: Aldine Publishing Company, Chicago. Page - 112 Kaplan, E. Ann. Rocking Around the Clock: Music T e l e v i s i o n , PostModernism, and Consumer Culture. 1987: Methuen, New York. Liebow, E l l i o t . T a l l y ' s Corner: A Study of Negro Streetcorner Men. 1967: L i t t l e , Brown & Company, Boston. Lofland, John and Lyn H. Lofland. Analyzing S o c i a l Settings: A Guide to Q u a l i t a t i v e Observation and Analysis. Second E d i t i o n . 1984: Wadsworth Publishing Company Inc., Belmont, C a l i f o r n i a . L u l l , James, (editor) Popular Music and Communication. 1987: Sage Publications, Inc., U.S.A. McRobbie, Angela. Feminism and Youth Culture: From 'Jackie' to 'Just Seventeen'. 1991: MacMillan, Great B r i t a i n . Modeleski, Tania. Feminism Without Women: Culture and C r i t i c i s m i n a "Postfeminist" Age. 1991: Routledge, New York. Roman, L e s l i e and Linda K. Christian-Smith, with Elizabeth Ellsworth, (editors) Becoming Feminine: The P o l i t i c s of Popular Culture. 1988: The Falmer Press, London. Ross, Andrew and T r i c i a Rose, (editors) Microphone Fiends: Youth Music and Youth Culture. 1994: Routledge, U.S.A. Spradley, James P. Participant Observation. 1980: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, U.S.A. Spradley, James P. The Ethnographic Interview. 1979: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, U.S.A. Stoddart, Kenneth. "The Presentation of Everyday L i f e : Some Textual Strategies for 'Adequate Ethnography'" i n S o c i o l o g i c a l Insights: Readings from UBC. edited by N e i l Guppy and Kenneth Stoddart. 1990: UBC Media Services, Vancouver, pp 1-14. Walser, Robert. Running With the D e v i l : Power, Gender, and Madness i n Heavy Metal Music. 1993: Wesleyan University Press, Hanover, NH, U.S.A. White, Avron Levine. (editor) Lost i n Music: Culture, Style and the Musical Event. 1987: Routledge and Kegan Paul, London. Whyte, William Foote. Street Corner Society: The S o c i a l Structure of an I t a l i a n Slum. Third E d i t i o n . 1943: University of Chicago Press, Chicago. (1981) Page - 113 APPENDIX A PROBLEMS AND THOUGHTS I consider myself lucky to be able to honestly say that, unlike most of my colleagues, at t h i s point I am not sick of my t o p i c . For the most part I found t h i s project an e x c i t i n g and i n t e r e s t i n g endeavor. However, as has become fashionable, I would l i k e to share some of my more personal r e f l e c t i o n s on t h i s research. I must admit I did encounter a series of obstacles during the research process, some of them external and some of them i n t e r n a l . With regards to external obstacles I would l i k e to say that I now emphatically support Angela McRobbie's claim that sociology has become disappointingly s u p e r f i c i a l and empirical. As McRobbie points out, ethnography seems to be i n "deep danger of dying out altogether." (McRobbie 1991: x i / x i i ) McRobbie's observation that such work i s becoming increasingly underfunded rings p a r t i c u l a r l y true f o r me. When I chose my topic i t became clear to me that I would have to be both s e l f - d i r e c t e d and self-funded. There was only one faculty member who was f a m i l i a r with my method, and only a handful more who had any understanding of feminist theory or popular culture. For the most part, I was on my own. While I was w i l l i n g to make the necessary mental adjustment, the f i n a n c i a l element almost d e r a i l e d the project. My experience has been that funding i s not Page - 114 a v a i l a b l e for projects that seek to understand youth and youth settings, p a r t i c u l a r l y groups that could be construed as deviant. B a s i c a l l y , getting money to "go out to the bar" i s not an easy task. So, armed only with my remaining student loan money and part-time earnings, I t r i e d to attend as many gigs as I could a f f o r d . The cost of doing t h i s type of f i e l d work i s staggering. Cover charges range from $7-$12, and higher for s p e c i a l acts. Once inside, waitresses and other patrons expect you to drink, a f t e r a l l , t h i s i s a bar. While I usually didn't order a l c o h o l i c beverages, as I was concerned that alcohol would i n t e r f e r e with the q u a l i t y of my observation, I f e l t obligated to order at least two or three non-alcoholic drinks per night. As one would expect i n a business that i s based on the sale of alcohol, non-alcoholic drinks were no less expensive and required just as much of a t i p . If going out three or four nights a week i s too expensive for the average person, i t was no less p a i n f u l for me. On a more personal l e v e l , I found i t hard to motivate myself to go out on a regular basis. As many of the women i n my study pointed out, you reach a point where you f e e l you have outgrown the scene. A word of advice to anyone considering doing t h i s kind of work; do i t when you are young and f u l l of energy... and single! I am also married, and although my partner i s extremely supportive, the temptation to stay home and c u r l up on the Page - 115 couch a f t e r a hard day sometimes proved i r r e s i s t i b l e . Going out at 10 or 11:00 at ,night and coming home at 2 or 3:00 i n the morning i s d e f i n i t e l y a part of my youth that I have no desire to r e l i v e . As sleeping u n t i l noon was often not an option I found the hours grueling, as many women i n the study also pointed out. In the hopes of increasing my motivation as well as p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n my marriage, I often took my husband with me. Fortunately he f i t s into the scene comfortably, and a c t u a l l y helped make my presence less obvious. Women just do not go to rock clubs alone, and I found going with female companions too d i s t r a c t i n g to observe e f f e c t i v e l y . My husband Andy has hair almost to h i s waist, and a l i k e a b l e easy going manner that often made him an asset to have along. He would wander o f f on his own and t a l k to people he knew, or would engage a male companion i n a conversation while I got to know female p a r t i c i p a n t s better. I also noticed that women were more comfortable with me once they discovered that I was attached. As a married woman I posed no threat or competition for male attention i n the scene. Once I managed to drag myself to the bar, I usually enjoyed myself. I s t i l l f i n d rockers an enthusiastic and fun bunch of people. The music i s in f e c t i o u s , and there were many mornings my muscles were sore from long hours of standing and bouncing with enthusiasm the night before. However, coming home reeking l i k e smoke i s not something I Page - 116 w i l l miss. As many women point out, when you come home af t e r being i n the bar you just want to peel o f f a l l your clothes and jump i n the tub. Washing my h a i r at 3:00 i n the morning became a r e a l chore. Closer to the end of the project I was able to focus my time on more personal exchanges outside the bar atmosphere. I found t h i s part of the study far more enjoyable and easy to complete. Talking to women and men about t h e i r loves and t h e i r l i v e s over coffee or nachos was a pleasant and rewarding experience. The depth of disclosure was also obviously more valuable. I found parties, s o c i a l appointments, and even the interviews t o t a l l y painless. Informal conversations and interviews with women were wonderfully r i c h and i n t e r e s t i n g exchanges. And as mentioned e a r l i e r , formal interviews with male musicians were more d i f f i c u l t to arrange, but once i n progress were every b i t as relaxed and enjoyable as the women's. If I had to do t h i s project over again, I would only change two things. I would f i n d more money somewhere, and I would allow myself more time for interviews. While I do not think that more interviews are necessary or would s i g n i f i c a n t l y change the data, I found them fas c i n a t i n g and thoroughly enjoyable. Next time around I wouldn't l i m i t myself to a thesis, I'd write a book! Page - 117 APPENDIX B INTERVIEW GUIDE 1. T e l l me how you became involved i n the rock scene, ( e s s e n t i a l l y why, what i s i t about the rock scene that you like?) 2. How does the rock scene d i f f e r from other scenes? (for example pop, punk, jazz...) 3. How much time do you spend a c t i v e l y involved i n the scene? (eg. How many gigs do you go to per week, per month?) 4. [musicians only] How long have you been playing? 5. Do you hang out mostly with people inside or outside the scene? (Why?) 6. What are some of the roles a v a i l a b l e for men and women i n the scene? Let's s t a r t with for men... for women... 7. Do the number of p o t e n t i a l roles d i f f e r depending on i f one i s male or female? 8. Are female performers received any d i f f e r e n t l y that male performers? ( i f yes, why?) [If interviewee i s a female performer- explore any d i f f i c u l t i e s for female performers...] 9. [non-musicians] Are you musical yourself? Do you play an instrument? Have you ever considered performing? (explore) 10. [musicians only] T e l l me about the experience of being on the road. 11. Have you ever been involved with a musician? Can you t e l l me about i t ? (If presently involved, were previous boyfriends musicians?) 12. What are some of the d i f f i c u l t i e s i n maintaining as stable r e l a t i o n s h i p with a (as a) musician? 13. How do other band members respond when one of the guys gets into a serious relationship? Page - 118 14. How do band wives/ g i r l f r i e n d s get treated by the other guys i n the band? 15. What are some of the reasons for rel a t i o n s h i p s breaking down i n the rock scene? Do you think t h i s i s any d i f f e r e n t from r e l a t i o n s h i p s outside the scene? 16. What are some of the p o s i t i v e things about the scene? 17. What are some of the p o s i t i v e things about being involved with a musician? 18. [women only] Why were you attracted to him? Them? [women and men] Why do you think women are attrac t e d to musicians? 19. Where did you learn what i s appropriate to look l i k e and act l i k e i n the scene? 20. Why do you think there has always been such a strong l i n k between rockers and strippers? 21. Do you think sexuality i s viewed any d i f f e r e n t l y i n the rock scene than i n mainstream society? 22. How i s casual sex viewed by members of the scene? 23. How would you define a groupie? How are they viewed? Is t h i s a term used i n the scene? Are there other terms? Are they always female? 24. Some say the Vancouver rock scene i s dying, do you think t h i s i s true? 25. What do you predict for the rock scene's future? 26. What changes would you l i k e to see i n the scene? 27. Are there any areas you f e e l t h i s interview has not touched on that you would l i k e to discuss? Page - 119 

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