Wednesday, 28 March 2012

What We Love Wednesdays!! Guest Blog: Martha & Ladies in Rock!!

Welcome to a special Guest Blogger edition of What We Love Wednesdays!! Today, our favourite little rock star (and workmate), Martha Mayhem, has kindly agreed to give us a break from our usual cheesy pop-filled playlists, and replace it with some edge! Rock on, Marth!!


Hi everyone, I'm Martha: good friends and colleagues of the legends that are Laura and Sarah. I play guitar and sing in a female rock band called Gasoline Thrill.

Laura & Sarah have very kindly let me guest blog their WWLW today on my all-time favourite subject. Any guesses what that is? Girl rockers, of course!

I’d love to share with you my Rockin’ Women Top Ten - so without further ado, lets ‘Blog and Roll’!!!

1. Joan Jett

Back in the 1970’s, rock and roll has just been established: there were female musicians, but only a few genuine female rockers. Joan Jett bucked this trend and played rock at a time when it was more fashionable and widely accepted for women to pursue gentler sounds like soft-rock and disco. In the process, she recorded several major hits and became an icon to future femme-rockers like L-7 and Bikini Kill.

Joan co-fronted the ‘70s girl group The Runaways before achieving stardom after leaving them in 1979 to start her own band The Blackhearts. She hit the big time in 1982 with ‘I Love Rock and Roll’, a snarling hard-rock update of an obscure glam rock song. It became an instant rock anthem and stayed at the Number 1 spot on the pop charts for seven weeks. [L&S note: ‘I Love Rock and Roll’ was then covered by the great Britney Spears in Crossroads, which is where we know it from!! Sorry Marth, just couldn’t resist! ;D ]
By the 90's, Joan Jett had become a cult idol to a group of young, all-female rockers who regard her as the original "grrl-rocker".  And one of my faves, she is still rocking today. Hell yere!

2. Debbie Harry (Blondie)

Debbie Harry ushered in a new wave of rock and roll when she arrived on the punk rock scene in the mid 1970s. Best known as the front woman of Blondie, she inspired women everywhere to hack their hair off, reach for the peroxide and sing along to hits such as ‘Hanging On The Telephone’, ‘Heart Of Glass’, ‘Call Me’, and ‘Rapture’. A beloved gay icon and strong advocate for LGBT rights and gay marriage, Debbie Harry (& Blondie) is still just as relevant today.

3. Courtney Love

Courtney Love my personal fav. for being the most controversial and outspoken female rock star. She is the lead vocalist, lyricist, and rhythm guitarist of the group Hole, formed in 1989. At my first Hole gig at Glastonbury 1999 she told the audience for F*** off and that it was America who the war, (not the best idea to a group of Brits) but added to the excitement of the show.

Love was married to Kurt Cobain, frontman of the grunge band Nirvana. In the early 1990s, she became known for popularizing the fashion style “kinderwhore” characterized by torn babydoll dresses and smeared red lipstick.

Throughout her career, Love's wild stage antics and subversive feminist attitude have polarized audiences and critics, with Rolling Stone once calling her "the most controversial woman in the history of rock.”

Love has advocated for several causes, including stricter gun control laws, feminism, and gay rights; during a 1997 award speech at VH1's Fashion Awards, Love said "I feel that keeping gay people in the closet with our actions and attitudes is cruel and tacky, and most of all, it's boring. I think we need to respect each other and ourselves, and who we are, and what we are, and not be afraid to be what we are, whether we're gay, or straight, or... insane."

Another special mention for Courtney for helping to encourage more girls to play the guitar by donating hers to lucky members of the audience at her shows!  

4. Brody Dalle

Brody Dalle is an Australian born American singer, songwriter and guitarist. She rose to fame as lead singer/guitarist for the punk rock band The Distillers and currently fronts Spinnerette.

In her late teens, Dalle started a band of her own, Sourpuss, which developed a solid fanbase, and played alongside Beastie Boys and Sonic Youth at Australia's Somersault Festival.  There, she met Tim Armstrong, the frontman of the punk band Rancid, when she was sixteen. She saw him packing up the drums backstage, and the two quickly fell head-over-heels in love with each other. Despite Armstrong being 13 years her senior, and Dalle initially lying about her age (but who hasn’t?), the couple married shortly after Dalle turned eighteen. She moved with Armstrong from Melbourne to Los Angeles, California and there founded The Distillers.  However, they divorced in 2003, and Brody is currently married to Queens of the Stone Age singer Josh Homme.

Brody has helped influence a new age of punk looking girl rockers.

 5. Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth)

Kim Gordon is a brash and enigmatic female member of Sonic Youth, which started out in 1981, influenced by the drone-rock culture that emerged from the ruins of punk rock.

From its conception, Sonic Youth began producing music that has been described by some as "perfect noise". By tuning their instruments to achieve sounds never before produced as or considered music, Gordon and her bandmates began to make a name for themselves on the underground scene.

Lyrically, Gordon has become a voice of feminism without becoming subsumed by the movement. While publicly dealing with issues such as rape, anorexia, sexual harassment and supermodels, she has somehow been able to maintain a certain reserve.

She was given the title of Godmother of the Riot Grrl supporting the Washington (USA)-born female punk movement that has fostered groups such as Bikini Kill and L7.

6. Donita Sparks (L7)

Donita Sparks headed up the Los Angeles-based all-girl punk band known as L7. They were a feisty live act with a good amount of decent songs some of which my band cover at our live shows including Shitlist. (next time you are p**sed off with someone, listen to this song, you will feel better I promise!)

Despite L7's reputation as hard-partying rock & roll animals, they also had a keen sense of political and social activism, and helped found Rock for Choice, a series of benefit concerts to support pro-choice movements in the USA and Canada, as well as playing other benefits for Greenpeace and Act Up.

Donita is infamously remembered for dropping her trousers on the set of the UK television show The Word during a live taping of their song ‘Pretend We’re Dead’. During an outdoor performance by L7 at the 1992 Reading Festival in England, she retaliated in anger at some fans that were throwing mud at her by removing her used tampon onstage and throwing it into the crowd! I’m sure that shut them up!

7. Ann Wilson (Heart)

Ann Wilson is lead singer of the American female rock band who first found success in Canada. With line up changes aplenty, she and her sister Nancy were the only consistent members of Heart.

Other female led rock bands have been trying to imitate Hearts success for decades. They were extremely popular in the 1970's, where they used hard rock and folk music backgrounds to create a unique sound that has continued to be played on classic rock radio stations everywhere. They have sold over thirty million albums worldwide and continue to play today.

Laura actually introduced me to Heart – proving she is not all Britney Spears and the Bee Gees!!

8. Skin (Skunk Anansie)

Skin is the lead singer of current alternative rock band called Skunk Anansie. She is one of the very few female rock stars still out there currently gigging so I follow them round UK and Europe to see their shows. Last gig was in Bulgaria where she jumped into the crowd backwards from the drum kit! Now that rocks!!

 Skin describes their music as ‘clit-rock’ -- an amalgam of heavy metal and black feminist rage. Skin is an out and proud lesbian, and supports many LGBT causes. She began singing in high school for a classmate's band after considering the offer for over a year. Six years after that band broke up the members of Skunk Anansie met one another by chance. Their name was taken from the West Indian folktales of Anansi the Spider-Man, with a slight change of spelling and "Skunk" added to make the name nastier.

The group played its first gig at London's Splash club in March 1994, and recorded its debut album, Paranoid and Sunburnt, at a haunted house outside the city. The band's first single was called ‘Selling Jesus’ and three years later Skunk Anansie returned with ‘Post Orgasmic Chill’. 

They have enjoyed chart success with ‘Weak’ which resulted in them being asked headline Glastonbury Festival in 2000, one of my all time favourite gigs!

9. Gwen Stefani

Gwen Renée Stefani was the lead vocalist for the rock and ska band No Doubt. The band's diamond certified album Tragic Kingdom helped launch the ska revival of the 1990s, and ‘Don’t Speak’, the third single from the album, set a record when it spent 16 weeks at the number one spot on the US charts.
Stefani performs and makes public appearances with four back-up dancers known as the Harajuki Girls dancers. She is married to fellow rock star Gavin Rossdale, lead vocalist of the band Bush. Gwen is a vegan, and is a big supporter the Save The Children charity’s Japanese Tsunami fund.

In recent years, Gwen has stepped away from the Rock and Ska she was better known for and launched herself as a solo artist verging on the more pop side of the spectrum. Fingers crossed for a No Doubt revival!

10. Samara Kain

I couldn’t finish this list without including singer, songwriter, guitarist and frontwoman of Gasoline Thrill! Extremely talented and passionate, Samara has been in the music business for some time - playing in a variety of bands since moving to London from France. She has been in a range of creative roles including modelling, alternative clothing, featuring in TV shows, presenting and interviewing bands, to freelance writing for alternative magazines, appearing in music videos and even had a stint at music PR. She has appeared in a number rock/alternative bands including Kain, Nemhain & Catfight, before starting Gasoline Thrill, the band which I am a part of. We have recently released an album titled Burn with a new single (and brand new music video!) titled ‘Not Afraid’.

So there you have it! Hope you’ve enjoyed my Top Ten Female Rockers, and hopefully you’ve picked up a new band or artist to listen to!


This is how we know Marth - much smilier!! :)
Thanks to our wonderful friend, Martha Mayhem!! We didn’t realise there were so many amazing, strong, talented and beautiful women in rock out there!

Who would you add to this list?

To hear more of Gasoline Thrill (and the gorgeous Samara, Martha and Monica), here are their details!

GT photos from their FB page

Love, Laura & Sarah xo


  1. Loved this post! Saw Debbie Harry live in 2004 and Brody Dalle live in 2002, and idolised Courtney Love when I was younger too :)
    S xx

  2. FUN POST!!! Love me some ladie rockers:) Laura, I wanted to resond to your comment on my running post. I think that's a GREAT idea by the way. Now htat I have been running like I do, I can eat whatever I want within reason. I still TRY to not eat junk all the time but I am MUCH, MUCH less restricted than I used to be. It's so wonderful to know you can just eat whatever you want and know your going to burn it off tmorrow. no worries. love it! Hope your having a great weekend!! xoxox H


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