I just signed the contract! It’ll be published in 2019. What book? One about women’s music of the seventies and eighties that I started in 2011. It’s been a long road, one where four-wheel drive and a lot of snacks were needed.
Women’s music is a network of performers, technicians, media, producers and more that is defined by our audience, mostly lesbian and/or feminist. It’s a grand thing but unfortunately, has declined in popularity so much that I regularly field questions like “Is (insert favorite musician) dead? What ever happened to the ______________ festival? Or I hear “facts” like musician Maxine Feldman transitioned to male (no), Lilith Fair was the first women’s festival (not even close) or everyone involved with women’s music left the earth long ago to settle on their own planet (okay, I made that up). So, in order to clear up a lot of myths and to make absolutely certain that women’s music was never forgotten, I decided to write a book. ‘Cause you know, I could do that in a week or two. <cough> Eighty interviews later and hundreds of hours of time sweating over various media, I started writing. And writing. And writing.
I interviewed musicians Robin Flower, Mary Watkins, and Holly Near; festival producer Lisa Vogel; Olivia collective member Ginny Berson; DJ Tara Ayres; lots of fans and many more. Many other resources were available to me. I have every issue (save one) of Hot Wire: The Journal of Women’s Music and Culture, as well as articles I’ve saved over the years from other women’s publications and mainstream ones like Guitar Player. I had the entire collection of Jo-Ed video at my house for a while; it’s now at Harvard. (It included footage of the National Women’s Music Festivals from the eighties and nineties.) The producers of Radical Harmonies gave me special permission to use transcripts from their movie, some that was not included in the final release.
I collected incredible photos from a half dozen photographers. I’m not sure of the total number of photos for the book. There could be 50 or 60 but in order to keep down costs I can’t go too crazy.
After writing the book, the next step was finding a publisher. It was a journey but like I write above, I have a publisher now. I’m going to need lead-soled boots to keep my feet on the ground. Not that I’m excited.
I don’t have a publishing date yet, only that it’ll be sometime in 2019. I’ll publish more details as they’re known so keep an eye on this blog site.
Meanwhile, check out the excellent resources about early women’s music that already exist: Bonnie J. Morris’s Eden Built By Eves and also her The Disappearing L. Radical Harmonies is a documentary about women’s music. JD Doyle’s Queer Music Heritage has tons of interviews, album cover scans and more. I’ve got a section about women’s music on this blog site. Oh, and how could I forget my first book, Drive All Night? It’s a memoir with a lot about my own women’s music career.
So, stay tuned and if you hear a lot of yelling and carrying on sometime in 2019 it’s just me, celebrating the release of this book.