Picks and Pans Review: Rock She Wrote
True, the only really zealous readers of rock music criticism are the people who write it. But this compilation of criticism and reporting by female interlopers in what has been, until recently, almost exclusively a boys' club, amounts to a lost treasure of pop literature. While frequently given fluff assignments and asked to schlepp coffee in the newspaper and magazine offices where they worked, women writers sometimes encountered worse outside it. "Often the musicians...saw you as a groupie with a tape recorder," former Creem magazine writer Jaan Uhelszki writes. But as the two former "chick critics" who edited this collection prove, women writers often brought a female perspective and passion to a genre that at its worst can read like it was written by boys who, notes critic Georgia Christgau, sound like "they're really into the stats."
Indeed, no guy scribe could hope to match Uhelszki's 1975 encounter with one group of notorious dudes: "I Dreamed I Was Onstage with Kiss in My Maidenform Bra." And few men would think of describing punk music as "a garbage disposal with a fork in it," as fanzine writer Lisa Carver does in "Why I Want to Rape Olivia Newton-John (Because I'm a Troubled Young Lady)." While some pieces slow to textbook pace, others, particularly those by writer-performers Patti Smith ("Masked Ball"), Marianne Faithfull ("Faithfull") and Kim Gordon ("Boys Are Smelly: Sonic Youth Tour Diary, '87)," move and delight in ways writers of any gender would be proud. (Dell, $15.95)