Freedom Rock with Japanther

by Mikki Halpin

 Hey Rockers–

I have not been around much lately. (Although you can read my cover story with SECRET PERSON in next month’s Bust!) But I wanted to post about this show and say some things about Japanther, and women, and the music scene.

As you know, if you are in a band or go to shows, rock and roll sexism is alive and well! Brooklyn Vegan and other music sites regularly feature disparaging comments about the appearance of female musicians. Bands with women in them aren’t taken seriously. Club owners and bookers assume a woman carrying an amp is someone’s girlfriend. IT MAKES ME VERY ALL CAPS. When women speak up about this crap, they’re bringing down the scene, man. 

The fantastic I Live Sweat blog on Tumblr has been featuring some great posts on the issue, written by people like Katie Crutchfield of P.S. Eliot and   Jen Twigg of the Ambulars. (Twigg references the SCUM manifesto on her “about me,” so she’s obviously awesome.)

And you’ve probably read the amazing open letter that Sara Quin of (Tegan & Sara) wrote to the music community calling out those who uncritically support misogynist acts like Tyler the Creator:

When will misogynistic and homophobic ranting and raving result in meaningful repercussions in the entertainment industry? When will they be treated with the same seriousness as racist and anti-Semitic offenses? While an artist who can barely get a sentence fragment out without using homophobic slurs is celebrated on the cover of every magazine, blog and newspaper, I’m disheartened that any self-respecting human being could stand in support with a message so vile.

(Tyler responded by offering Tegan & Sara “some hard dick.” Classy!)

This post could be nine miles long if I listed all the stuff that has gone down, is going down, and of course, what I think should go down. It starts to get porny, no?

Nevertheless, there are bright spots and good times to be had, and one such bright spot is Japanther, a band consisting of Ian Vanek and Matt Reilly, both committed punks and feminists. They stop their shows when they see women being harassed in the crowd. They treat everyone with respect. Ian contributed to my Jane Eyre zine! I mean, seriously, you can’t top that, except that they are also a killer band, and they are playing a show for their 10-year anniversary at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on June 14th and tickets are $10. Yeah you read that right ten dollars. Awesome Shellshag is on the bill too. 

Go with your girlfriends and get in on the revolution.




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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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