Saturday, July 02, 2005

Women In L.A. Punk, Part XIII - Genny Body

One of my strongest memories of Genny Body is of her, onstage with Backstage Pass. She had one half of her face very glamorously made up with lipstick, eye shadow, etc. and one half with no makeup at all. It was a very interesting look and reminded me a bit of the cover of Bowie's Pinups album. I was thinking about this a few nights ago and it occurred to me that Genny's makeup could be a metaphor for the time and place that her band, Backstage Pass, occupied. I thought that the made up half represented the glam scene which was then being replaced by the new punk scene. The half with no makeup represented the punk scene. It was raw and real, as opposed to the more showy, artificial glam side.

I was trying to explain to someone what it was like before punk started to take off in L.A. Alot of the people who went on to form punk bands were very into Glitter/Glam, which in my mind was the most exciting style prior to the advent of punk. Glam encompassed acts like Bowie, Queen, T-Rex...even Elton John had a Glitter element to his persona. The New York Dolls kind of pointed the way forward towards punk rock and allowed other things to happen musically in a more raw and stripped down way. But there was a brief period in L.A. before punk became firmly established (which it did quite rapidly) where people were kind of transitioning between glam and punk and that's when Backstage Pass began playing. It's important to note that Backstage Pass was an all-female band at a time when it was still very rare to find even a single woman playing an instrument.

Backstage Pass by Jenny Stern/Lens, as published in the May/June 1977 NY Rocker. Genny Schorr = Genny Body

Backstage Pass was made up of more polished and proficient musicians than most of the punk bands around at the time. Their music bridged the gap between glam and punk and was inspiring to many female musicians, who eventually went on to form their own bands.

Thanks once again to Jenny Lens for putting us in touch with one another. Please click on the Women In Punk thumbnail to read Genny's interview. Have a nice, hot Fourth of July weekend. Remember, play it Safe and Sane! No walking on bar tables!


Oliver said...

Thanks for this, Alice.

I've always wanted to know more about Backstage Pass, and now I do!

They only released 1 song, right? - on the Saturday Night Pogo album. Then Spock had a track on the L.A. IN comp.

Jenny Lens said...

I love Alice's interpretation because I always thought it strange when Genny appeared with half the makeup. Gen has a beautiful face, with large doe eyes, and I couldn't understand why she took attention off her eyes. Every once in awhile I'd come across those photos and dismiss them. Now I have a reason to find them!

RE Genny's interview: I especially love the shot of Eden, Genny's beautiful daughter, carrying on the punk tradition her mother, Alice and I started.

Genny, like Alice and Pleasant, was one of the first women I saw/shot in those early days of 1976-77 (when I was still Jenny Stern). These three were so sweet to me and it's so healing we are still friends to this day.

Backstage Pass were always very nice to me, unlike too many other bands. They were/are extremely talented and bright women with great hearts. They never put on airs, yet opened for/played with people like Elvis Costello and one of my faves, Nick Lowe. They hung out with the Damned and others, but never, ever were snobby about it, unlike some other women who didn't do squat.

I am so pleased I'm in touch with all of them and always make time when Gen calls. Oh, the stories she tells! Marina has been/is so helpful in my current projects. That means so much because I have always looked up to her, due to her art knowledge and superlative communication skills.

I am thrilled they are once again collaborating, but like so many women from the early punk era, careers and family make it difficult. We've read Alice's thoughts about being a song-writer and performer, mother, wife, teacher and friend. Alice's words mirror much of what Backstage Pass is going through: universal themes, the struggles and the rewards of collaborative art/music.

OK, so now it is Marina del Rey, Holly and Spock's turns to share their memories and bring us up-to-date with their still creative lives. Alice and Greg, I've got a long list of women for you to interview! Ooops, that means I better start finding and scanning more photos! I love what you are doing to bring us all together!!

GV said...

Truly, we could not do it w/o you, Jenny. Thanks for helping us get in touch with these inspirational women.

Scott said...

Hi Alice! I'm so glad you have this website! I was (an still am) a huge Bags fan, I often listen to the cd put out a few years back for the Masque benefit! I love the Women in Punk section as well! Keep up the great work!!! ~Scott

phil from london said...

i dont think i can say it any better or agree more than the great photographer and archivistjenny lens, not only was i lucky enough to see them supporting the mumps june 77 they were also my dear friends during various sojurns in l.a.and they still are 28 years later and6000miles away,Gen will always be a special person, thanks alice