From the days of The Andrew Sisters through the chart topping "girl groups" of the Phil Spector and Motown–era of the 1960s, woman have been a part of the popular music scene for decades.
But for much of that time, the music industry was a "boys club," where a woman's place was in front of a microphone following the direction of a male producer with male musicians laying down the music.
By the 1970s, that was changing.
Women became more involved in the music they were making. The Runaways, Fanny, Suzi Quatro, Heart, The Bangles and Melissa Etheridge are among those feisty females who kicked down the barriers.
With The Bangles back in action and coming to House of Blues on Oct. 10, it seemed fitting to spotlight some Region women who rock.
Munster native Lynn cites Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Tracey Bonham and Fiona Apple among her inspirations. She wrote her first song at age 15 as a freshman in high school and joined her first band, I Say Gray, in 2007.
Lynn is currently lead singer and also contributes piano, bass and guitar in an original band called Dana Lynn & The Dirty Creeps who have their first album of all-original music ("American Dolly") coming out this month. The CD release party is scheduled at J.J. Kelley's, 2455 Bernice Rd., in Lansing on Oct. 29.
"We do garage rock/blues," she said of the group which features her longtime collaborators Johnny P. on guitar and Dave Z. on bass. All had previous played and recorded three albums as Lynxwail.
FYI: Watch for a new website launching this month, WWW.DANALYNNANDTHE DIRTYCREEPS.COM
"I feel very lucky to have never felt held back by being a woman in music," said vocalist/keyboardist Jodi Rosenthal of Highland, giving credit for that to the women who have rocked before her.
Rosenthal is band leader of Lying Delilah, a trio that makes music she describes as "piano rock, meets pop, meets blues, meets Broadway." Their latest 5–song CD, "Return To Love," came out this summer. It's the third original music disc from the group, whose geographical gig base spans the Great Lakes states, with a lot of shows in Chicago.
"I have wanted to be a musician as long as I can remember. Probably since about second grade," said Rosenthal, who has been playing professionally for about eight years now and cites a broad spectrum of female artists -- Ella Fitzgerald and Carole King to Tracey Bonham and Veruca Salt -- as being her influences.
Rosenthal said she and her band mates -- Steve Pesich and Andrew Dumaresq -- still thrill "to hear your own thoughts, ideas, instrumentation come to life."
Lying Delilah's next gig is Oct. 8 at Martyrs, 3855 N. Lincoln, in Chicago, opening for the Ryan Montbleau Band. Catch them in Highland on Nov. 12 at Beer Geeks, 3030 45th St.
Schererville's Nicole Garza is leader of The Oh Geez, a nine–piece ensemble that performs and backs her up in the studio. "I am the sole writer in the group," said Garza. "I will bring them a piano arrangement and the band brings their own influences and arrangements to the table."
Garza's latest album of original songs, "Reinvented," came out in August and she co–produced it with Rick Barnes from Rax Trax Recording.
With deep roots in R&B, but still able to rock out, Garza describes her music as "commerical but eclectic." She adds, "I like to say it's soulful, funky, rock/R&B with world influences. It's very original." Her vocal influences include Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Kahn, Bette Midler and Shania Twain.
Garza has a special place in her heart for The Bangles too. "When my mother was in the hospital with leukemia, I was 6 years old and would sing The Bangles' 'Eternal Flame' to her," she said. "To this day, she can barely listen to the song all the way through. It's such an inspirational and beautiful song, so The Bangles had a huge impact on me and my family with that song."
Among Garza's accomplishments during her nearly eight-year career as a professional performer has been to sing the national anthem for most of the major Chicago sports teams; being selected to sing as one of Chicago's Top 10 female vocalists; and being invited on stage to sing with Huey Lewis & The News.
Garza also moonlights away from her original music project as the lead singer/frontwoman of the Chicago party rock group Maggie Speaks, which tours across the country.
"You need to have the three d's," she advised to young ladies wanting to pursue a musical career. "Those are diligence, determination and dignity. Attack your career with those three things and there is no failing."