Local Current Blog

Women’s History Month: Minnesota music memories

Zuzu's Petals (publicity photo)

In honor of Women’s History Month, we asked a few women who are legends-in-their-own-time on the Minnesota music scene to share their favorite local music memories.

Laurie Lindeen, Zuzu’s Petals

I have many great Minnesota women-specific music memories.  Playing with Babes in Toyland, L7, Smut, Dutch Oven, Tina & the B-side Movement, and the Lunachicks come to mind. Reuniting with my bandmates Co and Linda at the Fitzgerald Theater for Mary Lucia’s Fakebook series in 2007 was incredible, but the best thing that ever happened to Zuzu’s Petals occurred on the day that our co-worker at the Global Cafe, Linda Pitmon, agreed (enthusiastically, I might add) to be our new drummer.  Linda had drummed for countless local bands while Co and I were newbies.  The second she took the stool, our whole band experience was transformed.

Angela Frucci, Têtes Noires

My best Minnesota music memory is of the Têtes playing at the Minnesota Music Awards in ’84, when we were up for the best new band award. I actually didn’t even know of the existence of these pics until a couple of months ago—someone from the audience took them and sent them to us.

Prince was there doing his sound check before the show, he had huge heels on. I was like, “Dang, those are some huge heels.” Anyway, we often played with the Wallets and they were up for an award too. First the Wallets played, and they entered the auditorium with Steve Kramer being carried on some Egyptian dais thing.

At the time as a band, we were often performing our signature version of Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” a capella as part of the set list. So, we decided to go out and buy used/vintage wedding dresses and perform in them while singing “White Wedding.” We followed it up with a super punked-out version of “Soldier Boy” by the Shirelles. Anyway, the Têtes came out with this dry ice billowing around us—we rented the equipment ourselves—in wedding dresses and army boots singing a kickass a cappella version of “White Wedding” and seguing into the punked-out “Soldier Boy.” We went way over the top.

We finished the song and I remember looking out into the audience from behind my sunglasses and the room was mostly very quiet. Some clapping happened eventually, but many dropped jaws were in sight. I loved, loved that reaction, and I still love the memory. A quote came out in a newspaper the next day: “I don’t know that band’s name, but I’ll never forget that band.”

Arzu Gokcen, Pink Mink

I have this photo on my fridge: these are two of the main people as to why I play music. Dave Gatchell took me out to buy my first guitar 22 years ago, and we played in Lefty Lucy and Selby Tigers together. And I believe the lovely Lori Barbero needs no introduction: Babes in Toyland was and is a huge inspiration for me. I feel so lucky to call these two dear friends!

Lori Barbero, Babes in Toyland

There have been so many amazing experiences. Of course there are many Replacements stories, but I have already told the top ones. I chose this one because it was when music was so raw, people were dressed to the hilt, originality was a form of expression and individuality, there were no cell phones, and everyone knew each other and smiled.

It was a show at Goofy’s Upper Deck in…1983? Target Center stands now where Goofy’s used to be. The show was Black Flag, Minutemen, and Hüsker Dü: three bands that have stood the test of time. The show was perfect, except for the huge “egg” i got on my shin from hitting it on the stage. We all went to my house after the show. D. Boon, Bob Mould, and I were doing “beer bongs”—true story—trying to see who could do it the fastest. I won, with the best time. Anyways, having these three amazing bands, all in my home and arguing about how to say “San Pedro,” where the Minutemen were from, and D. Boon literally taking the shirt off his back to give to me, is still engraved in my memory just like it was yesterday. Dale T. Nelson also fell through the window on the landing in the stairwell and had to go to HCMC. He was fine, but I cross paths with a few of these gents and we all still talk about it, which means it was a pretty grand day for everyone else too.

Now it’s your turn! What are your favorite memories of women who rock in Minnesota music? Share your stories—and photos!—in the comment section, and we’ll use them in a future post. Also, tune in this Sunday night from 6:00-8:00 p.m. for a special all-women episode of The Local Show; and visit our poll to vote for your favorite women who rock.

  • My friends and I used to see Zuzu’s Petals at Fernando’s on Lake Street. I think they must have just been getting started because they were so unpolished and edgy, we just loved them! I remember asking Linda to sign a 45 at a show they played at the 400 Bar and she said it was the first time anyone had asked for her autograph. Wish they had lasted a few more years. Always had a great time at their shows.

  • Babes in Toyland played a free show at the U of M West Bank. This was the show that made me realize “free outdoor show” = “any crazy drunk freak off the street will show up.” By the time Babes went on, everyone was amped up and there was edginess in the air. Guitar, drums, rowdy moshpit and I was in the thick of it. I had to avoid getting slammed into a giant boulder that didn’t seem so dangerous moments earlier. My glasses got thrown off, stomped and broken. Those 3 had their cute “damaged doll” look down but make no mistake, they summoned a hellish intensity that I couldn’t get enough of. Broken glasses and a little body damage were badges of honor. GOOD TIMES!

  • Michael Reiter

    I have so many memories of these female bands you are
    saluting this month. My bands shared bills with Tetes Noires, The Blue Up, Tina
    and the B-Sides, The Clams, Babes In Toyland, ZuZu’s Petals, and probably more
    if I took the time to think about it. There are so many stories, many can’t be
    told here.

    All those women probably have countless anecdotes about the
    treatment they received as female musicians in the scene. But many of us were
    on their side and welcomed their contribution. After all, we were big fans of
    The Pretenders, The Go-Go’s, The Bangles, Joan Jett, or whomever.

    But what I like is that it got to the point were bands were often integrated along gender lines. By the 90’s many of my favorite bands had women in them or fronting them (like MBV, Lush, or PJ Harvey) and we didn’t
    think about it so much anymore. These days, most bands of interest seem to have a least a feminine presence, if not a
    female front person. I’d have to think twice about joining a band that didn’t.

    So, happy Women’s History Month, it is great to take the
    time to remember. But then let’s just get back to everyone making cool music