Recently, I came across an interesting quote in an article about Zepparella written by Amy Arnold published in Guitar Girl Magazine. Arnold queried the band members: "How do listeners respond to an all-girl band?"
I was mildly surprised that a question like this was asked. After all, even the most infrequent music listener has to, at some point in his or her lifetime, come across male and female singers. And I find it hard to believe that a music lover could limit his or her taste to bands made up of one gender only. But, after a little more consideration, I wondered if, perhaps, Arnold was really asking something along the lines of this: "How do listeners respond to listening to an all-girl band playing tribute to Led Zeppelin, the quintessential band for depicting in music, lyrics, and behavior the power and raunchiness of male sexuality? In that case, maybe the question is a fair one, as I suppose there are men who think it is sacrilege for four women to dare assume the same musical space as Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham, despite their obvious talents.
Here is classically-trained lead guitarist Gretchen Menn's magnificent response (passages in bold are my own emphasis);
“I rarely think or am conscious of gender issues. I assume people who have a problem with female musicians aren't likely to show up at a Zepparella show, and I fully support that. I play music because I absolutely love it. I am constantly striving to evolve and grow as a musician, composer, and performer. I try to bring my best to all I do. I recognize that I'm a work in progress, but I love to work. If people feel empowered or inspired or appreciative of what I do, then I'm thrilled and deeply honored. If people don't like it or if it pisses them off, then isn't it great there is such a huge variety of music available? No one needs to suffer something artistically they don't like. Music is very special in that it has the power to unite, to comfort, to inspire, to give meaning or perspective to difficult situations. Yet the worst it really can do is annoy or irritate if you don't like the song or genre or artist. And in almost all cases (bartenders and sound guys are often held captive), you can almost always easily escape music that rubs you the wrong way. It is generally one power switch away. That is about as low of a risk for as high of a potential payoff as anything out there!”
Menn's eloquence is admirable and notable, but it is the un-politically correct nature of her answer that struck me. At a time when it's all too easy for any person, famous or not, to claim that he or she, or his or her gender, sex, group, ethnicity, or nationality, is somehow being slighted--and to receive an undeserved amount of media or social media attention--Menn eshews any hint of victimhood, showing intelligence, maturity, and a kind of music consumption libertarianism.
Though I didn't think it was possible, I'm a bigger fan of Menn, and Zepparella, after having read this article.
For your viewing and listening pleasure, see below!
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