Rock Vixens


Rock Vixens
Nathaniel T. Dela Cruz
TV Star Guide
March issue 2005

Rock didn’t die with Roxette’s career. Thank heavens.

While leather-clad body-licious pop icon Britney Spears gyrates to her own rendition of “I love rock n’ roll’ – the act complete with rock n’ roll requisites of heavy duty amplifiers, stage fireworks and big hair – the remnants of the true-blooded mosh pit masters and mistresses knew too well that somehow, rock hadn’t descended to the pits by not having its ranks invaded by pop divas and rock-wannabes.

After what was a creation of a music melting pot in the 80’s wherein every genre seemed to fuse with one another thus leaving very slim chance for the rise of an icon in every musical genre, rock managed to survive in the 90’s and in the 21st century with its own heroine – born, raised and praised in the backdrop of screeching guitar riffs and melodramatic lyrics.

Now, the term ‘frontman’ becomes politically incorrect, if not obsolete, as estrogen-powered rockstars took over the spotlight and replaced the lung-busting, neck-breaking howling and growling with a more sensual, toned-down (though in times banshee-like) but none the less almost ethereal voice, not to mention the good looks and irresistible charisma that go with the overflowing talent.

Finally, there were better reasons to look up than to headbang.

Dolores Mary O’Riordan (Cranberries)– The Irish Icon

The Cranberries was indeed one sweet surprise, Ireland’s gift to the international music scene after a long while, the most recent prior to the quarter was the hugely popular Bono and U2.

Although their early hits Dreams and Linger – which came from their album Everybody Else Is Doing It So Why Cant We? – made Cranberries as one of the promising new bands of the 90’s, it was the political anthem Zombie from their next album No Need To Argue that cemented O’Riordan’s place both in the masses and in the rock clique.

It was also Dolores who inspired both young and not-so-young women to shed their locks to a shorter trim ala- Roxette, Dolores being a dead ringer for the 80’s blonde rock n roll priestess.

Born on September 6, 1971 in Limerick, Ireland, O’Riordan joined Noel Anthony Hogan, Michael Gerard Hogan and Fergal Patrick Lawler to form the band.

Cranberries other album include To the Faithful Departed, Bury the Hatchet, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, Stars- The Best of 1992-2002 and Treasure Box: The Complete Sessions 1991-1999.

The Cranberries is on a self-imposed hiatus from the rock scene. Dolores, who along with husband Don, is expecting her third child in March. The couple, along with their kids Molly and Taylor, now lives in Canada.

Dolores is no doubt as busy as usual, recording a duet of ‘Pure Love’ with Italian artist Zucherro for the latter’s album Zu and Co. She was also nominated for an award at the Italian Film Festival for her recording of ‘Ave Maria’ for the soundtrack of the highly controversial Mel Gibson film The Passion of Christ at the Island of Capri. She was also offered the role of Helen for the Helen of Troy musical by AC/DC’s Brian Johnson.

Dolores, along with fellow artists Jethro Tull and The Cure, was also one of the supporters of Ukrainian opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko.

Courtney Love (Hole) – Celebrity Sinner

It was for two reasons that Courtney Love was the queen during the height of grunge/alternative era of the early and mid 90’s:

First, her band Hole rocked the scene along with other bands that boast of a female lead singer at that era – L7, 4 Non Blonde’s and 10,000 Maniacs.

Secondly, she was the better half of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain – the Grunge God and the object of admiration of the musicians of his time and objects of desire by his female followers.

After the tragic ending of her husband whose band is at the height of superstardom, Love’s career and personal life went on a downhill as well. Rumors of drug addiction and her affairs with other rock stars abound, along with photographs that went from comical to controversial to just plain embarrassing.

In 1998, Hole released its album Celebrity Skin, with two singles – both music videos of which full of the guitar-wielding Love in her lingerie- gaining respectable airtime on FM radios. But her solo album in 2004 titled America’s Sweetheart proved nothing better than her band’s first opus.

As if starting over after legal battles that include a victory and an imminent defeat – the return of Frances Bean, her lovechild with Cobain, to her custody and prison time for assault and illegal possession of pain killer – Love, collaborating with Smashing Pumpkin’s Billy Corgan, seemed to be on track to a follow-up to her rather best forgotten debut solo album, even if it means recording some of the tracks behind bars.

Gwen Rene Stefani (No Doubt)– Ska Sister

Gwen is Girl Power – her self-styled tops and baggy pants becoming the catalyst of new rock fashion for women in the 90’s.

But more the fashionista’s wardrobe was the music that she helped introduced especially in the local mainstream scene: Ska.

Ironically, the cornerstone of Stefani’s fame in the country was the melodramatic Don’t Speak, the only love song on the album Tragic Kingdom, which was released in October 1995. From that point on, Stefani changed from her dress in Don’t Speak to her self-designed tops, appearing as that hyper active woman in Spiderwebs, Sunday Morning and Just A Girl.

Born October 3, 1969, Gwen had her first ska band – which she formed along with brother Erik- at 17.

Stefani wasn’t the first vocalist for No Doubt. Co-founder and former frontman John Spence did the singing chores before he shot himself at an Anaheim Park on December 21, 1987.

After a couple more of albums following Tragic Kingdom (which went from platinum to double platinum to number one in billboards in 1996), Stefani left bandmates Tony Kanal, Adrian Young and Tom Dumont to pursue a solo career.

Her debut album Love Angel Music Baby, with the carrier single What Are You Waiting For? earned her a nomination for this year’s Grammy Awards. She was reported as of late dating with Bush’s frontman Gavin Rossdale.

Amy Lynn Lee (Evanescence) – Goth Queen

If death means being with Amy Lee –in lingerie inside a dimly lit room half asleep in a bed covered in satin sheets- then who is shouting “Bring me to life”?

Rock superstardom came a-calling for Amy after rendering her angelic voice for a soundtrack of the movie Daredevil. Proving that the song didn’t make it big just because of her showing some flesh in the music video and her band far from being a one-hit wonder, Amy’s powerful yet soulful voice catapulted ‘Torniquet’, ‘Everybody’s Fool’ and ‘My Immortal’ to the hit charts as well

Amy proved to be captivating both in her dark, Gothic look as well as in her more relaxed outfit of spaghetti strapped tops, pants, sandals and artificial wings when she collaborated with Seether for the song ‘I’m Broken’. The angel by day and vampyrical-looking beauty by night broke millions of hearts when the rumored affair of Amy with Seether’s Shaun Morgan surfaced.

Born in Parkview Hospital in Riverside, California on December 13, 1981, the brown-haired, blue-eyed Lee was a daughter of renowned musical artist John Lee and a sister to Robbie, Carrie and Laurie – a brood of musicians as well.

Amy, who grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, now lives in Los Angeles. Ben Moody, John Le Compt and Rocky Gray complete the cast that was awarded Best Rock Artist at the World Music Awards in September 2004.

Despite her present good-looks, Amy had her share of ‘bad hair days’ – ‘I was 13 and a little overweight with poofy hair,’ she was quoted saying.

Now that she is without a doubt one of rock’s prettiest faces – proof of which is her entry as one of the candidates for Cosmopolitan Girl of the Year – has Amy transformed from rock dame to candy poster girl?

“I don’t want to be Christina Aguilera. I want to be Amy Lee, rock queen not sex queen.”

Enough said then.

Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls) – Conjurer of Punk Cabaret

Amanda Palmer owes her music to the Le Petit Negra of Debussy with a little Bach opening her mother used to play on their cherished Steinway.

Her music: Moulin Rouge meets Miss Saigon cum Charlie Chaplin. Definitely not for Backstreet Boys followers, definitely good, new music from what can be considered as an ‘artist’s artist’.

Pairing up with sweetheart and producer Brian Viglione to form the twosome Dresden Dolls – which they describe as ‘Brechtian Punk Cabaret’- the rock opera duo took sometime getting into the ears of the indie/underground listeners as they took the proverbial ‘road less taken’ in creating their musical style.

Simply said, listening to Dresden Dolls is like listening to a soundtrack of a modern Charlie Chaplin stage performance, with its tunes that seem to make you not just want to dance but to make that clippity-clop step dance accentuated by a smoothly executed toss f a hat.

But all the hard work, ingenuity and creativity are paying off, as critics are referring to them as the best band in Boston at present.

Palmer’s influence, aside from the classical geniuses, range from Cyndi Lauper to Duran Duran, Prince, Madonna and even Huey Lewis.

Palmer’s first pieces were inspired by the many stories about boys and drugs. The Dolls’ famous song which is hogging sufficient airtime today, ‘Coin Operated Boy’, has been drawing mixed reactions but nonetheless has the lasting appeal of a new music.