Tough Talent

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There is so much to say about all the talent that has come our way in this lifetime. We’ve spent quite a bit of time here talking about When the Music Mattered, that classic era of rock & roll, an unprecedented time of proliferating creativity that we enjoyed when we were young. Still do, for that matter.

One thing that stood out in stark relief when we wrote about those times was what a male orientation the world had. Feminism was a growing movement, awareness in the male psyche was slowly dawning, but there was a long road ahead to get anywhere near gender equity.

There may have been no more difficult role in those days than to be a woman in a rock & roll band. Janis, Grace, Linda immediately come to mind. Joni was more the singer-songwriter and solo performer than band member, but she had it, too. The pressure of being an artist, giving your best performance night after night, living in the public eye is hard enough. Getting hit on day and night by bandmates, colleagues, fans, management, guys working at the clubs where you played, fending off one character after another, takes a strong constitution. One thing they and their female colleagues had in common: they were tough.

Here are two great interviews with a couple of the very best, each of whom came along a little bit later, but both of whom had tough talent in spades: Bonnie Raitt (here) and Patti Smith (here). Enjoy!

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