I bet a ton of lady musicians my age (early thirties) are wishing they had this DIY manual when they were fifteen or so. I know I do. There has been a gap in rock and roll writing by women and for women for many years.
Jessica Hopper fills that gap with this fact-filled, witty guide to rocking, geared towards young women. Hopper has been one of my favorite writers for a long time now. I went to arts high school with her but didn’t realize her writing gift until I found her column in the now defunct mag Punk Planet. She created and edited her own zine, Hit It or Quit It, for years as well. She is the only lady my age I know of who is writing rock criticism.
Jessica Hopper Reading
With Laurie Lindeen
7:30 July 16 (tonight!)
Magers & Quinn
3038 Hennepin Ave South
Read her Larghearted Boy Book Notes essay
Strib interview with Jessica Hopper
MinnPost Interview by Jim Walsh
So, Hopper has the street cred and knowledge to put together this book which reminds me of a zine in book form: cool illustrations, quotes from lady musicians, sidebars, and a timeline of women in music. It covers everything from buying your first guitar/drum kit/keyboard to publishing your songwriting. This is stuff all musicians need to know. Hopper writes from her own experiences and is never condescending. She is enthusiastic about creating community with music – for instance, playing shows in a library or outside versus a bar – which comes off as inspiring and got me riled up to book shows, which has never been the fun part for me.
Like dessert, at the end of the book there’s an awesome appendix of essential recordings featuring different genres. I was happy to see certain albums sometimes overlooked by male-oriented best of lists such as bands like Bikini Kill and funk artist Betty Davis.
I don’t know many teenagers to give this book to, but I’d be more than thrilled to give it to any of my friends because it’s entertaining and wise. It’s a landmark for anything pro-music and pro-women and a book we’ve needed for a long time.
For info on her book tour and writing go to:
Her blog, tinyluckgenius aka the unicorn’s tear
The Girls’ Guide to Rocking website