“The Riot Grrrls kept saying, ‘Take back the pit.’ We say, ‘Take back the board.’ Y’know, learn technology, learn to engineer yourself. Too often women are rapping over a man’s track. We pick and produce our samples—we’re in control of every single thing we do.”
—Jill Cunniff, bassist and vocalist for rap-rock band Luscious Jackson
“WNEW was then the hottest station in the country as far as progressive rock was concerned. We were number one in New York. And we would do a certain amount of public appearances; this particular one took place in Madison Square Garden, a charity concert. Part of the ceremony was introducing the air staff to the crowd. They would start with the morning man, and then the next guy would come out until there was a line across the stage. And as the last person at night, I was the last person to be introduced. So they were all on stage when they introduced, ‘Alison Steele, the Nightbird.’ And they [the other DJs who had dissed me before] had to stand there while eighteen thousand kids screamed and ranted and raved for ten minutes at the Garden. I got a standing ovation, and the other six guys had to stand there and swallow it. I’m sure if looks could’ve killed, I’d have had holes in my back, but I didn’t care. It was my moment of glory. I worked hard for it. I took a lot of shit over it. And I enjoyed every minute of it.”
—Alison Steele, the radio DJ who became the first woman to win Billboard‘s “FM Personality of the Year” award in 1978. The public loved her Nightbird show, even though she faced a lot of sexism on the job.
“I’m my own manager, I’m my own business agent, I dream the songs up, I do everything, I write my own liner notes, I put the packaging together and I go to the bank. I don’t go outside of myself to produce my records or anything.”
—Cordell Jackson, recording engineer, producer, rockabilly musician, and founder of Moon Records, believed to be the first female-owned record company. She is probably best known for defeating Brian Setzer of the Stray Cats in a guitar battle in a Budweiser commercial.
Are there any careers in the music industry you’d like to see spotlighted in Queens of Noise? Say so in the comments!