With more than 40 years covering the world of rock music, chronicler and journalist Lisa Robinson knows very well what the situation was and is for female musicians who perform and record in this genre. She wrote about the rock music scene in her memoir, There goes gravity : a life in rock and roll, and it was all about the guys. She seems to have been witness at the creation for many a career, performance, disaster or misdeed. It all began in 1969 when she met her future husband, Richard Robinson, whose writing gig he asked her to take over. Ever since she has been watching and listening, with her work published in numerous magazines. There were some women on the scene as performers, frequently as backup singers, but it was a world of male performers. The music was rock, with a way of life that took pride in rockin' it hard: raucous, irresponsible and often ignited by drugs and alcohol, on stage and off.
Since nobody ever asked, Robinson took it upon herself to present what women rock musicians think and feel about their personal lives and work as performers. One thing is clear, which will not surprise any woman, gender discrimination still exists and in its most insidious form, how women's appearance and behavior are judged above and beyond their talent. After a performance, when the guys relax and carouse, it is cheered and praised, but if the women do it, they are denigrated. The women know it, and will rein in and temper their own inclinations. The world of rock has been as sacrosanct and closed as football. However, Robinson says, "No matter how tough it's been these women all took risks, faced rejection, and made something happen. All while being--to paraphrase a Joni MItchell song title--frail and cast iron."
With clarity and justification, she is definitive in her analysis of why she likes or does not like certain musicians. Her take on Madonna and Lady Gaga are examples of that candor. In the efforts to appear young, she states there is a time when too much plastic surgery has rendered some of these women unrecognizable. Age and time are reflected in how the industry itself has no patience or endurance. Diane Ross says, " ... if you can make money for them, the business is there for you. When we started, artists were geared for longevity. Now they throw someone out there and if it makes money, great. If not, on to the next one."
Lisa Robinson is still excited and curious about rock music, with a new podcast on SiriusXM, and has her eye on how the women musicians are keeping on, "Things are better for these women now. Not enough. But better."