Girls in the garage: gender and tradition in garage rock

Timonen, Sini Hannele (2008) Girls in the garage: gender and tradition in garage rock. (MA(R) thesis), Kingston University, .


This study approaches the genre of garage rock from a gendered point of view and is a contribution to gender studies in Music. The thesis discusses findings from interviews with contemporary female garage rock musicians in the contexts of previous research on women rock musicians and traditions in garage rock. I was initially influenced by Jill Halstead's work on women composers, and wished to apply a similar approach to garage rock. Mavis Bayton's Frock Rock: ‘Women Performing Popular Music’ (1998) and Mary Ann Clawson's article “Masculinity and Skill Acquisition in the Adolescent Rock Band” (1999) provided a model for the sociological dimension of my study, but I also wanted to discuss garage rock as a musical genre, with a particular focus on the gendered aesthetics of the style. When examining the garage rock as a (gendered) genre, Susan McClary's ‘Feminine Endings: Music, Gender and Sexuality’ (1991) and Michael Hicks' ‘Sixties Rock: Garage, Psychedelic and Other Satisfactions’ (1999) proved to be particularly useful. There is very little academic writing on garage rock and garage rock performers. The aforementioned study by Michael Hicks, Eric James Abbey's ‘Garage Rock and Its Roots: Musical Rebels and the Drive for Individuality’ (2006) and five articles in various issues of Popular Music and Society featured some useful insights, but most of the material (with the exception of Abbey's study) dealt with 1960s American garage rock from a historical perspective and concentrated on well-known bands, shunning more recent developments and the grass-roots level of garage rock. Thus, I primarily relied on my interview results and my knowledge of the genre and the contemporary scene. In addition, although garage rock's “masculinity” is briefly mentioned in some of the articles, gender issues in garage rock, as such, have not previously been discussed in detail, and this is where my contribution lies.

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