It’s not by accident that certain musicians find the way towards a decades-long career in the industry, while others peter out after an album or two. Among many other things, you gotta have talent, a strong work ethic, and maybe most of all, you gotta have poise. These are all defining characteristics of Laurie-Anne Green and Nick Walsh, co-leaders of hard rockers Famous Underground.
Both musicians have been toiling within the industry for a long time now, with Walsh the former frontman of Slik Toxik, the Toronto-area major label hard rock quintet which experienced some impressive success in the early 1990s. Long-time friends, Walsh and Green formed Famous Underground in 2011 and released their debut record that same year. A decade later, they’re still here, with the release of In My Reflection, a new five-song EP full of crunchy guitars and a hair metal attitude. The music is more mature, but the reckless, rock n’ roll approach is still present, for all of you members of the old school out there.
As a strong female rock n’ roll artist, Green hopes to inspire a whole new generation of females to pursue their dream of being a musician, and not be deterred by the traditionalism of rock being predominantly a boys club. Joining us today for our latest Women of Rock is Green herself, sharing with us some of the stand-out female artists who have motivated her to pursue her rock n’ roll dream.
“As a youngster, it was a common theme for people to ask me what I wanted to be when I grow up. When I told them I wanted to be a rock star or a hockey player in the NHL, they would always have a look of surprise on their face and some would even chuckle saying ‘yeah right, girls don’t play in rock bands or in the NHL.’ The more I heard those words, the more it gave me the fire to prove them wrong.
“To this day, I am still playing ice hockey in the OWHA (Ontario Women’s Hockey Association), and I still play with guys in the mostly male dominated arena of rock. Over the years, there were certain women in music that gave me the strength and inspiration to pursue my dreams and goals.
I would like to share some words to celebrate these great women.”
1. Tessa Kimmel
“The first female I ever saw live on stage was Tessa Kimmel. When I was underage, I snuck into a nightclub where she was playing bass with Frank Soda. I then later saw her with her all-girl band Apple Viper, it was so cool to see her rocking hard on stage and being such a great player. A fond memory I have is playing music on stage with her many years later. Since then, we have become close friends and continue to share our passion of music together.”
2. Joan Jett
“Joan Jett; need I say more. She was one of the first women to break all boundaries with success as one of the guitarists in the all-female rock band The Runaways. Then a solo career with her band The Blackhearts setting records with top Billboard hits like ‘I Love Rock n’ Roll’ and ‘I Hate Myself for Loving You.’ When I first heard her sing ‘Bad Reputation’ and the lyrics ‘I don’t give a damn about my reputation; Living in the past, it’s a new generation; A girl can do what she wants to do and that’s what I’m gonna do,’ that was such a profound moment when I realized music was my path and I had to follow my dreams. Over the years I befriended Joan and the person that inspired me from song turned into conversations. Her words taught me a lot and the best thing was to believe in myself and to know that I belong wherever I may roam.”
3. Ann & Nancy Wilson
“Then there are the Wilson sisters, Ann, the voice of Heart, that could shatter glass and give you goosebumps with her sheer and Nancy, kicking it on stage with solid guitar rhythms and harmony vocals that meld with her sister as though they were one. These girls were such a huge influence on me. Before I started playing the bass I was a guitar player, when I had heard the guitar intro for ‘Crazy on You’ that was a catalyst for my guitar playing, I just had to learn how to play it. Seeing them in concert made me picture myself on that stage one day, and these two women were a key in my evolution.”
4. Sheron Alton
“As my musical journey continues, I find it fascinating how the people and songs that first inspired me come full circle. Sheron, a talented musician, had great success as one of the guitarists in the band Toronto, mesmerizing audiences from the stage coast to coast. This year, she is going to be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame for the classic hit ‘What About Love.’ Ironically, this is the song that Heart made famous and influenced me in the early days. Fast-forward to today, Sheron and I are like sisters and her words continue to inspire, giving me spirit and encouragement to continue to go for it, one of her favourite mottos are ‘Have No Fear.’”