Whether a music writer makes a living marshalling lyrical evidence for supposedly new trends or manufacturing arguments to shore up tired clichés—and whether you applaud women's progress in the musical arena or not—one thing's clear: Women in music, prevalent as they may be, are consistently positioned as an aberration or an exception. Even the phraseology is troublesome: "women in music," "women in rock," and the erstwhile "year of the woman" (thanks for the generosity, guys).
Pop-sensation lifespans have been shrinking since the dawn of pop sensations, but the power of the boy band has proved enduring. These prefab crews of scrubbed, smiling teens busting a synchronized move to manufactured beats have a special place in pop – music history and in the hearts—and notebooks and lockers—of their (mostly female) fans.
Luscious Jackson's Kate Schellenbach on Blondie, basketball, and building her own musical all-star team
Kate Schellenbach is cool. Cool not because, after starting the fanzine Cheap Garbage for Snotty Kids in the early '80s, she was the first to take a seat behind the drum set for the Beastie Boys. Not because nearly 10 years later Luscious Jackson, the band she formed with friends from New York clubs like Hurrah and Tier 3, was the first band signed to the Beasties' Grand Royal label. Not even because since putting Luscious together the band has shared stages with the likes of Bettie Serveert, Urge Overkill, and R.E.M. Kate Schellenbach is cool in that intangible way that the person you chat casually with in the bookstore is coolshes smart, funny, and unassuming. On the verge of Luscious Jackson's national tour with labelmate Ben Lee, supporting their new record Electric Honey, the band played a radio show broadcast from Foxboro Stadium outside Boston alongside the Pretenders, Natalie Merchant, Sugar Ray, Melissa Etheridge, and Blondie. In between playing her set and jetting back to the stage to rock out to the Pretenders, she found time to have lunch with me.