Escovedo, thankfully, found a way, becoming Sheila E., the Grammy-nominated, gold record-making drummer who collaborated with Prince, performed at the Academy Awards and supplied music for soundtracks, mammoth sporting events and world tours.
She and other women in rock have faced similar disbelief and hostility.
A deep dive into rock’s female pioneers like Sheila E. forms the backbone of the fascinating, four-part docuseries “Women Who Rock” starting Sunday on Epix.
Director Jessica Hopper says the series offers a look at far more than just rock stars.
The series features appearances by Nancy Wilson of Heart, Chaka Khan, Pat Benatar, Mavis Staples, Shania Twain, Macy Gray, Rickie Lee Jones, Norah Jones, Aimee Mann, Tori Amos, Kate Pierson of the B-52′s, Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads, Nona Hendryx, Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles, Jody Watley, St. Vincent, Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, among others.
“I loved hearing the other women talk about their experiences,” Hendryx told the AP in an interview.
The docuseries moves chronologically from the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, where women weren’t taken seriously, to the present day, where they’ve seized both production credits and technology to blaze their own independent paths.
“In the business of entertainment, I think women have classically been relegated to being second-class citizens who don’t have a whit of their own opinion about anything,” Wilson says in an interview.
“Each of these women really provides a rung for the women that we meet next,” said Hopper, a music journalist before moving on to directing and producing documentary work.
The series explores the rise of men and women onstage together in bands like The Pretenders, The B-52s, Talking Heads and Blondie, and the music industry’s exploitation of Black artists, from gospel to disco.
“I wanted to be holding a guitar and owning it the way the Rolling Stones do,” Jett says in the series.
Wilson feels the progress that women made in the ’70s stalled as MTV took hold and has only built back since the 1990s, pointing to such acts as Phoebe Bridgers, Wet Leg, Lucius, Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen — or, as she puts it, “girl players out there who are really taking no prisoners.”
Posted in: Entertainment