By Al Kaufman
It’s fair to say that women in rock have to be tough. The women who have made it in this “man’s world”, like Patti Smith, Chrissie Hynde, Debbie Harry, and Joan Jett, are all women most guys would not want to meet in a dark alley at 2 a.m. But there’s also a certain sexuality about them. There are not many men over thirty-five who did not fantasize about getting battered and bruised at the hands of Joan Jett. But these women aren’t the Britney Spears, Katy Perry, sex kitten types. They sell music with their musical talent instead of their bodies. They don’t require ten costume changes per show. They just keep sweating in the same leather (or, in vegan Chrissie Hynde’s case, pleather) pants. They are sexual beings, but not in a safe, teenage dream sort of way. Their sexuality is fueled by anger and raw emotion. It’s a sexuality that challenges you to see them as more than just sex symbols. These women aren’t pretty faces that boys propped up in front of their bands, these women lead the boys who are playing behind them. They are in charge. They are in control. And they can rock your ass off just as easily as you think they can rock your world (if ever given the chance).
Add to this list of tough and sexy women rockers one Sallie Ford. Ford fronts Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside. On the band’s third album, Untamed Beast, Sallie sings, or growls, about being one of the “Bad Boys”. She lures you in with the overtly sexual “Shivers” and “Roll Around,” only to cast you off in songs like “Addicted”. And she sure holds her own in the video against all the bad “Party Kids.” She can purr and she can howl, she can whisper and she can scream, and she does it all with the power and the passion of a Janis Joplin. And it’s all backed by a hungry, rockabilly beat courtesy of the boys in the Sound Outside.
Ford answered a few questions about being a tough girl of rock, as well as about her father, a traveling puppeteer.
You often get compared to the tough women of rock. Do you consider yourself tough?
I suppose I can be tough in some ways. I’m a fan of using cuss words and I have fun venting about things that piss me off. I guess I’m more sassy than tough, but maybe I need to work on that one. I dream of kicking dumb bitches’ asses.
Which women in rock do you look up to?
Joan Jett, Debbie Harry (of Blondie), P.J. Harvey, and Karen O (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs).
A lot gets written about your sexuality. How do you think it would be different if you were a guy singing these songs?
I would still be a sexual person and challenge what people are comfortable with, but still be a feminist. Guys can be feminists too and still speak honestly about their sexuality. Feminism is about equality and being respectful to women.
How does being the daughter of a puppeteer prepare you for a life of rock and roll?
I always wanted to be an artist like my dad and got to travel with him for his puppet “tours”. He didn’t play rock clubs, but still offers wisdom about traveling and performing.
You don’t really seem to like the rockabilly tag. How would you describe your music?
It’s rock ‘n’ roll. It makes ya’ wanna dance, has tons of crunchy guitar reverb, honest lyrics, and a bumpin’ beat, baby.