Carol-Lynne Quinn from the Edmonton rock band Rend is part of a growing number of women lending their voices to rock bands.

The power of women: Female-fronted rock bands breaking down the old boys’ club

Women rock! — especially women like Carol-Lynne Quinn and Felicia Harding. Quinn, who fronts award-winning Edmonton alt-rock band Rend, and Harding, lead singer of Victoria-based synth-rock band Isobel Trigger, are riding a welcome wave.

Women rock! — especially women like Carol-Lynne Quinn and Felicia Harding.

Quinn, who fronts award-winning Edmonton alt-rock band Rend, and Harding, lead singer of Victoria-based synth-rock band Isobel Trigger, are riding a welcome wave.

They are among a growing number of women who are lending their powerful voices — as well as considerable musician and songwriting talents — to bands that play loud, aggressive and smart music, along the lines of Metric, Florence and the Machine, and Paramore.

It never used to be that way. There was a time, not long ago, when you’d have to think back to Heart and Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders to come up with examples of really successful female-fronted groups.

Harding remembers attending a Virgin Music Festival in Vancouver five years ago and being “shocked” that only a handful of women musicians were taking part in the whole festival.

“I remember thinking, I want to do that! I want to be part of it. I need to represent the power of women,” she said.

Harding now thinks it’s “awesome” that so many more women are rocking out on stages across North America.

Rend and Isobel Trigger will perform on Tuesday, Sept. 30, at a double-bill concert at Red Deer’s The Vat.

Both groups have singles on the radio and music videos that are getting Internet attention. But one fan commented online “Why aren’t we hearing more women’s voices in rock?”

Harding believes the reasons have been multitude. Family orientation, social conditioning towards “softer” music, and gender discrimination have all factored, to some degree, against women aiming to be touring rockers.

“It has been harder to gain respect, for sure. For a long time, this has been a male-dominated thing,” said Harding, who listened to Cyndi Lauper, as well as The Rolling Stones and Billy Idol, while growing up in Victoria.

Quinn agreed, saying “It’s definitely been a boys’ club, and you have to work harder to gain respect.” She also believes the music industry allowed fewer women into a front-line roles with bands, saying “it’s been a smaller niche to fill.”

But one of the biggest obstacles faced by female-fronted bands has been finding male as well as female listeners. Historically, men have preferred male-centred bands, observed Harding.

But she believes a lot of guys have lately come around, since so many great women singers are now leading rock groups — such as Florence and the Machine, as a popular example.

Performing was probably in Harding’s genes, since two of her grandparents were opera singers and her father was a musician in a cover band.

Her group evolved, largely through membership changes, to a harder-edged rock band from the acoustic group it started as a few years ago.

Isobel Trigger, also made up of lead guitarist Brett Faulkner, bassist Kyle Lowther and drummer Ariel Tseng, is getting critical nods for the Dust and Bones single off the new EP Nocturnal, which was inspired by night life.

Quinn’s band, Rend, is also reaping plenty of attention — and a $50,000 recording grant as the 2014 Rawlco Radio Breakout Artist of the Year — since starting four years ago. Most of the grant money is already slated towards recording a new full-length album next year.

Rend is also among the select Alberta bands chosen to perform at an Indie Week Canada showcase for the music industry in Toronto next month.

Quinn, a trained jazz singer, believes the group stands apart because of its strong female voice. “Our music is very vocal-driven. We work very hard and invest time and everything we have into this. … And we’re pretty strong live.”

Scars is the latest single from Rend’s Winter to Summer EP, which has received Canada-wide radio play.

The band that also features drummer Jordan Dempter, guitarist Steve Rose and bassist Jeff Quinn (the singer’s husband), has performed in the same lineup as Mother Mother, City and Colour, Weezer, Dear Rouge and Faber Drive, Victoria Duffield and Zerbin.

Quinn lists Led Zeppelin and R&B among her influences, and believes her band is living up to its name: “Rend means to tear apart, to never be the same again. … We don’t want people to listen to our music and not be affected by it. We want to create different emotional experiences.”

For more information about the Red Deer show, call The Vat at 403-346-5636.

Just Posted

Lacombe council seeking answers about policing cost overruns

Council surprised to find out about $240,000 policing budget shortfall

Red Deer fundraiser to help educate Somali orphans on May 11

The Mother’s Day event is for all ages

Lacombe to join municipal coalition spreading the word about importance of resource industry

Resources Communities of Canada Coalition to represent municipalities connected to resource industry

These blues will get you dancing: The Overdue Blues Band performs in Red Deer Saturday

Calgary’s Brother Ray Lemelin Band is also on Elks Lodge bill

Gardening: Time and effort key to buying garden plants

Greenhouses, garden centers and box stores are set to start selling bedding… Continue reading

Montreal native Nicholas Latifi off to solid start on Formula 2 race circuit

Practice makes perfect for Canadian Nicholas Latifi. The 23-year-old Montreal auto racer… Continue reading

Bruins victory over Leafs ensures an American team will hoist the Stanley Cup

TORONTO — Many NHL players were either not yet born or too… Continue reading

Swole, buzzy, among new words in Merriam-Webster dictionary

BOSTON — Get swole, prepare a bug-out bag, grab a go-cup and… Continue reading

Garner graces cover of People’s annual ‘Beautiful Issue’

NEW YORK — Jennifer Garner graces the front of this year’s “Beautiful… Continue reading

Updated: Joshua Arthur Sanford has been found, says RCMP

37-year-old Ponoka man last seen on Tuesday morning

Inspired by a galaxy far, far away, these ‘Star Wars’ mementos could be yours forever

CHICAGO —The stuff of “Star Wars” —and there is unfortunately no better… Continue reading

Shoppers Drug Mart launches second online medical pot portal in Alberta

TORONTO — Medical cannabis users in Alberta can now get their therapeutic… Continue reading

Most Read