“All-female Funk-Rock pioneers!”
Carol MacDonald is doubly important in the history of Rock. First, in the mid-60’s she was guitarist for GOLDIE & THE GINGERBREADS, the first all-female Rock band signed by a major label. They toured with The Rolling Stones and made a handful of prized singles. Secondly, in the 70’s she led ISIS, a ferocious all-female Funk-Rock octet who could take on the best of them.
ISIS burst out the gate soon after Fanny and Birtha had broken the barrier for all-female bands to make full albums. While those groups focused on blues-based Rock, ISIS was like a progressive octopus. Their first self-titled LP was overstuffed with stylistic ideas and the chops to pull them off. They were a match for anything Blood Sweat & Tears, Earth Wind & Fire, Chicago, or Parliament were putting out. They toured with Aerosmith, Kiss, ZZ Top, and Three Dog Night; made three very diverse albums; and got ignored by the Rock press and history.
Time reveals just how important they were. The ISIS collective was a training ground for dozens of female musicians, who seeded the future. They established a range of skill and style that broadened their successors’ horizons. Their shocking debut cover declared they owned their sexuality on their own terms. And Carol had the immense courage to come out openly as a lesbian and sing about it in her work. Thus, ISIS paved the way for the Womyns Music labels, ESG, The Tom Tom Club, Madonna, Wendy & Lisa, Melissa Etheridge, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Ani Defranco, Joi, Le Tigre, and Peaches.
That infamous cover was shot by Jon Stevens, whose work with silver body paint made him a rising star during the Glam era. ISIS created themselves as modern goddesses from a deep history, silver deities who could take on the soul and the cosmos. Their sprawling debut was produced by “Shadow” Morton (The Shangri-Las) who had just survived The New York Dolls. This song was written and sung by their steller bassist, Stella Bass; is it mocking of male touch sports, a rallying cry, a come-on, or really intimate footsies? You be the judge. And Suzi’s lead guitar will take your head off!
This is dedicated to the memory of Carol MacDonald, who passed away in March of 2007.
Carol MacDonald: lead vocals, rhythm guitar, writer, arranger
Ginger Bianco: drums, co-leader, co-founder, co-writer
Suzi Ghezzi: lead guitar
Stella Bass: bass, vocals, writer
Nydia “Liberty” Mata: percussion, congas, bongos
Lauren Draper: trumpet, French horn, vocals
Lolly Bienenfield: trombone, vocals
Jeanie Fineberg: tenor saxophone
See these other videos:
ISIS -AIN’T NO BACKIN’UP NOW (1975)
ISIS -APRIL FOOL (1974)
(All rights reserved by the copyright owners. Fan-made video to promote the artist.)