Script for April 2002, QMH:

Bootlickers ID / Intro

I'm going to start off tonight's show with a clip from a gay comedy recording. But it isn't just any comedy recording. You've probably heard comedy CDs by Ellen Degeneres, or Suzanne Westenhoefer, or Kate Clinton. Well, this was the first openly gay comedy album. And it was by Robin Tyler.

Now, many of you may know of her as one of our most outspoken activists, especially with her involvement with the last March on Washington, but she has a long list of accomplishments I can mention. She was the first openly gay or lesbian comic in America. She was a member of the steering committees of the national marches on Washington, in 1979, 1987, and 1993 and was the original executive producer of the Millennium March in 2000. She has produced 25 women's music and comedy festivals, drawing hundreds of thousands of lesbians to festivals in California and in the South. And, most recently, she was one of the main forces behind the stop Dr. Laura movement. I recently interviewed Robin Tyler, and I started the interview by asking her about something most people probably have not heard about, her early days as a comic. To give you an example, here's a short clip from her 1978 album "Always A Bridesmaid, Never A Groom," the first openly gay comedy album.

Robin Tyler - clip from "Always A Bridesmaid, Never A Groom" (1978)

Robin, I've read that the album "Always A Bridesmaid, Never A Groom" was the first openly gay comedy album, how did that album come about?

In the 70s Pat Harrison & I, Harrison and Tyler, we were a female comedy team. We were signed to ABC. We had come out of being a feminist comedy team. So we played all over colleges and so forth and so on, and the network picked up and decided we'd be a great replacement for, are you ready for this, Donny & Marie Osmond. They were looking for variety show people, So we did four pilots and we ended up starring on the Kroft Comedy Hour. And at the same time I was political. You know, gay liberation was happening, gay & lesbian liberation, and at the time it was gay, and we added lesbian, then bisexual, now transgendered, and now queer. So I had to gain 30 pounds just to put everybody's rights on my t-shirt. Anyway, what happened was, it was interesting, and it's actually, if you look at the history of comedy and the civil rights movements, it's happened to most of the comics who came out during the era of civil rights. We were just beginning as a movement to emerge, re-emerge, gay & lesbian movement.

And so here I was starring on television and all these pilots being very, you know, generically cute, and offstage I was beginning to talk all over. And I got a call from a guy and he said, "we're having a gay pride celebration, go say some gay jokes." And I said, "I'm not doing anti-gay jokes." He said, "no, no, do some pro-gay jokes." And I thought, what are pro-gay jokes? It was interesting. So I went to the celebration and he said "get up there, get up there, do something pro-gay. Just make it up." So I got up and did this joke about running into a right-wing guy and he said "I think they should take all you queers and put you on an island someplace." And I said "They did, darling, and they call it Manhattan." And that was my first gay joke. And they laughed, and it was an entirely gay audience, and so I just started to make up jokes where we weren't the object of the humor, where we were the subject of the humor. You know, humor is the razor-sharp edge of the truth. Humor is anger and truth made funny. There's no such thing as just kidding. So when people used to do faggot jokes, comics, well they still do faggot jokes, or even eminem tries to make it funny, kill the faggots, there's no such thing as just kidding. For an audience to laugh at something, they have to believe that the premise is true.

And so what happened in the 70s is I began to go on stage and turn the tables, and to jokes that were pro-us, in order to combat all the jokes that were anti-us. And out of trying to do those jokes and beginning to do those jokes, I was beginning to formulate material, and then Anita Bryant came along, and I'm so grateful for Anita Bryant, I am. I tell you something, Anita Bryant and Laura Sleschenger have done more for comedy than, you know, no, really, these are great women. I know a lot of people look at them and say oh well they're not, these are very important women because all of this was like a wealth of material, you know, so I came out against Anita Bryant, I was doing jokes on her, and ah…

There's a great quote on the "Bridesmaid" album that Anita Bryant is to Christianity what paint-by-numbers is to art"

Right, right, but I switched it to Schlesenger. Laura Schlesenger is to Judaism what paint-by-numbers is to art, so you know what's great, if you hang onto jokes, and nobody hears them for 20 years, well, a new bigot comes along, you just have to switch it. All my Nixon jokes on Bush, you know, Bush who makes Dan Quayle look like an intellect. So everything gets recycled, so isn't it interesting, prejudice never dies. I guess neither does comedy. So I came out with an album called "Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Groom" and the hardest thing about that first album was revealing myself. I had the same problem that Richard Pryor had when he started coming and instead of doing establishment comedy, which he did for many, many years, he started coming out and talking about being black and being raised in the ghetto and so forth and so on. And the hardest thing when he came out and started revealing himself was that he was attacked by other blacks. They didn't want this, they wanted Bill Cosby and they wanted Flip Wilson, who, fine comics, both of them.

But when I started coming out and doing humor that was pro gay and lesbian, people said to me, gays & lesbians, "You're gonna kill your career" even though they were laughing "you're gonna kill your career, you're gonna kill yourself on television. You won't be a star." And you know I said, I may never be a star but unless you can tell the truth as a comic you can never really be funny. And so I didn't care. I just came out. And the day I was on the Kroft Comedy Hour, Patty & I were starring, ABC television, Ellen Degeneris' network, we were the stars, and the national news carried us and said "Avowed Lesbian." You couldn't just be a lesbian, you had to say, I vow it, I'm a avowed lesbian, avowed lesbian. I vow it. What they were probably trying to say is out of the closet lesbian, so, "avowed lesbian comic Robin Tyler does Anita Bryant jokes" and this was on the national news, right after the national broadcast. I'm so glad I came out, because when I came out I got happy and free and funny, you know, and I didn't know I'd get all the bookings, and I didn't know I'd make a whole bunch of albums, I didn't know I'd make history. I just knew that I couldn't lie anymore. You know, when people say don't ask, don't tell, what they're really saying is be a liar, and how can you be an artist and be a liar? I mean, how can you when art, when the basis of art is supposed to be your truth. How can you be a liar? So comedy is a very serious business.

How did that album end up on the Olivia label?

I was dating someone at the time, Boo Price, we were…dating is a nice word, we were lovers and, just for a while. Boo at the time, she later became one of the owners of the Michigan Women's Music Festival, and she was the one that submitted it to Olivia, and Olivia didn't want to do it. They said, we put out a poetry album, it didn't sell, so a comedy album is talking, it's not going to sell. It sold. It sold a lot of albums

We'll hear more from Robin later in the show.

QMH Show ID-Jamie Anderson
Also, be sure to listen to After Hours with Jimmy Carper, every Saturday night at midnight on KPFT, it'' Queer Radio, with attitude. And this is a good time to mention that since there are often many obscurities heard on my show, I thought those on the internet would like to be able to see photos of the artists and recordings, and view the play list. You can do that at www.queermusicheritage.com. [end clip of "no closet"]

Right now I want to bring you a very special interview with an artist who I've been wanting to interview for a long time. Her name is Maxine Feldman. Now, most of you probably have not heard of her, but she is one of the pioneers of our gay & lesbian music culture. She recorded the first openly lesbian 45, in 1972, and it was called "Angry Atthis." Let's start off by hearing that historic recording.

Maxine Feldman - Angry Atthis (1979)

Maxine, please tell us about the writing of the song, "Angry Atthis"

Ah, okay, "Angry Atthis" I wrote May 13th, 1969, and I hadn't been playing the guitar for a year because I'd been thrown off the Boston coffee house circuit back in '63 for being queer and bringing around the wrong crowd. And I had just left Boston and I had been living down in New York, too. And Mayor Lindsay had sent these cops into gay bars where they would imitate gay guys, and as soon as the guys went outside, they would bust them. Now that was called entrapment, but it wasn't called entrapment then. So there were many things, being thrown out of college, always having to hide who you were, it got me so damn angry that one night, when I arrived in Los Angeles, California, it was the first I arrived, I wrote "Angry Atthis." And it just came spewing forth. It just talked about everything that I was angry about, of not being able to hold my lover's hand. Were not child molesters, we're not this, we're not that, and so I figured the best way to put it sometimes is in a song, and this was prior, as you know, since it was May 13th, prior to the gay movement as we know it today, but it was in the air. I mean, you know what happened at Stonewall at Christopher at the end of June, it was in the air, it was bound to happen, and I think for everyone across the country, whether they lived in a small town or a large city, we were all getting very tired of being invisible and losing our jobs, losing our schools, losing our parents, you know, who didn't understand us, people trying to convert us, like I went to Dr. Bieber in New York, an aversion therapist, and that was one of the worst experiences I ever had in mental health. And he told my parents he could convert me to being straight, he could make me straight again. Well, we know that that does not work, to me being queer is like breathing. So, that does that kind of…

That's a pretty good start, where did you get the title for the song?

Alright, Atthis was one of Sappho's lovers, and I had of course read Sappho the lesbian poet, and originally I was going to call it, you know, "Sappho's Sadness" or something and I went, no, let me call it "Angry Atthis." And anyone will know who Atthis is if they've read Sappho, they will know that Atthis was one of her many lovers. So and when you also look at the words, if you look at "Angry Atthis," which is spelled a-t-t-h-I-s, it also, if you separate the words out it becomes "angry at this." So it was kind of a double, I like words, so it was a double meaning.

How did you meet up with Robin Tyler? She kind of got the ball rolling, didn't she?

Well she recorded the song, and then Robin, and, well she was with her partner then, Patty Harrison, was Harrison & Tyler, they came to the college campus. I went back to school after being thrown out, or told I need a year of psychiatric help before I can come out, and they performed on the college campus. Well, I knew they were queer. And they came over to the Women's Center, and I played "Angry Atthis," and Robin said "You're going to open up our act." And for a year I played in front of them wherever they played in California, and did "Angry Atthis," and in the interim was writing more material, and I also, since they were the comics, and I was "the folksinger," very serious, da da da. And one day I was playing at, I forget, Pasadena Civic Auditorium, for a women's thing, and my guitar, cause it was very cheap, broke, and I started to use humor as a way, number one, to cover up my embarrassment, and I really loved doing it, cause the wave of laughter that came back to me I really loved. So I started to add comedy into my music. And, you can't be in front of a comic if you're gonna be a comic, it just doesn't work out that way.

So I knew the time was coming that I would have to part from Harrison & Tyler. And actually 20th Century Fox, cause they had just done an album, Harrison & Tyler, had just done an album called "Wonder Women," and they had a little bit of tape left over, so they said, come on, let's sneak into the studio, and 20th Century Fox never knew that they actually produced the first lesbian record. Also during that time, cause I want to mention that a good friend of mine, as you know, has also done a record too, Madeline Davis, out of Buffalo, New York, called "Stonewall Nation." [The same week?] Within a week of each other I think, within a week or within a month, and we both, you know, it was 45s. You couldn't, I know Patty, Robin & myself went everywhere, and you know we could hardly give the record away. People were still so closeted and so "how could you be so, how could you be like that, all that pride, all the arrgh, you know it was like, and I would look at them and say "how come you're not?" So, working with Patty & Robin, they took a chance on me, and certainly in touring in front of them and being their opening act was a wonderful experience.

How did the audiences react?

The audiences were wonderful, they were absolutely wonderful. Sometimes they were shocked and stunned, but the audiences themselves were fantastic, and I remember one incident out in Ventura County. I forget what school we were at, and I opened for Patty & Robin, and Robin & Patty then did their comedy routine. And the, I don't know whether it was, the head of the school or head of the women…I have no idea, she wasn't going to pay Patty & Robin because they brought a lesbian, a queer, you know, there. So, never tell that to a comic or a performer if the microphone is still on. And Robin went right back out, we were playing a gymnasium so you can imagine how the acoustics were in there. And Robin said, "We were just told we're not going to get paid because we brought Maxine; now, do you think that's fair?" Well, of course they didn't think it was fair, well the woman wound up…they got paid that night.

And as I said, in that one year we played everywhere, once. It was quite an adventure, I mean, I loved it. Everyplace was a new place…a new place to do it, so that was great, and there was always audiences there and there were always young women and young men who thought they were the only ones, and by my being so out front, they came over to me after, and talk to me, and I'd tell them, you know, where they could go, etc etc. Which is probably why I never became a separatist, which was a big thing that was starting to happen because I really wanted to be a bridge to let someone know they weren't the only one, that they weren't alone, and I knew that many young queers, male or female, could come to a performance of ours playing on a college campus, as opposed to a women-only event, of which many just felt really fearful going in there the first time. And I know about that uncomfortableness, and I know that "oh God, am I the only one?"

I knew how that felt and I knew it felt awful, and so I just thought of myself as a bridge and played everyplace I possibly could, plus women-only events, but I'd play any college campus and any coffee house that would have me, so that that one or two people that couldn't come into that queer space only could come and see me, and talk to me after, and almost be hidden in whoever else was there. But at least I knew my music reached them, and it made them feel comfortable enough to come over and ask where could they go, you know, usually where are the gay bars then. The gay community services center in Los Angeles had just opened. So I could send them to many places to find others like ourselves, but it didn't always have to be within the bar situation.

On the 45 who was doing the backups on that?

That was a group called Sisterhood, and who they are, is Naomi Martinez, Little Bear, and Robin Flower. And Robin Flower went on to make many different albums and do backups for many, many people. Robin is one of the most talented musicians I've ever worked with. She can play just about any stringed instrument with…ah, she has the most dexterous fingers I have ever seen, whether it's mandolin, guitar, lead bass, doesn't matter, she is just superb.

[Clarification: Naomi Martinez also went by the name Naomi Little Bear Martinez, and later, Naomi Littlebear Morena, a prominent social activist and writer. I encourage you to do a google search on her to read some of her writings]

So, did you know her before you did the 45?

Yeah, yeah, I'd seen them perform and we worked together a little and I needed a little backup so I said let's get Robin and Naomi to do backup harmonies and it was great

I wonder if that was the first recording they were on

That probably was, I'm sure that probably was true. Yeah, because later Naomi went on to form a band I think called Iqueserda is the name of it.

And Robin Flower was on your album.

Yes, I had told her then that if I every got to do an album, I want you as my lead guitar player

That reminds me that you were at Casse Culver's recording sessions, when she
did her "Three Gypsies" album, can you share any memories of that?

Ah, yeah, working with Casse I just…ah, Casse and Willie (Tyson), they were both at one time, they would share the stage together, and so it would be a really nice long set, and at the National Women's Music Festival, their manager at that time was Mary Spotswood, Spots is her nickname, and we had all performed at the Boston Women's Music Festival in '75, and then in '76 at National. I went to National and all of the performers who performed there were on stage, so I went over to Ginny (Clemmins), I went over to this one, that one saying, can you give me a few minutes so I can…out of your set…so I can play? And everyone turned me down, except when I approached Spot and said, do you think Willie and Casse would be willing to give me time? Absolutely, absolutely. And that was just a wonderful…I think it was '75, cause I played there legally in '76…and they gave me space on the stage so I could perform my music, which was wonderful. But Casse I just have a very warm spot for just saying, "sure, have Max come on and perform, and when my guitar got broken at the first March on Washington, she let me use a guitar, so it was just…with some of the performers you have a really warm recollections and memories. And Spots, she always stays in my heart because said "absolutely, I'm sure the girls will have no problem with it." So I got to play and that got me other gigs and for that I'm very grateful.

But you helped with the recording, that was like an all star cast for Casse's album.

Oh, that was fun, oh my God, yes, that was quite wonderful up in Maine, up on the island, Dear Isle. Yeah, it was like anybody at that point, probably with the exception of Cris and Holly, were playing on it. And that's what people used to do then in the early, early 70s, middle 70s. You bounced back and forth between each other's albums and play on them. Which was wonderful, cause you got the best of everything that you possible could get. And it was a lot of fun up in Maine, I mean we were all still I would say somewhat naïve, in terms of the music industry and everything else. But it was a great experience. We worked at Noel Stookey's studio…as you know, Paul of Peter, Paul & Mary. And he was a lot of fun, and the studio was a simple 8-track. When I think of how many tracks you can record on today it blows my mind. It was wonderful to be around all these musicians, and women, and a woman engineer, and different ideas would pop out and it was great, it was wonderful.

I interviewed Boo Price recently, and she talked about that couple weeks too

Oh yeah, we lived in this wonderful old house that was built up there as a summer home, and we had a great time…I mean, there were all these musicians in one house. I mean, we laughed a lot. We laughed a lot and sang Broadway tunes, if you can believe that

You were at the 79 march on Washington. I saw you there and I was trying to make sure my memory was correct cause after so long you wonder if you really did.

Okay, well, they had me up in a cage while people were gathering to line up to march. And I played Friday night…let's see, it was a Friday night or Saturday night on the stage and when the March was beginning which was on a Sunday, would that be correct? [Sounds right] They had me up in some little I don't know what but you could hear my voice over as people were up getting lining up ready to March

I want to ask you about some of your songs; Tell me about "Amazon"

Okay, I was living in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, this was '76, what month I cannot recall. And I woke up from a dream, it seemed like, and these words just poured out of the guitar and started to, you know…and melody started to flow, and I was "wow, this is really amazing," and I got to play it for the first time publicly at National Women's Music Festival when Casse and Willie let me take some time from their set so I could appear as a guest on their set. And that was the first time it got the audience response, you know, like that's the only way you know if you've written anything good. [That was, like, '76?] Yeah, yeah, that was '76. And the audience just went wild for it and I went "okay," and now it's used at, and I'm sure if you spoke to Boo, it's used at, I played it at Michigan every year, and even when I'm not there it's sung as part of the opening ceremony of the Michigan Women's Music Festival every year, so, whether I'm there or not, I'm there…in spirit, embraced, and it has nothing to do with me, you know what I mean, it's ah…the people love it and I'm sure the people who go now don't even know who the hell I am, except for some oldies and moldies, you know.

Here is "amazon"

Maxine Feldman - Amazon (1979)

Tell me about "Closet Sale" I love that song

Oh, me, too. I kind of like that, too. It was my way of just being playful with people to come out of the closet, you know, ah, I used to do a whole rap of humor, but it was just a way of using a four-letter word without using a curse word, and telling people to come on out, come on out, it's okay. But I never "out" somebody; I think coming out is a personal issue and a personal response. I may know who's queer in the quote showbiz community or whatever but I figure in time they'll out themselves. But to me that song was always to anyone, no matter where they were, to come out of the closet, cause the only thing should be in your closet is clothes. You shouldn't be living your life in the closet. The more of us who come out, the more rights we get, or the more volume that we have, not only in sound, but volume in bulk and number, and numbers count, or else the Presidents wouldn't be courting us these days, as they have every four years for endorsements and everything like that, and I'm just really happy that they're there, and that song I've always loved. It's fun to play. It's fun to sing, and of course getting the audience to their favorite four-letter word, come, come, come, come.

Okay, this song show us just a taste of Maxine's humor, here is "Closet Sale"

Maxine Feldman - Closet Sale (1979)

That was "closet sale.," Can you tell me about "White Mountain Mama"?

Ah, "White Mountain Mama" was a song about my first one-night stand, with somebody I'd know for many, many, many, many years. She's since passed on, Barbara Murphy, and it was just once again, using…when your heart is broken, you use a little humor, cause I find that's what heals it and that's what "White Mountain Mama" is about. And of course it was that forever triangle: I was really into her and she was really into somebody else. So for every triangle that goes on, not unusual, not unique by any means, but I have this habit of putting what goes on in my life down on music sheets, except I might exaggerate a little, you know, just for the humorous aspects. As I've always said, never let the lack of facts stop you from telling a good story.

All these songs are from Maxine's 1979 album called "Closet Sale." Here is "white mountain mama"

Maxine Feldman - White Mountain Mama (1979)

That was "White Mountain Mama." Of which of your songs are you the most proud?

"Angry Atthis," definitely, and "Amazon" because it's become its own…I never thought that any of my music would ever, quote, be embraced, in the way that I've seen other artists' music be embraced, like Cris' (Williamson) "Waterfall," Holly's (Near) "We Are Gay & Lesbian People and We Are Singing, Singing For Our Lives." Where "Amazon" was just embraced by the people themselves, the women themselves, which really thrills me. And "Angry Atthis" got recorded by a young group of women, I don't think the band is still together, called Yer Girlfriend, out of Louisville, Kentucky.

I was going to ask you what you thought of their recording.

I loved it, I loved it. I mean, the lead singer who sang it, I spoke to her on the phone and she
said, "Was it okay?" And I said, I loved it, you captured all the energy and the feeling. It was wonderful, and also I loved it because the women are certainly young enough to be my children. So it was like, okay, the next generation has taken it. You know what I'd like to see now is see someone like Melissa Etheridge to take "Angry Atthis" and record it so I can make some money in my old age, and get k d lang to sing "Amazon." You know what I mean, one of the two.

Well, I know you wrote the song in 1969, but this year is the 30th anniversary of the recording of "Angry Atthis," do you have any comments looking back on all of it?

Oh, well, I think we've come a long way, but we still have so far to go. I'm so glad to see people like yourselves who do radio shows that are still in existence. What bothers me is I think many of the younger people think we have everything, and I've seen over the 30 year or more period of time, you know, newspapers have disappeared, radio shows have disappeared, things like that, even though we appear to be more in the mainstream. I mean I'm so thrilled to see people like Melissa Etheridge and k d lang, and the Indigo Girls, be out, be out front. Ellen Degeneris, Rosie (O'Donnell) now. As far as we've come we still have much to go; and of course the language changes greatly, cause when I wrote "Angry Atthis," at that time the word that I hated was "queer." Now I embrace the word, like you know, I wear it like a glove or I wear it like a shirt.

But at that…30 years ago, 40 years ago this was not a word that…it made you shutter. It has changed greatly, though I think that….cause every now and then I receive a dribble of a letter or something like that from somebody, and they'll tell me that "Angry Atthis" had such an impact on them, and they're young, I mean, they're 21 years old. And it's funny, cause like I said, "queer" now is an embraced word, Queer Nation, queer this, queer that, and I love the word now but I have to tell you that when I first wrote the song, that was not one of my favorite words. One of the hardest words to get out was "lesbian" then. And as my own progression in time I can think, you know, I've always been butch, I've always been loud, I've always been proud, and I've always been very Jewish, and that hasn't always set too well with people, but with humor I was always able to get in the door. And for that I'm very grateful and I've seen the impact that music has on people. I think it's one of the best universalisms, shall we say?

Well, as Robin Tyler was there at the beginning for Maxine, I want to share Robin's memories of those days. Robin, how did you meet Maxine Feldman?

I'm not sure how we met her, I remember that we were a comedy team, Harrison & Tyler, and we were fairly well known, and I guess we were at somebody's house, and she sat on the floor and sang "Angry Atthis." And we said, you've got to come…we were playing a lot of universities at the time. And we said, you've got to come and sing that on stage, it was fabulous. And I thought, this is really history, we should record this. Now I knew nothing about recording at all. We had made some albums, you go into the studio and you turn on the tape recorder and somehow it turns out to be a record. That's what happened. We took Maxine, thinking it would be very easy to, you know, put her on with our act. And then we were down at the university and I think it was Long Beach, maybe Cal State Long Beach, and they stopped us in the middle of her show, she was part of our show, and said we had to get her off cause she was a lesbian. And I remember there was an actress, Helena Kallianiotes, who was in "Five Easy Pieces," I think she was Jack Nicholson's partner at one time, and she said "if they go, I go" and there was this big brouhaha, and that's how I remember Maxine.

You took her touring with you, how was that?

Well, there was no Meg Christian at that time. There was no women's music at that time. There was this song "Angry Atthis" and this huge dyke, singing how proud she was to be a lesbian. And we were doing pro-lesbian humor in our comedy, but this was like somebody that we were kind of svelte and very Hollywood looking, so even though we were doing all this lesbian humor, we don't know why, it somehow was acceptable. Maybe…I don't know why, but when Maxine got up there, and she was this big…and I use it in the kindest terms, big, cause she was proud of it, fat, dykey looking dyke, singing "I am proud to be a lesbian," it was very, very difficult. And people started going after her, and started going after us, and canceling our performances. And when that happened I knew we had come upon something very, very important, and at the time I didn't know we were making history.

How long did she tour with you?

Not long, maybe a year, a year and a half. You know the truth is it was so long ago I don't remember, but long enough to lose us a lot of bookings that I'm really proud of losing

Do you remember making the 45? Tell me about that.

We went into a little studio, and, you know, we didn't have money, but I thought it should be on a record so that we could try to send it to the radio stations (laughs)…I'm laughing cause what made me think the stations would play it? And we went in, and we made it. It was Harrison & Tyler producing Maxine Feldman doing "Angry Atthis," cause we had a production company with AFTRA. And we just printed many of these, and tried to…they were little 45s, you know, with the big holes in them like the 1950s records. And we tried to sell them when we were on the road…not so much that they'd make money for us, cause we could hardly afford to print them, but we wanted to get the song out because we had never heard anything, somebody saying they were a lesbian, you know, singing it on a record. Before Maxine sang "Angry Atthis" I had never heard anyone express being a lesbian in music before. So what she did was very, very important. You know, it's interesting cause when you look back and people write about you and say, you made history, you made history, but when you're doing it, you're just by the sweat of your brow hoping to scrape together the money to print ten records, and you have no idea, we had no idea that how important that would be.

Boo Price Comments:

And I've got some comments on Maxine Feldman from one more person. Robin Tyler has told me that she considers Boo Price to be the mother of the women's music movement. And this is because Boo was producing women's music since 1974, including live concerts, tours, albums and festivals, and she produced the Michigan Women's Festival for many years. I asked Boo to share some comments on Maxine.

Gosh, it's sort of like, where to begin. You probably know a fair amount of Maxine's history, but she literally is credited with having made the first recording of women's music, with a 45 called "Angry Atthis," and Robin Tyler actually produced it. Maxine was on the road with Harrison & Tyler and she was the opening act. And it was very controversial, cause she was always was very out as, you know, a dyke performer. But Robin definitely, you know, had included her in the act and sometimes they took a fair amount of flack for it. This would have been early 70s. But Robin really insisted and stood by her, and then put out this 45 called "Angry Atthis." I think after that really Alix Dobkin's credited with the first LP of woman's music, with "Lavender Jane Loves Women." Anyway, back to Maxine. She's a powerful, very powerful performer, a great sense of theatre, very, very funny, could just have well have been doing standup comedy as music, if you ask me. But also she had a way of channeling that sort of raw outrage that women felt of so much patriarchal, homophobic oppression. So, she could get an audience to listen to her and have fun with her and also really deliver a pretty strong message. She provided a whole part of the early women's music panorama that nobody else was doing.

Well, I guess you could call this my special tribute show to Maxine Feldman, and it's been a pleasure doing it. I want to thank you all for tuning in, and of course I want to thank Maxine for the feature interview, and Robin Tyler and Boo Price for their interview comments. If you have questions or comments about any of the music I've featured, please write to me. This is JD Doyle for Queer Voices on KPFT in Houston, and I'll be back on the 4th Monday of next month with another installment of Queer Music Heritage, and, don't forget that you can see photos of Maxine, Robin and the others, on my website, at, logically enough, www.queermusicheritage.com

I'm closing out this tribute with another tribute. Maxine mentioned that she was proud of the version of "Angry Atthis" that the group called Yer Girlfriend recorded. It was on their 1992 album "L-Word Spoken Here." Here is Yer Girlfriend singing "Angry Atthis."

Yer Girlfriend - Angry Atthis (1992)

July 7, 1974

(January 2006) I just found this candid shot of Harrison & Tyler in action