January 13, 2011
Larissa Strickland, born Larissa Stolarchuk, was the guitarist for the Laughing Hyenas, a noise rock band active from 1985 to 1995. She joined the Hyenas after playing with the Detroit band L-Seven (not to be confused with the LA-based L7). In the height of her career, she garnered fans throughout the underground music scene, becoming known as one of the most interesting and innovative players of her era. Sadly, she died of a drug overdose in 2006.
Chunklet.com called her, “An absolute MONSTER of a guitar player and was pretty much untouchable as one of the great late 80’s/early 90’s players. Hands down.”
And here’s the proof. Larissa, of course, is the woman with the guitar in the pink dress with the cigarette hanging out of her mouth.
January 13, 2011
This website came about for a few reasons. I started playing guitar late — in my early 30s, and when I started buying equipment I wanted to emulate the women rockers who I had looked up to as a teenager. I also wanted to discover other women who played guitar, women I hadn’t previously heard of. But I quickly realized two things… 1) Most of the “best guitarists of all time” lists do not include women. 2) Most articles about female guitarists do not ask technical questions or questions about equipment. Not only that, but equipment sites like guitargeek.com only have profiles for a handful of women. And an internet search for “female guitarists,” more often than not yields a list of the women who male guitarists think look hot with a guitar slung around their chest. (I’m looking at you, Guitar World.)
And then I read David Segal’s article in the Washington Post, No Girls Allowed? In it, Segal says:
…girls don’t see guitar heroines and, in the absence of role models, they never bother to pick up the instrument. An exception is instructive: it’s a safe bet that Avril Lavigne plays guitar because her chief inspiration, Alanis Morissette, plays guitar. (Morissette, in turn, exalts Joni Mitchell.) But women buy just 7 percent of all the electric guitars in this country, according to Music Trades Magazine, and you can’t explain that figure without confronting a glaring truth: We live in a culture where the electric guitar, at least when it’s played at full and distorted blaze, is considered unladylike.
I think Segal’s being purposely dense for the sake of his argument. He knows there are plenty of women out there who are playing guitar. But he’s right about one thing, young female musicians do not have as much exposure to instrumentalists that look like them. And I’d like to do something about that. I might not prove it’s ladylike to play guitar, but I hope that I’ll prove it’s fun. Hopefully, this site will show you some amazing women who you maybe haven’t heard of, with their guitars, and be a place for aspiring artists to explore and comment.
All that said, I would love to read your comments and feedback. If you have a question, or see a glaring error in one of the history/biography posts, please contact me!