Tag Archives: Sexism

Cock Rock: The Rape of Our Culture

12 Feb
Cock Rock Illustration_edited reversed-1

Illustration accompanying original article. From Liberation News Service, published in Montgomery Spark, Oct. 1972.

By Bob Simpson
Originally published October 1972 in the Montgomery Spark

The Mike Quatro concert at Montgomery College really pissed me off. Not particularly because Quatro is any different from any other rock super heavy – he’s not – but because he is representative of a general sickness which is eating away at rock music – SEXISM.

Sexism roughly defined involves male domination. It means coming on strong, manipulating people, being the male center of attention at all times, and ultimately fucking over and using women.

I talked with Mike Quatro a little before he was interviewed on WHMC. I had no intention of writing about him at the time. It was about 2 hours before the concert and I was bored. So I rode up to WHMC with his entourage and a couple of my friends.

Quatro, seated next to his female companion, wanted to talk. As we passed around a joint, he noticed that I had well-developed leg muscles. I used to swim and run distance, so he used this as an excuse to discuss physical fitness. He explained that the way to achieve fitness is to “get a chick and fuck her three times a day.”

Women Are Not Chicks

Most of the men reading this probably find that statement amusing, maybe a few women do too. It’s not. It typifies a whole attitude found in rock culture. Women are not chicks. Chicks are small fuzzy immature chickens. Women are human beings with feelings and intelligence.


Ad for Quatro concert. From Montgomery Spark, Sept. 1972.

Male chauvinist rock culture demands that women be sex objects who are subservient to men. They are tolerated if they are “groovy chicks”, disregarded as a “drag” if they are not. They are sexual exercycles to masturbate into while the male demonstrates his supposed prowess with his prick. It is a highly oppressive and emotionally destructive environment for a woman.

Our conversation lapsed severely after his statement about physical fitness. After several minutes of uncomfortable silence, he asked if we listened to Barry Richards. Now Barry Richards is one of the most slick, fast-talking, pseudo-hip rip-offs in the Washington area. His show on WHMC is loud and obnoxious, a weak, unintentional parody of AM Top 40 on a supposedly “progressive” station.

Pseudo Hip Promoters

Personally, he always comes on strong and heavy. He has been booed off the stage of several live rock shows. We told Quatro we didn’t listen to Barry Richards because he’s an ass. Quatro, seeing as how Richards was giving him airplay plus a live interview, was surprised. He said people like Barry Richards are necessary. Later, we discovered that Quatro was a rock promoter in Detroit. Birds of a feather.

The point is that Barry Richards both typifies and strengthens the hold that male chauvinism has over rock culture. His “heavy” approach helps create the obsolete concept of maleness and virility that many rock stars cultivate. He tolerates all manner of sexist ads which insult women. Listen to WHMC and hear about how you can’t be a “real woman” or “get a man” unless you by certain “youth” oriented products.

Mike Quatro Concert 1972 # 4

Students gather on the football field for the Montgomery College Quatro concert on Sept. 1, 1972.

Ads like these try to force women into the roles which male heavies like to keep them in. Male rock heavies like Barry Richards and Quatro. Most rock promoters, DJs, producers, etc., are bell-bottomed, hirsute phony hippies. Their only interests outside of music are money, dope, and groupies. They use their power to get all three.

Quatro Concert

Quatro had his interview and went on to perform. I didn’t like his music, but by that time I didn’t like him much, either. His efforts to combine “Bach & Rock” seemed pretentious and silly. His massive ego demanded that he play all the instruments except for the drums. It came over to me as sounding artsy-fartsy and cluttered. Most of the small crowd left before he was finished.

If it sounds like I’m being harsh on Quatro, it’s because that’s my intention. But there are other examples. Jimi Hendrix was one of the finest guitarists in rock, but he was a vicious sexist. Using his guitar as an extension of his penis, he created an indelible image of raw male power in his live performances. He often ran the guitar between his legs in crude imitation of an erection.

His most symbolically horrifying spectacle was at the Monterey Pop Festival. There he reversed the guitar symbolism by fucking the music hole with his body. Spraying lighter fluid as he knelt over his guitar-vagina, he set it afire. Later it was smashed to pieces. The whole ceremony dredged up horrible echoes of the burning and torturing of disobedient women as witches in the Middle Ages.

Rock lyrics can be equally as offensive. Who can forget Jagger telling their friend Leroy that “they may be stupid but they sure are fun,” referring to women Leroy was about to prey upon. Or Rod Stewart telling his groupie that she can go to be with him, but that she better be gone the next morning. These aspects of rock culture we can do without.

Feminist Rock Bands

“When the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake.”

New Haven Women's Liberation Rock Band: 1970

New Haven Women’s Liberation Rock Band performs in D.C. in 1970. Photo: Rosemary, courtesy of the DC Public Library Washington Star Collection © Washington Post.

Winds of change are blowing through the male bastion of rock. Singers like Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, and Carole King have sung of the beauty and pain of being a woman. A real woman who laughs and cries, who feels pain and happiness, not the passive groupie image of the male rock heavy.

Feminist rock bands, including both gay and straight women, are now a reality. Some of these all-women groups are musically excellent and need more listeners. A few male performers like John Lennon and Country Joe McDonald are musically grappling with the problems that men have relating to women as human beings. These are hopeful signs. But the male-dominated rock industry is powerful.

We as listeners must make sure that these and other voices are not crushed or stilled as Janis Joplin was. Or turned into pale imitations of heavy male rock like the all-women group Fanny. Finally, we need to stop supporting the blatant sexists of rock. They only perpetuate what is vile and unhealthy in our culture.

This section was updated and corrected March 5, 2013

Editor’s Notes:

When this article was published February 13, it was erroneously attributed to Anonymous II. The person choosing Anonymous II as their identification was one of the people that edited the article, but not the author.

Reflecting on the article after 40 years, Anonymous II wrote,

I was thinking a lot of rap music today is even more graphic about sexism and of course the groupie thing still applies. I watched Steven Tyler as a judge on American Idol one night flirting with 16-year-old girl contestants. It disgusted me and felt like child abuse. He can do it because he is a rock star even though he is like 40 years older.

The Mike Quatro concert at Montgomery College took place September 1, 1972. The article was originally published in the Montgomery Spark, Vol. 2, No. 2, Week of October 4, 1972, page 13. This post is titled the same as the original article.

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