As far as I know, all the four original members of this band is still alive and kicking in 2018 – but it seems like Nickey, the organist, has disappeared out of sight for everyone. She writes a little about her reasons at this fabulous Fanny-site: http://www.fannyrocks.com/
Strange that they deny their imortant role as figures of the Women`s Lib movement at the time, but I guess they just wanted to play music and get on with it the same way as male rockers do. I think their argument in the article is solid. A very important band, lacking in record sales compared to many others, but a very good band playing great music and quite clearly an inspiration for a lot of other girls to come out and play in what was a pre-dominately male territorium.
You should check Fanny out – they rock!
Just doing their thing
By Martin Hayman
It was a case of girding up the loins, metaphorically speaking, when we went to see Fanny.
Fanny is an all-girl American rock band, and suspecting another Warners freak-show, I was prepared to be defensive about being a male chauvinist pig. It didn`t turn out that way at all. June and Jean, who are sisters, Alice and Nickey, are friendly, co-operative and eager to tell you what the band is all about and to disclaim the Women`s Liberation banner. So eager are they to tell you about it, in fact, that they tend all to speak at once, which is rather disconcerting, like watching a doubles tennis match with two balls in play.
But at least there`s no problems with mistaken identities: they introduced themselves gracefully as Jean Millington, who plays bass; Alice de Buhr, drums; June Millington, guitar; and Nickey Barclay, piano and organ. From then on in, it was a free-for-all. They all come from L.A. now, and despite their different backgrounds – June and Jean were born in Manila in the Phillipines, Alice, Mason City, Iowa, and Nickey, Washington, D.C. -They all seem to possess a clean-cut charm which is definitely all-American.
Was it a gimmick, when it comes down to basics? “Well we just play rock music,” said Alice, “we don`t have a gimmick.” Jean: “Well if we do have a gimmick it`s that we`re female and we can`t help that any.” Nicky: “Some people view it as one.” Jean: “That`s in everybody`s opinion. I think we play well enough to be considered valid musicians.” And so it went on, with every question bounced around the circle of four girls and turned over until some sort of a consensus was reached agreeable to all parties concerned.
How did it come about that they got into rock music, until now regarded as a male preserve? Alice: “It just evolved. We all started playing about five or six years ago in groups in the usual way, you know, losing people and asking and finding out, advertising. It just happened to click with the four of us, because we`d all played with guys before. The chemistry was right, the magic was there.” They had all played with groups before they met each other, which is a measure of their independence – musically as well as personally. This is how Jean describes the formulation of the group as an all-girl combo: “The three of us had met prior to going to L.A. where we met Nickey -” “- after they had a recording contract,” interrupts Nickey, “they were the nucleus of the group.”
So what sort of music do they play? There was a chorus of “Have you heard the album” and “You must come and see us play”, but in default of either, “It`s Fanny music,” says Alice “It`s rock and roll, it has that kind of feel to it, but there are some slower songs on the album.”
June, perhaps the least forthcoming, adds: “We feel we`re still at the stage where we have to hit people over the head on stage to get them to sit back and give us their full attention.” Alice: “`Cos they haven`t seen us, they just don`t want to believe that girls can play anything but crap.”
How did they come to take up musical instruments at all, in the beginning? Jean: “I started when I was about nine or ten, playing ukelele and just gradually moved to the guitar and bass.” She ascribes this to a love of string instruments and a sound they produce, which is to be expected from one who was brought up in the Pacific city of Manila, where the Millingtons lived until Jean was about thirteen. “We were just into playing around with the basic chords. We didn`t start playing professionally until we were sixteen or seventeen, and that was when we started out with folk singing.” They came to rock through folk then? “I guess so, June and I anyway. Alice started playing in the school band.” Alice: “When I was a junior, which is eleventh grade. I got a full set of drums, and from there got into rock and roll and moved to the coast and met up with June and Jean and played off and on with them for a couple of years, went to L.A. then we got Nickey after about nine months.” June: “I`ve only been into rock and roll since we came to L.A. – before that I was just like a rhythm guitarist.” Nickey: “When I met June she hadn`t really heard Chuck Berry, that was what blew my head out most.”
What was the response in those days to the idea of girls as a band? “I think when we first started, before we could could play well, it was cute, you know, a girl playing rock and roll, just like guys when they start out and aren`t that good. I was fifteen when I started playing, you know, things like `Oh Sweet Pea`, `Louie Louie`, `Hand On Sloopy`… but you get better as you go along.”
And the Women`s Lib thing? “They want us to wave the banner and play their benefits. We always tell them, “Listen, we`re doing more for Women`s Lib by just doing it! We got our music to consider.” For those few words, thanks.
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Redbone, Frank Zappa, Redwing, Elton John, B.B. King, Bill Williams, Alice Stuart, Carl Palmer, Robbie Robertson, Lesley Duncan, Dave Burland.
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