Friday, June 13, 2014

Siouxsie Spellbinding

Before she became Siouxsie Sioux, Susan Janet Ballion was best known as one of the Bromley Contingent, a rag tag group of revelers who were looking for an alternative to pop culture that came together through early Sex Pistols performances. It was the young Susan who stood behind the couch as The Pistols gave their infamous interview to Bill Grundy on the British Today program(me).

These humble fangirl beginnings gave no indication of erstwhile Susan's future greatness. As someone who grew up in The Banshee's era, I know firsthand the power Siouxsie held for women of her generation (a period best represented as '77-'87). Her robust and throaty tone (with more than a hint of testosterone), her self-assuredness, her proto-goth sartorial style and her expressionist kabuki like make-up (one critic described her as "her own Warhol portrait") made her nearly ideal for those on the margins of a Reagan-Thatcher world. She was a leader, and unlike Patti Smith, she was a fashion forward one. While the musical wave of Siouxsie's era included more of a quantity of women than previous decades, there were few of the period who would live to stand the test of time (Chrissie Hynde, Kate Bush, Patti Smith, Annie Lennox being a few exceptions). Siouxsie's voice nearly always transcended her material – which could be spotty at times – but when the material – and the guitar player – were worthy of the singer, both could soar.

As seen below – with her now deep into her fifth decade – the old girl still has much creative spunk in her yet.

(If the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame had any real cred, she'd be in it.)

"Their greatest line-up" live from Rockplast 1981:

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