Vivien Goldman might have been one of the less publicly visible girls during the original wave of punk, but as a journalist for the UK music papers, a flatmate of Chrissie Hynde, a member of the art/punk group The Flying Lizards and a recording artist in her own right, Vivien Goldman has documented, reviewed, sung, written, lived, breathed and now even teaches Punk for a new generation.
Vivien interviews Siouxsie Sioux in 1978. Photo by Ray Stevenson
In a piece she wrote for pitchfork in 2016, Vivien gives a suitably feminist take on the perception of women in rock in the mid 1970s;
“When I started writing in the rock press in the mid-1970s, girl musicians were so rare that, in what may have been the first Women in Rock article, I described a long-haired female guitarist as if she were a unicorn. Prior to punk, with its passport to a new normal for guys who wore kilts and girls who didn’t look like Stevie Nicks or Karen Carpenter, we could only look to Heart and Suzi Quatro. They were good rockers but, musically, they styled themselves after the very lads who were trying to block us”.
In 1981, Goldman set about practicing what she preached, and released the “Dirty Washing EP”, on NYC’s cult No Wave label, 99 Records, with tracks produced by John Lydon and Adrian Sherwood. The track “Launderette” was also released as a single in the UK, in August of 1981. Using dub and reggae influences as its bedrock, the song’s sparse instrumentation and casually delivered vocal, more than hint at the style of the No Wavers. It also contains many of the same nuances that became the accidental, but recognisable trademarks of post punk girl rock, and reminiscent of The Raincoats, Delta 5 and even the Slits.
“Punk’s open door finally let in self-directed girl artists; in reality, many punkettes first learned to play on their boyfriends’ instruments. Some of us lot were curious to see if we could make a very new sound, being women and all. There arose a very British arrhythmia, often molded more by dub and free jazz than punk itself: hence the Slits, the Raincoats, the Delta 5, the Mo-Dettes etc. And myself”.
Since 2005, Goldman has been adjunct Professor of Punk and Reggae at NYU’s Clive Davies Institute of Recorded Music. She continues to write columns for publications such as the NYT and the Observer, and has also produced spoken word episodes for both the BBC and NPR.
In 2016, Goldman celebrated the release of “Resolutionary: Songs 1979-82”, a compilation album of her own post punk output, including the solo single “Lauderette”, “The Window” from her days in The Flying Lizards, and also includes recordings of her Paris based band Chantage. The album was launched at Rough Trade East in London, and included a live performance, where she was backed by musicians including Gina Birch of the Raincoats, and Helen McCookerybook.
You can read more about Vivien at her website HERE