Women In L.A. Punk, Part XIII – Genny Body

One of my strongest memories of Genny Body is of her, onstage with Backstage Pass. She had one half of her face very glamorously made up with lipstick, eye shadow, etc. and one half with no makeup at all. It was a very interesting look and reminded me a bit of the cover of Bowie’s Pinups album. I was thinking about this a few nights ago and it occurred to me that Genny’s makeup could be a metaphor for the time and place that her band, Backstage Pass, occupied. I thought that the made up half represented the glam scene which was then being replaced by the new punk scene. The half with no makeup represented the punk scene. It was raw and real, as opposed to the more showy, artificial glam side.

I was trying to explain to someone what it was like before punk started to take off in L.A. Alot of the people who went on to form punk bands were very into Glitter/Glam, which in my mind was the most exciting style prior to the advent of punk. Glam encompassed acts like Bowie, Queen, T-Rex…even Elton John had a Glitter element to his persona. The New York Dolls kind of pointed the way forward towards punk rock and allowed other things to happen musically in a more raw and stripped down way. But there was a brief period in L.A. before punk became firmly established (which it did quite rapidly) where people were kind of transitioning between glam and punk and that’s when Backstage Pass began playing. It’s important to note that Backstage Pass was an all-female band at a time when it was still very rare to find even a single woman playing an instrument.

Backstage Pass was made up of more polished and proficient musicians than most of the punk bands around at the time. Their music bridged the gap between glam and punk and was inspiring to many female musicians, who eventually went on to form their own bands.