You may think that punk is a young person’s game, but you’d be wrong. A group of women in Leicester, England, are challenging that notion and showing that punk is for everyone. Meet Fish, Chrissie, Abi, Carole, Steph, and Janet – all over the age of 50 – who are part of the Unglamorous Music project, an all-female punk/garage band collective.
These women have joined forces to prove that punk isn’t just for young people. They are determined to make their voices heard and to show that older women have something to say, too. They have written their own music and lyrics, and are determined to make a statement about the things that make them angry.
Fish, a 58-year-old former theatre producer, joined the project with no musical experience beyond playing the ukulele. She was drawn to punk because it “frees me from the fact that older women disappear in our culture; that we get looked at as old boilers – which is why our band is called Boilers – who have nothing of interest or importance to say. Punk enables me to refute that – at volume.”
Chrissie, who will be 60 in April, started playing drums, guitar, and bass last month, and co-formed the punk band Virginia’s Wolves. She was interested in punk in the 70s, but was told she couldn’t be black and into punk. She no longer cares what people think.
Abi, the 48-year-old Indian drummer for The Wonky Portraits, had “zero skills” in drumming before joining the band last year. She says being in a punk group is like having a secret life, and it makes her feel like there’s more to her than just being a parent, teacher, and daughter.
Carole, the 70-year-old drummer for Venus Attax, says punk is about not caring what people think. “What’s more anarchic than older women letting rip?” she asks.
Steph, the 71-year-old guitarist for Velvet Crisis, has finally found an outlet for all the feelings she has kept bottled up inside for so long. She says punk has enabled her to become visible again and to make her views heard.
Janet, the 53-year-old guitarist and bass with Velvet Crisis, is a full-time working mother who lives in Leicester and works in London. She says it’s hard to make it work, but it’s worth it because people are actually listening to them.
These women are proof that punk is for everyone, and that age is no barrier to making music and having your voice heard. They are determined to challenge the status quo and to make their mark on the punk scene. So if you’re looking for a dose of inspiration, look no further than the punk generation of Leicester.