The Lunachicks never reached the level of success that contemporaries like L7 or Babes in Toyland were able to claim, but they certainly had the songs and drive to make it. Thanks to a number of missteps along the way, they remained trapped in cult band status. However, that struggle to make it big, so close and always seeing the goal posts moved, makes for a pretty compelling read.
Fallopian Rhapsody, told from those who were with the band long before they ever thought about making music, is a frank, deeply honest telling of the Lunachicks’ history, warts and all. The original members, Theo Kogan, Gina Volpe, and Sydney Silver were all self-described “freaks” in high school, roaming the streets of a very different New York city in the mid-1980s (long before it became a safe place for families and tourists). Attending punk shows at CBGBs and other clubs around the city, they decided to buy instruments, with absolutely no idea how to play them—like every great punk band—and started their own group.
The band’s career is filled with fits and starts and events that almost took them further only to implode at the last minute, all retold with great clarity here. Early on, when the band was set to record their debut, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore got the group a deal with the indie label Blast First records and brought them into a studio to produce them, only to try and mold the band into what they thought they should sound like, leading to tense sessions and a label that sided with the Sonic Youth alums. Years later, the band eventually took off in Europe only to crash thanks to the drug addiction of two band mates and the tension it caused. And yet, they carried on.
Their more successful peers in bands like Rancid and The Offspring saw The Lunachicks obvious talent and championed the band as best they could, bringing them on tours and to bigger audiences, but that jump to the majors never happened, mainly because label execs felt they already had their “female band,” and wouldn’t know what to do with another. Even Fat Mike, the NOFX founder and Fat Wreck Chords label head tried to force the band into what he thought they should sound like when he produced 1997’s Pretty Ugly, but mass success always alluded them thanks to healthy doses of sexism and bad luck.
The book ends with an honestly touching moment when the bandmates meet up at a subway station in their native New York to check out a massive Vans ad saluting The Lunachicks and their influence on punk rock. Fallopian Rhapsody is an honest, funny, but mostly frustrating look at a band that should have been much bigger than they were. Self-deprecating and frank, like the band itself, the book is an uncompromising look at their career.