Posted On 30 Jan 2015
Tag: A Hard Day's Night, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, America, American culture, author, author interview, baby-boomer, Beatles, book, British Invasion, Cynthia Lennon, D.C, DC, Eleanor Rigby, Elvis, Four Seasons, Handmaidens of Rock, Interview, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Linda Eastman, Linda Gould, Music, novel, novelist, Patti Boyd, research, rock n roll, Sycophants, The Beatles, The Four Seasons, The Rock Star's Homecoming, The White Album, Washington, writer interview, Yoko Ono
The meteoric rise and inevitable splintering of many famous rock bands continues to be a story embedded in American culture. In each case, the wives and girlfriends of the band members can heal or create the divisions that tear bands apart.
D.C. author Linda Gould’s new novel “Handmaidens of Rock” returns to the classic rock era of the ‘60s and ‘70s and follows the formation, drama, and fallout surrounding the rise of a group of rock stars unprepared for fame.
“Few modern bands ever become as well known as many classic rock bands remain to this day, like The Beatles,” Gould said.
“I love researching the people behind the music and exploring the role that women had in these famous bands, and putting that into my characters.”
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa had a chance to talk to the “Handmaidens of Rock” author about her compelling tale. This is a great read for any lover of music or rock or for a baby-boomer looking for a tale that harkens back to a different time in America. Read more in their Q&A below:
Hi Linda, how are you today? What’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
Must get in some grocery shopping between snowstorms here in the DC area!
Your new novel “Handmaidens of Rock” returns to the classic rock era of the ‘60s and ‘70s and follows the formation, drama, and fallout surrounding the rise of a group of rock stars unprepared for fame. What made you want to write this book?
When I was young, during this era, I got acquainted with a few local bands who played in DC area clubs and pubs. They were talented and ambitious, but also volatile. Regretfully, they never made it out of the local scene. The women who attached themselves to these outfits could be equally ambitious and volatile. I tried to imagine what would happen if a band like this actually made it big.
What is it about the research process that you enjoy?
These days I mostly listen to classic rock radio, read Rolling Stone magazine, and peruse rock-star-wife autobiographies such as Cynthia Lennon’s and Patti Boyd’s. All those things take me back to my youth.
When did your interest of rock bands begin?
When I was very young, I was only really aware of Elvis. My older brother bought every record of his. I wasn’t aware of rock or pop groups until the Beatles came along (although the Four Seasons slightly preceded them). After that came the British Invasion, followed by an avalanche of all kinds of bands.
You explore the role that women had in these famous bands, and put that into your characters. Do you think women and the wives of these rock stars get a bad rap and are sometimes used as a scapegoat when bands break up or there is drama?
They definitely get a bad rap. To take perhaps the most famous example, Yoko Ono and Linda Eastman could never have broken up the Beatles of their own volition. They merely exacerbated a breakup process that was already underway.
Whether good or bad, the women characters in your novels all had very strong personalities while some of the men were wishy-washy at best. As a woman, I found this refreshing as so many authors do the reverse. Was it important for you, as a woman writer, to create very strong female characters?
Yes, definitely. The late 1960s and early 1970s was the time when women’s liberation picked up speed. The three women of Handmaidens of Rock found their personal ambitions temporarily consumed by the band, but they emerged from the blowup with their own personalities intact.
Who are your favorite bands and why?
I started with the Beatles, worked my way through the entire British Invasion, and then branched out to more daring acts like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison (who all coincidentally died during my early college years).
What was the first song you fell in love with and why?
I think I first fell in love with all the songs of A Hard Day’s Night. When I first saw the movie, I couldn’t understand a word they said. Their accents seemed impenetrable, and there were all those screaming girls in the theater. The music, however, came through loud and clear.
What was the first record you bought yourself?
That’s hard to say, as I spent years asking my parents for the money to buy all those Beatles albums! I remember being in a five-and-dime store and begging my mother to buy me the new Beatles single, Eleanor Rigby. I found it inexplicable, but beautiful. I also remember that a girlfriend and I were determined to brave a dangerous snowstorm to camp out at the record store and snag the first copies of The White Album. Sadly, the storm delayed the delivery.
What’s on tap next for you, Linda? Do you have another book in the works? If so, what can we except?
With the help of my writers’ critique group, I’m attempting a sequel to my 2007 novel The Rock Star’s Homecoming. That one dealt with the return of a successful rock band to the small-town college campus from which they came. The sequel is tentatively entitled Sycophants, and would pick up the lives of the former college kids several years later, as they attempt to establish a movie production company.