SSION’s Cody Critchloe Lists His Top 10 Women in Rock

SSCION Live at The Metro
SSION Live at The Metro (Chicago)

Cody Critcheloe, frontman and creator of SSION, has a lot to talk about these days — the mockumentary he’s working on, touring, his art and music videos, his eyebrows…but in an interview with ALARM, he opted to discuss his favorite ladies in rock.

Beneath the eye liner, street jizz, and punk attitude, there lies a softer side to Critchloe. All of these women have genuinely been a source of inspiration for him.

1). Courtney Love

“Courtney Love is the reason I wanted to play guitar. In 7th grade, Live Through This came out. [Before that] I was into Madonna and she was a punk-rock Madonna.

Every gay guy who was into music was inspired by her. I listened to Nirvana too, but I related to her more. She spoke to me on a different level.

People don’t like her because they think she stole Kurt Cobain, but I feel like every woman who marries an icon is going to get criticized. People forget that he did love her, and she’s a smart person so I think that’s sad.

Also, I think there should be more Courtney Love drag queens.”

2). Boy George

“Growing up, we had satellite TV, and I would watch the MTV countdown with my mom. I got into Boy George when I was really little. He writes really great love songs — as good as any Motown singer.

At the time, it was shocking that a gay guy could be that big, that my redneck father would let him into the house.

But Boy George is smart and witty, and when you write songs like that, you can get away with murder. “Time” is a great song; it has good delivery, it’s direct and catchy, and it can reach a lot of people.”

3). Madonna

“I was introduced to Madonna when I was young, but I was drawn to her when the public saw her as a bad person, during the Erotica era. There need to be more pop stars riling it up; kids need something that will scare their parents. I appreciate anyone who sticks with it and makes people uncomfortable.

Something Madonna does is that she takes an underground trend and turns it mainstream. ‘Vogue’ originated in Harlem, and when she went on tour, she took the original Harlem dancers and exposed them to the world.

I saw Madonna recently in LA and I had front-row seats. I was expecting her to be very serious and into the show, but she was so interactive. She was so surreal. I thought I would be dancing the whole time, but I was just in awe. Her aura was overwhelming.”

4). Lydia Lunch

“She’s still doing stuff, still rocking the East Village scene. What I like about her is that if she started something and it caught on, she was onto something else. She has worked with so many people; she’s an extreme personality and there need to be more people like that.”

5). Beth Ditto / Kim Gordon

“I really admire Beth for doing exactly what she wants. The Gossip is really big in Europe, and I wish they were big here. It’s important for girls to see her, to see people in music who aren’t stereotypical hot girls.

I was really into Sonic Youth, and I liked Kim song’s the best. I wouldn’t want to hang out with her though; she seems cold. When I was a junior in high school, my mom took me to see them. It was my first concert. I was crying when Kim came on.

Sonic Youth was my connection to art. They were so supportive of the art scene. I was introduced to Mike Kelley through them, and they were the reason I wanted to go to art school.”

6) Donita Sparks / L7

“They were huge into the grunge scene. I loved their music and she was a great front person. I’ll never forget when they were playing that festival, I can’t remember which one, but she threw a tampon into the crowd.” [ed. note: Redding Festival 1992, and don’t forget — she co-founded Rock for Choice!]

7). Diana Ross / Wendy O. Williams

“I read Diana Ross’s biography on the last tour along with Lenny Bruce‘s. She had a long career of really good songs. Motown had all of these acts and they needed a lead, and she was easy to sell.

She broke down boundaries and was such a diva, having everyone call her ‘Miss Ross.’ I’m sure I couldn’t take that shit, but she has a great voice for pop and had made some great disco songs.

Wendy’s band the Plasmatics were so over the top. They blew up a car — just ridiculous dramatics, and I love how she was. She’s very cartoonish and so is Diana Ross. That’s what they have in common — they’re both cartoonish.”

8). Peaches

“She is amazing. Fucking amazing performer. She is totally in control. I wish she was mainstream. She still pisses people off. It’s amazing that people still get upset about Peaches. Lyrically, she’s not revolutionary; it’s the packaging.

There’s people like Lil’ Kim that are way worse [lyrically], but Peaches is underground and that disgusts people; she’s not trying to be sexy. If she tried to be sexy, it would change things.

It’s been great to see her progression; she’s still doing what she does and doing it well. It goes to show that if you do something enough, people will take you seriously.”

9). Karen O / Britney Spears

“Karen O is an amazing performer with a good voice and good taste. It’s magic about what she’s able to do. [Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘] music really touches people and it’s so underground; it shouldn’t be so popular.

I was watching Rockers To Swallow the other night, and I was thinking ‘I can’t believe this is so huge.’ People immolate her but not well. She’s not a sex kitten; her energy is silly and over the top — just watch her hand movements. Sometimes she looks sort of disgusting, but she doesn’t care. She’s out of control.

Britney Spears — I never cared about her. My interest peaked with the release of Blackout, like everyone else I’m sure, but it was great and I didn’t expect a lot. I may be buying into it, but she’s real; she’s genuine.

She reminds me of my family, of my mom and the girls from my high school. She’s not dumb; she’s just different.

She’s always under scrutiny — I mean, I was probably fed Pepsi in a baby bottle. She has a lot of drive and ambition, and it sort of backfired. Unlike Madonna, she was never alone — everything was taken care of.”

10). The Woman [SSION multi-instrumentalist]

“I’m under contract not to say anything about her.”

– Story and Photo by Katelyn Bogucki

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