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Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin on how to deal with rejection (VIDEO)


During the last years of her life, Janis Joplin enjoyed the fame that comes with the recognition of great talent. Her band was on a successful tour and she seemed to be enjoying it. She had originally agreed to give an interview with Howards Smith in Mid-August of 1970; however, an article published by Rolling Stone magazine made her cancel their appointment –– It was an awful piece that among other things criticised her “excessive” use of jewellery which made her look like a “Babylon whore”.

When Janis eventually met Smith on Sptember 30th 1970 (just four days before she died), these kind of rejections defined the course of the brief interview: rejection of the specialized rock journalism, rejection of a primarily male musician community, and rejection of women, who saw her as the enemy.

The entire interview was represented in this entertaining animation which depicts just how this rebel would not be compromised by any political agenda that they tried to assign her.

For example, according to Smith, the feminine point of view in terms of Rock was a new type of machismo: a way in which men showed themselves as wild and attractive before an audience full of women that were trying to get into their pants, and a male audience that wanted to imitate them and their self-destructive behaviour. If this was the case, how could a woman like Janis make a place for herself within the rock scene?

During the 60s and within the rock scene, women could play two limited roles: backup singers or groupies. This is somewhat surprising since at the time the American society was going through one of the most important social revolutions of the time, but women remained (perhaps like some remain today) their own worst enemy. Smith told Janis that he was once asked why Janis had no female musicians in her band. Janis laughed and answered: “you show me a good drummer and I’ll hire one. Besides, I don’t want any chick in the road with me. I’ve got enough competition, man.”

After another session of loud laughter Janis picked up the point as a type of challenge:

You are what you settle for, you know what I mean? You are only as much as you settle for. If they set up for being somebody’s dish washer, well, that’s their fucking problem.

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