She’s calling it “my last hurrah,” but when legendary rock singer/producer Genya Ravan begins the first of two shows Friday night at The Iridium, she’ll be ending on a hot streak.
First she’s being played by Stana Katic in the new CBGB movie, having performed at the historic punk rock club and produced the classic 1977 Young Loud And Snotty debut album by punk rock band the Dead Boys.
The Dead Boys were managed by CBGB owner Hilly Kristal, and while Ravan lauds Alan Rickman’s movie portrayal, she wishes Kristal had been given more depth. She’s very pleased with Katic’s peformance, however, even if Katic was “too laid back” in her recitation of the line “What the f**k is that?”
Meanwhile, Ravan, who performed in early 1960s groups Goldie & the Gingerbreads (the first all-female band to be signed to a major label) and Ten Wheel Drive, was just honored two weeks ago in Scottsdale, Ariz., along with Martha Reeves, Tracy Nelson, Maria Muldaur and Wanda Jackson, as part of the Music Instrument Museum’s Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power exhibition.
Additionally, her 2004 memoir Lollipop Lounge, Memoirs Of A Rock And Roll Refugee is being made into a movie, and she’s working on new songs for an album to follow Cheescake Girl, her 2012 album of songs inspired by the book.
Still, her Friday night gigs at Iridium may well be her last in New York for “quite a while,” she says, “unless something happens.”
“I don’t have an agent–and you can only do Iridium once a year,” she says. “But I get new audiences every time I play out–young girls screaming ‘Genya!’ They’re clamoring for this music!”
Like other rockers of her era, however, Ravan finds that few people on the business side are aware of the demand.
“You have no idea how young people are dying for this music—and no one knows!” she reiterates. “But I’m way, way too far in life to go out there and try to make new fans again, and I can’t insult the kind of superlative musicians that back me up with gigs that don’t pay near what they’re worth. I’m just so glad I didn’t start my career these days—and that I was there when rock ‘n’ roll was it, baby!”
So if Friday nights Ravan shows do in fact turn out to be her last hurrah, she’ll go out big-time.
“I’ll do ‘Cheesecake Girl,’ and from my  album Urban Desire, ‘The Sweetest One,’ which is a tribute to Lou Reed, since it was one of his favorite songs of mine. I’m also going to do ‘I Won’t Sleep On The Wet Spot No More,’ and ‘Junkman,’ my duet with Ian Hunter.”
Who knows? Maybe she’ll throw in some of her ‘60s bands songs before closing with her cover of Tom Jones’ 1970 hit “I Who Have Nothing”–though surely by then she’ll have given her audience plenty.
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