Women in Rock


I thought I had misplaced “This Ain’t No Disco.” When Wendy died I searched all over my apartment and even into some files trying to find the book. I forgot that I had loaned my copy to Helen Wheels. Helen is an all-around renaissance artist who has combined rock and roll, fashion, fitness and dreams with her music. Although she’s been compared to Chrissie Hynde and Patti Smith on many levels, she has presented her creative qualities and melodic singing voice in a package that most women would want to emulate for their lives. I’m not talking about Helen’s muscular physique (she’s a top-placing natural bodybuilding competitor) but her lucid and wear-your-heart-on-your -sleeve outlook in life, liberty and the pursuit of rock and roll. She has a song, “Break The Chains,” which is about a young girl who has dreams. Everybody can empathize with that lyric as everybody wants to make their dreams become reality. Helen teaches folks that sweat and self-belief helps make those dreams come true. Her greatest hits album is called “Archetype” and it’s a catalog of her music career.

In the 1970s she met the guys of Blue Oyster Cult while studying creative writing at Stony Brook University in Long Island. There she began writing songs for them and other folks. By the mid-1970s she became a fixture at New York’s punk rock club, CBGB, where she began her music career, booking the Helen Wheels Band throughout the Northeast. After winning ASCAP’s Best New Writer and Publisher Award in 1978 she released her first record, “Room To Rage.” Three years later, “Postmodern Living,” a six-song EP was released and it received a pick-hit in BILLBOARD and airplay all over the United States and in five countries. More singles were released including, “Carry My Own Weight” for the Olympic athletes in 1984.

Through the 1980s, Wheels began stretching into many aspects of creativity from acting in films like “Toxic Avenger II & III” to TV appearances, stage shows, bodybuilding contests and lots of writing work including a yet- unpublished book, “We Took Dawn For Granted,” about the New York City punk scene.

Her punk book was why I loaned her Roman’s “This Ain’t No Disco.” And recently, when I ordered “Archetype” (c/o CELLSUM RECORDS, P.O. BOX 1070, Ft. George Station, NY, NY 10040), Helen returned the book to me.

Although there will be a new Helen Wheels album in the next year or two, I really encourage you to check out Helen’s music. She’s become a good friend of mine. My story with her is that I was once homeless…We had done an interview and hit it off. She told me, “I don’t tell this to writers that much, but if you ever need any help, let me know.” I told her of my situation and she said, “Come on, you stay here.” As I came into her apartment, she showed me around and said, “This is a typewriter, you’re a writer. Use this.” Since then we’ve stayed friends!

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