In this oral history, Alice Bag discusses her upbringing in East L.A., her relationship with her parents and how those early experiences dictated her personality and musical output. She details the burgeoning punk scene in Los Angeles in the 1970s, the formation of The Bags, subsequent success within the scene and appearance in the cult documentary Decline of Western Civilization. She also discusses an influential trip to Nicaragua, her career in teaching, feelings about women's place in rock music, specifically women of color and their place within the historical rock narrative.
Singer, musician, author, educator and feminist Alice Bag co-founded pioneering LA punk band, The Bags, one of the first wave of punk bands to form in the mid-1970s. She has remained active in music, performing in bands Castration Squad, Stay at Home Bomb, Cholita!, and has published two memoirs. Bag recorded her first full length album, Alice Bag, on Don Giovanni records in 2016.
The Women of Rock Oral History Project is a collection of digital interviews and written transcripts housed at the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, documenting the lives and careers of women in rock music, focusing primarily on artists who have been left out of the popular rock narrative. The Women of Rock Oral History Project has been made possible, in part, by the Helen Gurley Brown Magic Grant (2016) and the Rebecca Samay Rosenthal Memorial Fellowship (2015). The project is otherwise self-funded and sustained entirely by volunteer labor. This labor includes travel, video recording and editing, transcribing, grant writing, event organization and promotion, and publicity. You can view the list of volunteers here.