The End of the Road


In late 1974, Nickey left Fanny. From all accounts, the band was moving in a direction that Nickey wasn’t happy with; she found Patti Quatro an unsatisfactory replacement for June, and her ultimate feeling was that, without June and Alice, it just wasn’t FANNY any longer. Cam Davis, a friend of June’s, was brought in to replace Brie on drums when Brie left to marry composer James Newton Howard at the end of the ROCK AND ROLL SURVIVORS sessions. Having never recorded with the band, Cam tended to defer to the others.

Patti began to assume a leadership and decision-making role within Fanny, a situation which Jean resented due to having been involved with the band from its very beginnings. Things came to a head in early 1975: Cam left, with Patti following shortly thereafter. As this happened when Butter Boy was climbing rapidly up the national charts, and Jean was especially disheartened – Fanny was shaping up to have their biggest hit ever and there was no band to help push it along.

In the spring of 1975, Jean convinced June to come back for one more tour, and Brie Brandt-Howard also agreed to sign on. The band was rounded out by Patti Macheta (a friend of June’s) on percussion and vocals and Wendy Haas, wife of Martin Mull and an old friend of the original FANNY band members, on keyboards and vocals. But although they ostensibly got back together to promote Butter Boy, they didn’t perform any of FANNY’s material – one of June’s conditions for coming back was that the band do only new songs. They also discontinued any use of the name FANNY, instead billing themselves as the L.A. All-Stars. By early 1976 a number of labels were expressing interest in financing an album; however, label interest was strictly focused on a continuation of the FANNY legacy and name. The L.A. All-Stars came within a hair of inking a deal with Arista Records, but ultimately, the label demanded non-negotiably that the women again call themselves FANNY, and June refused to sign on for another tour.

FANNY’s career had come to an end, but the legacy of their pioneering efforts for women in rock lives on to this day. The many fans who saw FANNY play live knew, and still remember, that they rocked harder on stage than most of their male-produced recorded tracks suggested. It’s not an overstatement to say that all the female movers and shakers in the rock world, from Joan Jett to Courtney Love and onwards, owe a debt of gratitude to FANNY for getting that all-important first foot in the door and showing the world that women can truly rock!

AFTER THE BALL…

David Bowie wrote about FANNY in Rolling Stone Magazine – 12/29/99:

“One of the most important female bands in American rock has been buried without a trace. And that is Fanny. They were one of the finest fucking rock bands of their time, in about 1973. They were extraordinary: They wrote everything, they played like motherfuckers, they were just colossal and wonderful, and nobody’s ever mentioned them. They’re as important as anybody else who’s ever been, ever; it just wasn’t their time. Revivify Fanny. And I will feel that my work is done.”

That endorsement of FANNY says it all.

* Orloff, Katherine, Rock ‘N Roll Woman (Nash Publishing, 1974)
**O’Dair, Barbara, Trouble Girls: The Rolling Stone Book of Women in Rock (Random House, 1997) ISBN: 0-679-76874-2

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