Laina Dawes’ new book, What Are You Doing Here? A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal, is putting me on to quite a few new bands, artists, and discussions. I’ve been reading the book for the last week (Thank you Bazillion Points Publishing! More to come on this title in a future post), but so far, Dawes has made several references to the ’70s-era funk band Mother’s Finest as one of the preeminent black rock bands that paved the way, not only for women in the metal, punk, and alternative scenes, but for all acts to follow.

I’d never heard of them before, and that’s part of the writer’s argument.

Mother’s Finest was one of the first black rock bands to be signed by a major label, yet their heavy guitars and edgy sound ultimately edged them to the margins of the urban music scene, resulting in very little support and airplay from the black community. Their song, “Niggizz Can’t Sing Rock ‘n Roll” from the 1976 album Mother’s Finest, and their 1992 album titled, Black Radio Won’t Play This Record, captured their discontent with the music scene’s cold reception of their sound.

Today, the Atlanta-based band continues to play shows throughout the south, and were recently inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Their music sounds pretty tame by today’s standards (listen below), but there’s always someone who has to help push the door open so that others can have the freedom to explore.