By: Liz Borden
She was a punk before punk became PUNK. Say that fast three times! She is still a punk. She is tough. Strong. A cancer survivor. A holocaust survivor. A survivor of life and the music business. I could copy Genya's Wikipedia word for word but no, you can go read it on your own time. You should read it. It will give you the basic outline to a life that really can't stay within' the lines. Trust me in Genya's coloring book of life, she never colored and stayed within the lines. Why should she? She did many things first. Genya ia a true pioneer.
Before she was Genya she was Goldie. Before Goldie she was Genyusha. Genyusha Zelkovicz to be exact but for this part of the story let's call her Goldie. He mother gave her that name. Goldie's career started in 1962 in a Brooklyn club called The Lollipop Lounge, . Someone dared her to get on the bar and sing. Well we all know she took that dare and jumped up on that bar to sing. Knowing Genya, as I do, it didn't take much to get her up there! Genya released her autobiography in 2004, “Lollipop Lounge: Memoirs of a Rock and Roll Refugee,” That book has been made into a musical and opened to rave reviews. Groundbreaking vocalist and producer Genya Ravan has had quite a music career. She made waves and a name for herself, with her ‘60’s all-girl band Goldie And The Gingerbreads. They were the first all female rock band to play their own instruments and get signed to a major label. Genya went on to play in the band, Ten Wheel Drive and she released very successful solo albums under the name, Genya Ravan. She became the first female producer to produce other artists, including The Dead Boys, Ronnie Spector, Lizzie Borden And The Axes (of course I threw us in) and many more up to this day. If Genya tells me a band or musician is good, then they are good. Her album, Icon, released on Rum Bar Records in 2019, had rave reviews and is still getting them. The year 2020 brought us her Live At CBGB's Album this album is not to be missed.
Genya is a painter and her art work is beautiful. I recently saw some of er new work and the colors of each painting all blended together into this creation of beauty that took my breath away. She is a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend, an aunt, a person, a legend with stories that most people cant top. She that gives me HUGE belly laughs. Belly laughs are hard to find especially now days. She always has. My friend Genya is funny. Really funny! She has been many things to me over the years. A friend, a sister, a mother. Yes, I have called her MA! She is someone that always told me the truth no matter what. She would do the same for you. She is VERY honest! When i was young, she was one of the few people I would listen to and trust me that was rare. We basically grew up together even though there is a age difference. We have cried, laughed, loved and fought. We have evolved. I am going to share some info about Genya in a series of stories to appear in this magazine and yes, You are welcome.
When I think about CBGB’s i think about Genya. Hilly Kristal, owner of CBGBs asked her to produce CBGBs bands. He asked her to produced The Dead Boys. She produced The Shirts and many other NYC bands. She had a great friendship with Hilly Chrystal and I loved hanging out there watching the two of them when I was able. I loved hearing the stories and watching the history the both were making. They didn't even know how they would both cementing themselves in The Punk Rock era but the did. Together and individually. They were good friends. She tells me she misses him. They were funny together. I loved playing CBGBs. I loved that Genya was there keeping an eye on me and whichever band I was in and if we fucked up, she let me know it! If we were great, she would let me know, She produced Lizzie Borden & The Axes. Moments musically I will cherish, seperate from our friendship.
She was a punk before punk came in. She is still a punk. She is tough. Strong. A cancer survivor. A holocaust survivor. Genya is a a rocker. Her roots are very R&B however you can not put Genya in a corner. She can sing it all. She can rock hard and make you cry listening to her singing a gut wrenching ballad. She can kick you in the gut with punk rock attitude. Look out when she plays her harp. Which answers the question, Once a punk, always a punk? Yes, if you were a true punk to start with. It does not go away.
Random Facts about my friend:
Genya produced 1977’s Young Loud and Snotty by The Dead Boys. One of the best and most highly acclaimed Punk Rock albums of all time.
Every album she has released of her own music, has been a powerful combination of blues, punk, rock with a wall of vocals and melodic 60s influenced harmonies. She embodies the word eclectic.
She has always been active in music, She has never stopped and has either released music, produced other artists or has had something released in writing every decade from the 1960s to present.
Genya Released Urban Desire, in 1978, That album climbed the charts, and was the most picked albums of the week in Billboard charts.
Genya appeared on many TV shows but i loved the photos and clips of her on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Genya released her newest album, ICON on Rum Bar Records
The song on her new album ICON, "Don’t Go in the Bathroom”, is all about CBGB’s bathroom.
“I Just Wanna Feel Good.” on the ICON album is hard hitting. The song has lyrics we can all relate to. I wanna do things right, but Jesus Christ, I just wanna feel good. That’s the story of my life. “ most people have had that inner struggle. Its universal and relatable.
Genyas working with Steven Van Zandt on Sirius XM Radio. She appears on Little Steven’s Underground Garage. where Genya is a DJ, host and creator of two shows. One of them is “Chicks & Broads,” where she plays only female musicians for an hour, and then she has“Goldie’s Garage,” an hour show of only unsigned bands. Genya is a brillant a lyricist, vocalist and harp player. Her home is performing live onstage with people.
Genya can jump on stage and sing and play her harp without notice. I have seen it happen and its epic.
Genya can sing anything and everything from R&B to jazz to rock to standards
Genya Has Toured or played with everyone from The Rolling Stones to Janis Joplin to you name it!
Genya Likes to cook.
Genya has a furbaby names Sammi and he is handsome!
Coming Up the Hard Way , a song from her album, Icon, could be the theme to Genya's life. Genya was born in Poland. When she came to the United States, she didn’t speak English. She learned how to speak English through music. Through Doo-wop.