Monika Mengel

The only not-scratched copy of the Flying Lesbian LP is probably resting somewhere in the dusty deeps of my sister’s living room cabinet. But maybe that good piece wandered into the garbage at the time. Anyway, nobody ever talked about “my” record at home. On demand, just shrug.
Everywhere else is the bright red cover with the silver double ax and the black disc by loving use barely to use. But, who has a record player today? That’s why it’s great that there is a CD now. Maybe my grandniece will be interested in it?

When it started in 1974, I was 23 and just a year lesbian. Behind me lay: my newspaper traineeship, spontaneous times, even a few halfway pleasing relationships with men, a disturbing love affair with a woman and the first hesitant attempts in the Berlin Sub. Fortunately, thanks to Cristina Perincioli, I got in contact with the women and lesbian scene. And then everything went very fast. For 35 years, I am now “in the club” and can not imagine anything more beautiful – despite highly dramatic separations of both lovers, as well as the Flying Lesbians. With my girlfriend Claudia I live now for 21 years in the Eifel. However, as a determined opponent of a state or even church love permission – in wild marriage. On our farm there are still dogs and cats and usually also other women/ women friends live here.

The music has always meant a lot to me. Singing, as I learned later from women like Carien Wijnen, Ida Kelarova and Romy Camerun – and through the songs of Billie Holiday – is not only an expression of the soul, but very healing. Usually for those who sing.

The music of the Flying Lesbians – even though we could hardly play more than four songs at the first women’s festival – has moved women: emotionally and musically. I’ll never forget that woman’s body-field that swung back and forth in front of the stage: laughing women, weeping, in long hippie skirts, one in fur stole and black fuzz head, many with their upper bodies free, others in black leather outfits, Butches from the Sub, Femmes, hetero women and lesbians from the women`s center and from the LAZ (Lesbian Action Center), and a couple of older lesbians who had probably lived through the Nazi era and were suddenly simply carried away by the young women. Carefully at first and then courageously they all came to a close contact while dancing. What was not common at the time! – It took my breath away: so many beautiful women are there? And there they were all.

That the Flying Lesbians stayed together is probably due to this euphoria. We were carried and inspired. Because thoroughbred musician was hardly one of us. Jobs, the political work, relationships, WG conflicts – all this took time and nerves.
In addition, there was the claim to do everything on our own, especially to get along with the technology. How did I curse that! And yet: the admiring glances of the fans as we carried the speakers, piloted the old Hanomag, how we professionally soldered the wires and soon no more lightning cracked when we pushed the plug into the amplifier.
I knew solo performances from before, had a folk group of my own and sang in rock and jazz bands. The role as a singer is schizophrenic. You can create emotions, enjoy the euphoria and still want to disappear after the performance. Because suddenly they do not mean the voice on the stage, but you. I had learned to shake off men. I did not want to hurt women. – But I swear, I’ve never „towed“ one!

Also in the band there were misunderstandings and of course jealousy. Who denies that, has no idea about making music. And there was the accusation: one does too little, the other works too much. I think because of these conflicts and because for all of us music was not the most important thing in life, the Flying Lesbians had split up. If we had been absolutely passionate musicians, especially with success in the – dominated – rock scene, we would certainly have continued. The proof is the many great women’s bands, which are now available.

There were very nice moments in the band. I remember the concentrated work in the studio. M.S. had pulled two very good technicians ashore, who supported us very fair. Female technicians in music studios, – they were even more rare then instrumentalists on stage at that time. I remember how exciting it was, late at night, with a beer in my hand, to hear the ready mixed shots.