Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Popular Music and Culture


Norma Coates


Female musicians who perform in tribute acts to male rock artists are an increasingly popular form of live musical entertainment, from Lez Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin) to Hervana (Nirvana). The purpose of this thesis is to explore the motivations for or rewards derived through tributing for women. Original interviews with artists and participant observation at performances are used for analysis alongside published interviews, videos, and website information. Discussions reveal how female tribute acts subvert the patriarchal dominance of rock music’s history by re-imagining canonical figures as women, as well as how archetypal signifiers of masculinity can be separated from male bodies and performed effectively via a feminized embodiment. Additionally, tribute performance spaces serve as communal fandom gatherings where texts can be reinterpreted and transformed through collective participation by musicians and audiences alike. In sum, female tribute acts allow new creative possibilities for women’s further involvement in rock and popular music-making.