BETTY's Elizabeth Ziff

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

BETTY, the all girl band, has been playing Prides when no other bands would play. With music featured on TV and film, these activists have paved the way for our musicians after them. We chat with BETTY's Elizabeth Ziff about the early days, Pride today, supports Black Lives Matter, and what more we need to do for the LGBT community and beyond.  

This is metrosource menny. The officialpot has to Metrosource magazine and home of short form interviews with yourfavorite personalities from the lgbt world and Bo Quick Fun and informative.Its metraforce on the go out in Housans Maki Iwo go elsic, Ni Ha on is of netural source. Many an o HoeAlandina Radr is w etty. Well Betty the band that Shik, the official SountrackTerprie ever sterding, with the original prompt rokry in fronted byAlison Calmer and sisters. Elizabeth and Amusi when pee pride has the midheate. When noody helpd Wuld take the SAG, they are paoneer. I needunstupbable activists, the women are Bette use, their music or humanitarianoute working for evil, rice, pce N, a in the empowerment of girls and womensince form Ne Hon, nine teen and eighty six. They are most proud about beingpart of many hundreds of events that have improved, live health, changedpolicy and raised millions of dollars from wory, couges research and peoplein Ned named artenvoys in two thousand and twelve. The trio words with the: US: Sdate Department, internationally in cultural diplomacy and the music, hasbeen a feature on national and International Radio, television on Thaseries, weeds N, B, CS Loveby, its ugly benty and, of course, the theme fomefor the outward and Bon a commercials, jingls wet projects, as gets onrecordings compilation, albums and a leger, including the smash off Rinway,his beddy rules and his new girl, reverthen bedy, but o capitalize. It isvocalist and Patarist Elizabethzif and a little disclaimer. This interviewwill not be easy. You know what thank you for thatwonderful introduction shouldn't it be a lot more wealthy than I am Gor. Quaty looks good on you. I hearthe birds tarpeing and you're outside Ou, just ajoin rat. You know what honeyI was in Um, New York City for the last three months and then Um and Iwas by myself, but I have a studio in my in my apartment. So I was recordingmusic and eating a lot and you know masturbatingwildly for a long time and then- and that was pretty much my cuorantineWat. I turn myself sideway. Is that better Nono God and anyway? So that's what I was doingand now I'm I. I took a break in visiting my sister because it was myniece''s first birthday, so Hiin hesbut oe in but ye. I wouldn'tknow how how in the hell was betty formed like how aveason Conva, Oh Queen,please really that question. I'm just kidding. No, you know if you listen toOu podcest m betty girl band, the podcast, we explain it all, but amy and our sisters, so we've beentogether.

You know obviously she's thirty fortyyears older than I am, but um we've still been in the same band, tootherand she's going to kill me when she ises we were playing together and- and wewere at my Um living at my parents' house- 'cause. Weware still really basically ever embrios and we decided to start a bandand we put an ot on the radio and at the time it was an all girl, Pun, fandand Um. I guess this is nineteen. Eighty one and Um, probably before most of thepeople watching Tus, were born and Um Caus. We put it out on the radio whfswe're living in in PO D C at the time, and we advertised for a female base.Player and Allison was listening to the radio and she was in some fifties bandthat she sort of liked and sort of paided and then Um. She heard t the AD. She came to mycarents house for the audition right and Um, and she stepped out of the car and,first of all, she's, so incredibly gorgeous anenhome, just like stunningand and Um and she's so kind and wonderful. Shejust radiates warmth and she's just everything basically and I'mnot in love with her. But I am in love with her not in a sexual way, but justlike as soon as we saw each other. We all knew that we'd been in like manylives together and that we were born to play me sic together. So she startedsinging and played the base and- and we just started siging harmony right away,and then she left and came back the next night and it was when it was justamy and myself and we just stayed up all night long laughing about whatwe'ere going to name the band. Like all the playes in China and a double Dutchbus. I mean just really laughing and you know I don't think drugs wereinvolved. Actually 'cause, we were yeah, we were really young and then like the next week we said you're inthe band the next week. She helped us move into DC, so we lived in a grouphouse in North Northeast D c. At the time it was um a ver. You know I was predominantlyblack neighborhood um, lower income and everybody justwelcomed us. Even though Wewere you know two white Jews from Virginia,because we were such freaks and we played music and the whole the whole Um vibe. There was really good and then crack was introduced to theneighborhood and and Um. You know there was all these rumors that it wasbrought in by Reagan and Oriega. They got together and they intruduced crackto keep to keep people in Um lower and comes down more. You know, 'cause. Whenyou go into lower income housing place, there's always what is there alwaysthere's always liquor source right and at that time crack was all of tha,sudden crafhice on every corner and Um. You know this guy who dealt on ourcorner's name was killer for good reason, but we had to be friends withhim, but it it got really. It got really scary and really dangerousreally quickly and not because of the...

...neighborhood, but because of the drugsand crat was really deep. I don't know if you remember that it might be um too young honey, but crack when crack came in. I kn crackover di a yeah and crap was just crazy, and so we ended up having to move outof that neighborhood. But that was hour first bandhouse and it was. It wasgreat. You know the women of the neighborhood protected us and we playdmusic and everybody came over and you know we just pop hem hung out andlistened to music, and it was a really interesting time to be in DC, becausewhite people and Black r people, especially in the underground musicscene, really got together like there was the tegogo music sceme, which waspredominantly African American and then the white scene, which was like minorthread and hard core music and then the new wave scene, which we sort of wewere in between all of them and because we're ineracial and because we werelike queer and lezzies and strait and we played all different kinds of music,not just one kind. So this is after I imcloded, and it was just an excitingtime to be there because there was regan. So there was all this thisunderbelly of of resisting and and Um. There was so much protesting, and youknow that was the time that the game, marches and prochoice marches in DC-and you know that's why it's reallyexciting and interesting right now to see. What's happened with the PANDEMACcombined with this atrocious monster and leadership quote unquteleadership that we have it's like the perfect storm and it's it's reallygreat to see it happening. I have to say, as an activist and as a musician,you know as an anti racist person who tries as hard as I can be in a white.You know in this white skin to to try to be anti racist in this country. Thatis so so fucking raises right. It's like Noh, but I mean, obviously youknow as as a queer latinix. You know you're GOINGTO run into L that Shit, soI'm not telling anything new, but it's nice to see the progression andthen the backspacing and then the progression again in this country inThi. Think and we've had progressivethis happen in America, NThe you're two steps forward and then three steps back two steps forward.Three sets back with with feminism with gay rights with Um with racism I mean, we've got a longway to go, but it's nice to see that people were really angry in taking tothe streets, and I don't know if that would have happened without thePENDEMAC wl. That's that's very true, and also there's a younger generationthat is now you know, they're used to go into the clubs. I know in the WestHollywood said Ye used to go into the clubs on the weekend and that's theextent of their lgbt activism so to speak, and now they're becoming learnedon on politics and oupolitics works and...

...e havnt O voice in they're gettingangry about politics, which I think is so important, because I think we wereKinda being clossy. I know in southern California, in a very stafe environment,and now we realize you know, there's still a lot to bite for and we're notas selfish anymore. This pride, you know we're thinking about otherminority groups, which I ink is so important. Now I want to know, did youguys like make the conscious decision to be like you know? At we're going tobe in an openly gay with an ally, kind of band and play at game event. Um Doyou think that was limiting in terms of overallvisibility in in any way? Well, it probably was, you know, I'mdefinitely in the early in mid eighties, when Yo first started playing up prides,but we never made a conscious decision. We just we've always done what was whatfelt right to us and because, in the mid early mid and late eighties, we hadso many friends that had were were dying from ads. So, of course, we eregoing to play a gave pride because it was polit much more politicized and alot of people wouldn't play because you know I remember having we went up tohave a meeting with the head of epic records at the time and he said to us you're not going to get signed. If youcontinued to play etgape gay events and work and do yo things about AIDS, because you're going to be blackwastedand people aren't going to want to sign you and- and that was the first timewe'd ever heard. Anything really negative about it because we were, inthis bubble of you, know te gay in the feminist worldand we were SOE young. So we didn't think anything like that could happen.We knew that being feminists. That was a big strikeagainst us n in the USIC world at the time, especially the potmusic world,but we didn't realize how you know how homophobic the music industry reallywas until that moment, and we just sort of lorked at each other anenlike thatyou know you were we weren't going to stop playing at prides and things likethat that, first of all, the gay audiences, an audiences stays with youforever Gaye, lesbian and transgender audience. If, if Um, you know, hasalways been like that, since the days of Judy Garland ar before that, if, ifUm, if we love you and I'm, including myself, 'cause, I'm a lesbian, Gay Nanin sight of his listenen body, you know I love something or someoneand they continue to support me and what I believe in. I follow them of aclip. You know, and I think that's what c e that's what the Lqe community does.So why would we? Why would we stop yperforming for people that wanted us to perform and that we wantedto perform for and that we were a part of that community so that never madesense to us and Yeat? It probably did stop us from getting sine to majorWAMELL and at the time and things like that, but I mean we're still here andthe music industry basically died. Ol...

...committed suicide. I mean it's stilltere in a different way, but just a much more independent arts Um. Ifpeople don't really buy albums or CDs anymore, ATS, all digitallme. So it'sinteresting what's happened. You know, I think it's exciting and and changes.I think change, not not that it's always good, but I think, if you're true to yourselvesand and support, even if it's not in fashion and yousupport, causes and people that you believe in then how can that be a bad thing everyou know. I grew up thinking that with my parents were activists and likeAllison's Tad was an ambassador d. He was one of tha in the second wave of black ambassadorships, a very few black ambassadors were appointed and he was one of them.So you know we grew up sort of being the outsiders anyway, so it made senseto continue to be outsiders, you know and who gave e Tock. You know I didn'tges whatever. As long as I was getting laid, I haven't. I had enough to drinkand I could play music. I was fine. We a few steps ad o me on on that one.No, I did on t e thought, you know, since you been involved apride withsuch a grass roots, kind of a festival and an experience. What's your take,you know, and you and I shared the stage M at pompsprings. Probably thislast year ate on he tan and lights, and- and it was very you know her well puttogether. T LC was was one of the headliners. But what do you guys thinkabout prime becoming more commercial bringing in mainstrimg popsingers totake the main stage? Do you I have resentment on that or are? Are yougrateful for that or what's your take on that Ienot presentment Um? I thinkanyone that supports the gay community deserves to play. I think if you're supporting the gay communityinways have or there's a difference between supporting the community and beembraced by it and then taking advantage of the Goy community. Whenyou haven't really Um playd pride to yourful career and then suddenly youdecide you're going to play price now, because it's an audience and m theywant you and they'll pay you. You know a lot of money at times. I think I don't know it's an interestingquestion. 'cause. I think when people come around to the fact that theyrealize that it's important to support, lqt c community then play on sister.You know let him play. I think I think it's great and I think that it'simportant for people who come to pride 'cause a lot of people hale come topride or allies and straight people and politicians, all of that and when theycome to be entertained, you know, but not to overlook the people. The up upand coming were artists. TRANSARTISTS UM. You know people who aren'tnecessarily well known but a part of...

...their community. I think it's importantto have a really nice balance between the new up and coming the people who'vebeen around forever and the people who are quite an pifamous. You know so, andI think that's what a lot of surprise are now, especially internationally. Iknow that because we play a lot of international prides. No, U, ladies, are activist Bettyrepresents gay lesbian, which is the same thing in my opinion, people ofColor. But how do you think the LGBT community can best support the blacklives matter movement? Well, I think we can best support it bylistening M, especially if we are people who areborn to privilege M in our skin color or in our financial demeanor. I thinkwe need to listen to people of Color. If we're in a rom of people color, thenwe don't talk, we listen and if we're in a room of people who are white, then we speak with the voice of whatwe've heard in the rooms of peopleof color, and that really has to happenmuch much more much. Much more, we have to really become intersectional in thetrue sense of all of us, seeking out places that make us uncomfortable andseeking out situations that we can share and grow and and have true equalityamong ourselves in the queer community, because I think that you know we dohave a lot of prejudices in the gate community in the Qear community,because we live in a prejudist country. We livein a rase this country, and how can you not be racist in one way or another,and that goes Um in all directions. So I think if welive sin, and if we understand that the people of Color in the queercommunity have a much more difficult time and um and not only are they sabotaged in their life by being queer.But on top of that, it's people you know they've been sabotage since they were born in a country thatdeems them as less so we as the queer community is Lgbttcommunity need to come together and elevate, the people of Color in ourcommunity and protect them and work together andlisten to what they need and what they haven't gotten and what I love about. What's happening,what I's scary- and I love it as well- I love that people are being called outon the racism. You know I, I guess I wasn't as aware of how much racism wasit in my own community until I actually thought about it, and I was like yeah,you go after that. Racist Person Posting that and then I had to selfreflact and think about you know: offhanded conments I've made that comefrom a very non malicious place, but now at different weight and meaning.Now you have to think about everything...

...that you're saying which at first I'mlikewell? U I'm a funny guy, I shouldn't have to be politicallycorrect, but now we're holding ourselves to to a different requirementand we are becoming more self aware and we're having to monitor what we say andit's not just monitoring what we sayand it's it's thinking about of the intentand what actually we're saying it's, not just a joke anymore. You knowthere', there's intent behind everything. An now we're being heldaccountable, which I love, but it's Ca, don what's important honey. Is thatwe're holding ourselves accountable? You know, because I think that's whenreal change happens. You know when you do look at yourself n and it's like. Oh,where did I learn that phrase and where did it actually come from, and why am Irepeating it again and why am I like continuing this culture of racism? Butthe exciting thing, too, is that once people are are awoken to the difference,the THA incredible, intense racism that we have in this country. They alsostart to realize how unbelievably missaganas it is, and I think those twogo hand in hand, and I hope that that awakening in America does coincide withthe freedom of women as well like passing the whole rights amendment andthings like that, because you know, if you have e ggay marriage, if you havemarriage between two women and two men, the two women are not protected underthe constitution, so you can be married and be gay Anawoma, but you're notreally protected, because we don't have e equal rights in tenman. Yet so that'san interesting thing to talk about that. Most people don't know most peoplealready assume that women are in the constitution and we're not we're not protected by the law. So that's something that's got TaChange. We got a lot of OGE doing this country girl a LO Y and I'm glad thatthe fire starting Wer win a long way to go. Okay, we're going to rap up. Areyou goint to play a little rapid fire with me sure Ogod? Who was the biggest DEVA OFBETTY ANY UMHAV? You hooked up with a fan? Aftera show many times, oh go, you workin, worts, onsnage, mishapp, Eli, O one in my face, going out onstage flat on my face and then I just crawled trom microphone Everten, likenothing happened. No also ave jumped up the stage and GE I ta job with Mikagetar at Ike,Sandiego prid with huge Peopyou, know huge audiences, and that parted and Ifell on my guitar and my face. I dislocated my shoulder o less of stuff, but it's I an roll go. Who would play you in the movie versionof Benty Galgadot run on e Ono, any bid of the pence. Ilove her so much yeah. I Love Godo Gallif you're watching! Please call me,I love you so much. I think she has a restraining order out again,...

...probably who is your guilty pleasure artist orwhat's your guilty pleasure song that you absolutely love? But it's like what having my baby, I was onteaching for my sister and herwife are having a kid. So they had a really outrageous. U Baby Shower, andso I dj, then every single song had to have baby or something in it and then,when I started playing having the Ba Day Welm, I love you. I realize I hatethe song, yet I love it much and then I played it over and over and Oer. Sothat is a sadly guilty pleasure because also don't get me started on the wholebaby thing at all: the Lese's having Babys tes, all right and Lok. U Tell everybodywhere they can find, follow and listen to Betty First Ol. I want to thank you Um for having me on your show, because Iactually love you show I did it live when I was in l a that one time. I loveyou, I think IU aabulous and they can find us by hello, Betty Dotcom, likeHelo Kitty and we're on instragrama betty verse and Betty Berse on Facebook,verse like Universe, vrse En pocast Blah Blah H, Blah you canjust go to hell or Betty dtcom, but really just talk to Alex 'cause he'sway more interesting than we are not you ait that Ha Been Ali Zif liefrom quarantine for Betty and that's our episode, I'Mor host and lead riderfor metrostors Ou Teneredriis. You can follow me on Instogram at Alaners onair. You can binge listen to all of our metro source, Menis betwe. All of yourable tolet er issues, the Betasorce they'll come until next time. Stay truestay Hubo all right! That has been another metrosorse. Manylike Shar, subscribe on your favorite podcast player and check out the latestissue of Metrihorse magazine on Newstans or online at metifort. Dotcomfollow US Onefaithbook, Instrogrammat, detesort and Ontanere meticors manatones time.

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