Book Review: I Live Inside: Memoirs Of A Babe In Toyland – Michelle Leon

This is a great little memoir. In no way is it a self-indulgent or an “I’m so fucking rock and roll” book – it is a sweet, honest and sometimes a heartbreaking story. Michelle’s honesty throughout the whole book really gives it some credit and as a huge Babes in Toyland fan – this was the perfect antidote to a band that no-one really talks about. From her early days to the moment she quit the band, Michelle recalls a life of a nomad, a seeker, someone who wants to belong and find her voice. An awkward child that turns into a rockstar, now that is a great story to tell but Michelle doesn’t just stop there. Tales from the road, the people she met, the people she hated, she loved and lost, her volatile relationship with the band and those that decide to make her life difficult – there is no vitriol in her writing – she is simply telling us how it was.

A chapter, short but sweet I must add, that interested me was about Babes In Toyland being the “girl band”. Most women in bands will get those stupid questions from journalists regarding their gender. Boring! This is something that good women musicians will struggle with all their lives. Women can play instruments, they can write great lyrics and they can deliver as good as any other band -just because they have vaginas, it doesn’t mean they are inferior. No woman should be made to feel like they have to sell themselves in the music industry via their sexuality to be successful – if you do need to get your tits out to prove your worth then you need your head seeing to. Use your mind, your skills and what makes you you and fuck them via their hearts and their heads – that’s what music does to people. This is about rock and roll…not what you have between your legs.

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