Before the Runaways, before the Go-Go’s, before the Bangles – there was Fanny. David Bowie was quoted in a 1999 Rolling Stone interview about Fanny: “They’re as important as anyone who’s ever been, ever.” Fanny was led by the sisters June and Jean Millington, on guitar and bass, respectively. They defied gender stereotypes with sophisticated musical virtuosity, great songwriting, passionate singing, and a ferocious, kick ass, no-holds-barred attitude on stage.
John Seetoo: At a past AES convention, Waves Audio had a panel discussion featuring Chris Lord-Alge, Jack Joseph Puig and Tony Maserati. Their overall message to the audience was that they wanted the next generation of engineers to learn from the body of the work they have made available, and come back to blow their socks off. As you devote a significant amount of the Institute for the Musical Arts' (IMA) resources to teaching and training, do you have any alumni who have taken your lessons and done you one better? [The IMA's nonprofit mission is to support women and girls in music and music-related businesses. June Millington is a co-founder. – Ed.]
June Millington: Time will tell, but yes. That is, they’ve pulled alongside for sure. As for a lifetime’s body of work, well that is something I’m looking forward to both seeing and hearing (and certainly hope I will!). I’m super-interested, now that I’m [over] 70 and still going pretty strong. My view has certainly broadened, and I tend to see the arc rather than the arising and constantly-manifesting, and moreover brilliant pieces – which thrill me for sure! I can put bands/artists And the Kids, Who’da Funk It – independent artist Mal Devisa came out of that band – Naia Kete (also in band SayReal), Sonya Kitchell, Kristen Ford, Saera Kohanski (Wishbone Zoe), Jess LaCoy (aka Lioness per her debut CD), and Kalliope Jones firmly in that category. Incidentally, there have been many compositions written and performed at our Rock and Roll Girl’s Camps that go in that category, too. Amazing output, I have to say sometimes I am blinded by the light!
June’s sister, bassist and singer Jean Millington, suffered a stroke in January 2018. With the help of family and friends, she has been recovering, and the recuperation is ongoing, with the goal of getting back to playing bass. A GoFundMe campaign has been established to assist in medical bills and additional modalities of therapy, which are proving to be useful. Anyone who wishes to make a donation can do so here. You can also write to June Millington at email@example.com if you’d like to host a benefit for Jean. June is happy to come to your community (previous benefits include Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Pasadena, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Greenfield, MA, with one upcoming in Florida) — all that needs to happen is that her expenses are covered; everything over that goes to Jean.
Photo taken in Honolulu upon getting ready for the 1993 release of Millington's solo album Ticket to Wonderful. Courtesy of Neal Izumi.
June Millington’s autobiography, Land of a Thousand Bridges, can be obtained from IMA’s website.
For more information about June Millington and Fanny, please visit the following websites:
Header image courtesy of Marita Madeloni.
This article first appeared in Issue 81.