***June is Pride Month and all month long, KUTX is celebrating LGBTQ+ musicians who have shaped Austin’s music scene.***
Gretchen Phillips was raised in Houston, Texas. After moving to Austin in 1981, she dove headfirst into the city’s newly burgeoning punk scene. Inspired and awed by the unapologetic out-ness of musicians like Big Boys’ Randy “Biscuit” Turner and The Dick’s Gary Floyd, Phillips kept her sexuality at the center of her music by putting “the sex back in homosexuality.”
Phillips formed her first band, Meat Joy, which took home the Austin Chronicle Music Award for Best Avant-Garde Experimental Group in 1985. Following Meet Joy’s breakup, Phillips simultaneously formed, Girls in the Nose and Two Nice Girls – groups with completely different sounds but the same “dyke music energy.”
Two Nice Girls was asked to perform at the very first South by Southwest Music Festival, which led to the group getting signed by Rough Trade Records. The deal spawned three albums and memorable songs like “The Queer Song” and “I Spent My Last $10 on Birth Control and Beer.” Following the end of Two Nice Girls, Phillips went back to her experimental roots, forming the Gretchen Phillips Experience with other Austin music luminaries like Thor Harris and Andy Loomis.
After a brief stint in San Francisco, Phillips returned to Austin and formed the trio Lord Douglas Phillips with former Girls on the Nose bandmate Darcy Douglas and Sincola drummer Terri Lord. The many Gretchen Phillips’ projects march on and her music has served as inspiration for groups like Le Tigre, The Buchies, and Pansy Division. Gretchen Phillips was inducted into the Austin Chronicle Music Hall of Fame in 2001.