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Essra Mohawk: Inklings

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INKLINGS 1984, Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine



SHE WAS PHILADELPHIA'S CONTRIBUTION to the Woodstock generation a full-voiced singer in the tradition of Laura Nyro and Phoebe Snow. "I still get lots of fans at local gigs who want to hear me do the '60s stuff," says Essra Mohawk, now somewhere in her 30s ("Numbers, especially age numbers, are meaningless"). "But that's not my current incarnation. I've moved on."


For the past 18 months, Mohawk has been fronting a seven-piece Philadelphia punk-rock band called E-Turn. "The music is very up," reports Mohawk, a resident of Northeast Philadelphia who once performed with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. "I used to be very unhappy and my songs reflected that. But I'm having a good time now and my shows are the proof."

And what is E-Turn? "It comes from a term that is commonly used in the future, which is a genetic mutation, which I am one of," says Mohawk, straight-faced. "There are lots of us up there in the future. It's a paradox in time travel." She giggles. "Of course, you have to remember I've had the longest ongoing adolescence in history."

What do today's rock audiences want from Essra Mohawk? "They want me to continue to wear hardly any clothes on stage," she laughs. "Rock audiences today want to be turned on, both visually and musically. I try to do both from beginning to and." Ax for the future, "I want to win a Grammy - that would never be anticlimactic. And I want to perform all over the world - Holland, Australia, even Neptune if they'll have me."



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