Top Five Greatest Female Rock Bands From L.A.
Yesterday, the Go-Go's were recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. What made the fan-packed induction ceremony particularly sweet was the star's placement, in front of the former site of legendary L.A. punk club The Masque, where the band played their first ever live gig. At the Velvet Margarita party afterward, Jane Wieldlin snapped pics with fans, while DJs Don Bolles and Big Daddy Carlos spun rock tunes, heavy on the girl groups.
There's no doubt the Go-Gos were among the best all-girl rock bands from L.A. -- and, for that matter, the world. But who else makes the list? Here's our top five. Remember, 100 percent girl groups only!
As part of the Paisley Underground '80s scene, The Pandoras were a fave both for their groovy duds -- mini dresses and go-go boots -- and their psych-pop rock stylings, through their releases with Bomp Records. They evolved into more of a hard rock band near the end of their run, signing with Electra. With enthusiastic support from Rodney Bingenhemer on KROQ and consistent club gigs, The Pandoras were poised for stardom, but with frequent member changes over the years and the sudden death of the band leader Paula Pierce at 31, it was never to be.
Lady line-up notes: Kim Shattuck (the Muffs) and Rita D' Albert (creator of Lucha Va Voom) were both in the band at various points.
Both heavy and humorous, L7's impact went beyond their bold, brash music. They founded Rock For Choice, a pro-choice women's rights group that galvanized both girls and guys through concerts and events. Still, they're most remembered for their antics. During the '92 Reading Festival, the band had some technical difficulties that led an agitated crowd to throw mud at them. Singer Donita Sparks proceeded to remove her tampon on-stage and hurl it back at them. A even more badass moment in L7 history? Their brilliant airplane banner ad at the 1999 Lilith Fair in L.A., which read, "Bored? Tired? Try L7." (They also had one for Warped Tour in New Jersey: "Warped needs more beaver... Love L7.")
Originally part of the '60s resurgence in late-'80's L.A., The Bangles (originally The Bangs) became more accessible and pop radio friendly over time. With the comely Susann Hoffs up front, the band scored fans of both genders -- even Prince, who wrote "Manic Monday" for them.
Had Joan Jett not become the most famous L.A. female rocker of all, The Runaways place in rock history might be somewhat less significant. (There wouldn't have been a movie about them, anyway.) Still, their style and sound -- not to mention how young they were when they broke out -- has inspired a new generation of guitar-wielding girls in garages, even without a Kim Fowley to guide them.
Lady line-up notes: Revolving bassists.