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Published on August 11th, 2020 | by Ron Spizziri

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Ron’s Album Picks – The Pandoras

In another edition of Ron’s Album Picks, Ron pays homage to one of the rare female punk groups to break onto the 80s alternative scene.

The mid-80’s were not particularly kind to rockin’ girl groups and female solo artists as far as garnering airplay or record sales were concerned. For example, the Top 100 Billboard Singles for 1984 included such acts as The Pointer Sisters, Pat Benatar, Bananarama, Sheila E, Olivia Newton-John, Nena and Tina Turner. Pop-rock fans wanting to hear some genuine rock’n’roll by female artists had to resort to exploring various underground music scenes around the world, mainly via fanzines and alternative music publications and then face the difficult task of finding records by groups featured in the periodicals.

In 1984, an all-girl group called The Pandoras released a four-song 7-inch EP which caught my attention and made me eager to hear their forthcoming debut full-length album. The Los Angeles-based foursome was led by singer-songwriter-guitarist, Paula Pierce. Shortly after the release of their ep, The Pandoras released their debut full-lengther, It’s About Time. Trouser Press Record Guide aptly described the group thusly: “The unashamedly 60’s-obsessed Pandoras are revivalists in the best sense of the word, recapturing the gleeful amateurism of vintage garage-punk-pop while adding their own cheerfully slutty persona to the mix.”

It’s About Time, whose brightly-hued cover showed the quartet in all their paisley-loving glory, featured 60’s-styled garage-rock, complete with snarling vocals and Farfisa organ. The album ended up in the number one position on my annual Top Ten Album list, as featured on my weekly CFCR-FM radio program, Nightwaves.

I had the good fortune to attend a Toronto club appearance by the Pandoras shortly after their album release. (After having to decide between seeing them or The Chesterfield Kings, who were playing in another club that same night.) One fond memory I have of that evening was Paula Pierce passing by me on her way to the bar just before showtime to get a bottle of what looked like vodka to take onstage with her. And, like their album, The Pandoras did not disappoint in concert.

Paula broke up the band just before the debut album came out and put together a new lineup of The Pandoras. The group went on to release a number of fine albums, evolving into a hard-rock band. Sadly, Paula died of a brain aneurysm in 1991 after returning home from her daily workout at a gym.


About the Author

Ron Spizziri

grew up in Toronto in the 50s and 60s, building up a record library (which became an addiction early on and continues to this day). After moving to Saskatoon in 1979, he got into the “music biz” in a big way – running a record store (Records on Wheels), producing and hosting radio and TV shows, promoting concerts, doing some freelance writing, and starting up a record label (Rockin’ Rod records). Luddite that he is, Ron still favours vinyl analogue recordings over all other forms of recorded music.



2 Responses to Ron’s Album Picks – The Pandoras

  1. Man, the Pandoras were a fun band (as were Rochester’s own Chesterfield Kings, of course). I saw them play at Irving Plaza. Was it the Tryfles that opened for them? I saw a lot of garage revival shows back them. Saw the Kings many times, and have had the pleasure to hang out with lead singer Prevost on many occasions. I don’t know if I would call the Pandoras punk rock, but definitely garage (though, of course, to Lenny Kaye who coined the phrase, he referred to garage as punk in the early 1970s). Unfortunately, that was the only time I got to see the Pandoras live (RIP Paula). Their “It’s About Time” album was their best release, their later music was a trying a bit to hard to be MTV-compliant. Now about another all-women garage punk band, The Brood…

  2. Kim Kurtenbach says:

    This is a hot tip, Ron. Nicely done. The follow-up album two years after It’s About Time sounds pretty slick, too. Thanks for pointing us all in such a good direction!

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