The Pandoras were an all-female American garage/punk/hard rock band from Los Angeles, CA. The band was formed in 1983 by singer/guitarist Paula Pierce and bassist Deborah Mendoza, but went through many line-up changes over the years. The Pandoras began as a retro ’60s garage rock band who found fans in Hollywood’s “Paisley Underground” scene with bands like The Three O’Clock and The Morlocks. But, later they took a left turn onto the Sunset Strip becoming a hard rock band similar to bands like Poison and Mötley Crüe. Sadly, The Pandoras ended on August 10, 1991, when Paula Pierce died, suddenly, from an aneurysm. Pierce, like Bianca Halstead of Betty Blowtorch, was taken way too soon. Former Pandoras guitarist Kim Shattuck and keyboardist Melanie Vammen went on to form the cool pop/punk band The Muffs.
The Pandoras‘ debut full-length, It’s About Time (1984), on Voxx Records, was retro in such an authentic way that if you didn’t know you’d think it was recorded in 1966. The catchy title track opens with a ringing Rickenbacker, tambourine and Paula’s reverbed vocals for ’60s pop perfection, before Paula snarls her way through the grungy rocker “I Want Him”, my favorite track. Later, she does the same on “Want Need Love”, another favorite, which re-works the signature riff to the Kingsmens‘ “Louie Louie”. And, “Going His Way” re-works the riff to The Standells‘ “Dirty Water”, while “High On a Cloud” recalls The Animals. “Haunted Beach Party” is a fuzzy surf instro perfect for the soundtrack to a ’60s beach party movie where Frankie and Annette trip on LSD. “Hot Generation”, a relatively successful single not on the album, was a cover of a song by the Australian ’60s garage band The Sunsets.
Stop Pretending (1986), on Rhino Records, was less authentic, more retro, sounding like ’60s garage rock recorded in the ’80s and it was awesome. “In And Out Of My Life (In A Day)” is one of the best singles of the ’80s that you never heard, and one of my favorite songs in this genre. I would love to hear that song covered by so many different new bands. But, this excellent LP had other great tracks like “I Didn’t Cry”, “That’s Your Way Out”, “You Don’t Satisfy” and “The Way It’s Gonna Be”. An earlier version of “That’s Your Way Out” is included as a bonus track on the CD release of It’s About Time. After this release, The Pandoras were signed to Elektra Records and a third album, titled Come Inside, was recorded but never released. Many of those tracks eventually surfaced on the bootleg Psychedelic Sluts! (1997). Some of those tracks had a classic ’70s power pop sound, especially the infectious “Hard On Me”.
Watch The Pandoras performing “You Don’t Satisfy” live on TV here:
Watch the video for “Run Down Love Battery” here:
1984 – I’m Here I’m Gone (Moxie Records) [EP]
1984 – It’s About Time (Voxx Records) [Album]
1984 – “Hot Generation/You Don’t Satisfy” (Voxx Records) [Single]
1986 – Stop Pretending (Rhino Records) [Album]
1986 – “In And Out of My Life (In a Day)/The Hump” (Rhino Records) [Single]
1988 – Rock Hard (Restless Records) [EP]
1989 – Live Nymphomania (Restless Records) [Album]
1997 – Psychedelic Sluts! (bootleg) [Album]