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tapes and recordings.]
After nearly three years with the Rooters,
and frequent artistic differences between me and my brother, I started writing
songs on my own. “Guru
Eye,” based on an article about Mao Tse-tung’s wife, was the first
original tune we performed that had been written sans Larry.
I believe the Rooters played at least one Marble show in 1982.
I remember a winter night when an ice storm hit and all the cars on I-95 started
skidding. We thought for sure the Marble would be closed, but as we slowly
continued south, we saw the roads into Baltimore were clear. The Bar opened on
that freezing night.
summer, Cherie and I jammed in Philly with drummer Ann Frances at an outdoor
concert. We clicked immediately, and decided to put together Suburban Wives Club
as a Rooter side project. But almost as quickly, the Rooters broke up.
SWC performed some of the Rooters songs, although in a more minimalist fashion.
I set aside the Farfisa and concentrated on guitar to record “Guru Eye” as our
quick-and-dirty single, b/w “Casual
Cat at a Laundromat.”
LesLee booked The Wives at the Marble Bar on Saturday, Nov.
13, 1982. We also played once when I was very pregnant on Nov. 25, 1983. (The
news photos were taken at a show two weeks prior — I gave birth on Dec. 20.) My
notes on SWC are not as precise as for the Rooters, so I’m not sure of the other
When my station wagon died, I acquired a big old Chevy van
that The Wives, our roadie, Country Bob, and all the equipment fit easily into
for the trip to Baltimore.
Bob would hang our pink stage backdrop (actually a queen-sized
sheet) with stenciled letters and dancing-iron logo painted on by Cherie and me.
We performed new tunes such as “Dedicated
to Fun,” my edition of the mythological jerk’s story combined with
imaginings about Adolf.
Bar-goers embraced The Wives' specialty — songs with lighter lyrics than the
Rooters tunes ("Chocolate Freakout," "Chocolate Kisses," "Diaper Road": you get
the picture). Since we were a trio, I couldn't go out into the crowd as much but I
still did crazy stage routines, even getting Cherie involved in musical
calisthenics during "Fat Thighs." Cherie displayed her songwriting talent for
the first time with the heavy-metal ballad "Danger Zone."
By 1984, SWC was an underground hit receiving global media
attention, including a national TV feature on “Evening Magazine.” Shortly after
the program aired, I called LesLee to inquire about a booking when she gave me
the shocking news that Roger had died. At first, she told me, she thought he was
joking when he collapsed on the floor while cleaning up after a show.
It was hard to imagine LesLee in the Marble Bar without him.
The two of them were a musical couple, and working there was unlike any of the
other clubs we played because they were on our side.
reviewed SWC's “Heavy Iron” cassette album in a February 1985 City Paper, but the trio was on its way toward dissolving by then.
(SWC card listing November 1983 Marble Bar appearance. Note: I got the date
wrong; the 24th was a Thursday. My mother, Edith Laskey, drew the picture.)