Reesa and The Rooters in Baltimore

by Reesa Marchetti

Suburban Wives ClubReesa and the Rooters button

From a More than Occasional but Less than Regular Marble Bar Performer
(See the '80s Philly indie music scene at Relive the '80s.)

[Click on the song titles below to hear live tapes and recordings.]

Reesa and Cherie of Reesa and The RootersAfter 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.

That 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.

News photo of Suburban Wives Club liveSWC 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 Marble dates.

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.

News photo of Suburban Wives Club liveMarble 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.

SWC card showing Marble Bar dateIt 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.

Yockel 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.)