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Sunday, March 06, 2005

The B-Girls

Cynthia Ross, here with Stiv Bators, was the bass player for Toronto's girl group, The B-Girls. Among other things, they made a cool and influential record called "Who Says Girls Can't Rock," and sang backing vocals for Blondie on "The Tide Is High" on the album, Autoamerican.

Stiv brought Cynthia to the United States in 1978 for a vacation -- they were in LA part of that time, and Stiv introduced Cynthia, his fiancee at the time, to his regular whirlwind LA hot spots and brought me and my camera along as well. This visit is well documented in the photo column I used to have in Rock Scene (which I will have to scan and post soon). They posed for pictures with Rodney Bingenheimer in his Hollywood apartment; they took in some tourist sites and posed with them - did you know Stiv's feet fit perfectly into John Wayne's footprints in front of Grauman's (now Mann's) Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd.? They went to KROQ and we took pictures of them with all the DJ's. They posed in front of Hollywood High School for a b-movie promo pic, and in front of a marquee advertising the singing duo of Kenny Rogers and Debbie Boone. That was pretty funny. Rock Scene ran that as a half-page shot! Also, we visited Joan Jett , who was my neighbor across the street, and there was much levity in our picture taking. Those shots ended up in Creem. You'll see them soon.

When the whole band finally came to the States to tour - there was much more fun and picture taking to be had. At the time, the gentlemen's magazines liked to cover the punk girl groups and my photos illustrated a four-page editorial spread about women in rock - mostly punk - in Swank magazine. I don't think the magazine ever returned my slides, but I'll scan the article -- the B-Girls wearing crisp, white men's shirts and nothing else, jumping up and down on the king size bed at the Tropicana, having a pillow fight was the big picture upon which foundation of the page was laid out! I loved doing that photo session! Of course, Stiv was the art director. He posed for a picture with the Girls, and that was published in Creem, and it was used in the CD Booklet of a B-Girls reissue - and I don't even have a copy of it. I saw it at a friends house....

The B-Girls dressed in sorta Catholic school girl outfits and were like the Ronettes meet the Ramones. Rodney on the ROQ embraced them - and they even did an on-air interview with him just prior to their Whisky A Go-Go show. I remember driving super fast between Pasadena and West Hollywood to get the girls to their gig on time. Debbie Harry came to see them at the Whisky - the photo opportunity from that backstage visit resulted in a picture of the B-Girls, Debbie, Sabel Starr, Rodney and Blondie bassist, Nigel Harrison. Years later, that photo would end up in the biography of Debbie by Cathay Che, called "Platinum Blonde." It was published by Andre Deutsch, if you're looking for it. If you find it, you will find about four of my photos in it!

Of course, a year later, Stiv and Cynthia were no longer engaged and at the Whisky, Sabel Starr was posing for pictures with Stiv.

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