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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mary Weiss, Girl Groups Punk Rock Queen

Billy Miller, Mary Weiss & Greg Cartwright

That would be Mary Weiss lead singer of the legendary girl group, The Shangri Las who turned my, and most girl's worlds inside out with their true-to-life interpretations of true-to-life scenarios. If you don't remember "Walkin in the Sand," or "Leader of the Pack," tune in to oldies radio. But you needn't go back 40 years to enjoy Mary Weiss. In the photo above, she's in a recording session with co-producers Billy Miller and Greg Cartwright. That record is out now! Dangerous Game, on the Norton Records label.

The former teen queen has always kept her keen eye on the music scene, and who knows what she thought when punk bands like Blondie started having success, no doubt inspired by the girl group phenomena led by the Shangri Las. Then there's this whole other amazing slew of punk girl groups who took their cue from the girls of the 60s: The Runaways who were the leader of the punk pack, all the way to the current crop of girl groups like The Donnas and everyone in-between. I think we owe it all to the Shangri Las and their musical sisters.

MW and RS

While in the studio with The Reigning Sound, (whose Greg Cartwright co-produced the album and contributed several songs) Mary delighted us all by answering our inquiring questions about what it was like being a Shangri La, playing shows opening for the Beatles and stuff like that. Mary's stories aren't mine to tell (but click her link and visit Norton Records website for a comprehensive intervew/Q&A for that!), but I can tell you that Mary Weiss and the Shangri Las were definitely the punk rock girls of the 60s. They experienced all the sturm and drang they sang about with heartfelt teenage angst. And then they went away.... til Mary's 2007 comeback.

mary with RS

I have to hand it to Mary Weiss. She was ever so thorough in her choices to make a record in the 21st Century. Not only did she completely check me out before saying yes to me shooting these candid photos and some for her record (see the insides! the lovely cover is a shot by Roberta Bayley, whose work you should know... her photo is the iconic first Ramones album!), she checked out co-producer Greg Cartwright too. Mary Weiss is probably just as familiar with the Reigning Sound, Compulsive Gamblers and Oblivians as anyone rading this, or whom I know who's lived in the punk scene. Mary Weiss and the Reigning Sound, pictured above on a hot and humid Brooklyn valid as ever, while still bringing home the iconic 60s sound that launched the music we know and love today.

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