Classic Album From The Rockbrat Collection: The Pandoras – Rock Hard


The hot, horny, amped-up tones of ‘Rock Hard’ are a far cry from the 60’s garage pop sounds that this L.A unit once emitted. The early Pandoras (who’s influences varied from the Standells to the Seeds) were at the forefront of the Paisley Underground movement back in the early 80’s and with the 1984 release of ‘It’s About Time’ on Voxx, they found themselves under the music media spotlight. A split in the ranks resulted in two outfits gigging under the same name. The mess was eventually untangled, by which time lead queen Paula Pierce had garnered new recruits in Melanie Vammen, Karen Blankfeld and Kim Shattuck. ‘Stop Pretending’ saw the light of day in 1986 and is a flawless display of melodic garage punk. Easily another candidate for ‘Lost Wax’ it contained the glorious ‘In And Out Of My Life (In A Day) – one of the best written tunes of the decade and on a planet where pure rock governed the airwaves, would’ve nestled itself at number one. A deal with Elektra ensued for whom the Pandoras cut the ‘Come Inside’ album. The deal caved in and the album remains in the vaults (these cuts finally saw the light of day with the recently released ‘Psychedelic Sluts’ CD). Under the roof of a new label (Restless), Pierce and Co. powered up and cut 1988’s ‘Rock Hard’ – a fiery EP which heads towards heavy rock territory. Two new gals – drummer Sheri Kaplan and cute rhythm guitarist Rita D’Albert joined the group and in my opinion bolstered the band somewhat. Leather, loud guitars and songs about sex alienated a lot of old Pandoras fans and many jumped ship. Damn shame cause this album really is awesome. Sure you can hear traces of the Runaways here and there, but this blazing tank carries a six song artillery that crushes a path all of it’s own. ‘Run Down Love Battery’ borders on HM and contains that trademark Paula Pierce scream. The captivating blonde possessed oodles of talent and was an underrated lead guitarist. Her cutting solos throughout this album are confirmation enough. ‘Six Times A Day’ and ‘He’s Coming’ are bump-and-grind groovers that would get the thumbs-up from Wendy O’Williams and should blow your speakers. Choice cut is the dark and brooding ‘Tryin’ Ain’t Good Enough’, an ace pulled from the Pierce deck, with a sharp solo, warm vocals and a pulsating rhythm pattern to boot. ‘Lost Wax’ like no other, pencil this album on your shopping list now. This line-up also recorded a live show in Dallas resulting in 1989’s ‘Live Nymphomania’ album. A short time later, Kim Shattuck and Melanie Vammen left the Pandoras and formed the Muffs. Paula Pierce was in the process of assembling a new band when she died tragically of an aneurysm on April 10, 1991, aged 31- the world is a sadder place without her. Peter Philbin from Elektra once accurately stated “If the Bangles were the Beatles, the Pandoras would be the Rolling Stones”. Like Brian Jones from the Stones, Pierce was an immense talent and she left behind a gathering of wondrous recordings that for many, remain undiscovered. Go discover

3 thoughts on “Classic Album From The Rockbrat Collection: The Pandoras – Rock Hard

  1. Just a note: the Psychedelic Sluts CD was a Greg Shaw-created bootleg of the demos the band had ciculated when jumping from Rhino to Elektra. Their unreleased LP “Come Inside” made while under that label, has never been released anywhere officially or unofficially.

    1. That’s crazy that that the produced album never got released. I’ll check out the demo comp, but hope they release the finished record soon.

  2. Thanks for sharing such a thoughtful and informative review and giving this overlooked group & record some more exposure and it’s due!

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