By Erika Meyer
To me, what was interesting about the 80s and 90s was not so much a handful of bands centered around Seattle (though some of those bands were pretty good and a few still are), but the music and art created by different underground and punk communities of the era. Sub Pop packaged Seattle for public consumption, but there was lot of good music and art created in the northwest outside of Seattle.
Here are three female-fronted 80s bands from Portland, Oregon who helped create that heavy rock sound which became popular in the 90s.
The Obituaries (1986-1990)
Monica Nelson and Rob Landoll formed the songwriting core of the band, and Regina LaRocca played bass (the bass player pictured on the TV is, I believe, the original bassist, Laura O’Donnell). They went through a few drummers.
The Obituaries were one of those bands which quickly became popular in Portland and Seattle. They were exciting and beautiful and their performances edgy and unpredictable. They released a cassette and EP, had some unmixed master tapes destroyed in a fire at Dogfish studios (a few other Portland bands were in the same boat), toured the US, released a CD of back recordings in 2007 and have played occasional reunion shows since then. Monica Nelson, who has lived in New York City since the early 1990s, continues as a solo performer. She also writes poetry and is active in petitioning the U.S. government to provide health care for those suffering from illnesses related to the toxic dust in the air of New York City shortly after 9/11.
The Obituaries wonderful bassist, Regina La Rocca, has played in several bands including M99, Cautic Soda, and Lethal Dose. She continues to play around Portland.
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