Tuscadero: “Queen for a Day”
Today on Reselect we have a lost gem of the ’90s, from a little-known, maybe little-remembered indie rock group, Tuscadero. Named of course for Leather Tuscadero, Suzi Quatro’s character on the ’70s TV show, “Happy Days,” they released only two full albums, the latter of which was 1998’s My Way or the Highway. It’s full of fun, candy-coated pop-punk numbers that make for a great listen all the way through, and although I haven’t heard all of their earlier album, which sounds a bit rougher around the edges, word has it that it’s equally enjoyable. The band’s sound is like the B-52s crossed with the Buzzcocks, and in a similar vein as other ’90s bands like the Muffs (although the Muffs are more like Hole crossed with the Buzzcocks) and That Dog (which is supposed to be “that dog,” minus any capitals, according to the way they always wrote it — but that always seemed a bit silly to me, so I’m not complying).
The similarity of sound among the songs on My Way or the Highway leads me to believe that the band didn’t leave themselves much space to evolve, had they continued on after this album, without some major overhauling of their sound — but for what it was while it lasted, it did the trick. And the best of the bunch leads off the album: “Queen for a Day.” The lead vocals, by either Melissa Farris or Margaret McCartney (no apparent relation to you-know-who, if it’s even her real last name), are a dead ringer for Kate Pierson of the B-52s. It’s got a nice, chunky guitar sound, and the sitar-ish guitar bits add an interesting twist. It’s catchy as all get-out, the kind of song that just sticks with you all day. And I’m sure you’ll agree that wouldn’t be such a bad thing…