THE ORCHIDS (1980)


THE ORCHIDS
MCA-3235
MCA Records
1980
US

BIO:
An all girl pop/rock band verging slightly on New Wave, THE ORCHIDS were created and managed by KIM FOWLEY and featured bassist Laurie McAllister who had replaced Vicki Blue in THE RUNAWAYS for a short period before they fragmented.

THE ORCHIDS were formed rather ironically from two Bomp Records Kim was producing at the time, Vampires From Outer Space and Hollywood Confidential. Blonde bombshell drummer Laurie Bell had recorded the track 'If You're Gonna Change Your Heart' for Vampires. The album also featured Laurie McAllister playing bass and singing lead in the group BABY ROULETTE AND THE RAVE ONS on a tune entitled 'Black Orchids'.

Laurie McAllister was also featured as lead vocalist on a tune called "On Suburban Lawns" on Hollywood Confidential, that was billed as The Runaways. Laurie Bell had actually worked with Fowley previously on his Sunset Blvd album, appearing on the improvised title track. Joining forces with Laurie Bell and Laurie McAllister were vocalist / guitarist Jan King (from Spitfire and The Wads) and guitarists Sunbie Harrel and Che Zuro, who Fowley recruited from Backstage Pass.

THE ORCHIDS, as they became known, released an EP on Kim Fowley's Mystery Records and signed to MCA Records for self-titled album in 1980. One single was released entitled "When Does Love Turn Out Right?". A promotional video of "Blame It All On The Night" aired one time on the pre-MTV video program called "Hollywood Heartbeat" in the summer of 1980. The final Orchids gig was in December of 1980 in the San Fernando Valley. Shortly after the Orchids break-up Laurie Bell formed the short-lived all girl metal band Tantrum.

Jan and Che recorded a demo under the name Valentine and soon after Che Zuro flew off to the UK to replace singer Wendy Wu in The Photos. When the label passed on the demos that were recorded, Che returned to Los Angeles. Laurie Bell and Che Zuro both appeared in the 1984 film "Get Crazy" and shortly thereafter formed "Puss n Boots" with singer Jan King. Both Jan and Che have continued music careers, Che in the Los Angeles area and Jan in Chicago.

Jan King: vocals, guitar, piano, synth
Laurie Bell: drums, percussions
Laurie McAllister: bass guitar
Ché Zuro: lead guitar, piano, synth
Sunbie Sinn: guitar, piano


L to R: Laurie Bell, Ché Zuro, Sunbie Sinn, Laurie McAllister Front : Sindy Collins
(circa 1979)

L to R: Laurie McAllister, Laurie Bell, Sunbie Sinn, Ché Zuro Front: Jan King 1980

Los Angeles based, Orchids began in 1979 by then former Runaways manager Kim Fowley, who's idea it was to form a Runaways like band, and though dismissed by few as such, the Orchids were far from a Runaway's clone band. Drummer Laurie Bell and the Runaway's last and final bassist Laurie McAllister were at the forefront of the band's start up,proving much like the Runaways did, the Orchids were far from Fowley controlled puppets and proved their talent to any skeptics. The Orchids play pop rock music that bordered new wave, the current music trend gaining popularity at that time, the band released one Ep under Kim Fowley before being signed to major label MCA, then lead vocalist Sindy Collins was not of age and not contractually signable and was soon replaced by vocalist Jan King, and the self titled debut album was released in 1980, MCA did little to support the album and the band broke up a year after it's release and only three years after they began, drummer Laurie Bell would go on to form the all female band Tatrum and later,Puss N Boots a hard rock female band along with Che Zuro and vocalist Jan King, bassist Laurie McAllister would pass away in 2011 as well as original lead vocalist Sindy Collins as well.

by She Rox All Female Bands


L to R: Sindy Collins, Ché Zuro, Laurie Bell, Laurie McAllister, Sunbie Sinn (circa 1979) © Brad Elterman

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