60’s Band of the Week #5: The Ace of Cups

7 Jul

            Ace of Cups

             Welcome to San Francisco in the late 1960’s. Hundreds of bands crowded the acid-filled Haight Ashbury scene. Some made it big like The Grateful Dead. Some did not want the fame and preferred just playing the music and remaining entrenched into the scene. A good example of one of these forgotten about bands is San Francisco’s original all-woman band The Ace of Cups.

            The story of The Ace of Cups is quite interesting and the list of the bands they played with is remarkable. Hendrix to Slick to the Dead to the Band. I know I was surprised to. If you are into 60’s music this is a must check out. An incredibly rare find in the seemingly endless list.

Band: The Ace of Cups

 Origin: San Francisco, California

 Genre: All-Girl’s Garage Rock

 Founded: 1967-1972

 Original Lineup:

 –          Denise Kaufman: Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals

–          Mary Ellen Simpson: Lead Guitar, Vocals

–          Marla Hanson: Organ, Piano, Vocals

–          Mary Gannon: Bass, Vocals

–          Diane Vitalich: Drums, Vocals

 Name: The Ace of Cups name comes from the Tarot card which portrays five streams flowing from a cup and representing the five senses. This symbolizes possibility and also the five women who started The Ace of Cups.

 History: As I said the history of this band is small but quite interesting. Their concert history is even more interesting and in the fun facts below you will see who they performed with. Yet, let us get to some history.

            The Ace of Cups was formed during the crazy psychedelic rock scene in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco. Most of the band sang and wrote but the real lead member was Denise Kaufman who did the majority of both writing and singing. Denise had been a member of Denise & Company in 1966 and released an obscure garage rock single.

            Despite receiving recognition as a great band they never were signed to a record deal. Apparently they had opportunities to sign with three separate labels including Warner Bros. but either the management or the band themselves thought they were not ready. Families were started by band members and slowly the opportunities faded. In 2003 a combination of music was released as a compilation, “It’s Bad for You But Buy It.”

Ace of Cups

 Album: Check out the compilation disc that can be acquired through mail. You can find info about it, as well as samples on the bands official website.

 Fun Facts:

 Did you know

 –          Jimi Hendrix gave the band a brief plug in a December 1967 issue of Melody Maker. He had performed with them shortly after the Monterey Pop Festival in the Golden Gate Park panhandle.

–          They commonly played with Quicksilver Messenger Service

–          On April 17 and 18, 1969 they played with The Band on the first date The Band was known as The Band rather then The Hawks.  

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