Drummer of the Week: Karen Blankfeld of the Pandoras

This week I’d like to go a little retro, twice over in fact. The Pandoras were an eighties band that had a psychedelic sixties style. Their sound changed a bit during their 1983-1991 run. I think their best sounds were their early garage punk hard edge styles.



Although the band went through several different members, it was founded by front woman Paula Peirce, who was insistent on using authentic 60’s instruments and clothes to establish their retro image. My favorite roster included Julie Patchouli, who played bass and also manages the bands website and MySpace, Melanie Vammen played keyboards, and on the skins was Karen Blankfeld.




The Pandoras released a lot of music during their time recording various LP’s and EP’s with such labels as Voxx, Rhino, and Elektra. Karen eventually moved on to front a group of her own called the Rebel Pebbles who released their debut album Girls Talk in 1991. I think she was one of the most underrated drummers of her time. The Female Drummer Newsletter thinks so too ranking her #44 on their list of the 100 greatest female drummers of all time.

By the Pandoras obtaining this level of moderate success, I feel makes their mystique all the more special. It’s made of the type of stuff that cults follow. It seems to me that Courtney Love may have modeled herself partly on Paula Pierce. Coming from a time where the Bangles and Go Go’s where topping charts with the pop music model at the time, Paula’s vocals were poignant and edgy and eventually became legendary. Tragically, Paula passed away of an aneurysm at the tender age of 31.

Karen Blankfeld_the Pandoras_female drummers_tomtommagazine
Karen Blankfeld_the Pandoras_female drummers_tomtommagazine

Alex Carulo

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