no-wave christmas pt 5: The Waitresses
To catch up on what exactly is going on, read this post first. A summary: Ze Records, 1981, no-wave and mutant disco, christmas.
The fifth track on the holiday compilation was from the Waitresses. Here is a Waitresses website.
The Waitresses existed for the purpose of performing the witty, often female-oriented songs of guitarist Chris Butler, who had previously led a series of new wave bands in Cleveland. The personnel of the band as of its 1982 debut album, Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful, was, in addition to Butler, singer Patty Donahue, backup singer Ariel Warner, reed player Mars Williams, bassist David Horstra, drummer Billy Ficca (a once and future member of Television), and keyboardist Dan Klayman. The group recorded two albums and a mini-LP in the early '80s.
The Waitresses' 1982 debut album, Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful?, was a unique and fairly important moment in early-'80s new wave, though the band failed to gain momentum from their success and effectively broke up within two years of releasing their first record. Lead singer Patty Donahue's singing ranged from a playful sexiness on the well-known hit "I Know What Boys Like" to a half-talk, half-yell with shades of post-punk groups like Gang of Four and the Raincoats on "Pussy Strut" and "Go On." The guitar and bass were bizarre and funk-influenced in much the same way as other well-known Akron, OH, groups like Devo and the Pretenders. Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful? was, in a sense, the brainchild of Chris Butler, who wrote most of the songs and co-produced the album in addition to playing guitar. Butler's version of new wave was danceable and fun, certainly, but witty and insightful lyrics were also an essential ingredient. Ultimately, though, it was Donahue's attitude that gave the music its personality and made the album a critical and commercial success.
Their subsequent EP further samples some of the Waitresses' smart new wave charm, including the silly but cute "Square Pegs" (theme from the short-lived TV show of the same name), the live recording of the ska-inflected title track, and the priceless "Christmas Wrapping," one of the best holiday pop tunes ever recorded (and some say pre-dating Blondie's foray into rap, Rapture). Patty Donahue died of cancer in late 1996. - AMG
5. The Waitresses - Christmas Rapping