Whistlestop Rock

Whistlestop Rock is here! Whistlestop Rock brings a whole new dimension to the music world with a band–a festival–a common cause–a passion and great music!

Whistlestop Rock include Simone Berk: lead vocal, Lynda Mandolyn, Heather Rose, JoEllen Saunders Yannis: backing vocals, Linnea Herzog, Justine Covault: guitars, Linda Bean Pardee: bass. JoEllen from Cold Expectations, Lynda from Tiger Bomb, Cat and Gretchen from the Knock Ups, Linda from the Chelsea Curve, Simone from Kid Gulliver, Linnea from PowerSlut, Joan from Field Day,Heather and Lisa from Clover and Justine from Justine and the Unclean.

They play great power pop music that is fresh, original and catchy. Yes, they have the beat and rock with the catchy sounds made famous by the legendary Go Go’s and actually received the blessing from a member of the band to top it all off. And most important it is female powered and fueled for success!

“I blame Simone Berk, said Justine, who reached out to a number of local bands with strong women players asking about doing a show. Next thing you know it seemed obvious that it should be a BIG show, then a festival, then a touring festival.  That’s women rockers inspiring and supporting each other!” LINDA: “I still snort out loud thinking about the outlandish names bandied about for the festival before the moniker “Whistlestop Rock” came into being, (Not telling!)” LINNEA added, “Best group chat ever.” JOELLEN: “Definitely the best group chat. So fun. LYNDA: It really was the best group chat ever. Instant comradery!”

SIMONE said, “It was really a group project more than a band. The song idea came from some drunk group messages between the bands about potentially playing at a drive-in during the pandemic as a way to keep the tour alive. And I commented “I was the dry hump queen of the drive-in in high school.” With encouragement from the ladies,  I wrote the lyrics quickly and under the influence and sent them to Linnea without giving myself a chance to change my mind. She came back with the music the next day.  It was magic.” LINDA: “It WAS magic! Blew my mind!” LINNEA: “I had so much fun setting Simone’s lyrics to music! After “Queen of the Drive-In” was written, everyone recorded their parts independently. Hearing the final mixed version from Dave Minehan blew my mind. None of us had been in the same room, having recorded at the height of lockdown, yet all the parts fit together seamlessly. It sounded sooo good!” JOELLEN: “As a relatively new performer in the rock music space, having to record vocals at home to send in to David Minehan was extremely intimidating. The support I received from these veteran rockers was just wonderful, and the finished product was amazing.”  LYNDA: “The demo version was great, it was really cool to hear it all come together. And after we all put our parts on and heard the final mix, I was blown away!!! We were stoked!! Everyone did such an amazing job!”

Not only are they creating a following on their own but also getting support from Rock N Roll hall of fame member Jane Wiedlien of the Go Go’s! SIMONE said, “We were so influenced by The Go-Go’s (of course!) and I thought Jane might enjoy it. I emailed it to her and she immediately wrote me back that she loved it. I screamed. And then we all screamed. And we turned it into a photo montage. Seeing an email from Jane Wiedlin was a dream come true. I am an 80’s girl, after all.” LINDA: “I’m still screaming!” LINNEA: “Still can’t believe this was a thing!” JOELLEN: “That photo montage is so accurate and really does capture the excitement of hearing that a rock hero likes our song, and demonstrates the creativity that is bursting all around when we get together.” LYNDA: “Good thing we all had cool retro phones!!! It was a highlight to be sure!”

JUSTINE said, “Yes! We love women who rock, and we love powerpop. Idols!” SIMONE: “Queens!” LINDA: “Teenage me LOVED listening to the Go Go’s on the hi-fi, playing along to Kathy Valentine’s bass parts. Super cool role model! To actually see and hear women playing all the instruments made a huge impact on me.” “LINNEA: “Yes, I love them. Total rock pioneers and queens.” JOELLEN: “The Go-Go’s records never left my turntable in high school. Let me sing you all the songs”…LYNDA: “I saw them on the Vacation and Talk show tours. Talk Show is definitely in my Top 10!”

In addition to the Go Go’s they also have plenty of female influences. ” I JUSTINE “Bangles, L7, Joan Jett, Sheila E, Fanny, The Crystals, The Cookies. Carol Kaye, The Slits, Bikini Kill, ESG, Suburban Lawns, Nina Simone” SIMONE: “Chrissie Hynde, naturally” LINDA: “Yes! …and of course Debbie Harry. “LINNEA: “all of the above plus The B-52s, T. Rex, Sleater-Kinney, Elastica, Genya Ravan, Mitski, Japanese Breakfast, Torres, I could go on and on”…LYNDA: “Frightwig, The Muffs, Karen Carpenter, The Supremes, Laura Lee, A.C. Marias, Bilinda Butcher..”

Whistlestop Rock is not about to stop! Plenty of plans are in the works.  JUSTINE: “The new label is up and SMOKING! We played Queen of the Drive-In live for a festival crowd three weeks ago.  That was a thrill — the future for me is all about the Red on Red Records label.  Women rockers supporting women rockers, and also some men we respect and admire.  Getting great music to new audiences!  New releases every week, live or virtual showcases every month!! Also you know, world domination.” LINNEA: “Everyone on the label is releasing new music! It’s really exciting to take part. My new project Linnea’s Garden is gigging and finishing up our first album.” JOELLEN: “The bands on the label have been cranking out new music, new videos, getting so creative with virtual shows, and now super energized to play out. It’s an awesome wave to be riding. Cold Expectations just recorded 2 singles, and we have 2 live shows coming up, plus we’re psyched to show up for all the bands on the label when they play out” .LYNDA: “Some great things coming out on the Red on Red Record label. I am very impressed and proud of my labelmates who continue to put out such great quality music. I keep busy with my bands Tiger Bomb (songs for a third album in the works,) my shoegaze band Crystal Canyon (currently writing third record) and my new project with Lee Harrington, writing new songs and releasing a new single hopefully in September!!”

As for the band’s new feature video, Queen of the Drive-In, Justine said, “We were trying to figure out outdoor shows we could do safely in the summer of 2020. Drive-ins came up. High school came up. Memories came up. And it became a dirty little summer celebration song. The video followed the song and we all did exactly what we felt like doing, and Daniel Ouellette cut it together into something really fun!” SIMONE: “I had a smoking moment with a headless dressmaker’s dummy during that video. Also my dog Ralph makes an appearance” .JUSTINE: “OMG you and that dummy!  GET A ROOM!LINDA: I was all about the concession snacks. And makin’ out with myself. I *WISH*  I had a headless dressmaker’s dummy! 😂 LINNEA: I stood on top of a car and dry-humped my Fender Strat in a tiara.” JOELLEN: “I found an abandoned, completely overgrown drive-in. If only we could put on a show there!” LYNDA: “I still laugh at the headless dummy scene! 😀 But I did enjoy hula hooping on the ocean!”

 JUSTINE: “We had shows booked all over New England in the spring of 2020. We had to cancel everything after the first two shows because of the pandemic, but, those shows were game changers. Yes, together we can pack a hall.  Yes, together we can rock the world. It spawned great friendships, and virtual shows that helped us all through the dark times, and sparked the idea for Boston’s newest and hottest record label, Red on Red Records.  Make no mistake, women rocking together can do anything.”  LINDA: “Those two shows were AMAZING!”  LINNEA: “Working together with these rocking ladies has been empowering and inspiring. For me personally, the WhistleStop Rock festival was the close of a chapter with my old band PowerSlut. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be part of WhistleStop Rock and now the Red on Red Records label.” JOELLEN: “The vision of the festival was unique. The process of booking the festival shows, in some cities where we needed host bands to help set things up and promote, was innovative and impressive. The two shows we did have were so great, I’m glad they got to happen.” LYNDA: “I’ve never worked with such a supportive and loving group of musicians such as this. The talent and drive of this collective is beyond amazing. Very grateful to be part of this. This collaboration and support of these wonderful women saved me during the pandemic. Putting on the virtual aspect of the shows was a learning experience as well! Thankful that we all were able to still be creative!”



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