The core of The B-Girls infamously met in ’77 in the washroom during a Thin Lizzy concert in Toronto. Even before anyone could even play an instrument, they decided to form a band around Lucasta and Cynthia Ross (no relation) on vocals/guitars and bass, and Lucasta’s friend Xenia Holliday (real last name Splawinski) on guitars. Lucasta grew up with the business in the household, as her father Mort Ross produced radio and TV jingles and operated Revolver Records.
Revved up from Lizzy and frustrated with the lack of girl rock bands, they decided to form their own group. The only problem was not one of them could play an instrument. Nonetheless, Cynthia’s sister Rhonda joined in on drums, and the girls began practicing together and played their first gig that fall opening for The Viletones at the gay bar Club David’s. Lucasta began going by the stage name Lucasta Rochas. They infused a brash punk style with flippant fun rock and a little bit of beach music. They formed their own fan club called The B-Set and before long they were one of the hottest acts in town. They became regulars at all the off-Queen Street hot spots like the Crash ‘n Burn. They played the Horseshoe and headlined all-girls shows at The Opera House. They were also the first band to ever get on stage at the famed El Mocambo without having been signed to a label.
As their popularity grew, they decided their best move was to relocate to New York. There, they resisted every temptation to let men in suits try to remodel and choreograph them while bringing in studio musicians. And when they weren’t sleeping on floors, they were practicing wherever they could (usually the worst parts of town) and added their Hispanic landords to their growing legions of fans. They were added to a stellar lineup of acts that walked through the doors at the hottest clubs in New York – The Peppermint Lounge,d CBGBs, Hurrah, and Max’s Kansas City. Along the way, it wasn’t unusual to see other members of the punk clique jump on stage to join them for a few numbers, like Joey Ramone or Joan Jett, in between the Runaways and The Black Hearts.
Polygram reps came calling, as did people from Stewart Copeland’s IRS Records. But the latter eventually gave up on the girls and found another group of rocker chicks to promote, The Go Gos. California based Bomp! Records eventually came calling. Owner Greg Shaw offered them a deal, then whisked them off back home to the studios with Bob Segarini. They released the single, “Fun At The Beach” b/w “B-Side” in the spring of ’79. Reception was good, and the 45 was issued in the UK and Germany, and the single was also added to a pair of Bomp’s own compilations. They also found themselves that year providing background vocals on the Stiv Bators/Dead Boys album.
But it wasn’t long before Rochas wanted to go off and do her own thing (the night before opening for The Clash’s Toronto debut), and Rhonda left soon after, as well. A revamped lineup saw Holiday and Cynthia Ross reform with guitarist Renee Chetsky and drummer Marcy Saddy (ex of Demics), and would open for The Clash a year later.
They continued on the North American punk circuit, and did bg’s on Blondie’s AUTOAMERICAN album in 1980 (after the band saw them at LA’s Whiskey A Go Go), and on Disconnected’s self-titled debut a year later. They also released a low-budget video for their “High School Dance” which got decent rotation. But members gradually started to veer off in different musical directions, and eventually split up by the summer of ’81. But such was their influence that The Riff Randells went on to record several of the B-Girls’ tracks – “Fun at the Beach,” “Who Says Girls Can’t Rock,” and “I’ll Be Your Alibi.”
After leaving, Lucasta formed Minutes From Downtown, and scored huge with “Wrapped In Velvet.” A few years later, she took over the catalogue at her late father’s label, and by this point everyone else had pretty much dropped out of the business all together after the group disbanded. Cynthia Ross worked for a time for the City of Toronto, then around 2013 started a new group, New York Junk. Saddy became a visual artist and percussionist working in the London, Ontario area.
In ’97 WHO SAYS GIRLS CAN’T ROCK was released on Other People’s Music. Along with the infamous debut 45, the album was a hodge podge of the original sessions recorded by Segarini, as well as remixes and demos over the years, including sessions recorded by Blondie’s Debbie Harry, Ronny Abramson, Mick Jones, and Craig Leon. It also included three live cuts from ’78 to ’81.