Bionic Buzz® got to cover NAMM Show 2020. There we got to interview Ace of Cups. They are an all-female psychedelic rock band from the 1960s San Francisco scene, released their self-titled debut album via High Moon Records late last year to widespread critical acclaim, including features on NPR All Things Considered and CBS This Morning. The album was produced by Dan Shea (Mariah Carey, Santana, Jennifer Lopez) and features contributions from long-time friends of the band, including Bob Weir (Grateful Dead),
Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna), Taj Mahal, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Peter Coyote, and Steve Kimock. From 1967 to 1970, Ace of Cups – Mary Gannon (Bass), Marla Hunt (Organ, Piano), Denise Kaufman (Guitar, Harmonica), Mary Ellen Simpson (Lead Guitar) and Diane Vitalich (Drums) – were at the epicenter of the ‘60s cultural and social revolution. From the Acid Tests to the protests, from the free concerts in Golden Gate Park to the ballrooms of San Francisco, they shared stages with everyone from The Band to the Grateful Dead.
Ace of Cups – Photo by Lisa Law
The Ace of Cups’ name came from the Tarot card: 5 streams of water flowing from the hand of the Almighty and the 5 girls going with the flow to see where this music would take them. It took them to the Straight Theater on Haight St., the Avalon Ballrom, the Fillmore, where Bill Graham introduced their opening, the Carousel Ballroom, on the road with Jefferson Airplane to Vancover, Canada and to Winterland opening for The Band. In Chicago, where they opened for Muddy Waters and Michael Bloomfield, they went to the south side with renowned drummer Sam Lay where he had the Ace of Cups play at his club.
Not bad for a girl group just wanting to write and play their songs!
Despite eliciting music industry interest for their exceptional songs, sublime harmonies and exuberant live performances, Ace of Cups never got the chance to make their own album, until 50 years later.