The Cougrzz are an all female tribute band who describe themselves as “fast, fierce, and on the prowl,” and take pride in not being “your mom’s cover band.” Members include Grace Richardson on vocals, Roseann Aldrete on guitar, Jeannette Jacques on bass, Chrissy Marquez on drums, Susan Joyner on keys, guitar, sax and percussion, and Crystal Portillo on vocals and percussion. The Cougrzz are known throughout Southern California for songs ranging from classics from every decade to today’s hits. They have opened for and shared the stage with many famous musicians and DJs, and are successful in their solo projects also.
The Gazette had the privilege of asking these lovely ladies a few questions. They will be performing at the Saugus Swapmeet this Sunday, September 28, so make sure you check them out!
1: Where did you get the inspiration for your name?
Since our girls represent more mature females that know what they want, don’t mess around, and have plenty of looks, confidence and talent, we came up with Cougrzz Rock! I like to say we’re like the Pussycat Dolls with 20 years experience. We’re not necessarily on the prowl for young studs, but we’re all about Girl Power and Reinvention. We want to inspire all females, young and old, to follow their heart and their passion!
2: Is there one particular type of music you enjoy more than the others?
We have a special affinity for ‘80s music, especially since we also offer a show called “Totally Go-Go’s, a Musical Tribute.” We capture the essence of the worry-free ‘80s in this 60-minute ride including tracks off the Go-Go’s groundbreaking first album, “Beauty and the Beat,” and follow up albums. They were the first all-girl band to top the Billboard charts,
3: In a world that is more or less dominated by male cover bands, what does your all female group offer that others don’t?
We’re definitely unique in the marketplace. Most bands are all male or female-fronted all male. The beautiful thing is that we’re not just a gimmick. We play songs made famous by male and female fronted bands through the decades. Three members share lead vocal duties, so we have a wide variety of genres, full of rich vocal harmonies. We actually have the talent to back up our concept. Our band members are bona fide professional musicians, with music degrees, years of performing experience, some of us teach music, and we have original songwriters in the group as well.
4: What can listeners expect from a Cougrzz show?
Well, we’re all girls, so we love to dress up! False eyelashes, fishnets, bling, animal print, leather … you never know! We cover all genres of music, which is one of our greatest selling points. We cover classic rock, disco, ‘80s,’90s and Top 40 songs that everyone knows and loves. We choose songs that are fun, fem-powering, and that highlight our strengths. We have the most loyal fans out there, and we love them. They are helping us build a #CougrzzNation! Our band represents having the courage to go for your dreams.
5: Where can fans go to see you next?
We will be back in the L.A. area on October 17 for Carnival Encino at Our Lady of Grace Parish, 5011 White Oak Ave., Encino, CA 91316.
Go to www.cougrzzrock.com for a full schedule.
Who said girls can’t rock as hard as guys?
When classically trained musician, Chrissy Marquez, asked herself this very question, she was shocked to discover that many industry professionals didn’t believe in gender equality.
“It was surprising to realize, when I started booking the band four and a half years ago, how narrow-minded some people can be,” Chrissy Marquez, founder of the Southern California all-female cover band, Cougrzz Rock! said during a recent interview. “I’ve been turned down many times as a result of preconceived notions of our ability to rock.”
Back in 2008, Marquez, an accomplished musician and professional dancer, was reevaluating the direction of her life and realized that you only have one chance to realize your dreams.
With a goal of starting an all-girl band, Marquez found it increasingly difficult to find band mates that matched her vision; including the right age, look, sound and energy level.
“Since it was a start up band, many women passed up the opportunity because they couldn’t share our vision for the future or they wouldn’t commit to the project. Or, they just didn’t have the chops,” she said. “Most girls our age have families, financial responsibilities, careers, etc. so the challenge of finding time to dedicate to a band is so daunting, most wouldn’t consider it.”
After an exhaustive search, the line up for Cougrzz Rock! was finalized, with Marquez on drums and vocals, lead vocalist, Grace Richardson, Roseann Aldrete (guitar), Jeannette Jacques (bass), Susan Joyner (keys, guitar, saxophone, percussion, vocals) and Crystal Portillo (percussion and vocals).
Playing all over the Inland Empire throughout the month of August, Marquez realizes that the band name, Cougrzz Rock!, may conger up some misconceptions and urges audiences to focus more on the “rock.”
“Since our girls represent more mature females that know what they want, don’t mess around, and have plenty of looks, confidence, and talent, we came up with (our name),” Marquez said. “We’re not necessarily on the prowl for young studs, but we’re all about girl power and reinvention. We want to inspire all females, young and old, to follow their heart and their passion.”
Clad in fishnets and leather, the playlist for a Cougrzz Rock! concert runs the gamut of musical genres and decades, including everything from classic rock to disco to top 40 hits; making their audience as eclectic as their show.
“We appeal to all age groups and we’re probably the only band around that specializes in 50th birthdays and 5-year-old mosh pits,” Marquez said. “Our versatility is key. We can be family friendly when we need to be, and we have a naughty side as well, which can be fun.”
In an industry saturated with cover bands and tribute acts, Cougrzz Rock! has absolutely found their niche.
“We’re definitely unique in the marketplace,” Marquez said. “Most bands are all male or female-fronted all male. The beautiful thing is that we’re not just a gimmick. We actually have the talent to back up our concept. Our band members are bona fide professional musicians.”
Although Cougrzz Rock! has established a loyal fan following, Marquez and her band mates know there will always be skeptics who don’t understand what exactly it is they are doing.
“I don’t spend much of my focus on the ‘no’s’ and try to steer our band towards venues and booking managers who appreciate our music and our positive vibe,” she said. “When we encounter new audiences, we can see their curiosity before we start but, soon after we’re into our set, they realize we are having a blast and that our number one goal is to help them have a great time.”
Whether you’re a hardcore rocker, or just an advocate for women’s rights, the success and popularity of Cougrzz Rock! solidifies the ideal that anything is possible, no matter what your age, gender or goal.
“Our band represents having the courage to go for your dreams, in spite of the barriers that come between making your dreams a reality,” Marquez said. “We want our fans to let loose and enjoy life and just go for it.”
For ticket information and complete concert schedule, visit cougrzzrock.com.
Cougrzz Rock, a five woman cover band, is bringing their jaw dropping musical talents to Long Beach this January. Having just wrapped-up a whirlwind 2013, while being named the Inland Empire Magazine’s Cover Band of The Year, these lovely ladies are kicking off the New Year with two shows in Long Beach at Malarkey’s Grill on Jan. 11th and KDB (at The Pike) on Jan. 25th. Although Cougrzz Rock isn’t a stranger to Long Beach, as they regularly perform all over Southern California (as many as 10 shows a month), their powerhouse ensemble is ready to make Long Beachians start their fist pumping action in 2014 to popular songs spanning five decades and will leave us all begging for more.
Grace Richardson offers up lead vocals that are rich in sex appeal during each performance by belting out hits with passion that can exceed the original music-makers. Rosann Aldrete’s guitar riffs rival many of those of big name guitarists (past and present) and she has even mastered the feat of playing her guitar behind her head, which will just completely blow everyone’s mind. Chrissy Marquez brings a rare occurrence to the stage, as she both plays the drums & provides background vocals simultaneously, where she does so without hesitation and doesn’t miss a beat. Crystal Portillo brings her sultry southern accent and country fried roots to stage with background vocals and percussion stylings like no other. Jeannette Jacques offers up a bassline that will steal your heart, as you feel it go up your spine and then bring you to your knees.
These women give new meaning to the saying, “You play like a girl!”, because these girls most definitely rock and their 20+ years of experience speaks to how women of all ages can take the music world by storm. For an evening of pure Rock & Roll entertainment, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to rock-out with these ladies that are ready to fiercely prowl the Long Beach music scene in 2014.
Missing Persons, of 80’s fame, may have been the headliner at this full capacity 600 seat venue on Saturday night, April 6th, but their opener, Cougrzz Rock!, had the Marquee 15 show-goers rushing the stage; arguably stealing the show. At 10:15pm, the six scantily, fishnet and corsette-clad cats went on and gave their audience a performance well-worth the $20 price of admission. Lead singer, Grace Richardson, has a very fun, disarming rapport with her fans that welcomed the audience, metaphorically-speaking of course, to become one with the music. With a 10 song rock tribute set list, the girl-power infused selections paid homage to divas through the decades... ranging from The Runaways’, Cherry Bomb, to Lady Gaga’s, Born This Way. All presented with crowd-pleasing, dramatic aplomb and musicianship to match. These women may be easy on the eyes, but their music will rock
your ears off. During one of Roseann Aldrete’s flammable guitar solos during Sweet Child Of Mine, a swarm of fans and photographers nearly ended up on stage they were so sucked into the song. The first-class, studied and seasoned musicians and vocalists that make up Cougrzz Rock! added an authenticity to the covers performed -- with the ability to deliver signature riffs and solos true to the originals,but adding their own fl are. Most of the band members are artists and songwriters in their own right, which gives the Cougrzz Rock! sound a unique, signature delivery. Lead Grace is supported by Background Vocalist -- Crystal Levy Portillo, Drummer/Vocalist -- Chrissy Marquez, Bassist -- Jeannette Jacques...and shredding Carvin Guitars endorsed Guitarist -- Roseann Aldrete. In fact, and a testament to their rocking prowess, the entire band is additionally endorsed by Carvin Guitars...
Talking after the show with Cougrzz Rock! Drummer and Manager, Chrissy Marquez, I learned just how in-demand this band is right now: “We’re currently playing over 10 shows a month. In February we opened for Great White and are in negotiations to open for Cherie Currie, Dramarama and Berlin...and since merch is a critical element in our branding, we’ve been working with the producers at Estevez Wood Productions studio in Los Angeles to track, mix and master a fully produced promo album that we’ll be selling at shows...We’re super happy with the work and having broadcast-ready recordings that sound amazing!” In addition to my own questions for the band, they were bombarded postset by a radio DJ interested in interviewing them for an L.A. radio show... and one voting member from the L.A. Music Awards approached the lead vocalist to announce that he’d like to nominate her for Vocalist of the Year -- and nominate the band as Cover Band of the Year. Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons, their venerable headliner, even joined in the Cougrzz Rock! spirit
proclaiming: “I’m the ultimate Cougar!”...Judging from her MTV videos back in the day...that may well be true -- she’s pretty hot! -- but my money’s on the ladies of Cougrzz Rock! for being the ultimate at what they do: rocking out, having fun and making sure everybody in the house is entertained, bar none.
-Catharine Wood, Rock n Roll Industries Magazine, November 2013