Misses Christine, Cynderella, and Sparky photographed by Baron Wolman
at the A&M Studio in Los Angeles, November 1968.
. The contact sheet is featured in Wolman’s newest book, Groupies and Other Electric Ladies.
Linda Parker was a schoolmate of Miss Pamela’s at Reseda’s Cleveland High School in the nearby San Fernando Valley. On weekends, the pair of teenaged beauties would often hitchhike from Reseda to the Laurel Canyon Country Store, where they’d hang out in the parking lot, in hopes of meeting young musicians. Linda was a huge fan of all types of music, and, influenced by her outgoing girl friend, Pamela, heartedly embraced the new sounds emanating from the hills of Laurel Canyon.
Nicknamed “Sparky”, the petite co-ed also loved to dance, especially the new liberating ‘free form’ style of her new friends, Vito & Szou Paulekas. In a Rolling Stone article (Feb. 15, 1969) about the GTO’s, Miss Sparky is described as “small and dark and sexy”.
“The GTO’s are a sociological creation of Frank Zappa’s. He didn’t create the GTO’s; he merely made a “group” of them… and now is presenting them. According to Frank, G.T.O. stands for Girls Together Occasionally, Girls Together Only, or Girls Together Often. Girls Together Only are lesbians. But the GTO’s (the group) are not lesbians; they are merely girls who happen to like other girls’ company.“ – Rolling Stone magazine, February 15, 1969
The group: Miss Pamela (Pamela Miller aka Pamela Des Barres), Miss Christine (Christine Frka), Miss Sparky (Linda Sue “Sparkie” Parker), Miss Mercy (Judith Edra Peters aka Mercy Fontenot), Miss Cynderella (Cynthia Sue “Cindy” Wells), Miss Lucy (Lucy Offerall), Miss Sandra (Sandra Leano)
Originally known as “The Laurel Canyon Ballet Company”, they changed their name to The GTO’s on the advice of Frank Zappa, their financial supporter and producer. The new name is an acronym which, as Stanley Booth wrote, could mean “Girls Together Outrageously or Orally or anything else starting with O.” The acronym has also been defined as “Girls Together Occasionally”, “Girls Together Often” and “Girls Together Only”. Miss Lucy stated in a filmed interview that the latter name is what it stood for.
The members were connected by their association with Zappa, a complex musician who encouraged their artistic endeavors, despite their limited vocal skills. Performances by the group were infrequent, although they created a strong impression at their 1968 performance at the Shrine Auditorium. A mix of theatrics, singing, and dance were staples of their act. Their only album, Permanent Damage, (Straight Records) was produced in 1969 by Frank Zappa with the assistance of Lowell George and Russ Titelman. It also features Titelman’s brother-in-law, guitarist Ry Cooder, both of whom appear on Captain Beefheart’s Safe As Milk album. The songs are mixed in with conversations between the members of the group, friends, and others, including Cynthia Plaster Caster and Rodney Bingenheimer. The album features songwriting contributions from Lowell George, Jeff Beck and Davy Jones. A young Rod Stewart also pops up on the vocals of one track.
“The GTO’s (which stands for Girls Together Outrageously) were a loose collection of groupie-chicks that collected around the Frank Zappa/Mothers of Invention/L.A. Rock-N-Roll scene in the late 60’s/early 70’s. The point of this amalgamation of super-groupies was to attract as much attention as possible (which they did) from rock gods and other celebrities, via a combination of freaky makeup, clothes and behavior (which was often spurred by rampant drug use and abuse). In terms of originality and inventiveness, most of the GTO’s looked pretty rad…” – Pamela Des Barres