Cougrzz Rock! Lives Up to Their Name
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.