The GTOs

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The GTOs
The GTOs in 1969. Left to right: Miss Christine, Miss Cynderella, Miss Sandra, Miss Mercy, and Miss Pamela.
The GTOs in 1969.
Left to right: Miss Christine, Miss Cynderella, Miss Sandra, Miss Mercy, and Miss Pamela.
Background information
OriginLos Angeles, California, United States
GenresExperimental rock, psychedelic rock, comedy rock
Years active1968–1970
(one off reunion: 1974)
Past members
  • Miss Pamela
  • Miss Mercy
  • Miss Cynderella
  • Miss Christine
  • Miss Lucy
  • Miss Sandra
  • Miss Sparky
GTOs 1969 logo.svg

The GTOs (Girls Together Outrageously) were an all-girl group from the Los Angeles area, specifically the Sunset Strip scene. Active for only two and a half years (1968–1970) with a single reunion in 1974,[1] their only album, Permanent Damage, produced by Frank Zappa, was released in 1969.


  • Miss Pamela, born Pamela Ann Miller (later Pamela Des Barres) on September 9, 1948, in Reseda, California, is the most commercially successful of the GTOs.
  • Miss Mercy, a.k.a. Mercy Fontenot, was born Judith Edra Peters in Burbank, California on February 15[2] or 16, 1949.[3] After the breakup of the GTOs in 1971, Fontenot married the guitarist Shuggie Otis. They divorced, and their son Lucky Otis (also a musician) was raised by his grandparents, the R&B musician Johnny Otis and his wife Phyllis. Miss Mercy died on July 27, 2020.[2]
  • Miss Cynderella (also spelled Miss Cinderella) was born Cynthia Sue Wells (later Cynthia Cale-Binion) on January 26, 1952, in Los Angeles, California. Wells married John Cale of The Velvet Underground in 1971, but the marriage was rocky, and they divorced in 1975. Cale's song "Guts" opens with the line "The bugger in the short sleeves fucked my wife" (referring to Kevin Ayers' sleeping with Wells in 1974).[4]
  • Miss Christine, born Christine Ann Frka on November 27, 1949, in San Pedro, California, was the first babysitter for Moon Unit Zappa, Frank Zappa's first daughter. She is shown on the front cover of Frank Zappa's 1969 album Hot Rats emerging from an empty swimming pool on Errol Flynn's former estate in the Hollywood Hills. She dated rock musician Alice Cooper and is credited with creating his stage persona.[5] Frka also dated Todd Rundgren and Russell Mael; Frka died on November 6, 1972, of a barbiturate overdose in a house in Cohasset, Massachusetts, which at the time was being rented by Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers.[6] She overdosed shortly before her 23rd birthday.
  • Miss Lucy was born Luz Selenia Offerrall[7] in Puerto Rico. After moving to Los Angeles, she met two of her future bandmates, Miss Pamela and Miss Sparky, at the house belonging to Vito Paulekas. Miss Lucy was not an original member of The GTOs; she joined the group after the recording of Permanent Damage.[8][9] She later left the group, claiming they were becoming too commercial. She was married to the late Gordon McLaren (bassist for a New York City band The Groupies) from 1975 to 1981. As an actress, Miss Lucy appeared in 200 Motels (1971), Video from Hell (1985), and Uncle Meat (1987). She died in 1991 of complications from AIDS.[10][11]
  • Miss Sandra was born Sandra Lynn Rowe (later Sandra Leano and Sandra Lynn Harris) on January 18, 1949, in San Pedro, Los Angeles. She was in the group only a short while before becoming pregnant by Cal Schenkel, Frank Zappa's official artist-in-residence. In publicity photos for the band, she is shown late in her pregnancy, with a big star painted on her stomach. She moved back to San Pedro with her infant daughter, Raven, and, after the GTOs broke up, married Bradley Harris. They had three children together. Sandra died of cancer in Albion, California, on April 23, 1991, at age 42.
  • Miss Sparky was born Linda Sue Parker[12] in 1948 and was renowned for driving a Hudson Hornet in the late 1960s on the Sunset Strip.[13] She and Pamela Des Barres attended Cleveland High School (Los Angeles) together.[14] She recorded a vocal track (credited under the pseudonym Sharkie Barker) on the song "Disco Boy" on Frank Zappa's album Zoot Allures (1976)[15] and was once employed by Universal Studios and Disney's Hollywood Studios. After leaving The GTOs she moved to New York and married an actor.


Pamela Miller and Linda Parker met around 1966 while attending Cleveland High School in Los Angeles. Christine Frka traveled to Los Angeles from San Pedro with Sandra Rowe, and both lived in the basement of Frank Zappa's Log Cabin at 2401 Laurel Canyon Boulevard in the Hollywood Hills[16] in 1968. Frka was the live-in nanny for Zappa's eldest child Moon Unit before Miller took over the following year. Judith Peters had emigrated from the Haight Ashbury to Los Angeles due to "boredom", alleging she "couldn't be a hippie forever." Cynthia Wells was brought into the group by Peters after the nucleus of the group had been formed. This accounts for Miss Cynderella's presence in some, but not all, of the GTOs' publicity shots. Lucy Offerall also was not an original member but joined after the recording of Permanent Damage.

The group initially called themselves the Cherry Sisters but soon changed to the Laurel Canyon Ballet Company. Frank Zappa later changed their name to the GTOs, which he described as "an acronym which, as Stanley Booth wrote, could mean Girls Together Outrageously, Orally, or anything else starting with O."[17] On their album's inner sleeve, the acronym is also defined as "Girls Together Occasionally", "Girls Together Often", and "Girls Together Only".[18][19] Miss Lucy stated in an interview that the latter name is what it stood for, though it is understood by most that the name on the album, Girls Together Outrageously, is the name of the group.[citation needed]

The members were connected by their association with Zappa, who encouraged their artistic endeavors despite their limited vocal skills. The group performed live "only 4 or 5 times",[13] although they created a strong impression at their December 1968 performance at the Shrine Auditorium opening for The Mothers of Invention, Alice Cooper and Wild Man Fischer. A mix of theatrics, singing, dancing, wild costumes, and unusual lyrical content were staples of their act. Their only album, Permanent Damage (Straight Records), was produced in 1969 by Zappa with the assistance of Lowell George and Russ Titelman on tracks 7 and 11. The latter track also features Titelman's brother-in-law, guitarist Ry Cooder, and both appear on Captain Beefheart's Safe as Milk album. Track 5 "The Captain's Fat Theresa Shoes" is a GTO comment on Beefheart's taste in footwear (his cousin Victor Hayden had introduced him to Pamela Des Barres). The songs are mixed with conversations among 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, Craig Doerge, and Davy Jones. A young Rod Stewart is featured on track 14. Permanent Damage was re-issued on CD in 1989 by Enigma Retro.


Other releases[edit]

Four tracks from Permanent Damage also were released on Warner/Reprise Loss Leaders compilation albums:

  • "Do Me in Once and I'll Be Sad, Do Me in Twice and I'll Know Better (Circular Circulation)" – on Zappéd (1969);
  • "Kansas and the BTOs"; "The Captain's Fat Theresa Shoes"; and "The Original GTOs" – on The Big Ball (1970).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pamela Des Barres (1992). Take Another Little Piece of My Heart. William Morrow & Co. pp. 22-3. ISBN 978-0688091491.
  2. ^ a b Chris Campion, "Miss Mercy, colorful L.A. rock fixture and cofounder of Frank Zappa’s GTOs, dies at 71," Los Angeles Times, July 31, 2020.
  3. ^ Ehrlich, Brenna (28 July 2020). "Miss Mercy, Frank Zappa Muse and GTO Co-Founder, Dead at 71". Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  4. ^ What's Welsh for Zen by John Cale and Victor Bockris (1998)
  5. ^ "SickthingsUK - THE Unofficial Alice Cooper Site". Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  6. ^ "The Modern lovers Live Radcliffe 27-10-1972 – Tapecity Live Music Sharing". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved February 6, 2010.
  7. ^ "Girls Together Outrageously: Contract signed by the GTOs, Frank Zappa's all groupie group". 26 September 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  8. ^ Slaven, Neil (November 17, 2009). Electric Don Quixote: The Definitive Story Of Frank Zappa. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780857120434 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ "miss lucy".
  10. ^ "Lucy Offerall - New Songs, Playlists & Latest News - BBC Music". BBC.
  11. ^ "Lucy Offerall - Zappa Wiki Jawaka".
  12. ^ "They're With the Band". Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Perfect Sound Forever: The GTO's". Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Known As: Miss Sparky, Linda Sue Parker, Sparky Parker. Romantically Linked to: ? Also See: The GTO's". Archived from the original on 18 March 2020.
  15. ^ "GTOs, The". Nostalgia Central. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  16. ^ "The Rock and Roll Treehouse". Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  17. ^ Booth, Stanley (1984). The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones. New York: Vintage Books. pp. 65. ISBN 0-394-74110-2.
  18. ^ "SickthingsUK - THE Unofficial Alice Cooper Site". Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  19. ^ "The GTO's". Rolling Stone. 1969-02-15. Archived from the original on 2014-08-08.

External links[edit]