The year was 1987. Walking into my favorite record store on Tuesday (new release day), I was greeted by three gals and a dude I'd never seen before. No, it wasn't that the store had hired a gaggle of new clerks to wait on me hand and foot, but that a promising new band was beckoning to me from the New Releases rack.
That the band was 3/4 female might seem like reason enough for this red-blooded American male to have made the purchase, but the reason I ultimately went home with sisters Kristi and Kelly Callan, Heidi Rodewald, and David Nolte without needing to hear a note of it was because I saw it was produced by Don Dixon (he of R.E.M. and Smithereens fame) and released on the esteemed Enigma label out of charming (unless you've been there) El Segundo, CA.
That's not to say that this writer bought everything that carried the Enigma label. Poison's Look What The Cat Dragged In had come out the year prior and I had managed to skip right over that one for obvious reasons, but there was something about Wednesday Week that had all the tell-tale signs of being a "keeper".
Sadly, what little press the band received seemed to compare them to the Bangles and Go-Go's, which must have been a complete bummer for a band trying to stake their own claim in the still-fertile west coast music scene trying to find itself in the wake of the Paisley Underground and new wave scenes.
As proven by the subsequent success of Poison's album, indie-rock would ultimately stand little chance against the burgeoning hair metal scene that would soon sweep the Sunset Strip like a bad case of the clap, but Wednesday Week's debut long-player stands as a valiant last gasp for a movement that had spawned dozens of iconic acts.
The album itself is a jangly delight that personifies the innocence, confidence, and exuberance of coming of age in L.A. in the '80s while, at the same time, not sounding at all like an L.A. band.
While the Callans were the principal songwriters, I found myself gravitating to Rodewald's contributions to the album, "Forever", "Missionary", and the band's first single "Why". Additionally, her muscular, yet melodic bass playing was the band's secret weapon. So imagine my glee at seeing the inimitable Mojo Nixon introducing the band's video for "Why" on MTV, only to realize very quickly that Rodewald was a no-show in the video.
Considering that the song the band was playing was her composition, I can't imagine how weird that situation must have been.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, the band had previously cut a video for Rodewald's "Missionary" (which she sings lead vocals on).
The remaining trio of the Callans and Nolte would eventually cut a second album, No Going Back, on their own in 1990 before calling it a wrap.
In the years since, Kristi Callan all but confirmed that my musical trust in her was not misplaced by going on to form an all-girl Cheap Trick tribute band, among other projects. Wednesday Week has gone on to reunite for periodic shows around L.A. as recently as 2014, when the band that recorded What We Had.
Rodewald, of course, was a longtime member of The Negro Problem and collaborated with Mark Stewart on the Broadway smash "Passing Strange".