Kendra was born on the 14th of March 1960 in Virginia: after she
had spent her youth in Germany, she began to play in 1978 at Davis (N.E. of SF), where with Russ Tolman, Gavin Blair (both future True
West), Steve Suchil and Steve Wynn formed The Suspects, that the following year
released a self-produced 7inch, scattering immediately afterwards, then Kendra moved to Los
Angeles pursuing her own path. Here in 1981 Wynn stood godfather to his own label
There, releasing a single as 15minutes; after the recording of
Morgens Parties Kendra decided to play again with him.
She, Steve and his friend Karl Precoda started, with a drummer called Randy, The Dream Syndicate; that denomination betrayed their passion for Velvets' atmospheres: it was the title of the album that Angus McLise and John Cale recorded in 1964 with Tony Conrad and La Monte Young, as well as the name of that joint.
The band, with Dennis Duck on drums (who was introduced to the others by Kendra), became the main attraction of the growing LA scene.
After carrying out two records in a period of nine months, Kendra (with Karl and Dennis) took part in Rainy Day's album, cementing her bond with David Roback of The Rain Parade, then she left her group, forming Clay Allison together with David, taking the name from a Far-West gunman.
In December 1983, during the
Emergency Third Rail Power Trip tour, there was Clay
Allison's live debut at Pyramid Club in NYC; the
month after Roback quitted officially his old band.
The new group saw several members follow one another round the leaders between the recordings and the releases.
At the end of 1985 they changed name becoming Opal and bore a second EP.
Finally, after a long wait, in the summer of 1987 their first shining album came out.
Kendra toured last time with Opal in November of that year. Hope Sandoval, hotly recommended by Kendra herself, took her place and laid the foundations of Mazzy Star's success. Afterwards Kendra left the scene, retiring into the country.
Her coming back was pre-announced by an obscure split-single with Keith Levene, then she gave us two splendid sonic jewels.
Thanks to Kendra Smith and her friend Regina Blackbird for the precious help.
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