Ace of Cups Reunion

Rachael Wright

Photo Courtesy of

Arely Velazquez and Nima Francis

During the late 1960s, the need of music grew and during that time a group rose, called Ace of Cups. The group was an all-female rock band that formed in San Francisco in 1967 during the Summer of Love Era. The band stood out because of their line up and but were five women who sang and played their own instruments; their names were Mary Gannon, Marla Hunt, Denise Kaufman, Mary Ellen Simpson and Diane Vitalich 

According to Gannon, the all-female band members weren’t treated as equals in their previous band. They formed the all-female band so that they wouldn’t be treated as anything less than equal and for their music to be given an equal chance.

The group recorded their rehearsals and shows and played in high-profile venues, such as the Fillmore, the Avalon Ballroom and Winterland.  Labels showed interest but didn’t act on it and a few years later the band called it quits. The band lasted from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. It would be years until an Englishman would be the cause of the band’s revival. 

Alec Palao became fascinated with the 70’s and 80’s San Francisco music scene. Palao was so obsessed with finding more information on Jefferson Airplane, The Great Society, and Grateful Dead that he eventually came to find out about the Ace of Cups. The Ace of Cups caught his eye as it was an all-female band in the 80’s and 90’s; which wasn’t the most common things in that time period as the professional music industry was male dominated at the time.  

The band built a considerable following, something they didn’t expect. Soon the band was found by a New Yorker, George Wallace. When he started High Moon Records, in 2008, he flew out to hear them and offered them a chance to record an album, a gift to the band.  

On November 2018, their self-titled debut came out a double album with four of the original band members plus contributions from longtime friends including Buffy Sainte-Marieand the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir. They still hold the talent and energy that made them stand out 50 years ago, when they were only girls playing music and having fun.