Sandy West

July 10, 1959 – October 21, 2006

In the summer of 1975, a 15 year-old drummer named Sandra Pesavento (going by “Sandy West”) met a 16 year-old guitarist named Joan Larkin (going by “Joan Jett”). They liked each other instantly and decided to start an all-girl rock band.

The Runaways released their eponymous debut album the following year. While it and the three albums that followed were never critical or commercial blockbusters, the band still had a profound impact on rock ‘n’ roll in the 1970s, ’80s and beyond. Jett went on to a legendary rock career. Guitarist, Lita Ford, also found a great deal of success as a solo artist. Original bassist, Micki Steele went on to join the Bangles and lead singer, Cherie Currie is now a chainsaw artist.1 But, for Sandy West, the end of the Runaways was the end of the ride. She still found ways to play and tour around California for a while, but she mostly had to rely on a number of other jobs outside of the music industry to get by. In 2004, she appeared in the documentary Edgeplay: A Film about the Runaways. About a year later, Sandy was diagnosed with lung cancer. Shortly thereafter, the cancer spread to her brain and she died at the age of 47. Members of the Runaways and other groups that were directly influenced by Sandy held a memorial concert in her honor. She is remembered as one of, if not the, greatest female drummers in rock ‘n’ roll history.

Burial

Forest Lawn Cypress – Cypress, CA

Specific Location

Garden of Protection, Block 20, Lot 4324, Space 3 –  On the eastern side of the Garden of Protection (Guardian Dr.) stop at the point where the low wall indents in – even with the statue of David in the distance. Go up the short steps and turn to the right (north) and find a large pine tree. Sandy is buried just 1 row behind (west) and slightly to the north of this tree.

1– She did other things, of course, but “chainsaw artist” sort of jumps out at you.

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