Nikki Corvette is one of the unsung heroines of the birth of pop-punk and a trailblazing female rock artist, mixing girl group harmonies and pop hooks with no-nonsense rock & roll years before Blondie made such things commercially viable. Born and raised in Detroit (though her family also spent time in New York City, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles), Nikki developed a taste for Motor City rock & roll early on -- the first concerts she attended included gigs by Iggy & the Stooges and the MC5, and she was on hand to witness the latter band's final show. Nikki also became pals with the New York Dolls when they first played Detroit, and later joined them on the road (she claims David Johansen once helped her write a paper for her high-school English class). In 1977, with punk rock helping to eliminate the line between fans and musicians, Nikki formed the group Nikki Corvette & the Convertibles, with Nikki singing lead and Lori Jeri and Sally Dee harmonizing. The group released a single in 1978, "Young and Crazy" b/w "Backseat Love" and "Criminal Element," and began playing regularly throughout the Midwest. In 1980, the group, now known as Nikki & the Corvettes, signed a deal with the legendary punk/power pop label Bomp Records, and released its self-titled album, with Peter James (onetime guitarist with the Romantics) leading the band backing the singers.
While the album became a much sought-after classic among fans of female-led punk-pop, it didn't sell well, and Nikki was disappointed that her vocals were sped up in the mix (a fault that was corrected when the album was reissued on CD in 2000). In the early '80s, Nikki pulled up stakes and moved to Los Angeles, but her career stalled on the West Coast and within a few years she'd dropped out of the music business. Nikki remained a passionate rock & roll fan and wrote a book about some of her departed musical heroes, Rock 'n' Roll Heaven, which was published in 1997. The Nikki & the Corvettes album, meanwhile, had developed a passionate cult following, and Nikki was pleasantly surprised to hear the Donnas name-check her group in a song on their first album. In 2001, Nikki came out of retirement to play a concert in Los Angeles, and the show went well enough that she appeared at a festival in Minneapolis in 2002. She assembled a new band, Nikki Corvette & the Stingrays, featuring Travis Ramin (guitar), Georgia Peach (bass), and Johnny O'Halloran (drums), who have toured in the United States and Japan. Nikki cut a new single for Rapid Pulse Records, "Love Me"/"What's on My Mind," in 2003, and released an album of classic cover tunes, Wild Record Party, in 2005. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi