Arts·Q with Tom Power

Adele Bertei is the most iconic rock 'n' roll musician you've never heard of

The Bloods frontwoman tells Q's Tom Power about her new memoir, Twist, being in the first all-girl, openly queer rock band, and what it feels like to forgive an abusive parent.

The Bloods frontwoman shares what it was like being in the first all-girl, openly queer rock band

Headshot of rock 'n' roll musician Adele Bertei
Rock 'n' roll musician Adele Bertei. (Submitted by Adele Bertei)

As the frontwoman of the Bloods, Adele Bertei has always been a rule-breaker.

If you haven't heard of the Bloods before, they were ahead of their time for more reasons than just their sound. The Bloods were the first rock band made up of women who were all openly queer. 

Bertei was a part of the New York "no wave" movement of the late 1970s and she was also in the band James Chance and the Contortions.

She went on to write songs and sing for a bunch of '80s superstars including Tears for Fears, the Pointer Sisters and Whitney Houston. 

In her new memoir, Twist: An American Girl, the music pioneer tells her origin story — including coming of age in the Cleveland foster care system in the '60s and '70s, and how music was her lifeboat from an early age.

You can hear their full conversation from today's episode available on our podcast, Q with Tom Power. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Interview with Adele Bertei produced by Jennifer Warren.


Amelia Eqbal is a digital associate producer, writer and photographer for Commotion with Elamin Abdelmahmoud and Q with Tom Power. Passionate about theatre, desserts, and all things pop culture, she can be found on Twitter @ameliaeqbal.