R.I.P. Jennifer 'Miro' Anderson, Singer of S.F. Punk Pioneers the Nuns

Categories: R.I.P.

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See also:

*The Nuns' Jennifer Miro: An Appreciation By Gimme Something Better Author Jack Boulware

Jennifer Anderson, a musician, writer, and model whose doll-like looks and seductive voice helped make a name for pioneering San Francisco punk band the Nuns, died last month in New York City of complications from cancer. She was 54.

Anderson, also known as Jennifer Miro or Mistress Jennifer, had been diagnosed with both liver and breast cancer, according to her neighbor, Jill Lamar, who helped care for Anderson in the final months of her life. Refusing standard treatments and hospitalization for her illness, Anderson lived out her last months in her Manhattan studio apartment, aided by visiting nurses and Lamar. She passed away Dec. 16, 2011, at Bellevue Hospital in New York, where she had been admitted several weeks earlier for hospice care.

"She really suffered," Lamar says of Anderson. "She really had nobody around her when she was dying."

Anderson was born May 3, 1957, and raised in the Marin suburb of Mill Valley. Her father, the artist Jeremy Anderson, is considered one of the founding fathers of Bay Area sculpture and has work in the Oakland Museum.

In 1975, Anderson met Alejandro Escovedo and Jeff Olener -- who were then film students at the College of Marin -- in a Terra Linda rehearsal space. Unhappy with the Doobie Brothers cover band she'd been performing in, Anderson quickly joined the pair, contributing keyboards and vocals to what would become the Nuns.

Although they struggled to find acceptance at first, the Nuns became a mainstay of the San Francisco punk scene in the mid-70's, performing regularly at venues like the Mabuhay Gardens. Along with the Avengers, another important S.F. band of the time, the Nuns opened for the Sex Pistols at Winterland on January 14, 1978 -- the final show of the Sex Pistols' original career. For a brief time, the band was even managed by live music impresario Bill Graham, but the two parties split over Graham's offense at the Nuns' single "Decadent Jew." The band also helped launch Escovedo's ongoing career as a singer-songwriter.

With her lithe figure, long blonde hair, and elegant countenance -- she claimed to have descended from Welsh royalty -- Anderson helped make the Nuns an especially memorable addition to the S.F. scene. Even after the band first broke up in 1979 (and went on to periodically reform over the next few decades), her looks helped Anderson find work as a model -- particularly in the fetish and S&M worlds, which fascinated Anderson and inspired much of the imagery for the Nuns' album art and later live performances.

After reforming in the mid-'80s, the band left its rough-hewn punk sound behind for the more ethereal, gothy style showcased on 1986's Rumania. With Anderson's magisterial keyboard work and the distant pulse of a drum machine, Rumania is more like morbidly obsessed New Wave than gritty guitar-rock. Later reformations saw the band play even more off of Anderson's persona as a fetish model, although the band never attained mainstream popularity.

"She's always been into that [fetish] imagery, both in the music and the visual art, but that's not her," says Anderson's friend and confidant Peter Young, who knew Anderson from the early days of the Nuns and spoke with her regularly until her death. "A lot of people think of her that way, but that's not who she really is."

He says Anderson's beauty concealed a sparkling mind as well. "Obviously what was striking about Jennifer was her model looks, but there was a very pronounced wit and intelligence behind it that she often did her best to cover up," Young says. "She had much broader interests in art and even in things like medicine than people realized."


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21 comments
Kingnarada
Kingnarada

Jennifer Pinky as i called her was genius! And good person! With heart! And a great writer! We wrote Flower Child together! I am so sorry to hear of her passing. Jennifer I love and miss you! God missed you to and brought you back to Heaven. See you one day! Love your Narada Michael Walden

Florian
Florian

IT's Florian of Musical Tragedies records with his condolences here. Sadness is not enough to describe the emptiness I feel hearing the news. Anger is the word, anger about a world which can fly to the moon and cough up any given gadget and gimmick to tease money out of our pockets but is not able to find a cure for cancer. The human losses we all have suffered and will suffer by cancer will never be replaced by anything we invet for our distraction. So sorry Jennifer is one of those losses.

David Brommer
David Brommer

Rest in Peace Jennifer. I will never ever forget you.

esmerelda kent
esmerelda kent

What a beauty. She inspired me. So elegant. When its time its time. Too bad she had not built a loving spiritual support system into her later years to give her peace of mind. EsmereldaNoh Mercy

JerryWrosco
JerryWrosco

I go all the way back to Mabuhay Gardens SF with the Nuns because one of their vocalists was Richie Detrick, a friend from his NY days. "Detrick" also no longer with us. I produced (which here only means paid for) two Nuns singles, one live from Max's Kansas City, one studio. Jennifer found and friended me more than a year ago. I hadn't realized she hadn't posted since August. She had class and style.---Jerry Rosco, NY

Bill De Gidio
Bill De Gidio

Sorry to hear this. My wife and bass player has been dealing with cancer for several years now. I HATE CANCER!!

Dfierh
Dfierh

So it's true. I had the honor to do some recording with her during her years in NYC and she was wonderful to work with. So musical, so bright, and such an interesting person! Rest in peace, Jennifer.

Greta brinkman

URcitizen
URcitizen

I believe the article said she refused treatment by her own choice.

George
George

 I liked the Nuns and Miro a lot but she sounds as if she was a bit off in the head, at least as far as her self-devised treatment regimen went.  She not only negated any real chance of recovery or extending her life but the sort of extreme pain she went through by refusing opiates also tossed quality of life out the window to no good purpose.

Laura Misquez
Laura Misquez

how sad !! no one should be refused from treatment ! all people should recieve treatment ?? people are people were here to help people that cant help themselves!! 

Laura Misquez
Laura Misquez

how sad !! no one should be refused form treatment ! all people should recieve treatment ?? people are people were here to help people that cant help themselves!!

Thickoozymud
Thickoozymud

She refused treatment... they did not refuse to treat her; i.e. she knew she was terminal and chose not to fight.

Qtpielaura
Qtpielaura

how sad ??? that anybody should be  refused treatment no matter what their illness or coverage, people are people and everyone should be helped

Pontius Xorcist
Pontius Xorcist

This is very sad news. Was a talent when she first dropped her "Anita" single off at the club in S.F. and years later when I discovered her in NY I was again impressed.

RIP Miro

D'Sar Darkstar
D'Sar Darkstar

Wow. I had always wondered how she fell off the face of the earth. She was good people. Always friendly to talk to on MSN messenger, pleasant to hang out with at Mothers. I had recently picked up New York Vampires as a used import from UK a few months ago because I couldn't find any domestically. I will give a ,musical tribute on tonight's show, the Darkhours on www.mojoradiolive.com 10pE/7pP

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