Kalifornia: The Old West Coast Punk Scene Captured

download-2

Flipper

It’s the way back machine here. Back in the day when punk hit the western US States, we usually think of Los Angeles as the main hub. While it’s suburban sprawl helped to disenfranchise just about everybody, no more so than kids who came from both the wrong side of the tracks and the suburbs in NorCal did. It’s Kalifornia, we were all disenfranchised and gentrified out. It all started back in the late 70s when suddenly everyone in the world wanted to live in California, and riots weren’t just in LA.

Many kids would say you weren’t punk unless you came from an extreme lower class situation, east side big cities, or lived 6-10 deep in squats. Many of us were annoyed at the upper middle class kids who ran the punk crowd, and showed up to gigs in their parents hand-me-down Mustang car that actually worked. Many of the punk musicians came from white middle class suburbia, and so did many of us fringe kids who flocked to LA or San Francisco to become part of the urban landscape of the industrial warehouse scenes. Wherever we came from we all railed against it, the American myth of tract housing, with the Regan Era death nell on the horizon. Armed with cassettes of California punk bands, punk art gig flyers, and zines, we along with the rest of the punk scene fans from all over the world displayed them in our flats and plastered the walls of our little music shrines.

In the late 70s and early 80s, the California Punk Scene was an interesting mix, and definitely had two distinct flavors, the NorCal and SoCal arenas. LA had insane mosh pit meisters Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Wasted Youth, The Dickies, and Agent Orange to name just a few. Other fringe bands, that had their own cultish following and played many of the same venues or shared gig bills were The Cramps (Pychobilly, Gothabilly) and X. Southern California was greatly influenced by the ethnic makeup of the LA basin, while many punk bands had all white male members on the East Coast. Proto Riot Grrl artists like Alice Bag, a Chicana and a female lead in a band (Masque Era and The Bags), pushed at boundaries within the punk scene. With the diversity of the LA area, it was all in, and the freedom to gig wherever you could before the police or fire marshal came.

download-1

Alice Bag

Best LA Venues: Whisky a Go Go, Starwood, Cathay de Grande, Cuckoo’s Nest, House of Blues, Hong Kong Café.

NorCal punk was a different flavor, Fog Town SF being the center of it. San Fransisco still had that 60s hippy vibe, but much political upheaval with the Harvey Milk Assignation, and the riots that ensued changed into an ugly feel. Punks were in it, fighting for the rights of all to live and breathe in San Francisco, follow what sexuality they desired, have a place to live and not be forced out by the first gentrification waves, and not to fear the police. The NorCal scene encompassed San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda Co., and Sacramento. The bands that would make SF famous in the scene were Flipper, The Nuns, Fright Wig, Crime, The Mutants, and of course The Dead Kennedys.

San Francisco was near the heart of Silicon Valley, and not as intensely packed in populations as LA. The bands mostly came from lower-middle class backgrounds, suburban kids who migrated to the big city. The SF scene tended to be a bit more artsy-punk, with many shows being on small suburban college campuses with often a mix of Punk/Rockabilly and maybe a Goth Band. Then if there was enough of a following for the band, they would play larger venues in San Francisco and Berkeley. One of the best spots to see some very “interesting bands” was The Farm, an art commune property and community center off Army Street. But arguably one of the most typical places to see punk was The Mabuhay Gardens.

As the movement grew on the coast, punk would follow a nomadic touring loop between San Francisco, Sacramento, down I-5 to Bakersfield and LA proper, then loop back up again. You would pick up the local small paper or go to the record shops to see when the bands were playing that month and at which clubs, if not arrive in gangs on any given night on Broadway Street and get plastered with band promos. This Nomadic movement would later become part of the late 80s and early 90s phase of the Nomad and Tribalism movement, in the creation of huge concert/art/cultural venues like the Burning Man and Coachella Festivals culminating in a 90s version of Counter Culture.

Searchanddestroy2Check out the San Francisco scene I once knew with this great article. The best venues in SF for the punk scene were: The Farm, The Elite Club, Cloyne Court, The Deaf Club, The Mab(uhay), The Warfield Theatre, and Trocadero Transfer (yeah it was a Disco heaven back in the day).

Ruby Ray, Photographer

Ruby Ray was one of punk scenes photog fiends and has captured a vast wealth of the West Coast Scene in her new book Ruby Ray: Kalifornia Kool. Bending the rules herself in being a female photographer in a male dominated field, she captured the pure audacity that these bands had, along with her own. DIY music labels, art, dress, and anti-establishment lyrics made this scene and she captured its essence. Ray began her career with her work being shown in Search and Destroy punk-zine, and later in its followup, the ever thought provoking and in depth table art zine RE/Search.

ruby-ray-kalifornia-kool-2

Articles

Kalifornia Kool: San Francisco punk culture in the 70s and 80s – in pictures

Alice Bag: The Latina Girl Who Rioted Before Riot Grrl

Bay of punks: remembering when punk rock invaded San Francisco

Slash Zine Article

San Francisco Visual History Punk Indie Garage Flyers and Posters

Survival Research Labs

Lost SF Punk Clubs

Mabuhay Gardens

Punk Rock Captured

Ruby Ray, From The Edge of The World  Out of print and hard to get

Jim Jocoy We’re Desperate, Order of Appearance

Michael Stewart Foley Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (Dead Kennedys)

 

 

Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die Exhibit New York

040919_JBascom_2T0A3703_0.jpg

Photo by Jenna Bascom

MADMuseum.org

THE MUSEUM OF ARTS AND DESIGN
JEROME AND SIMONA CHAZEN BUILDING / 2 COLUMBUS CIRCLE / NEW YORK, NY 10019
(212) 299-7777

Traveling to New York this spring or summer? Get yersel to the Museum of Art and Design (MADMuseum.org) to see this exhibit. Sponsored by none other than Dr. Martens boots, for who better to do so? This exhibit features the art and design behind the DIY movement that was started by none other than punk rock fans and musicians, and focuses on the design concepts, not necessarily the music itself. Bands represented by The Ramones, Television, The Damned, Joy Division, Buzzcocks, Black Flag, Pere Ubu and more.

The exhibit features the  punk rock of the New York scene and British groups from 1976 to 1986, their posters for gigs, fanzines, badges and any other promotional in-your-face graphics, mostly done as cut and paste DIY in most instances. Hand drawn and inked, pasted, and whatever it took flyers, club promos, and DIY independent labels for records. The mainstream music industry shied from punk and post punk bands until they saw how lucrative they were becoming. Sadly, punk itself died out by 1980, as bands signed on to larger labels and started morphing into the post-punk phase of music.

There are several events hosted by the museum over the next few months centered around the punk scene, with photographers David Godlis, and Marcia Resnick. Other events include record label execs, and a Global Punk Film Series.

You know it’s scary when AARP has an article about this. Yup, we’re getting old.

Article on Gothamist

Punk Film Series

Confessions of a Punk/Post-Punk Makeup Fan

Confessions of a Punk/Post-Punk Makeup Fan

Updated April 28, 2019

Recently I wrote an article that was featured on one of my favorite blogs and Twitter accounts, www.punkgirldiaries.com and on Twitter @punkgirldiaries. My article is about an episode in my life in my teens when I finally made it to the punk mecca of London, a few years too late. Thank you so much to Polly and co. for letting me write. The article continued with some details I had gathered from people on the Subcultures Group and other outlets. Since these are blogs and we can’t let the articles get too long, it was cleaned up and edited to give you some Pow Wow on the peacocks of punk and post-punk. Check it out here at:

…Not just any old make-up set…

Please, keep up if you can, with the fiendish writings of punkgirldiaries. Always a great insight to everything a punk girl should know.

Update April 2019 The Face of Punk, Jordan Mooney, has a new book out. She tells of her turbulent years at the front and center of punk in London’s Chelsea area. She was one of the makeup and dress queens of the era. For an inside look to her life and what the scene was like, check this article out: Jordan, The Face of Punk

The rest of the article is below:

By J. Canning

Makeup Realities

I used stage makeup from the Dancewear centre upstairs in Castle Street… water based you could paint it on with a brush…Valerie

It’s 1977 to 1980 and what did your average punk girl have to do with little funds and a desire to express herself with makeup have for resources to make that in-your-face statement? London is a theatre town, and much of it started with theatrical makeup. Not every punk girl wanted to start with the clown base. Most punk girls had to shop Woolworths or get eyeliner from Sari shops. Did you get your makeup off a stall in the markets? Use rice powder and mix with whatever the cheapest foundation was you could find? Eyeliner was the staple makeup piece and heaviest used, and it never seemed to wash off. Panda eyes, Egyptian eyes, or mutant Glam eyes, so many choices. Of course lipstick was an absolute must, often blended with several shades to get that right bizarre shade no one manufactured.

download-10

Hope and Anchor

 

Then where did you go to show off, hang out, be with other like minded individuals? In London it was the Beaufort Market and Kings Road areas where the shops were, and Roebuck pub where many soon to be famous people like Phil Lynott and Johnny Lydon (Rotten) hung out. The big magnet being SEX, the shop of Malcolm McClaren and Vivienne Westwood at the World’s End area. Many punk girls seemed enthralled with the sixties icon store Biba, a magical place to go, and carried high-end makeup lines. Districts like Camden Town and Notting Hill where the race riots had occurred were popular hangouts. Portobello Road, Chelsea and clubs like the 100 Club and The Hope and Anchor on Upper Street, where bands like The Stranglers, XTC, U2, The Cure, Joy Division and The Ramones have played. Youth covered the markets and eventually anywhere they could be seen and meet other punks.

 

download-4

As the movement gained momentum and so enraptured and shocked London, many punk women started modeling, and eager photographers followed along, like Derek Ridgers and Jill Furmanovsky. Photographers and videographers were compelled to document the growing scene, there was a thrust, a verve, a movement. And much of it shocked the nation. It became performance art, to put on makeup to the extreme and find the right places to hang out, be seen, make your political statement of the right to express yourself.

However, London was not the only place that had gone punk. Manchester, Liverpool, Dublin, Glasgow and Edinburgh all had their punk scenes that reflected the local youth and culture. Where did these punk girls get their inspirations from, looking at other women in the crowd, or was it the female band members in their local punk groups that inspired them most? Female pop icons enthralled women and men alike, strong women who would get out there and smolder like all women wanted to and the all girl bands like the Slits or Strawberry Switchblade edged them on. Punk girls simulated a favorite singer or download-9actress and went through phases. Not all punk goddesses could be alike, the point was be as different as you could be. Punk girls wanted to be different looking, but also shown respect and not harassed on the streets for their looks.

All my money went on makeup and second hand clothes. I didn’t want to look like anybody else. Roxy

imagesMany girls saw it as a way to see a fellow punk, identify with someone from the tribe. Places to meet like minded individuals were college campuses, band venues, dance halls and record shops. Sleep all the next day if you didn’t have a job, and start it up again. If they were brave enough to try to learn enough guitar or keyboard they could start a band, and escape to see the world and be part of that music industry thrall. Where sadly many bands never saw a profit from any of their records.

Real Punk Girls Makeup: Makeup on The Streets

What was the daily reality of the punk women of the late 70s, did they consider themselves feminine, or had feminism been turned on its head by punk? Punk was punk and not gender specific, it welcomed everyone that identified with it, and thrashed every aspect of social norms. So how was wearing makeup changing from a 1970s Disco Dolly shine to performance art? Some of the pigment colors were very much a carry over from the Glam era and by the middle 80s had changed to stylized masks. But women had to be very retro in a way, the eyes very reminiscent of the makeup styles of the 1920s used for black and white film, or some of the punk/rockabilly sex bomb look from the 1950s got blended in. Dark, heavy eyes, with bright highlights and later in the 80s, creating a different sideshow art kind of look, following bands like Visage.images-3

The following are accounts from men and women who lived the in punk scene in the UK in the years 1976 to 1982 and what they really did with their everyday punk look. 

I don’t remember which brands, though I did love Biba. I wasn’t trying to look ‘pretty’- we were trying to express a different type of femininity I think. I wanted to look striking, and different. Part of it was rejecting the traditional stereotype of girls looking ‘sweet’. –Gaye Bell

Just reread the post- I guess the message was, f*@# looking stereotypically pretty, like you want a man? And a huge reaction to f*@# Farah  Fawcett Majors type Californian ‘natural beauty’. Gaye and I caked our faces in the palest shade of panstick. – Rachel Bell

I used felt tip pens for eyeshadow lips drawing cute tattoos on face, daddy was sad he lost his pretty little girl. He came round and my parents would call me in to have a good laugh at what I was going out wearing. We found a way. Homemade diy.- Rose McDowall

Probably from around 1974 ish Germolene as a face mask/moisturiser straight out of the tin. Scraped off after a while with bog roll. Then some old theatre make up we used as kids to dress up. Was still lying around. Bit dried up but good enough as a starter. Black biro, bit later kajal from Cockburn Street market applied with a metal stick in the lid – went on like axel grease and smelt of vick nasal clear and made your eyes water for hours. Later Biba foundation – wee black pot with a twist on lid. The colour of a rich tea biscuit. Oily stuff. Went on nice but kinda curdled by the end of a night out. May have been called china doll shade putty? Unforgettable smell of linseed. Ellenet? Whatever, loads of sticky hairspray after trying sugar and egg white mixes. Ellenet was good for setting face paint too. No, don’t go there. Crazy color for hair. Fab all over shocking pink face and neck dye when it rained. Lips, early days watercolour paint, vaseline and a paint brush – later something black or black cherry. Somehow I still have my own face and hair. Ivy League sold the complete range of Barry M around 1982 or perhaps a year later. Oh the joys, and the boys with black eyeliner. Where did we find the time? Yes certified with a capital W… pale pink antiseptic gunk in a tin. I just used whatever was lying around. And my fertile imagination – Jay Kirkland

I was lazy about it all and lacking in skill. I loved Biba but couldn’t afford it. I remember a brand called Razzle Dazzle I adored, great sparkly stuff. When I could be bothered my AIM was to look like a Warhol painting, so I remember slapping on lots of bright green or purple eyeshadow, bright pink lipstick and as white a face as I could get. I loved kohl (and seem to still be wearing it…) I have an abiding memory of Jackie Brown painstakingly mixing her face colours on an actual palette. And Gaye applying several different lipsticks to arrive at the exact shade she wanted…I used to think the most challenging thing (for me and the world both) was to go out with no make-up at all. It took huge bravery, haha! And what happened then was that I was entirely ignored and invisible. So I think the drama of the paint was to make sure nobody could ignore us. For me it was more about expression than whether or not we were being conventionally attractive – though you’re right Gaye, there was an element of that.  – Grace

In some cases… when it got all gothy I gave that a total bodyserve. 6 hours to get ready for two hours posing then go home and take it all off for two hours. Beauty is not skin deep….black and white or tru-gel for me. KY gel was a bridge too far for me haha. Mind you my girlfriend at the time was a hairdresser so mucho products around. – James

Yes not fan of gothy look..but as Grace said there was a bit of our own artistry of sorts involved and making your own statement, and a form of playing and experimenting. But yes inner beauty just as important! – Anne

I put makeup on lots of straight boys, but mostly for gigs or videos. The boys often just did the Johnny Thunders eyeliner look. I think a part of it was kind of advertising who you were and what tribe of people you were akin to. You could spot a like-minded soul a mile away in 1970s Scotland. Part of it was shock value, but I always wanted to be the opposite of what people expected me to be, as they were usually judging me on my appearance. My idea of rebellion was to be polite, friendly and well-mannered, plus I wasn’t a drinker and I didn’t smoke. It took me a long time to stop putting kajal on my inner eyelids and dark shadow under my eyes, but it just looks mad when you get older.- Mairi Ross 

Going into the ladies at gigs and getting who ever offered to do the eyeliner for me….. I wonder,you may have done (Mairi), it was quite a regular thing,when I was going through my “Peter Perrett” look phase…if only I’d been skinny it might have worked! – Joe

Various carefully brushed on bright eyeshadows, dark eyeliner, bright lipstick and a dark cherry one I found. Usually the cheapest I could afford, like Rimmel and the cherry lipstick was Mary Quant or Biba. Putting it on took ages, wanted it different and striking. Didn’t go for gothic or anything on the face. Just had to stand out! With my short hair and often androgynous clothes even got mistaken for a boy! In the words of one woman who called me ‘son’, “Aye well ye cannae tell these days!”. – Anne

Miss Selfridge..all those sparkly eyeshadow sticks. The Indian kajal eyeliner in a little tin pot applied with a fine paint brush. Boots green hair gel. Food dye for hair. Max Factor bright pink lipstick. – Patricia-Anne

Razzle Dazzle.. stuff of legends.. came in wee glass pots… gold colours and the like… bit like Barry M today – Valerie

I was more of a Siouxsie Sioux era punk. Unfortunately because of the lack of phones there are only one or two photos somewhere, none that I can retrieve!! I used crimpers on my hair and used to stick my hair up with egg white and sugar!! Black kohl was my go to makeup with very artistic cat eyes, the lines of the khol running from mid nose to temple. And the same black kohl on my lips. My style went from ratty holy jeans, monkey boots, and ripped t shirt to seditionary jeans and tops(all with straps and buckles) and boots with countless buckles on them as well. I had a nose piercing to which I hung a chain (I think it had elephants on it) to my ear. I counted myself as a peacock punk, a little young to be there at the beginning, but in my teens still railed against anything that was considered the norm. – Tracii

I didn’t start wearing eyeliner until 1985, so I am excluded.  Dunno – the time was right. Always interesting to realise it was no big deal in London, but going back to Bradford contained more questions..! I think i wore make-up very much NOT to be attached to any sort of Youth Culture. Goth – No,. Well, yes, sure. I liked the idea of subverting ‘femininity’ at the time and I was a man with a wide feminine streak etc. – Chris

Kohl eyeliner and red lipstick . X – Radge

For me it was camouflage something to hide behind but I eventually gained my confidence through my punk years and learned I could be an individual and not a follower. It also allowed me to think for myself, too political and many other things too. – Maureen

My name is Mud. I got into Punk in 1978, when I was 14/15 years old.  I lived, and still do, in the South West of Scotland. London, the epicentre of Punk may well have been in another galaxy!  Apart from Top of the Pops, John Peel on the radio and music papers like Sounds and NME, I lived surrounded by flares, long hair, disco and beigeness.  As a skint teenager I “borrowed” make up from my Mum’s Avon collection and saved up for my first Max Factor kohl eyeliner. I was inseparable from my black eyeliner for the next six years ……..My first gig was The Undertones in Glasgow in May 1980. Looking back I dressed more like an extra to “This is England”, skinhead look as I was on my own loving Punk. Skinhead with long fringe, grandad shirt, lightweight combat trousers and monkey boots, I even had a Harrington jacket, no make up apart from brown eyeshadow ℅ Avon and eyeliner. Lots of eyeliner. Krazy colour hair dye. After using, and luckily not losing our hair to Sun In. We wanted to go bright hair by 1982.  We could only get it in a shop in Rose St, Edinburgh. No internet back in the day. My style evolved as I attended gigs. Edinburgh was our Mecca and we absorbed what we saw every time we made the trip to the Capital. Saw Dead Kennedys, Crass, Poison Girls, The Fall and Killing Joke at The Nite Club.  Exposed to hard anarchic views and culture. My mate and myself discovered Sun In hair lightener. We were aiming for peroxide white – as you’ll see from the photos this didn’t happen. I traveled up on my own to see Siouxsie and the Banshees- style icon. I by then had my leather biker jacket, bondage trousers and mini kilt – thought I looked the part. Black hair back combed, but nothing like the goddess herself. We did a night in Glasgow followed by a night in Edinburgh at Adam and the Ants, circa Kings of the Wild Frontier. Suddenly we were peacocks, but it was fine as Adam had/was a punk.  The fun had started and we were members of a new family, well for a couple of months. – Caroline

 

 

 

So I Started a Meetup Group; Confessions of a Alt Punk Post-Punk Girl

IMG_1534

It’s a Tuesday night in the PDX. My fledgling group of Alternative Music, Punk and Pos-Punk people have joined me at the Blackheart Bar for pub grub and a torturous Pub Quiz on punk rock. Robert and Alexis have provided some really obscure West Coast and East Coast punk trivia, I have included questions I gathered from the UK Scots and Irish scenes care of Twitter pals in the UK and Facebook Subcultures groups. There was one attendee who mopped the floor and the others were banging heads. It was a cringe worthy evening. The bar played my Spotify list for the two hours and just let it run after we left. Not too bad. Food wasn’t too bad, the decor is fun here.

Pretty Vacant, Sort of

Why did I start a wee band of people up in the PDX? I was getting desperate. This town is a music town but the copacetic attitude of people means serious dullsville if you really like music, or would like to even talk about it to people. I searched Meetup groups for months and found nothing like my tastes. Damn, this means I have to start one. Argh. So I did. Still a strange thing, people are interested but nothing like back in the day, like when you went to every show with your mates. What’s happening to the world? Is it just the town, or the age group? Don’t go there. People just seem to meander around this town, which can be good. But it’s nice to actually talk with someone about something, anything you have a passion for. Music, movies, life. Most of the indie scene here is very copacetic and ambient. Not really my thing.

I love doing the Celtic fusion, other days I just do soundtracks. I have my moods too. But I need something else. Yeah, and remembering your youth isn’t so bad, right? I have been surviving on Facebook Subcultures groups, Twitter feed, really wish there was someone I could talk to. Yeah, really I am an introvert with extroverted moments, but this world has become so isolating with everyone stuck in their smartphones and watches.

Adverts

Wait, I am going to see PiL in a few weeks. Should I take a chance and do the 1/4 page flier adverts like I used to do for dance clubs back in the eighties, on obnoxious colored paper and tell people about our Meetup group? Wow, how retro of me. I think I may give it a try. I am also helping ad to the ambience of the toilets if I put them in there, right?

So if you’re desperate and not finding enough people to share your music enthusiasm, and online Facebooking isn’t meeting your needs, try a Meetup in your town. Or go old school and just hang out in the record store. Maybe it might work.

Alt Punk Post-Punk Join if in the PDX or get an idea for your own group

Spotify Punk and Post-Punk Playlist so far

Blackheart Bar

2411 SE Belmont St.

Portland, OR 97214

503.954.1541

Fisherman’s Blues 30th Anniversary, Fresh as Ever

download-1

I remember the first time I heard the song “Fisherman’s Blueson my local college radio station in California. I had been listening to the Waterboys first 3 Albums for years, and it had been fun trying to get import copies of them in the early 80s in San Francisco. I had really enjoyed what had been called,  “The Big Music”, a single from their A Pagan Place album, a music sense that spirituality and the land and people came together, and a music sound that was big and grabbed you. When I heard the change in the Waterboys music with the new single, it took a few times of playing the tape over, but I was hooked. Blending traditional and new sound, they were creating a bigger, deeper music. The Waterboys were definitely going in new directions. I think I played the album on cassette until I stretched that tape too much. Got it on vinyl. Had to sell it during dire straights, got a copy back a few years later, used as I wanted the original issue.  I have had it in various forms ever since. There may have been times in my life that I didn’t listen to it, it lay dormant as some of our favorite albums do due to family issues, me issues. However, I always found a way back to it when it was needed.

This October marks the 30th anniversary of the album. It was a record that may have only been released with 10-13 tracks depending on your country, however much, much more was recorded over the two year recording period and released on subsequent compilations. I have a fantasy that the final boxed set that came out in 2013 will be released as vinyl, if it was, I may find it. Yes, 100 plus songs. Heavy load, but always uplifting or sad. When You Go Away, always one that makes a tear come.download-7

Fisherman’s Blues was released on October 17, 1988. It would take two years to record, and two countries. Steven Wickham had joined the band after the Waterboys This is the Sea album had been released. Other musicians were called in to join in the many lengthly recording sessions. The Waterboys recorded the beginnings of the album at Windmill Lane Studio in Dublin during January to March, 1986. The band then had a madcap adventure in California and a recording session at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, where much of the recordings would make it onto subsequent albums. During March to August of 1987, the band returned to Windmill Lane in Dublin.  The main members of the band were present, Mike Scott, Steve Wickham, Anto Thistlethwaite on sax, Trevor Hutchinson bass, and Roddy Lorimer on trumpet. A large crew of guest musicians played on many of the tracks. Pat McCarthy was the recording engineer.

The remaining bulk of the over 100 songs and recordings were created at Spiddal House near Galway, Ireland. Where more madcap adventures came forth. And something about burying a electronic metronome timing device? And a shotgun?download-5

Out of this wealth of recordings, 13 tracks made it to the original release on October 17, 1988 (again, depending on country). Of these, “Fisherman’s Blues, about a man wanting to explore his life and the world around him with the burning need to explore, released as a single in October 1988, and “And a Bang on The Ear, a song about Scott listing many romantic entanglements and what the hero learned in the end, was released in June 1989. The rest of the songs recorded over the two years would be released on Too Close to Heaven UK or Fisherman’s Blues Part 2  in the US. In 2006 the Collector’s Edition was released with additional tracks, followed by the Fisherman’s Boxed Set in 2013 including all original songs totaling 121 tracks. 85 of the songs had not be previously available.images-5

Fisherman’s Blues entered Billboard’s US Modern Rock charts at 3rd place, and the single reached No. 32 on the UK singles charts. It has appeared in several film scores, including Waking Ned Devine and Dream With the Fishes. The album is considered one of their best albums in a 30 plus year career span.

images-10For more on the madcap adventures, I strongly suggest you read Mike Scott’s Adventures of a Waterboy.

Sadly, Fantasy Studios in Berkeley closed its doors this last September. Their site is still up if you want to see the long list of artists who have worked there over the years.

Song interpretations are always my own, just like you have your own meaning for songs that you hear. To find the meaning behind the lyrics, go to the Waterboys Lyrics page and decide for yourself.

Waterboys Discography 

http://fantasystudios.com/

https://www.windmilllanerecording.com/

All Music Writeup

The Big Music and it’s Revival?

Spiddal Reunion Concerts

images-7

 

The Punk, Post-Punk, Gothy Girl is Resurrected.

Gaol Breaker

I’ve bunked off from the gaol. It’s been some 6 weeks or so since I have blogged. I have spent the last 5 weeks crawling out of a weird, wet, dank abyss called Recovery From Major Medical. I have survived a surgery that some don’t, I was lucky I was very fit going in. I am forced off work and we don’t have temp disability here. Why, I feel like I did back in the early 1980s, no hope, no future. I’m alive. Appropriately listening to The Specials ‘Ghost Town’, because the Tibetan Tube Throat singing with accordion/box music at the cafe was really grating on my nerves. Now we’re on to The Fall, ‘Totally Wired. I’m waking up. I pay my taxes, and no real help for me in medical. Oh, yeah, I live in America, the corporate health empire of the world. If you are lucky and live in Canada, UK, Ireland,or the continental EU and have social medicine. Fight to keep it. Here you spend your whole recovery period fending off calls from hospitals while the insurance companies duke it out. So now I am listening to Talking Heads ‘Once in A Lifetime’, wondering where this life is going. And now we segway into ‘Mirror In The Bathroom’ by The Beat. Yeah, girls, makeup after a medical just doesn’t want to work. Actually not wanting to work for a while now. Argh. So not going there with the Albatros Eyebrows so fashionable lately. Again, unless you can pull off a good Siouxsie brow, just keep it simple.

This was a life changing event for me, but I am trying to crawl out of it. Vaughn likened it to having a Scottish Basket Hilt or Japanese Katana Sword run through me and twisting the ribs apart. Now I have to heal from it. I managed to get my Sandman tee shirt on, black skirt, black jacket, boots and thigh high socks on. I look like a Gothic wreck. Good. My red curls got unfurled from the stupid braids of sickness.  I drove for the first time, really slow, no maniacal California driving. Was very good and did not play tunes in car, needed to focus. Speed limit, don’t attract trouble. Made it to the cafe.

Ah, ‘Fade to Grey’ by Visage. Ooo, baby I feel even better already. I have been listening to a mix of digital and records when I can get to the turntable. Unfortunately the non-working thing has curtailed any record buying. But I am selling things off on eBay hoping I can maybe afford the 40th Anniversary Reissues of the Bauhaus Catalog on colored vinyl starting next month, check out Peter Murphy’s site for details. I’m working on the second cup of decaf coffee. I made it to my cafe I usually write in. I really just wanted to feel somewhat myself.

Bauhaus to Reissue 6 Records on Colored Vinyl for 40th Anniversary 

Record Store Physio

One of the tests of where I am truly at with the body has been a visit to two local record shops, Music Millennium and Everyday Music. One I actually found a vinyl copy of The Waterboys ‘An Appointment with Mr. Yeats’, which unless you are on the East Coast or L.A. aren’t likely to find. It was nice to hear some Yeats set to music and try to get back to listening to records. At EDM, it was more of an exercise to see how long I could stand up, can I flip record bin dividers, and even better spell Siouxsie right so I could look for the 12 inch? I kid you not, the really bad side effect of being a Ginge and anesthesia, is it may take weeks to get most of your spelling back. It’s scientific. Yeah, so flipping the records in the bin is a great way to tell how you are doing when recovering.

I’m in the Hawthorne. There are two record shops, Exiled and Jackpot. Okay, no money, but the singles bin can be a great find for super cheap. Hmmm. Oooo, playing ‘Generals and Majors’ by XTC now, that’s the marching orders, right. Also, there is a convo going on in the cafe I have been trying to drown out, because I don’t want to know. Time for ‘Sorry for Laughing’ by Josef K right now, turn that volume up.

Alternative/Punk/Post-Punk/ Group 

I’m dying here in Portland. Great music when you get to it, if we can get them to come. Got tickets for PiL and Echo and the Bunnymen in the next months. But really dying for some Alternative Culture. Yeah, you can still be Alternative if you are over 30, get over it.

I lived in San Francisco too long. It’s hard meeting people when they know you’re from another state. Portland may be the Weird Capital, but they can take a while to warm up to you. And finding anyone into my musical tastes near mine has been impossible. I was so desperate I looked on social networking sites. Nada. So, in my insane creativity and having to think about it, I decided I would try an experiment and create a group and see if anyone shows up. Insane, I know. Probably no one will come or be interested, but I have to get into the Phoenix frame of mind, that bird with singed wings is gonna fly. So, I have to craftily word an invitation. What insanity can I brew from this crazy idea, or will it be typical and no one will show?

Sad about this world that we have gotten so distracted we have to meet in pre-fabricated ways like this. It used to be that you met like minds at the record shop. Here if you try to talk to someone about an exciting find they think you should be sent to the looney. Funny thing, you are already there. Isn’t that what it’s about?

The Real McKenzies

If I make it through this week of killer Phisio (yeah actually they have me going to medical Physio), Vaughn has said we will attempt to see a great Canadian/Scots Punk band called The Real McKenzies I have been listening to for the past few years. If I can show that I am doing better. I need to see if I can manage to get through a show, even if it means being taped to the pillar and doing Pathetic Pogo. I may do a chair Skank if I can find one. But my minder is telling me it depends on how I do this week. So bunking off and driving and making it back in one piece will count I hope.

Oh, and for those of you in the US (West Coast), and don’t know yer ancient history, Gaol here refers to jail. It’s how it was spelt in dem olden days.

We’ll leave this on Elvis Costello’s, ‘I Can’t Stand up For Falling Down’. But really, ending on XTC’s ‘Dear God’, because our world is just as bad as it was 40 years back and what have we learned in this time? Share the music, share the lyrics, wether it’s old school or new groups, get the music out there. It’s the only way to save this race. Hope you enjoyed the convoluted playlist.

Crass: How Does It Feel?

IMG_1068

Crass 1982

My Featured 45 for today is Crass’s, How Does it Feel. Crass is by no means for everyone, but they sure could get their messages across. They always had great cover art and posters from their singles.

In 1982, I was a punky 17 year old on my first trip to the UK. I was vagabonding for a month on my own. I was desperate to see where all my favorite punk bands had been and what influenced them, even if it was just to stand in the same city, hop record shops, and try to get to a show. I had to experience Carnaby Street, Camden Market, Portobello Road, and of course I had to travel and hit up other towns in the UK. I learned that each city had it’s own music scene after talking to local kids, each with it’s own flavor. I liked Joy Division, so off to Manchester I went. I then had to visit with some pen pals. So after that it was Wales.

I’ll never forget visiting with my pen pal. Ah, that ancient teenage custom of meeting people from around the world, before there was Twitter and Snap Chat. You dug around in the back of music Fanzines from the UK, the ones you might find in the import section at the record shop. You found names of people who liked the same groups you did. Hand wrote a letter, said “Hello, I found your name and you like some of the same bands I do. It’s hard to find this music here, I listen to college radio to get it. I’ll tell you about California Punk and Rockabilly, or Goth.” And so weird transatlantic bonds were formed. I would of course learn that not everyone you wrote to was how they presented themselves. That’s another story for another time.

A Discotheque in York

I was in Wales, that ancient city with Roman bits still strewn about it. My pen friend and I went down to the local all ages discotheque, me in all my crazy bizarre finery from the markets in London. Yeah, half my clothes got lifted at a youth hostel. London lesson. At least they didn’t get all the 45s I had picked up you couldn’t get back home. We sat in the disco, she with her Shandy, me with a Pernod and Ribena. Two lads started trying to get our attention. This was new territory for me. Boys didn’t give me the time of day at school or in California in general. The Gingery thing. So I let my pen friend handle it, they were Welsh and I figured I wouldn’t get it. But one wasn’t speaking Welsh, and he was in a soldier uniform. I picked up the accent finally. A Liverpool man. I had just gone through on the one day trip there. But he was speaking in tongues I didn’t get, very intensely. Finally his mate, probably seeing the utter bewilderment, and reminding his friend there was an American, tell me in my ear, “Don’t mind him so much. He’s just been through the Falklands business. He’s still not with us yet.” It was the short, fierce little war between Argentina and the British.

I had been hearing of the Crisis through my travels. I had heard something before I left home, and wanted to find out more. But this was the days of no Internet, and American filtered news, even more filtered than now. It was Ronnie Reagan and Thatcher. All about control. The conflict took place the April before I arrived, and cemented Thatcher for upcoming elections. The whole conflict was a mystery to me, and many tried to explain it to me, many of them older and very British. But the punk rock contingency was having none of it, and protests of the violence were being sung about in the music that was released that summer and fall.

I tried to be patient and sadly the young soldier with drink got far worse, and my friend and I had to make our escape. After that night, I felt terrible that such a young man had to go through such violence, and live with the people who had died because of the actions on both sides. I was determined to find out more about the punk scene in other cities. I had been told to try Edinburgh, and hunt record shops there. Maybe even get into a club. So next day, after dealing with Welsh friend’s bizarre Mum, I boarded a train for Scotland.

IMG_1069.jpg

Inside poster art. Crass isn’t for everyone but they got the message across.

The Borders

After surviving the strange heat wave that had hit London a week before, I was warned to prepare for Scottish Summer. On the train I would find out what that was. I was scrabbling about lugging the case, my boots and short skirt, my punky self. Slipping and sliding on the wet floors. Trying to avoid all the leering men I kept encountering. Learning life’s mysteries of older men hunting young 17 year old girls. Definitely not something you tell Ma about when you get back. I  finally found a car with mostly women in it. Everyone was going about the weather. In those days, no WiFi to check the actual weather. But as we got closer to Scotland, you could see the bendy trees and debris flying about. Clouds dark as night. The train got thumped by gale force winds. Finally at the border, there was an announcement. All trains cancelled going in. We had to catch the train going back on the other side. Panic.

My Edinburgh Punk Rock history lesson was thwarted! Yes, it was really 4 years after the scene was really happening, but I still wanted to see the streets and venues these kids went through and fought in. I wanted to get in the record shops!

So after the insanity of trying to cram in on the return train on the other side, with no room for me, I found myself sitting on my case on the platform. A young station master strolls up and I asks when the next train will be. There is no next train, not for a few days maybe. Devastation. The Station Master says, ” I’ll call the Missus.” Apparently everything is solved with calling the Missus in the UK. The man came out and said his wife insisted that I stay with them. I was a bit worried as I didn’t know this person, but he was in uniform and looked very worried about my well being. So I was given my Tae and got on so well with their young child, that I was asked if I had baby sitting experience and sat for them while they went round the pub. The Missus wrote to my Ma to tell her I was alive. Sadly, I had to go back down to London and couldn’t get to Edinburgh after all of the trouble I had been through.

This year, a fabulous adventure of a exhibition featuring Scottish Punk and Post Punk music is going on at the National Museum in Edinburgh, Rip It UP! I cannot travel this year, but if you are, take it all in. Tell us how it is.

Got any great stories from 1976 to 1990 about your travels and experiences in the UK and Ireland music scenes? I would love to hear them. If you know any great Punk and Post Punk bloggers/blogs, give me a line. I would love to feature stories here. Got rare 45 and album poster art to share, send it to me, all credits will be made.

Rip It Up Exhibition at the Scottish National Museum