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My Punk Rock / New Wave Moment

circle_jerks.jpg
circle_jerks.jpg

by Lisa Zeigel

Let's see, in my "career" as an L.A. punk (I frequented the scene from about 1977 - 1985) I managed to find myself on the cover of a Circle Jerks album, get a credit on a DOA album for yelling background "vocals" on a song, had a boyfriend who was the drummer in one of the most beloved L.A. punk scene bands (The Alleycats); I hung out with notorious local punk icons such as Black Flag and Fear (who were nice normal guys when not onstage) and was acquainted with the likes of Darby Crash and Jeffrey Lee Pierce.  

My first punk show was at "The Other Masque" having missed going to the first Masque only due to not having anyone to drive to Hollywood from the South Bay with.  That held me back a lot, until I met my best friend in the punk scene, Rachel.  I met Rachel when we were both flirting with the bass player from the Plugz at the Hong Kong Cafe.  Even though we were both jealous of each other, we realized that Barry was a lost cause and decided to join forces to seek out more beer.  I met her boyfriend, guitar player for the South Bay punk band Saccharine Trust, and when I found out they were from the same area as me, we became fast and inseparable friends.  We went to every show, party, and street gathering (like the courtyard in front of the Starwood, or Oki Dog).  The most fun aspect (besides seeing the bands play live) was getting dressed-up every night.  Rachel and I would scour the thrift stores and vintage clothing shops and put together our own unique look, (although we were highly influenced by our style icons such as Exene of X, or Alice Bag).  My favorite outfits were vintage 40's or 50's dresses with unique prints, black or colored tights, with either suede pumps, men's black dress shoes, or cowboy boots.  Accessories were essential, so lots of cheap thrift store jewelry, along with pins, and buttons of our favorite bands.  We tried to dye our hair as black as we could get it...sometimes adding a streak of "Crazy Color" (but no full-on head of blue or purple hair for us, we had to work at day jobs)!  The make-up, that's where we got really creative.  LOTS of eye shadow and black mascara, red, red lips.  I have to say so myself, we looked quite stunning, and were told that we did quite often, even by "normal" people.   I still think about the fun and freedom we had back then, but it was not without its price, and a lot of my friends from then are sadly gone.  In fact, I feel fortunate that I escaped and my life turned out as well as it has.  But I will never regret being a part of the L.A. Punk scene!

2 Comments

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good times. good times. I took a lot of pictures back then. my work was featured extensively in the film AMERICAN HARDCORE, and a photo of mine was used for the cover of the book as well. I must have went to 1000 shows it seems like.

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I photographed the LA punk scene from late 1978 until the end of 1983 when I felt like it was over & during that time I was out an average of 5 nights a week for 5 years, so I definitely was at & shooting around 1,000 punk shows during those days. Oh, and by the way, that is my photograph at the top of the page here, on the Circle Jerks LP called "Group Sex" put out by Frontier Records & designed by Dianne Zincavage.
That was my first LP cover & the Circle Jerks first LP released in 1980.
You can see many more of them at my site in the DISCOGRAPHY section. I'm going to be adding a lot more, that's just a small portion of my album cover photographs.

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