Punk Spring in Los Angeles 1979

In the spring of 1979 I was just out of high school and looking to break into singing with bands. I wound up in the punk rock scene by happenstance when the drummer of a band called F Word named Dutch Schultz, who I met at the Aardvark on Melrose, called their manager Robbie "Posh Boy" Fields and said I was looking for something and Robbie said his band "Shock", who had had a hit 45 with "We Were That Noise", needed a new singer. I went and tried out with them for about three weeks, learning their songs and playing in their space at Mars studios in Hollywood. It didn't work out because the keyboard and guitar players wanted a guy and not a girl singer. So I hit the Recycler and wound up in another band for two weeks called the B People, which had members of another band called Human Hands, and also a sax player named Steve Berlin. Their music was too weird for me and involved too much screaming and I was a "real" singer, so I moved on, but not before I had some interesting times hanging out with their friend Alice Bag drinking canned cocktails and Champagne at United Western rehearsal, where B People practiced, which made me ill and swore me off the canned stuff forever. Alice was a down-to-earth girl, who was dating a guy named Rob who was the Bags' bassist. She was the nicest person I met in that scene.

Then Shock broke up, and Steve the bassist/songwriter started a new group called the Silencers. I went to play with them a few times, at Mars again, and while that did not work out, I had an interesting afternoon one day sitting in with the GoGos there in their rehearsal space. They were meeting with a potential manager named Ginger. I recall them making a big point of their belief that they needed to go to Japan, because they knew the Japanese loved girl groups. This was the back up if they did not get a record contract in the US.

The end of my three months in punk LA came in April when I tried out with a band that rehearsed at the Masque. There were a bunch of tiny rehearsal rooms there, and the GoGos, the Weirdos, the Rubber City Rebels, the Motels and the FlyBoys all rehearsed in them, as well as The Red Army, which was who I was screaming with at the time. The Masque was in the basement of an art deco era office building at Hollywood Boulevard and Cherokee, and the entrance was in an alley off Cherokee. One night after a rehearsal the 3 guys in the band told me that we were locked in, that Brendan (Mullen, the operator of the Masque), had locked the door not realizing we were still there. It was about 11pm or so. I went and checked and the door was indeed locked. Then these three freaks began to try and back me into a corner, having apparently decided they wanted to do God only knows what to me. I got around them and began to walk feverishly through the shadowy, graffiti ridden, trashed-out warren of spaces that was the Masque, not knowing what the hell I was going to do, just trying to stay away from them. They were calmly stalking me as I wandered, and I was beginning to panic when I found myself all the way in a dark back corner I had not perused before, and there I saw another door. I tried it and it opened, and there before me was a staircase. I climbed it, with them behind me, and found myself in a gorgeous marble lobby right out of an old MGM movie. I headed for the majestic front doors, running, and they followed. Out front was a 10 foot high chain link fence. I had not climbed a fence before but fear got me up and over it, as the 3 guys stood watching me, and then they said it was a joke, they had been kidding, the other door was open after all, locked from the inside but not the outside. By then I was running down the street to my car.

I left the scene at that point, although not music in LA: I just moved out of the hardcore punk aspect of it, and wound up in a band of incredible musicians which played for 6 years in LA, did very well, and put out a couple of records. We were called Doll Congress. But that's another story for another forum! Thanks for letting me share my experiences.

About the Author

Singer, songwriter, musician, producer, recordist. Based in Santa Monica, California.


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