Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Flyer - Thursday October 30 - saturday November 1, 2008

Top 10 – October 2008

Top 10 – October 2008

1. FIX MY HEAD “Garbage Existence” ep (Vinyl Addict)
2. VIIMEINEN KOLLONNA “Tuhat Aurinkoa” ep (Hardcore Holocaust)
3. NITAD “Ibland Kan Man Inte Hindera Sig Sjalv” CD (Kranium)
4. LOGIC PROBLEM “DSM-IV” ep (Sorry State)
5. POSITIVE NOISE “No Hardcore” ep (Punks Before Profits)
6. SLANG “The Immortal Sin” CD (Schizophrenic)
7. REPROBATES “Stress” ep (No Way)
8. DEATHCAGE “From Despair to Where” ep (Endless Blockades)
9. MASSGRAV “This War Will Be Won by Meat Eaters” CD (Sound Pollution)
10. BRISTLES, THE “No Future in the Past” CD (MCR Company)

Label info:
* VINYL ADDICT - 1835 De Bourgogne / Sherbrooke, QC / J1J 1B1 / Canada
* PUNKS BEFORE PROFITS - P.O. Box 1148 / Grand Rapids, MI / 49501 / USA
* SCHIZOPRENIC - 17 W. 4th Street / Hamilton, ON / L9C 3M2 / Canada /
* NO WAY -

* SOUND POLLUTION - P.O. Box 17742 / Covington, KY / 41017 / USA /
* MCR COMPANY - 157 Kamiagu / Maizuru / Kyoto / 624-0913 / Japan /

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Radio - Sunday, October 26, 2008

BORED STIFF - Pigs on Parade, Part 2 (Self-Released)

DRUNK - Dr. Jones (Fans of Bad Productions)
THE CLASS WAR KIDS - Strike Back (110 Records)
STREET DOGS - San Patricios (Hellcat)
GOLDBLADE - Where Have all the Rude Boys Gone (Captain Oi!))
RUTS - I Ain’t Sofisticated (Captain Oi!)

Studio 3 session
BORED STIFF - Losing Streak (CIUT)
BORED STIFF - Panic Attack (CIUT)
BORED STIFF - Die Fighting (CIUT)
BORED STIFF - Pigs on Parade (CIUT)
BORED STIFF - Oppression (CIUT)
BORED STIFF - I Have Issues (CIUT)
BORED STIFF - Crimes Against Humanity (CIUT)
BORED STIFF - Interview (Self-Released)
BORED STIFF - I Have Issues (Self-Released)

LOGIC PROBLEM - Double Crossed (Sorry State)
H-100s - Dismantle Outtake (S.Y.G.)
FOR THE WORSE - Dropping Like Flys (Even Worse / Kangaroo)
SMART COPS - Il Vile E Il Futuro (Sorry State)
SOCIALCIDE - Will Call (Even Worse / Kangaroo)
HAZARDOUS WASTE - You’re Consumed (Nerve Hold)

TOOTHPASTE - Sex in Space (Self-Released)
63 MONROE - Hey Little Girl (Rave Up)
TEENAGE HEAD - Let’s Shake (Unidisc)
UV RAYS - Party Ratn (Feral Kid)
COLA FREAKS - Nej (Local Cross)

ANTISOCIAL CLUB - Oil City Exodus (Self-Released)
HARD CHARGER - Apocalypse Destiny (No List)
INEPSY - Street City (Feral Ward)
PISSCHRIST - Victims of Faith (Yellowdog)
KEITZER -Doom Shall Rise (Yellowdog)

Demo Feature
CROSS - Survival of the Scum (Self-released)
CROSS - Terminal Tough Guy (Self-released)
CROSS - Surfin’ on an Oilslick (Self-released)
CROSS - You’re Too Fat to be Vegan (Self-released)
CROSS - Don’t Need Their System (Self-released)
CROSS - You’re Life or Mine (It’s War) (Self-released)
CROSS - Trench Warfare (In a Manmade Winter) (Self-released)

TEENAGE HEAD - Lucy Potato (Self-released)
TEENAGE HEAD - Teenage Beer Drinkin’ Party (Unidisc)

Interview: Bored Stiff

BORED STIFF are a new local band that I was introduced to through MOLESTED YOUTH. My first impression is that they remind me of SSD in that they are trying to sound heavy without sounding metal. The difference between BORED STIFF and Boston’s original jock gestapo are that Bored Stiff sing about matters of substance. Songs like “Holy War” and “Pigs on Parade” are clear songs about oppression. That’s something I admire in a band. Here is an interview we did on EXD.

Welcome to the show and introduce yourself and tell us what you do in the band.
Warren (W): I’m Warren I play bass.
Andy (An): My name is Andy I play guitar.
Amanda(A): I’m Amanda and I play drums.
D’Arcy (D): I’m D’Arcy and I just sorta yell.
How long has BORED STIFF been around for?
D: I think our first band practice was in June 2008?
An: Yeah it was like the end of June.
W: We played our first show in late August.
D: Not too long, a couple months.
How did the band form?
W: Well I played in MOLESTED YOUTH before I started doing BORED STIFF and I met D’Arcy at one of our shows and D’Arcy knew Andy, and D’Arcy knew Amanda.
An: Well, me and D’Arcy go back a bit. We were in a band earlier with some other guys and it was a cold winter. It didn’t work out so well.
D: So me and Andy were looking for other people and I had seen Warren at every show every weekend and I had been in a band with Amanda a year previous.
W: Wasn’t that a METALLICA cover band?
D: Yeah.
A: Shut up!
D: Amanda’s a bit embarrassed about that. I am too!
D: So I saw Warren at a show, and we were looking for someone else, and finally it was like “who can play drums?” and I knew Amanda from the old band. So that was it.
An: It just sorta snowballed from there.
W: Yes, snowballing, I believe it did just that.
It’s good though, it seems like everyone had a part to bring someone else into the band. Seems almost like tag.
W: Yes, just like a friendly game of tag.
Okay, so do you want to mention the previous bands you were in? Do they have names?
D: Warren’s other bands worth mentioning, nothing else is. MOLESTED YOUTH.
So where does the name BORED STIFF come from ? Is there a story behind that?
D: We were arguing about band names for a long time. A lot of them were BLACK FLAG song titles.
An: Yeah, my good one was TOTAL TRASH but it’s too close to TRASH TALK.
W: I think the rest of these guys had the name BORED STIFF a long time ago, it was mentioned and I sorta brought it back.
An: It’s what D’Arcy wanted to call the old band.
A: We had no choice.
D: Yeah, the other band. We sorta had the name before and it just sorta stuck, but for no particular reason. No story, it just sounds badass.
Yeah it’s a good name.
W: Why, thank you.
An: It’s pretty awesome.
So who do you consider influences on the band?
An: A lot of 80’s hardcore.
W: I’m pretty into money, but I think I made that joke before when he was here for the MOLESTED YOUTH interview.
Yeah you did, it’s old, retire it.
An: Those dreams where you feel like you’re falling...those are a pretty big influence.
D: If you’re talking about musical influences I think its a lot of later 80’s stuff from New York City and a lot of current California stuff like TRASH TALK and CEREMONY.
An: When we started off we were really snotty, we had almost a GERMS, like the L.A. scene sounded originally. You can hear that on the demo.
D: But the newer stuff is a lot more California. TRASH TALK.
You wanna know what I think?
W: Please tell us.
You guys remind me a lot of early Boston scene. Think “Glue” by DYS, and S.E.I.G.E.
W: I’ve never heard that comparison, but I do understand it.
It seems like it’s very...gutteral, pounding, just angry. I think that early Boston scene was really trying to be “heavy” without being “metal”.
D: That’s exactly what we’re going for with our newer stuff, I think.
An: Yeah we try to avoid metal as much as possible.
W: But we don’t try to avoid heavy! We welcome that.
So they played a lot slower, heavier, and pounding, and that’s what I get from you guys. When I listen to you guys I think of DYS right away.
An: Our sound also brings up a lot of early 90’s more experimental power violence that was slower and a lot longer.
D: I think our early stuff is really fast and our newer stuff is slowing down. It’s a nice variety.
But even on the demo, you kind of mix it up, there’s a lot of slow, or at least, mid-tempo songs.
An: We like to see people dance, especially Nick Speal of MOLESTED YOUTH.
It’s a good mosh beat, don’t you think? So do you guys do any covers?
D: We’ve talked about that a lot, actually.
An: I’ve suggested a lot...but nobody likes any of my ideas.
Well you mentioned BLACK FLAG for instance, would you consider covering them possibly?
An: Yeah I’m trying to get us to cover “I’ve Had It” right now.
W: I think we should do “I Don’t Care”.
An: Pretty much any early BLACK FLAG song is good.
W: We should do a song off of “Family Man”.
An: “Do you want the swinging man or the family man”.
W: Really get the crowd involved...bring the mosh.
So I’m going to ask the record collection question now. If you had to limit your record collection to five punk releases, what would they be?
An: Oh my god.
W: You asked this question last time I was here and I still don’t have an answer for you.
That’s sad because you had time to prepare, you know I’m going to ask it.
An: Mine would be.... holy Jesus I can’t even think.
Okay don’t make it difficult, just think of five great releases! Honestly!
An: Mine would be the first three RAMONES records, “Unknown Pleasures” by JOY DIVISION and the CROSSED OUT discography
With JOY DIVISION, that’s crazy!
D: Mine would have to be CHAIN OF STRENGTH “The One Thing that Still Holds True”, MINOR THREAT discography, WEEZER’s “Pinkerton” album just blows my mind.
D: Oh god, that is a great record!
W: That is a really good record!
An: It is !
D: Number four and five’s tough.
D: Oh yeah, god, CURSED “II” definitely...but the last album...probably have to be...there’s this really great folk artist from Maryland called HOP ALONG QUEEN ANSLEIS ... oh, just makes my heart melt ... but that ain’t punk.
W: What in the hell is that !
D: It’s folk music. It’s pretty, she’s good.
Amanda do you want to answer this?
A: I really cannot choose five. This is like the hardest question of my life.
What are five great releases just off the top of your head?
A: Anything by TRASH TALK or CEREMONY.
A: Oh of course, “Kill Them All”! hahah, sorry, I got me.
Alright Warren, the mic has been passed.
W: Oh god, I don’t know...uh..
D: You’re a terrible interviewee.
What, you don’t listen to punk rock?
W: I hate that shit man.
An: Listen to some jazz conga.
W: That’s really good man, have you heard that stuff? It’s really, really good. Um, I don’t know, when I was here last time I know I said “Shattered” by the EXPLODING HEARTS, and I’m going to leave it at that.
So D’Arcy, do you write all the lyrics?
D: Yeah, I do.
An: Most of them. I contribute but he doesn’t listen to me.
W: Hey, actually, I have an answer.... the “Space Jam” soundtrack. (everyone laughs)
An: Excellent! Can I change mine to “Eternal E” by EASY E?
D: Um...yeah, 90% of the lyrics are written by me. He helps out a bit. He’s written a couple of songs that ….
An: That nobody likes!
D: No we liked them, but we ended up scrapping the musical ideas that didn’t work out, but Andy’s influence is definitely in there.
An: ugggghh...pft...(grumble).
D: But I consult him first if there’s a line I’m working on that I need help with.
And so what are some of the things you write about.
An: Not liking cops!
D: Yeah we have “Pigs on Parade” which is about not liking cops.
Is that song inspired by a particular story and maybe you could tell it?
D: To be perfectly honest its not inspired by a specific thing that happened. You would think that something terrible occurred but nothing did. I mean, I’ve been confronted by the police a few times, and none of them were very nice experiences but nothing in particular. Really what influenced that song was just trying to wrap my head around the idea that there’s a man out there with a gun and his job is to find there’s a beautiful idea of love and peace and sick people have warped that into segregation and hate, “I Have Issues” deals with depression, “Dead Meat” deals with hating everyone I know, “Oppression” deals with the New World Order – there’s a lot of stuff going on.
There’s a lot interesting stuff, that’s why I asked.
An: He’s very angry.
W: Everything kind of sucks.
An: Inside the band we call him “Angry D’Arcy”.
D: There’s a joke going where I was “the serious one”.
An: You still are the serious one!
That’s okay, you want your voice to be the serious one. What would be your favorite song from a lyrical standpoint and why?
An: Ah Jesus.
W: Not Jesus.
An: (to Warren) You’re a fool. That’s a really hard question, I gotta say “Pigs On Parade” is up there, because it does speak on so many levels about cops.
W: Yeah I think “Pigs on Parade” is my favourite too. That’s always been my favourite song we’ve had. I just think its really kick ass.
An: It’s everybody’s favourite song because it gets everybody dancing.
D: I think “I Have Issues” and “Dead Meat” are pretty personal songs about dealing with depression and hating everyone, which not a lot of people can completely relate to. “Holy War” is also from a very specific standpoint and my rant against organized religion, but “Pigs on Parade” I think a lot of people really like the lyrics to, because everyone can relate to that. Everyone has to deal with the cops everyday. They’re out there. From my point of view I quite like oppression, its simple “Your right hand holds me down, my left hand makes a fist”.
Amanda, do you have a favorite song from a lyrical standpoint? I know the drummer never usually has an opinion but...
A: My opinion doesn’t matter so.
D: Whoa!
W: Yeah, all you do is hit stuff.
A: I just do what they tell me.
An: she doesn’t even get paid.
W: Wait, I don’t get paid !
Is there a song that stands out?
A: I’d have to say “Pigs on Parade”. I just have to agree or else I’ll get hurt later.
W: That is just a really killer song.
So you guys have a demo out, how long ago was that put out.
D: We had two practices, wrote five songs in those two practices and the next time we were in the same room was in my basement recording.
W: That was still during the summer.
Did you rent equipment and record it yourselves or get someone to help you with it?
An: Yeah D’Arcy’s brother recorded everything for us. We rented equipment, I think we still owe Amanda money for that.
W: I’ll pay you back eventually.
D: What I thought was pretty cool about that was, I’m pretty sure that was the third time we had all been in the same room. We wrote those first five songs really fast and just wanted to put them on tape.
I wouldn’t have guessed. It sounded like a studio recording.
An: In that sense, there was a lot of stuff set up down there, but still pretty raw sounding in the end.
What’s the response been to the demo?
D: The first show we played, which I believe was two weeks after we’d recorded, we sold every single demo we had made.
W: Well to be fair, we only made like 25.
An: But it was a cool feeling.
W: The response has been pretty great so far. Everyone I’ve talked to is really into it.
An: Everything’s going so great, there’s no way to describe it other than a perfect snowball.
Have you got any feedback from anybody? What are people saying?
An: After shows you just hear everyone telling you how great your set was, people coming up to us and just like “dude, that was so intense”. Its been amazing so far.
Okay, I want you to tell me a story about your second show. Is this the D’Arcy thing, where he flew in from Halifax?
An: First of all, I had broken my foot and I was still on crutches at this point.
Oh yeah, jumping off of a...
An: Fell off. If I had jumped off I would’ve landed right in that pool. No, I fell off and yeah I broke...
What did you fall off of?
An: I fell off of Nick’s second story roof.
Jumping into a pool.
W: To be honest I thought he was dead for a while.
So how many things did you break?
An: I fractured my heel bone, I ripped open my other foot so there’s a flappy piece of skin hanging everywhere, I had to get sixteen stitches. There was also a fracture in my pelvis but it turned out later it could be unrelated and maybe I got it skateboarding or something...
D: But the story you’re referring to is I woke up in Halifax, had to catch the plane that night at like three in the morning, got back to Toronto at eight in the morning. By now I hadn’t slept in almost 24 hours, and then I stayed up all day until the show that night. Got there two hours late, and at that point I hadn’t slept in almost 36 hours. I was exhausted, dying, but we played the show anyway. Afterwards people said it was so intense, but honestly I don’t rememeber any of it. I was dead.
An: That show was almost disasterous, because he showed up so late.
Was this also the pig-guts or pig-blood show?
W: No that was our first show, at Siesta Nouveau, not Jay’s house. During the REPROBATES their singer like brought out a bag of pig’s guts and they were nasty and wet and sandy feeling, and he went nuts and started throwing them at everybody. Eventually Jay, the singer for BAD SKIN, just like wrapped them around his face and started running into everybody. It was so gnarly! During our second show at Jay’s house, I forget what band it was, I think it was BAD SKIN’s set, someone brought out a jar of strawberry jam... and there was chocolate sauce everywhere. It looked like a total warzone. It looked like shit hit the fan.
Quite literally. What are your thoughts on the Toronto scene at the moment?
An: It’s wonderful. One of the greatest things about it, y’know there’s all these “beard-hardcore” type guys, that are just like straight-outta-highschool and they’re all like “all you young kids in hardcore are ruining everything. You gotta be old to be into this shit” Elitist shit. It’s great because in Toronto there are so many young bands and people that are just picking things up and with the last year with Stuck In The City, everything in our scene is just going so beautifully.
W: Yeah Stuck In The City is making it a lot easier for younger bands to get noticed and they’ve been doing a great job with it and I totally respect what Greg and his crew are doing.
What are the band’s plans for the next while. You played a bunch of new songs tonight, obviously wrote new material.
An: Yeah we’re playing November 9th with SOUL CONTROL and IN TIME and RAH.
D: I dunno, we were talking about mixing the set we did today and releasing that as our new demo. There’s nine or ten songs on there. That’s our demo redone plus five or six new ones. That’ll be our new release.
W: Things are moving really fast in this band, it’s kind of amazing. Its just always “going”.
An: I’m not saying this in any negative way but if everything ended tomorrow I would be happy, I’m just super happy with everything we’ve done so far, we’ve been able to do so much in such a little time.
And you guys were remarking earlier how everything in this band seems to be working, and before when we were downstairs you guys were talking about how easy it is to be in this band.
An: Ironically, as great as everything’s going, we’re really accident prone.
Do you plan on touring at all?
W: That would be amazing!
D: There’s been a couple little jokes about us and RAH doing a little summer tour, but I don’t know if that’s really going to happen.
A: Japan 2009. (laughter)
W: I’ve already booked the flight
An: I’ve got this little guy who’s gonna show us around and translate everything. His name is Miroki.
Warren: Miroki’s a nice guy.
An: He accepts payment in BORED STIFF demos.
W: Does he take pictures of former US presidents?
An: He does!
D: I have no idea what you guys are talking about! but yeah, the band’s plan is just upwards and onwards. Just get as far and as big as we can and ....
A: And then sell out.
Warren: Just hang hard, man.
An: We’re selling out next week.
D: If anyone from MTV is listening, we’d like to be on TV everyday forever. Thank you.
An: We want money and women. That’s about it.
A: And men.
W: I’m just down to hang hard for a while.
Alright, enough of your dreams. What’s the best way for people to get in touch with the band?
An: Well, you could yell really loud from your roof, but that won’t work super good. It would be pretty novel though.
W: Just put up the Bat signal, we’ll be there in a sec.
D: We have a myspace account,, and we’re playing around Toronto every couple weeks.
An: And you can come talk to us after shows, we’re pretty friendly.
W: Well, I’m not very friendly.
Any last comments?
An: Hi Ivan.
W: I’d like to make a few ma boy Travis, ma girl Christina, oh and there’s this guy in this room standing over here. He’s my brother, he’s kind of a dickhead, whats up Natalie? What’s going on Manir? Y’know who’s sick? RAH, RAH is sick! what’s up RAH?!
An: You know who are sick? BLACK FLAG.
D: Yeah shout-outs to Henry Rollins.
W: What’s up Henry? you listening?
Amanda: Happy birthday Laura!
W: Happy birthday Laura, I don’t know who you are ...
D: I know my family is listening at home. My girlfriend Brie, so hi, hello!
W: Hi D’Arcy’s mom!
A: Hi Brie!
D: Big shout out to Greg & Stuck in The City, MOLESTED YOUTH, RAH, EATING GLASS - the new record rules.
W: Those guys are tearing it up in the scene. They’re doing big things.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hazardous Waste "Pay" ep

HAZZLE WAZZLE as they are known as in their native Mississauga get their first ep released by a label called Nerve Hold Records. It's a good debut release for these skate maniacs. The songs on here are:

1. Pay
2. Slave
3. Profit and Power
4. You're Consumed

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Interview: Colin Brunton (Director of the Last Pogo)

The first wave of Toronto punk came to a crashing conclusion on December 2nd, 1978 at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern with the Last Pogo. The Horseshoe grew uncomfortable with this new genre of music that were being booked by the promoters the Garys. As a result they gave the Garys and the punk scene their walking papers. They had a couple of gigs that presided over two nights, the first featuring the Toronto punk bands and the second featuring the scene’s artier bands. More of the OCA crowd on the second night. Anyways, we got an opportunity to talk to Colin Brunton who caught this event on film resulting in the incredible twenty six minute movie “The Last Pogo”, which has remained underground for the last thirty years. The film has been just released to the public for the first time on DVD. This interview was conducted by Greg Dick.

Where did you grow up?
Mostly around the Bathurst and St. Clair area.
So you’re a Toronto boy.
Yep I started off in the Beaches then I spent a couple of years in Scarborough and then the West end and when I was 13 I went out to the east end where I remained.
Did you go to high school out in the East end?
Yep. East York Collegiate.
Would that have been the same school that the Blake Street Boys and the UGLY would have went to?
I don’t think so. I think the Blake Street Boys probably would have been at eastern Commerce at Jones and Danforth, which to this day is one deadly high school. It’s a scary place to go to I think.
What kind of bands were you getting into in high school?
This would have been the early 70s so I still loved LED ZEPPELIN. I hate to admit it but I was into EDGAR WINTER. I also liked bands like HUMBLE PIE. My real secret shame is JETHRO TULL. Loved ALICE COOPER. I think the bands that I really liked, that I actually got into when I was twelve or thirteen. That was ALICE COOPER, the YARDBIRDS. It started off with the British invasion and opened up to the ANIMALS and the KINKS and all that stuff and when I got into high school it was more like getting into LED ZEP. The musical thing for me in high school was scoring this gig with the original 99 cent Roxy. Gary Topp hired me to work there. That’s when I got really turned on to tons of awesome music and film and culture and art and stuff. The best one there was finding out about ROXY MUSIC. Gary Topp and Cormier, even to this day when I talk to either of them their knowledge of music and their passion for music and really digging deep is just incredible. They have always had this passion. We will be talking about the Garys later on in this show.
So that could answer the next question I have for you is what was your first exposure to punk rock?
A lot of us saw pictures first before we saw bands. It depends on how far you want to bring punk rock back. I’m talking spiky hair, safety pins… I don’t think the spiky hair started until ’79 or ’80, but my first thing I guess was …discounting an IGGY or VELVET UNDERGROUND would have been the RAMONES. When they came in September of ’76. Obviously months before that we were all getting a taste of it. Gary used to show this movie called “Blank Generation” at midnight shows at the New Yorker. I worked at the New Yorker as well. It was a film by Amos Po and what it was this real kind of documentary on the New York punk scene so you get a little taste of the DEAD BOYS and the RAMONES, TALKING HEADS, TELEVISION. All that and you’d have to ask Gary himself this question but I think that’s what got him keenly interested and then the first couple of shows he brought were the RAMONES and JOHN CALE and then everything just kind of changed.

I started seeing pictures of a lot of the New York bands in Roxscene before they actually had records out. I know the movie “Blank Generation” was kind of interesting because the audio is not in actual sync with the footage but it was the only way to see these bands at the time unless you lived in New York which we didn’t. And if you were at the New Yorker at midnight watching “Blank Generation” and smoking weed or being on some other thing sometimes you couldn’t really tell if it was out of sync.
How did you meet the Garys?
I met Gary Topp. I was a high school kid. The 99 cent Roxy was the cool theatre to go to. Not just for awesome movies. There was double bills, different movies every night, and it was a fun place to go to. The Garys presentation was unparallel. As soon as you walked in the door the show started. When you got into the theatre itself the music he played. Playing trailers without sound but with rock music. It was a buzz. So I hung out there and what happened was it started getting really busy when Gary brought “Reefer Madness” and he offered to pay us twenty bucks a night to watch the doors and watch the back doors and make sure people weren’t sneaking in and it just kind of evolved from there. I continued to work with Gary there and then at the Horseshoe. To work at the Roxy theatre in high school was considered pretty awesome at the time. The other rep thing was that is was the movie theatre in Toronto where you could smoke dope. We experimented with marijuana there quite often.
We had a theatre similar to that one in Hamilton called the Delta Theatre, which was along the same lines as Roxy but not quite as cool because it didn’t involve the Garys. I never went to the Roxy. Where was the Roxy Theatre?
Greenwood and Danforth. It was a beautiful old art deco theatre on the south east corner of Greenwood and Danforth. After Gary left it went through a couple of management changes then it turned into a cokehead disco where one of my cab driver buddies got his throat slit one night. Then it turned into a multi-plex favouring East Indian movies. It has been dead for the last couple of years and I believe that now they are going to keep the facade and build a convenience store / gas station complex thing there. They are and there was a piece in the Globe and Mail about six months ago and there was a picture of Gary standing out front of it. The entrance of it looked really really cool. It was too much fun. The old theatres are just so beautiful. Now these things look like they are made out of lego. And your job there was taking tickets and It was pretty loose.
You were hanging out with the Garys making sure everything was running smooth.
Gary Cormier wasn’t in the picture at the Roxy so it was Gary Topp and a couple of other partners who didn’t stick around that long and then this guy named Jeff Silverman who was this guy from Brooklyn who came in and helped Gary run it. My job was great. It was taking tickets and then as soon as you took the tickets go in and watch the movie and just make sure you were out for the break or occasionally you would have to get people out of the theatre. We didn’t tolerate people who drank or dealt so they could smoke all the dope they wanted to but if we heard the clink of a bottle we would be down there figuring out who it was and casually ask them to leave the theatre and occasionally would have to talk down people that were having bad acid trips. Our failsafe was guys that hung out at the pool hall across the street so if we ever got in big trouble. I remember once I had to throw this guy out and he was on some nasty drug and I had to sit on his chest and he looked at me and he just started rising up and I thought “Fuck, I’m going to get killed here”. Then Ducky and Spike and the boys from the pool hall came across and saved us. It was quite the place. Sounds like there might have been guys from Happy Days there with names like that.
The crowd that you were seeing at the theatre, would you say that they might have been the foundation of the future punk scene?
A lot of the regulars ended up going to the New Yorker ended up going to the Horseshoe and it wasn’t so much a clique. It was a fantastic place to get this really wide taste of culture. It wasn’t necessarily punk. Gary would show Roger Corman movies one night and the next night a Bunuel double bill and always new music that was up to date. He would just hear about bands before anyone else did. The kind of creativity it encouraged may have planted a seed in certain people’s minds that continued on. You can’t measure how much influence Gary has had on the counter culture. Gary went on to spearhead the Toronto punk scene and I always found there was parallels between cinema, literature and the first generation punk scene. It was really stylish. There was a lot of intellect involved with so many of the artists. I found that there were parallels. I noticed in Hamilton the people at the Delta would pop up at Club David’s and the Crash ‘n Burn. Well they are all like minded people who are interested in lots of different types of culture. They are curious and they are looking for something a little cutting edge, which I think is what a lot of those rep theatre type places were.
Was there ever any gigs at the Roxy?
Probably one of the best shows I ever saw was the first gig I ever saw there by an awesome band called BREATHLESS, which featured a very young … he must have been maybe seventeen years old, NASH THE SLASH, playing his electric viola. Later on I remember was a ten minute concert by NASH THE SLASH where he sat down … I think it was his premier gig as the masked NASH THE SLASH and he did a live soundtrack to “A Chien in de la lo”. You have to know that when people went to any weekend show at the Roxy they were ripped out of their minds. I remember sitting watching NASH and watching the audience and everyone was leaning forward in their seats watching the movie and their jaws were all opened. They couldn’t believe this. It was unreal. He had a candelabra set up. It was fantastic.
Did the DISHES not play there? Was there a West Side story thing?
I don’t think so.
Why did the Theatre close?
I think it was the rent. They didn’t own the building. From what I can recall being a little stoned seventeen year old kid I think it was a matter of however successful Gary was there the landlords would up the rent and I don’t think they ever got a piece of the snack bar. That’s how you make money at a movie theatre. The tickets were 99 cents and the thing would sell out every weekend. After a while they just couldn’t make any money so they moved on to the New Yorker and leased the place off of ….

There is a lot to be said for charging twenty five bucks for a coke and a snickers bar. Where did the Garys re-locate to?
So after the Roxy they got the New Yorker theatre. Gary got the place all set up and stuff. It was kind of the same deal. Different movies every night, midnight shows stuff like that. NASH THE SLASH was the first manager and I was his assistant for about the first year and we would take turns going to the basement having a puff and then taking off to Funland to play pinball. Sorry Gary. We weren’t really on the ball all the time. I remember one day Gary and Jeff needed to get the snack bar fixed and they called in this carpenter and this long haired bearded guy came in and he did an excellent job and him and Gary just hit it off and that was Gary Cormier and he had some experience managing ROUGH TRADE, but had gotten out of the business and I think meeting Gary Topp they were kindred spirits and both got excited about doing this stuff and the next thing you know they started bringing in all these bands. It was very exciting. And the New Yorker was on Yonge Street. Yeah just south of Charles.
How did the New Yorker crowd differ from the Roxy crowd?
A lot of the same people would come there. On weekends we would let people smoke dope there. I remember when they made a smoking rule in Toronto that a certain amount of the theatre you couldn’t smoke in and Gary put up a sign that said “Smoking only in the first twenty rows”. You never knew if it was the first twenty when you walked in or the first twenty from the front of the theatre. It still had enough anarchy to keep it edgy. It was funny the ways those laws were back then. Really how would that save anyone from second hand smoke?
Would you say this is where the Garys started getting into booking more bands?
That’s where it happened. I am pretty certain the first one was the RAMONES although it could have been the ELLY AKBAR KHAN, a sitar player. It was one of those two and then JOHN CALE was probably the second or third person. It was all just mind blowing. The thing about the New Yorker that was awesome was that it was a small theatre with 500 seats and so any seat was a great seat. What made it more intimate was the fact that there was no back stage and so the bands would have to walk from the basement through the lobby and down the aisle. So often you would just hear this buzz starting because everyone in the back would say “Here comes John Cale” or whatever and you would hear the applause and then they would leave the same way. They would have to walk up the aisle at the end of the show. JOHN CALE played their when the album “Guts” came out or maybe it was the ep. The one with “Memphis” on it. The first time the RAMONES played was with JOHNNY LOVESIN. Tell us about that show. It was great. I don’t know if you can get a show much more exciting than the first RAMONES show. Gary booked JOHNNY LOVESIN and god bless the guy. He knew it was tacky and it was so tacky that it was hilarious and it kind of fit the evening. He did a great solo thing. It was JOHNNY LOVESIN AND HIS INVISIBLE BAND which means it was JOHNNY LOVESIN. The big theatrical high point of his set was this Jimmy Hendrix poster. I can’t even remember how it appeared but somehow this Jimmy Hendrix poster would appear on stage and that was his big deal. And he was great. What balls to go and open for this band that everybody was so excited about. I don’t know. When they first came out some people were excited. And as a kid I personally wanted not to like them. For some reason I thought they looked …..I just didn’t get it. If you read Circus Magazine or Cream magazine or Roxscene this is the best band of the year and the worst band of the year, but then when I heard it I couldn’t stop listening to it. I didn’t see the first show. I went the second time when they had the DEAD BOYS opening for them. We were into it. We were excited. They didn’t let us down. Three shows man. Five bucks a ticket. Three shows. The Garys probably never made a nickel off of it. They couldn’t sell out the three shows. I think they did a total of 1,300 tickets. Peter Gabriel walked out after the first ten minutes of the show complaining about how this was bullshit. We were thinking this is unbelievable. I am sure he regrets it now. It was such an assault and it was so different and fast and crazy than anything you had heard up until that point.

The second time they came the DEAD BOYS played with them.
Was there more people the second time around?
I am pretty certain that that one was sold out. That was the DEAD BOYS, the POLES, and the RAMONES. The nasty DEAD BOYS were there. There was JOHN CALE, there was the ELECTRIC CHAIRS with WAYNE COUNTY, who I am pretty sure was still Wayne at that time. I didn’t see that show. What was that show like? Yep, he was Wayne. He hadn’t turned into Jayne yet. He was either a wonderful woman or a complete gentleman or a bit of both. It was a great show. I think actually the guy who opened for Wayne County oddly enough was MENDLESON JOE who came out dressed as a nurse. He was in the spirit of the whole thing. I had a great story about Wayne County that night. They couldn’t afford a hotel and ended up sleeping in the theatre.
The story I heard was they stayed in there and watched the Rocky Horror Picture Show and apparently it was the first time they had ever seen it, which I thought was pretty cool if the story was true because they were New York City and all.
I don’t know if that’s true. We might have shown the Rocky Horror Picture Show a couple of times and Gary got so sick of the audience and bored of showing the same movie that he didn’t show it that much. I think other people picked up on that. Other people ran the Roxy after they left. Yeah there was a lot of midnight shows and they did it all over the place. I don’t know if Wayne County slept in the theatre that night.
What about the VIBRATORS / GODDO show?
I probably was and I can’t remember it.
That is the one where everybody left the theatre when GODDO opened for the VIBRATORS and Greg Goddowitz came out to the lobby and says “Thanks a lot Toronto”.
He was very upset with the fact that no one stayed. Greg used to come to the Roxy. I met Greg when he used to stumble into the Roxy Theatre. And contrary to what a lot of people thought about GODDO he was actually a big supporter of the punk scene. He was really into it. I think secretly he wished he had a punk band instead of GODDO.
Well somehow I think GODDO and NASH THE SLASH and to a certain extent MAX WEBSTER for some people weren’t despised by the punk scene and I have a bootleg of the first RAMONES show and the person who recorded it interviewed a few people in the audience and they talked to Greg Goddowitz and first he said how can the singer from Brooklyn have such a great English accent and then he ended up by saying the RAMONES are god. He was right the second time. I believe the DEAD BOYS came and headlined their own show later.
Yeah. They came quite a few times. I interviewed Cheetah for this project that I have been working on for a couple of years a couple of summers ago at the cemetery at Winchester and Sackville and Gary and Jeff got me to clean up the dressing room and I would take this muriatic acid and splash it on the wall and then hide my nose away from it then scrub it with this brush and try and clean this whole brick wall. We tried to make this crappy basement into a dressing room and we got it looking okay and the DEAD BOY come and trashed it and I called Cheetah on it when I Interviewed him and it was funny because he was just so apologetic. “I’m so sorry did we really destroy it?” “Yeah you did.” “I’m so sorry man”. They were bad boys. They were pretty rowdy. They played in Toronto a lot. I was talking to somebody about that today. They were here all the time. I remember some of the Horseshoe gigs where they just had the two roadies on each side of the stage and if you spat on them they would point to the person in the audience that spat and that person would usually be pummeled.

Do you remember the CRAMPS New Years Eve show at the New Yorker? Were you at that?
I was probably working that. I remember seeing the CRAMPS a few times. I remember seeing them at the Horseshoe. I remember seeing them in New York at Max’s Kansas City. I can’t really remember them at the New Yorker. They played the same night that TEENAGE HEAD and THE UGLY were playing across the street at Club David’s and that was the night that Club David’s burned down. Right.

Why did the New Yorker close?
I think it was the same thing as the Roxy. The guy kept hiking the rent and I think at that point Gary had it with films and wanted to get more into the music thing so they discovered this place they could lease. During the time that the New Yorker was happening what other clubs or hang outs were going back then? It is hard to track it all chronologically. So in ’76 or ’77 I thin the first one that popped up was the Colonial Underground and there was the Turning Point, David’s and I believe that the Crash ‘n Burn didn’t start until the following summer. Then it seemed like every so often a new club would pop up over night. You would hear go to so and so Yonge Street and there would be a band playing there and bring your own beer or buy beer almost like a speak. They would last for maybe a weekend and then they would disappear. There was a lot of speakeasies that started to get rolling.

So who was the first Toronto punk band you ever saw?
I remember me and Gary and Gary after a shift at the New Yorker. It was come on let’s close it up and check out Steven Leckie’s new band at the Colonial Underground. We had known Steve. What was Steve’s band called? They were called the VILETONES. Not the dialtones. The VILETONES. It was something to behold. It was like nothing you had ever seen before.
Would it be safe to say that they were the first Toronto punk band?
I think so. I can’t really think of anyone else who came before them. I think Steve really was the first.
Did you see them before you saw TEENAGE HEAD?
Yeah. Definitely. They would be the local band to establish the punk scene in Toronto. Yeah. I mean I don’t know the exact date. Steve would tell you, but the RAMONES were September 24th, 1976 and it seemed like a week or two later this whole thing started and all of a sudden you started seeing handbills on telephone poles in the city which you had never seen before. All of a sudden there was this thing happening. I’m pretty certain Steve was the first. It was an awesome show. It was one of my favourite shows in my life. It was just so anarchic or chaotic.
Who did you see after that? How did the chain start going down the line? Did you see TEENAGE HEAD after that or the DISHES, the DIODES …??
I don’t know. First of all I work at the New Yorker and so our big nights for working was the weekend so for a lot of that first year I was contained to stuff that was happening at the New Yorker, which believe me was fine. Every so often if I had a night off I would go to the Turning Point or an after hours or check out the Crash n Burn or the Beverley. I hate to forget some of these awesome places. For my experience with the original bands that came through and all the locals that popped up I was pretty much contained to the New Yorker, just if only because it was my gig. I couldn’t take the night off sort of thing.
Were you more into the punk scene or the OCA scene?
It was a bit of both. I loved the RAMONES and DEAD BOYS sort of stuff, but I also had a real love for bands like TELEVISION and TALKING HEADS and stuff like that who all started out at the same time. I also like the so called New Wave as well as punk.
And during this time did you get down to New York?
Yeah. Some of it is a blur, but I did go down there a few times. The first time I went down with a couple of buddies. We went to see a New Years Eve show and it was TELEVISION, PATTI SMITH, and the JOHN CALE BAND and the thrill of that was having really shitty seats and then us thinking we are in New York, lets just bribe somebody. I slipped an usher twenty bucks and we got first row seats in the balcony and the thing that was awesome about that.
Where was that show?
The Palace maybe. There was a hotel called the Palace. The Palladium maybe. It looked like a two or three thousand seat place and we had these awesome front row seats in the balcony for twenty bucks extra. The coolest thing was at five to midnight these very smart and clever New Yorkers came to take their seats and the ushers wouldn’t let them get their seats back. I remember going another time and we crashed at someone’s apartment where there must have been fifteen people all from Toronto just crashing at this place. That’s when I really did the rounds of hitting CBGBs and Max’s and the Mud Club. That was on 77 White Street. Who knows? I always got lost when I went to New York. I got to see the CRAMPS at Max’s Kansas City was unbelievable.
A spectacle even to this day.
Yeah. Totally.
When did the idea hit you that you could become a filmmaker?
I think about one second before I said “Hey Gary. I want to make a film about this Last Pogo thing”. So that was a little later on from the time that we are talking about. I was fumbling around trying to figure out what I wanted to do and I wasn’t super ambitious or anything. I knew it was going to be art or something. I took a filmmaker’s weekend course at this place called the Toronto Filmmaker’s Co-op and made a little movie with Elizabeth Aiken in it called “Bollocks” It was a little five minute thing where we went to David’s and shot the VILETONES and then we just shot some goofy stuff. We re-created the front cover of the first STRANGLERS album with a rat and I made one of those giant safety pin that you could wear like an arrow through the head kind of gag and that kind of gave me a taste for it. I started driving cabs and one night I pulled up in front of the Horseshoe to pop in and say hi to Gary and I heard Andrew Paterson talking to the Garys saying “Hey this Last Pogo sounds like a great idea”.
And Andrew Paterson was a member of the GOVERNMENT.
Yeah. I just heard him muttering in his way and I was pretty certain that I may have been experimenting with marijuana in my cab that night and I grandly announced without really thinking about it “Hey that sounds like a really cool thing to make a film about.” And I left it at that. I finished my shift and the next morning I got up and it still sounded like a good idea and I pulled it together somehow.
THE GOVERNMENT didn’t play on the second night of the Last Pogo to my recollection.
No. I remember seeing them at places like the Turning Point and there was some place like a flat on Yonge Street. They played a lot of booze cans. I loved that band. I used to have all their material. In the short film “Bollocks” there were little shots of Mike Nightmare in there. I think his head pops in there for a split second. Yeah it could be and I only realized that …funnily enough Steve Leckie gave me this DVD of all his material that he has to date and I lots a copy of “Bollocks” and the last shot is a kid pretending to hang himself for the camera and it was Wayne Brown who has been into the scene and was in a band with Freddie Pompeii in New York called the IMMACULATE HEARTS. And Chris Hate and all the VILETONES are there. I remember when I first met Wayne he would always have a pile of records that he would bring with him to all the gigs and he would be the first guy to have all the latest British imports and that is usually where I had my first exposure to seeing any records that I didn’t already own.
Where did the Gary’s go after the New Yorker?
At that point Gary got more interested in booking bands instead of doing the movie thing. They found this bar called the Horseshoe Tavern and so they loaded up the truck and they moved to Beverley kind of deal.

Who played at the Horseshoe the first night?
That’s a good question. I have no idea. Obviously that didn’t stand out.
So you did work at the Horseshoe?
Gary was the most awesome guy to work for. When I started working for him I was seventeen and it was just a big influence on me. To this day the way I treat my crews on film and TV shows is much the way Gary treated me. Do your job and relax and get it done. It was very loose. By the time we got to the Horseshoe he asked me if I wanted to work here and I was “Of course. So what do I do Gary?” he was like “I don’t know. Whatever?” “Do you want me to take tickets?” “Oh no. We’ll have people for that”. “Do you want me to bus tables?” “No there is people that do that.” “So what do I do?” “I don’t know. Just hang out.” So I just kind of hung out and smoked lots of pot in the kitchen. Then I started making the handbills. The Horseshoe used to be almost twice as big. On the east side of the Horseshoe there was this whole other bar that was usually empty or we would go over there to get high and then come back. The way space is in Toronto these days you just don’t have that. Yeah the other half is where the restaurant was. It was a little Greek restaurant.
I think it is where the magazine store is now.
Yeah. So it was pretty cavernous. It was a huge place. I did occasionally take tickets and I made all the posters and then I went and stapled them up around town. Sometimes it would cost more to make the poster….back in those days when you made a handbill you had to cut with scissors and paste with glue and if I had white letraset I would scratch it to make it look distressed and then if I wanted to make it bigger or if I wanted to make it black instead I would have to get on my bike and go to this place called the stat house in Yorkville, drop it off, tell them what I wanted, come back either three hours or a day later, get the new artwork, spend ten bucks on that, and occasionally realize I made a really stupid typo. It would take forever. I think they pad me fifty bucks a handbill, which back ion those days was fairly generous and sometimes I would end up paying more to make the handbill.
So what were some of your favourite gigs at the Horseshoe?
One of my favourites was EDIE THE EGG LADY. I could not find a track or place to download a song. Edie was famous for being in pink flamingos. She was the obese elderly woman who sat in the crib and waiting for the egg man to come by. She came to town and she had some poetry and it was one of those spontaneous catch lightening in a bottle things. The Garys arranged for the VILETONES to back her up so it was Chris Hate, Motor Mike, and Freddie Pompeii and they met Edie that afternoon and she told them waited she wanted to do and it was awesome. She did her big hit “Hey Punks Get off the Grass” which I so tried to bring here tonight. Another one I really loved was SUICIDE.

Was that the night with DESTROY ALL MONSTERS and TEENAGE HEAD? The triple bill that went three nights.
I’m not sure. The SUICIDE show that stands out to me is the one that they may have done it by themselves. There was very few people at the Horseshoe. There was maybe only a couple of dozen people. Alan Vega is pretty intense and we were standing there and we had grins ear to ear watching him because the guy was just so entertaining and so different. Every so often you would get these stragglers that would wonder in. I remember there was this table of what you might perceive as University jocks sitting at this table having a few beer and yapping off to Alan Vega and at one point he just jumped off the stage and he walked up to the table and he put his face about one inch away from the loudest jocks face and keeping in tune with Martin Rev’s solo synthesizer screamed “I want to fucking kill you” and the guy never said another word that night. He was kind of transfixed. The CONTORTIONS were awesome. The CRAMPS were great. The STRANGLERS. The thing was that you look at the handbills from those days and there was nine months, seven nights a week. It is hard to believe.

I have never seen a scene as strong as that in my life and I am sure it was the same thing going on in London, New York, later on in L.A. and San Fran. I have yet to see anything as crazy and cool as that. And by the way Alan Vega just celebrated his seventieth birthday. Did you notice that the scene started changing during the Horseshoe days? Now that we are coming from the Roxy to the New Yorker now we are at the Horseshoe. Was the crowd changing? Was it still as special?
Yeah. I think it was. It was only a number of years and I can’t recall thinking that we had really different looking people coming in or people with a different attitude. I left the Horseshoe after the Last Pogo.
I thought it was the peak where it was still good. It was pretty consistent. Everybody that should have been there was there. It was busy. You had your curiosity seekers, but anyone who was there to be entertained got the crap kicked out of them by the Blake Street Boys. If they were there for genuine reasons I think everybody felt comfortable.
I noticed more of a change after the Horseshoe in 1980. The Pogo thing was in ’78 and ’79 - ’80 when they got to the Edge I started noticing, and someone can fact check this, but people were starting to get into harder drugs. The drug of choice back in the punk days was beer, uppers, and pot. Around the early 80’s it was getting into coke and heroin and stuff like that and that was getting a bit more nasty.
I remember when the HEARTBREAKERS played down there and I went to get JOHNNY THUNDERS’ autograph and he asked me if I had any dope and I was quickly looking around to se if any of my friends had a joint, but he made it clear that this wasn’t the kind of dope he was looking for.
Also in the 80s there was this odd period where the cops were very happy to bust dealers. I remember it happening and then all of a sudden the people who liked to get high by smoking pot found out that you couldn’t get pot anymore, but you could get coke really easily. I know a few people who did a switch right there and it messed them up.
What did Gary say about TEENAGE HEAD and SUICIDE?
Okay so what happened at that show was when TEENAGE HEAD were playing the place was jam packed and as soon as they were done everyone left and that’s why there was only a dozen or so people there when SUICIDE came on.
The Horseshoe obviously grew uncomfortable with the punk scene and the promoters the Garys with the scene that they had created there. Were there any signs of this or did it just come out of the blue that they wanted this punk stuff out of the Horseshoe?
I don’t know. I wasn’t involved with their business end of everything. I know there was always tension and I think a lot of it came down to money. I don’t know the details but I remember this guy who may have been the owner or the manager of the building but when Gary still worked with Jeff Silverman he drove a car that looked like an undercover cop car and one night this guy left the Horseshoe and we got in Jeff’s car and decided to tail this guy and we ended up going through laneways south of Queen off of Spadina and then he started trying to take off from us and we would whip around a corner and follow him some more. We finally let him go. I think it was Jeff just trying to make someone paranoid. But I don’t really know why.
I went there quite a bit. I lived in Hamilton but it just seemed to come out of the blue from my memory of things. I remember feeling “Wow. Where are we going to go now? And what’s gonna happen?” I was upset about that. So considering if this did or did not come out of the blue was there a lot of preparation went into organizing the Last Pogo weekend?
Well as far as the Garys did I am sure it was pretty massive. They had twelve to fourteen bands.
But did they have a lot of time or was this something they did in two days?
I can’t remember. That is a good Gary question.
How did the Garys choose the line ups for each night? Obviously they geared the first night as the punk night and the second night was more the artsy new wave night.
Again, I don’t know. It could have been some of there more favourite bands, but I am not really positive. And the bands that did play were really kind of like regulars at the club and so that could have been a part of it but I’m not positive.
By this time two of the bands had played on the punk night that were favourites of mine aside from TEENAGE HEAD obviously. The VILETONES and the UGLY. By the time the VILETONES, who weren’t even scheduled to play, they ended up pirating the stage, by the time the VILETONES played this was a different VILETONES. How did this version differ from the version that you saw at the Underground Colonial?
The night of the Last Pogo, the VILETONES, the UGLY, and the SECRETS were all kind of …. There was a bit if musical chairs. The SECREYS was Freddie Pompeii, Motor Mike, Chris Hate, and John Hamilton who was from the DIODES with Freddie fronting. Basically the band that I saw back up Steven Leckie at the Colonial except I don’t think Chris Hate was in the band. There was a guy named Jackie Hate maybe. But I feel like Chris was one of the true original VILETONES. The band that Leckie had was Screamin’ Sam, Tony Torcher, and I can’t remember who the guitar player was.
The guitar player was the guy from BRUTUS.
He was a temporary guy who was later replaced by Steve Koch.
So Steve and Tony Torcher and Screamin Sam really were more like the UGLY and the UGLY just had this band that they put together in the previous few weeks. I have to admit that they weren’t the best representations of each of those bands. I do think they put on a great show but it wasn’t the original line ups. In a way it wasn’t like the real thing although they were still great. It wasn’t if you were to peg the best UGLY or VILETONES performance. You wouldn’t pick that night. You would pick a different group of players.
Were there any bands wanting to play at the Last Pogo that were turned down?
The one I remember of course was Mickey de Sadist from the FORGOTTEN REBELS …
…who does a cameo in the film.
Yeah well we finished the shooting of the thing and we thought we should get a few interviews with people and we went down to New Rose which was the punk record / clothing store run by Freddie Pompeii and Margarita Passion. We interviewed the both of them and Mickey was there and Mickey was jokingly bitching about the fact that they didn’t get to play the Last Pogo and so we decided to interview him and he was great. He held up his FORGOTTEN REBELS album and told us to our face that the Last Pogo was one big farce and it was stupid and did a MODS impersonation and we thought we have to keep this guy in for sure now. He was just too funny. I’m sure there was other bands that wanted to play.
The VILETONES on that night they did pirate the stage and weren’t expected to play. They took TEENAGE HEAD’s gear. I know Sam was playing Steve Mann’s bass upside down which Sam had some trouble with, but they still pulled off a fantastic set.
Plus it’s always good when you do play a bass guitar to plug it in.
I saw them at the Colonial one night and I remember he couldn’t keep the bass plugged in. I’ll never forget that night. It didn’t hurt their performance that’s for sure. So the VILETONES pirated the stage, were you surprised that they came out of nowhere?
I don’t remember very much of that evening at all. I was trying to make this film with a few camera people and I was a little shell shocked. I don’t recall very many moments of that whole evening. I remember getting pushed outside. I remember talking my way past the fire chief or the cop or whoever it was that told us we had to leave and apart from that I am drawing a blank on the whole evening. I’m glad I made the film of it so I can remember it.
I was going in and out a lot that night. I found that there was so many people there that there were little cool corners and sections of the club where there were familiar faces and then there was tons of faces that I had never seen before. It seemed like there was some publicity for that. There was tons of people there who were definitely tourists. That was the impression I had.
Yeah. I think they are the ones that tore the place to bits.
So the VILETONES, were they originally offered to play and then turned it down and then surprised everybody?
I don’t know.
Did any other bands turn down the gig that were offered to play?
Yeah. The CARDBOARD BRAINS initially didn’t want to be lumped in with this so called punk / new wave scene and I think Gary had to sit down and chat with Vince Carlucci and John Paul Young and say “Are you guys crazy? We’re gonna record this. We’re gonna make a film of this.” They decided to come on board. I can’t think of anyone else that refused.
The place was way oversold. Did you expect that kind of a turn out?
I think everyone in the scene was pretty excited about the gig. Not that it was the last punk show, but it was a pretty decent line up. To see seven bands in a night for $5.00. I think we thought it was probably going to sell out we just didn’t expect that there was going to be an extra three hundred people that would make their way through the doors. It ended up being pretty chaotic but again I don’t even remember where I was standing that night nor what I was doing. I think I was behind the sound board and occasionally walking up to a camera person.
I was right in front of the bands that I really dug or I was socializing and hanging outside.
The only think I really remember is being out on the sidewalk and hearing the riot and thinking I can’t believe I am out here on the sidewalk with all the camera guys. And then I was thinking where is the sound guy. And someone said he was still inside recording.
Did the scene change much from the Last Pogo to the last RAMONES gigs at the New Yorker? Now there is a time span so you are seeing almost two years.
When the RAMONES came in ’76 I remember when the show was over me and a couple of buddies that worked there were thinking “Wow they had black jeans.” You couldn’t buy black jeans in Toronto. There was one place by the Beverley Tavern. There was a big concern about “Man we can’t be hippies. We can’t wear blue jeans. We gotta get black jeans from somewhere.” So one of the differences by the time the Pogo came out that people were getting a bit more into the whole fashion thing. For the first couple of years Toronto wasn’t as fashion conscious as New York or London were and I think after that it changed a bit more. But I think it was pretty much the same audience.
New Rose would get the odd thing but it would get scooped up pretty fast. My mom was a really good sewer so she could take all my bell bottoms in and make them straight legs.
Mickey de Sadist told me that around that time he had black dress pants and he had to sew them all up to make them straight legs. I think Mickey even used safety pins to tighten some of ankles up.
And with leathers, you know what? I couldn’t afford to buy a black leather jacket. I couldn’t afford one until I was forty.
And back then they were a little bit hard to find. I had to get mine at a Harley Davidson shop in Hamilton and it was expensive and they just weren’t around that much. If you had one it was pretty radical. Who do you think had the strongest performances that night?
The first night, as much as I loved certain bands there I think the best performance was the SECRETS. I interviewed Freddie about this. They were playing down the street at the Beverley. They literally ran from a gig at the Beverley down to the Horseshoe and just ran up on stage and did their show. And you can tell they were pumped with adrenalin when they did their bit. It was a bit odd because they did some acapella and it was more like an edgy rhythm and blues band. The VILETONES were always exciting no matter what. You never knew what Steven was going to do. The UGLY were good. I like the SCENICS, but they had the opening gig and they didn’t have a huge following and then it is pretty hard to beat a band coming on post riot. There were people standing on tables and playing with the lights when TEENAGE HEAD hit the stage.
A few people had an attitude about that show saying “We’re not going to the Horseshoe tonight. We’re hanging at the Beverley.” I think there was something going on at the Bev that night.
It was the SECRETS.
Yeah but I think there was some other stuff going on there too.
It’s funny. It’s thirty years now and as small as the scene was there was still these little cliques. If you did this drug you couldn’t hang out with that gang. If you liked that band you really shouldn’t go and see that band. It was kind of weird. It’s funny now with all these reunion things. Everyone’s buddies now whereas back in the day they didn’t like each other so much.
I understood the art band versus the punk band thing, but when I heard the punk bands going at each other I thought shouldn’t you guys be mad at the guys in ZON and WHITE FROST as opposed to punk band not liking punk band. I don’t want to mention any names. Did you go to the second night of the Last Pogo?
I couldn’t film the next night because I couldn’t get permission from all the bands.
Which bands wouldn’t give you permission?
There was only one person in one band that wouldn’t give us permission and that was Carole Pope from ROUGH TRADE. When I heard that I felt it doesn’t seem like I should film that evening. Maybe I will just film that first night and it turns out that it was best for me because I didn’t know what I was getting into. It was hard enough dealing with a half hour film let alone muscle my way through an hour film.
And you wouldn’t want to upset the anti-diva.
I was going to ask you how the two nights compared. It might have been a little bit of a lunch bag let down after the place got trashed.
I was there and one of the big differences was they didn’t have any place to sit or put their beers on.
Were there a lot of people there?
I think it was pretty packed, but there was way less tables and chairs because they were all stacked up like lumber.
That was just incredible those last twenty minutes in the Horseshoe. I will never forget it. Walking through there with my buddy looking at piles of wood of these chairs that would have taken ten chainsaws to break apart but somehow all these skinny little kids just destroyed everything. It was just amazing. In the movie why is the sound for TEENAGE HEAD so muddy?
What happened was back in those days TEENAGE HEAD were managed by a guy named Jack Morrow who was overly protective of his band and wouldn’t allow Comfort Sound to record them so all we had to go off of for that moment was our tape recorder with our sound guy so we just couldn’t get good sound. And in fact at that point we couldn’t get much footage of them because we couldn’t get to the stage and so we ended up with not much footage of them and had to do our best to cut and paste what we had together.
Tell me about the interviews in the last Pogo. You already touched on the one with Mickey de Sadist. One of my favourites was the one you did with the VILETONES which included Steve Koch with the famous quote from Tony Torcher the drummer.
I knew Leckie and I thought how am I going to get a rise out of Steven Leckie. What is the stupidest question I could ask this guy? So I said “Are the people that come to the VILETONES shows laid back?” That just set him off and he said “No they are not laid back” and Tony came up with the line “People change. It’s like a hit of heroin.” Which really I think, not that I know heroin, but I think makes you laid back.
I think he said “The VILETONES are like a hit of junk.”. I loved that. But I think they were more like a hit of speed. Freddie Pompeii was talking about the SECRETS in it. Tell me about the TEENGE HEAD interview. They finish off the movie.
I asked them an honest question. I said “do you guys think you’ll be doing this five years from now?” They cracked a joke and it is kind if funny they had gone on and done it for another thirty years, which is pretty amazing.
The last show I saw of TEENAGE HEAD was at Dundas Square in the summer and they were absolutely on their game. I could hear every word that Frank was singing. For me personally that was just a great way to …. If I had a last show to see that is certainly the way I want to remember them. With the film is there any unreleased bonus footage from the original material.
Not really. I was on such a no budget. Literally I had scraps of film that we exchanged for brand new film at Patrick Lee’s film school. We shot about forty minutes worth of stuff to make a twenty six minute film. A lot of it is garbage stuff that we can’t use. There might be a couple of minutes of worth while stuff but I don’t really know.
What about additional audio?
The additional audio is kind of interesting. For this new thing that I am doing “The Last Pogo Jumps Again” I have found a couple of tapes of whole evening and I actually have Super 8 footage that someone sent to me from BC of most of the bands from that night and Super 8 footage looks fantastic. It looks like 16 mm.
Will you be authorized to use it?
Yeah I am totally authorized to use it.
I hope you release it in it’s raw form because that is something we all want to see. I hope you do. Will there ever be a soundtrack. We have been hearing for years. It was on the release sheets for EMI for the longest time that there was going to be a soundtrack with bonus tracks released and it still has not seen the light of day. I believe these recordings are still out there it is such a shame. I don’t know what has happened?
I don’t know what happened either. I don’t have the rights to release any of that music on a soundtrack. That wasn’t the deal I made with the bands. For me I am just going to leave the film the way it is and I will see what kind of stuff I can dig up for the new one.
And Bonus features on the new one are?
On the one that is out now I have a half hour of the SCENICS playing at Roger’s Community TV station and Andy Meyers from the SCENICS did a bit of a creative mixing a duo phonic from the 60’s, an old style re-mixing. It sounds fantastic. And then Chris Hate, one of my favourite VILETONES, does an on screen commentary of the Last Pogo which is very charming and very funny. There is also a couple of Easter eggs hidden, little bonuses, that you have to find for yourself.
I’ll be looking for them. It turned out that night that there was a couple of off duty undercover detectives that were drinking their all night. God only knows how drunk these cops were. They decided on coming up and preventing the show from going on any longer. TEENAGE HEAD, at this point were on the stage and talked them into letting them do one song. I hear you would like to interview that detective if you could ever find him. How is that going?
For one thing, in the new film it is not really a one man show. I have a lot of people helping me do stuff like Aldo Erdic shoots a lot of stuff. Chris Hate’s son, Kiera Papootts shots stuff. I got Wes. It is basically a one man show. Me and my son Ollie do a lot of the stuff and it is hard to find the time. A lot of it is just Sunday afternoons. But I want to find a Mr. Shit who was a real character on the scene and I want to find the detective and see if the guy is still alive and ask him.
There has got to be a way of going down to 52 division and just look that up. There has got to be some kind of records.
I’m sure there is. I just have to get around to it.
The Last Pogo was billed as the last punk show ever. Was it?
Truthfully it was the last punk show at the Horseshoe Tavern when it was run by the Garys. I really think that you can’t peg a day on when the punk scene started in Toronto. You can’t peg a day when it ended. For my purposes for the new project I am doing I am saying that the punk scene started when the RAMONES came in ’76 and I think the first real wave of the punk scene ended that night.
I fully agree with that. Do you feel that the Toronto scene was overlooked internationally?
Absolutely. There wasn’t enough clever people in the record industry. The press were kind of amused by it. Look at some of the CBC archival stuff of interviewing the VILETONES. They just thought …I mean it was much the same attitude as the American media when they got onto Elvis and the rock n roll thing started in the States. They just thought this was a passing fancy. The thing about London and New York is they got a lot more attention because there is a lot more people there. There was a lot more press and maybe they had smarter people. Toronto back then was still so provincial and small town that we just didn’t have the coverage. Luckily for me and this new thing that I am doing there was also a lot of really talented and creative people in the audience that night. I have so many fantastic photographs by people like Edie Steiner and Don Pyle and a couple of other people. There was a fantastic scene and no one paid attention to it.
I think that is changing now. The one thing I enjoy seeing with the Toronto scene is not just the enthusiasm within our own city, but I think the people around the world are starting to pay attention. The release of the movie is certainly going to help that. What did the promoters the Garys do after the Horseshoe?
They started the Edge. They took over an old pub. I think it was an old Ryerson student pub called Edgerton’s. Ryerson is now a University founded by Edgerton Ryerson and they renamed it the Edge and it was a much smaller room and they continued on bringing in their favourite bands.
Did you work there?
No I didn’t. I did the handbills. I was driving a cab. I had this vague notion that I was going to keep making films somehow.
That was another incredible place. You could see the ONLY ONES on Sunday and ULTRAVOX with the MODS on Monday. Seven nights a week. It was just incredible. The public debut was at the Danforth Music Hall a long time ago along with the Toronto debut of the BUZZCOCKS, the GANG OF FOUR and the VILETONES debut as a rockabilly band. How did that go?
It went great. What they did was Gary put a screen in front of the stage so when one band ended the movie started and you could kind of vaguely see the band behind the screen getting set. I was so nervous. In twenty six minutes I was pretty certain I smoked five cigarettes somehow. I just wanted to get the thing over with. I was in the projection room sweating up a storm, puffing away. It went over great. To the Toronto audience it wasn’t that much of a big deal. These were their bands they saw so the film got no attention when I finished it.
I remember the GANG OF FOUR were really great that night. The VILETONES were awesome too. I was blown away when they all walked out with their hair slicked back. It wasn’t really rockabilly but they had changed. It was still really super cool. “Don’t Mess with my ducktail” and “We all say Yeah” and songs like that. How were the reviews for the film. Were there any?
No there was not one. The only review I managed to get was and this was after a couple of letters that I wrote to Peter Goddard and finally Peter Goddard came through and wrote quite a nice article about the film in the Star. But I couldn’t sell it. No one wanted to show it. The New Music wanted it for nothing. When they couldn’t get it for nothing they picked up some British punk special. I just thought “Fuck You”.
Typical Toronto back then. It has changed a little now. Ignoring their own scene.
It hasn’t changed that much. Let’s face it.
Did the film get any international exposure?
Funnily enough it got picked up by New Line cinema who went on to distribute it. One of my trips down to New York I decided to pop in unannounced and ask them how the film was doing and Gary Topp had a friend in California who was an assistant camera guy who I admired because he had actually gotten into the business which was very romantic to me. He told Gary that he saw a film of this Last Pogo at a midnight show in San Francisco. So I went to New York and I walked into New Line’s office and I said I want to see the books on my film. I looked at the books and I said “What about the San Francisco gig?” and they hemmed and hawed and I sat in the lobby for about an hour and a half and I left that day with all my film prints, all the copies I had. They tore up the contract. It was over. I think I made $36 bucks from them.
Will there be international exposure for this re-release?
I hope so. I can’t pretend it is going to have this huge audience. I’m not doing it to have a wide release. I just want to get the thing done.
It has had rave reviews in Maximumrocknroll and the alternative press. I think that they way things are with the internet these days I have a feeling that the thing will get exposure.
There is some guy in Italy who just ordered a DVD. Guerillmo Morrow. Thank you.
There is actually a great book out of Italy that features a lot of the Toronto punk scene, but I have only heard about it. Getting back to the re-release of the DVD you are going to be celebrating this with the 30th Anniversary on November 29th, 2009 at the Horseshoe. It’s going to be quite the party. There is a whole pile of bands playing. I just had this sent to me today. This is from one of the bands that are going to be playing. This is a description of them. “Imagine a bar room brawl in one of NICK CAVE’s rowdiest, bloodiest songs “Gowan Drunk” or stumbling through a cabaret stage. PJ HARVIE is picking feathers from a moth eaten scarf while she peers over the shoulder of JOHNNY CASH who is about to bring a heavy game of poker with SCOTT WALKER to a climax. A host of lesser indie stars are ducking as empty whiskey bottles fly and there at the corner of the bar sits a band on the brink of turning their sexy gangster pop booze into a drunken remorse. That band is STEVEN LECKIE AND THE SOLUTIONS imbued with a dark and expressive somberness, a melodic richness, a weird lyrical wisdom and some of the prettiest mournful tunes that you could ever imagine. Every bruised ballad and contemplative croon here is deeply affecting. So that is going to describe one of your guests that night. Can you tell us who else is on the bill?
Yeah. The SCENICS who are one of my favourites from back in the day and I hope we have time to slip in one of their tunes. Mickey de Sadist. He gets a second shot at being at the Last Pogo.
A first shot.
A first shot. Mickey will be bringing the FORGOTTEN REBELS out for a bunch of songs. STEVEN LECKIE’s SOLUTIONS. The MODS, the UGLY with a new lead singer because Mike Nightmare is deceased. Their new lead singer is you. Greg Dick. I think it is going to be a lot of fun.
Can we expect any surprises? Any chance Freddie Pompeii might show up?
I don’t know if Freddie is allowed in the country. I would love to see Freddie up here. I have a feeling that it is going to be this awesome high school reunion that we have done a couple of times and hopefully we will get some new blood out there to see us old folks do our thing.
You started filming the bonus footage for the DVD that’s coming out. It turned into a whole other project. You just started meeting all these people that were involved in the scene back in the day and you found out that there was just so much and they were so interesting. Tell me about that.
It is kind of endless. The reason why I thought … well the rights for the Last Pogo were tied up for ten years and when I got them back I took a look at the film and thought “wow this really holds up.” So for sure I have got to get this out in DVD at some point. At the same time I had this awesome camera that I had managed to get and my son Ollie was thirteen and I thought maybe I should just take the summer off and we can go out with the camera and start tracking down some of the people from the Last Pogo and find out what they are up to and evolve from there and now I have created a monster because I have been shooting this since June 2006. I have to end this soon. I have to admit that I am getting kind of tired of it because I have a family and I have to work so I kind of sneak time in. It is really exciting
This is just a side project for you. You are working on “Little Mosque on the Prairie” and so many other things so
Yeah, so it has kind of turned into this monstrous hobby and it’s fun, but I just want to get it done. I think I have about 200 to 300 hundred hours of footage and there is still a couple of dozen people I feel like I really got to get that represent that period that I love. 1976 to ’78 in Toronto. That’s what the new film is going to be about. We are going to use the original “Last Pogo” as the spine and we will re-meet people that you saw in the Last Pogo and find out what they are doing now. Right now it goes off in too many tangents. I have to pull them together.
What is it going to be called?
It is going to be called cleverly enough “The Last Pogo Jumps Again”.
That’s a great name. Have the characters changed much in thirty years?
No. They haven’t. One thing I discovered from meeting all these people again was that people essentially don’t change. So however you are when you are twenty three you are probably going to be like that when you are 43 or 53. You can change habits. You can quit drugs or quit drinking or start taking drugs or start drinking you are the same. It is interesting to meet these people and go “Wow, I knew these people thirty years ago and they are kind of the same thing.”
I have found the same thing. Even with the bands, the ones who pulled in the crowds back in the day still pull in the crowds now. Now Colin there is a lot of interest in this scene all of sudden even though it remains anonymous for years. What do you attribute this to?
I have no idea. When I started it, it was really on a whim. I thought it was a fun way to hang out with my son. We got this cool camera. Lets go out and shoot stuff. Going digital is so DIY now. It is so simple to do which is a curse as well as a blessing. Then I discovered all these people starting to get their bands together at the same time. Andy Myers of the SCENICS had finally gotten around to listening to 300 hours of stuff they had recorded. So at the same time he is listening to thee old tapes and you know he is thinking “these still sound pretty good.” Lets start re-mastering them. Then you have a guy like Cleave Anderson who drums for everyone on earth and is fantastic and he has this enthusiasm for this old style music. Original old school punk. So I think the stars aligned a certain way
Yeah I think that too. A lot of the old bands have reformed. Are you enjoying this?
It is kind of weird. I’m not into nostalgia bands. I don’t listen to music as much as I did thirty years ago but I am always interested to see what Leckie is going to try and do next. The FORGOTTEN REBELS, you have to tip your hat to Mickey because he has never stopped. Again my favourites were the SCENICS and they are actually writing and recording new material and I am hoping they are going to blow the roof off the joint at the reunion. They are loosely serious about seeing if they can be a band now. And now that we have these opportunities with instant communication with the internet, instant graphics because everyone thinks they can get a free trail in Photoshop and make a handbill. Everything is so instant and fast now it is a lot easier to do then it was thirty years ago. It allows for this type of thing. To be frank I am going to be glad when I get the new film finished because I have other shit I want to do in my life, but I am totally enjoying meeting up with old friends, meeting people I saw on the periphery and getting to know them a lot better. People like you, Wayne Barrett, Roger Streets, Cleave Anderson. All these people I knew to say “Hi” to. It’s great. What do they say, it’s not the destination it’s the journey. I kind of don’t want the filming to end. On the other hand I want the filming to end quick. I have my list of stuff that I have to nail to make it a legitimate representation of that period.
What is going on now does seem like an extension of thirty years ago. Even this afternoon at Frankie Venom’s wake in Hamilton and we were all standing outside in this beautiful sunny afternoon having a beer and everyone is just chatting and having a genuinely great time. We are missing Frank of course. With all this stuff going on now, do you think it is a flash in the pan or will some of these bands continue in for a while?
It’s funny. Because of the instant access of the internet and the fact that digital allows you to pump stuff out, if it is in the hands of people who are creative and smart they can produce great stuff. I’m sure there is some kids in Scarborough who just recorded eight songs tonight that might sound like shit or great. Then on the other hand you have guys like you with the UGLY or STEVEN LECKIE or the MODS who have recorded their old stuff again or the SCENICS. Like I am excited by the fact that Andy and Ken want to write new songs and do new stuff as the SCENICS. Why not? From the beginning of rock n roll it has never ended.
There are no rules in rock n roll.
Right and there is no best before date. So why can’t some sixty year olds rock out?
If it rocks it rocks. Look at the stadium shows these days. It is a bunch of guys with dyed hair and when I was a kid we weren’t going to see anybody who was old but MADONNA played here last night and the STONES. Are the Garys going to be involved in this upcoming show?
I don’t think they are officially involved, but I know for sure that Gary Topp is going to be there. I haven’t talk to Cormier, but the Garys have to come there for sure or it is almost ludicrous.
Will it be filmed or recorded?
Yeah. Both. When I say filmed I have toyed with the notion that I can pull some 16mm together for this but I am not quite as stupid as I was when I was 23 when I made the Last Pogo. I am not that much smarter, but not quite as dumb. I don’t know if I want to jump into 40 grand in debt to film this.
Is there going to be merch or a “last Pogo Jumps Again t-shirt?
There is going to be a t-shirt and for $12 the original Last Pogo on DVD, which you can also get on
When do you anticipate the release of the “Last Pogo Jumps Again”?
2009 for sure.