Friday, December 24, 2004

Feliz Navidad desde Mexico City!

Two days ago, my husband surprised me with an early Christmas gift: a trip for our family to Mexico City to see my beloved Tia (aunt) for the holidays. Mexico is especially festive at this time of year.

We arrived yesterday, unannounced and were welcomed with tears of joy and excitement. My cousins then arranged a spur of the moment "Posadas" celebration. We all held candles and sang songs asking for shelter for the holy family as we walked single file in the courtyard, carrying statues of the expectant parents Mary and Joseph being led by an angel. Out of nowhere appeared a clay pinata with seven "cuernos", or horns, each representing one of the seven deadly sins. One at a time, the participants were blindfolded (to symbolize the virtue of blind faith) and took turns swinging a bat at the clay pinata as it flew up and down on a rope, suspended across the courtyard.

A few well placed hits and the clay pinata broke open, scattering its contents (representing heavenly rewards to those with faith) all over the ground: "cacahuates" (peanuts), persimmons, oranges and raw sugar cane. We all scrambled to gather the treasures with our hands. I spotted a large pile of "nueces" (nuts) and reached for them but my cousins screamed "no!" just in time to stop me from picking up some dried dog droppings. We all broke up in laughter and went inside to toast the holiday with a liquer made from quince, a regional specialty from the state of Chihuahua (and very tasty, I might add)!

Nobody in my family -except for my aunt- is a practicing Catholic. But we are all interested in preserving and passing down the symbols of our heritage and the meaning of those symbols to each new generation.

Here's our last holiday song for you, dear readers. It's my version of Jose Feliciano's Christmas classic, Feliz Navidad, recorded with Goddess 13. Thank you all for your comments and feedback throughout the past six months. It's been a great year for me and having you all by my side has made it even better. Look for changes and additions to the website next month. We'll add more rare L.A. punk stuff and more interviews with women who made the L.A. punk scene happen back in the late seventies.

I'd like to wish each of you the very best for the coming year. And remember...don't pick up any unusual looking "nuts"... I hope that doesn't cut into your dating options for New Years eve!
Feliz Navidad

this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, December 17, 2004

Whew...Almost Done!

Almost on vacation! Sorry I haven't posted in so long, the end of the calendar year is especially busy for teachers. We have testing and reports to do before we get to take a break. Here's another Christmas carol done Goddess 13 style for you, sung by Teresa. We hope you enjoy this version of "(Have Yourself) A Merry Little Christmas" by Goddess 13.
this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, December 10, 2004

Christmas Is Just Another Day

Here's another cheery holiday song for you. I wrote and recorded this with Goddess 13 several years ago, when my husband-to-be was doing time in prison. It was the saddest Christmas time ever and I tried to capture a little bit of the melancholy I was feeling.
this is an audio post - click to play

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Women In L.A. Punk - Dinah Cancer

I am very happy to announce that we have just posted our second in a series of interviews with influential women in the early (mid-late seventies) L.A. punk scene at This time, my interviewee is Ms. Dinah Cancer, whom you may know from her days with the popular and very influential band, 45 Grave. She shares a little bit of her past with us in this interview and lets us know that she's still rocking (and looking terrific, I might add - maybe there is something to all that blood drinking... Countess Bathory = Dinah Cancer?!?).

You can read the interview by clicking the thumbnail below:

For those of you who missed reading our inaugural interview with Ms. Jenny Lens, you can still find it by following the "past interviews" link on the Women In L.A. Punk page. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

HOlidaze Are Here...Redux

Thanks for the positive feedback on last week's song, which is still available below. Here is this week's holiday song by Goddess 13, our arrangement of Christmas Is Coming, sung ever-so-sweetly by Teresa Covarrubias:

this is an audio post - click to play

From "The music to Christmas is Coming was composed by Edith Nesbit Bland in the late nineteenth century. The author of the lyrics is unknown but the popularity of this traditional Christmas song is handed down from generation to generation in the form of a nursery rhyme. The words of Christmas is coming reflects the Christmas festival of celebration of being a time of plenty but that charity should be given to the less fortunate according to the giver's means!"

Craig Lee...Found!

Craig Lee's picture tumbled out of a stack of photos I was sorting through last night. It completes the alternate set of Bags photobooth shots (see below) we took for the back of the original Dangerhouse 7" back in 1978. At the bottom of this entry I've posted the alternate photos with the actual Dangerhouse sleeve for comparison.

This record (Survive b/w Babylonian Gorgon) has been out of print for over twenty years and has just been re-released on Artifix Records . If you click on the Artifix link and go to their news page, you'll see a picture of Dix Denney holding the record...YEY!

You should be able to find it in your local punk record store and it will also be available by mail order soon.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Holidaze Are Upon Us

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I guess the holiday season has officially arrived. That gives me an excuse to share these holiday songs with you all. I recorded these with Goddess 13 (me and Teresa Covarrubias) over ten years ago to give out as Christmas presents to a few of our friends. They were never officially released...we hope you enjoy them. I'll post a different song each week as we get closer to December 25.

The first selection is called "Los Peces En El Rio" and it is a traditional Spanish Christmas song with a Moorish influence. If you know more about the origins of this song and would like to share, please comment!
this is an audio post - click to play

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Women In L.A. Punk

I am VERY pleased and excited to announce that we have just opened a new section at, dedicated to the women who were involved in the early L.A. punk scene. One of the goals of this website is to expose the important and too-often overlooked contributions of female artists in the late seventies punk movement. The Women In L.A. Punk section aims to address that by allowing interviewees to share their recollections and opinions in an unrestricted forum. The format is eight questions and responses- no time or space limitations, no editing of content.

I had the good fortune to have as my first interview Ms. Jenny Lens, the legendary punk photographer who shot some of the most iconic images of Patti Smith, The Ramones, The Screamers and so many others. I've considered Jenny a friend for well over twenty years now and believe me when I say that the stories she shares in her interview are not even the tip of the iceberg.



Thursday, November 18, 2004

Hollywood Has Been Bombed...On To San Diego

Stay At Home Bomb played a fast and furious set last night at the Knitting Factory, opening for Girlschool. Lysa Flores (lead guitar and vocals) had seriously injured her back earlier in the week and was not even able to stand up at one point, so we were more than a little worried. After soundcheck and before the show, we all walked down to Hooters to "get some food" and on our way back to the club we had to help Lysa hobble quickly across Hollywood Blvd before the light changed.

We love playing all ages shows because you don't typically get many stage climbers at 21 and over gigs. To the kid who got pulled off the stage: Sorry if you got hurt, whoever you are! Don't you know it's against the rules to climb onstage?

Got to sleep at 2 am after the show, had a conference with my daughter's school principal this morning at 8 am, then I drive to San Diego for our show tonight at the Casbah.

Gotta run now.

Monday, November 15, 2004


O.K., so no one reads these posts anyway, but...Stay At Home Bomb is performing with Girlschool Wednesday night at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood - we go on at 9:45 and Thursday night at The Casbah in San Diego. If you come up to our merch table or see us at the club and tell us you saw our bulletin on MySpace or that you read my blog, we'll give you a free, limited edition (we won't be making anymore of these) Stay At Home Bomb button or a sticker, while supplies last! Hope to see you at the show.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Punk Mommy Blues

I signed up on MySpace recently for Stay At Home Bomb and I found a community of punk parents with whom I could relate. I joined a MySpace Punk Parents group and started chatting. It's kind of a web based support group. Anyway, I decided to ask them about my 9 year old daughter, who is having serious trouble fitting in at her school and was suspended for "willful defiance and disobedience" a week ago. I guess the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. I've reprinted some of my MySpace posting below because I've had several people ask me how I manage to be in a punk band and be a mommy at the same time. It ain't easy.

"I wish I knew the whole story, but I don't feel like I do. The people who were there seemed to have stories that were missing details. All I know is that something upset my daughter, an adult told her to stop making a fuss, my daughter replied "you're not my teacher, you can't tell me what to do", and she ended up in the principal's office. At some point during her visit to the office she crawled under the vice principal's desk and refused to come out. That's when I got the phone call.

I do feel responsible. I've always taught my daughter and step daughters to question authority. I guess I have mixed feelings about it. Although I truly believe in questioning authority I'm not sure that children who practice that policy get a fair shake from those in positions of authority. In the end, we as adults can always walk away and say "fuck you" to anyone we choose because we are in a position to assert control over our own situations. Children don't have the same options. My daughter has my support, but ultimately it's she who has to go back to the classroom and deal with peers and adults who may now see her as a troublemaker.
It's one thing for me as an adult to blow off people with whom I disagree, but I remember how bad it felt to be a "weird" kid trying to fit in. Am I teaching my daughter to be a misanthrope?

I'm torn. Part of me wonders whether there is a way to stop this train wreck with society at large from happening. I never appreciated being different until I was much older. As a young child, it was just a sad and lonely route to go. Now I see how different my own daughter is from her peers and I wonder how much I've contributed to that, through my genes and the environment I've raised her in. Is the best that I can offer her as a parent my love and support? Or did I unintentionally screw up her life by raising her in a home that values individuality above fitting in? And are those two things mutually exclusive?"


Monday, November 01, 2004

Castration Squad's Plan For America

Tracy found this little bit of history in her collection and kindly allowed me to share it with you all. It's the Castration Squad manifesto. Click on the image below to view a full size reproduction. And if the American people somehow fail to elect a different President this time, remember there's always Castration...Squad!

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween!!

I'm really into this series of Japanese horror manga by Hideshi Hino lately. They are sick, perverted, violent and disturbing...and totally engrossing. Here's a little horror song for you all in keeping with the Stay At Home Bomb/Mom theme: Enjoy!
this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, October 21, 2004

The More Things Change...

Here's one last question from the interview I just completed. It has particular relevance to me because I see the same things happening in this country that I saw happening in the 1980's, only now the mass media in this country is almost completely controlled by people with a ve$ted intere$t in maintaining the status quo. Even if you don't agree with me, you should still seek out some news sources from outside of our country so that you can gain a different perspective on what's happening here and abroad.

Q: You also went to Nicaragua in the early eighties to gain some new
experiences, would you tell us something about that time and if it changed
your views on certain things and how do you see the political situation in
the U.S. in the moment...?

A: My trip to Nicaragua changed me forever. It made me realize how few material possessions a person needs to be happy and it put me back in touch with the values that living in a consumer society can deaden in you, basic human values like caring about your neighbor.

I realized that the U.S. government has been bought by corporate entities that have little regard for Americans and even less regard for the rest of the world. Their sole concern lies in expanding their control over the economic systems of the world. Countries are either to be exploited for their natural resources or else they are markets for goods that are produced elsewhere and controlled by the corporations. These corporate entities only have one natural enemy and that is a well-informed citizenry focused on self-determination. As an American taxpayer and a corporate consumer, I am complicit in my own government’s efforts to block other people’s movement towards self-determination. That’s what my experience in Nicaragua taught me.

I think we Americans need to get serious about taking back our country and making it responsive to our needs and goals. What’s happening in America right now could happen anywhere when people get too complacent.


Sunday, October 17, 2004

Remembering Craig Lee

Another question from my current interview with a German website:

Q: Are there any special persons that you do miss a lot from ´the old days`, like for example Tomata du Plenty, Jeffrey Lee Pierce or Kickboy Face, people that were as far as I can judge about it, very influential for the L.A. Punk scene as for the evolution in music in general?

A: I miss my old friends now and then, but I try to live in the present. I’ve lost so many friends over the years that I try not to think about it because it could easily become overwhelming. I do miss Craig Lee. He was like an older brother to me. We used to annoy each other just for fun. He came up with different names for me, like “Babylonian Gorgon” and “Violence Girl." He used to call me his “Gordita” which means “little fat one” in Spanish. I’d do little things to piss him off and then when the veins in his neck started to pop out and his face was nice and red, I’d laugh and really drive him crazy. The angrier he got, the funnier he looked to me. So I guess we had a kind of dysfunctional relationship, but I do miss his friendship. I don’t think people realize just how important Craig Lee was to the development of the whole underground music and arts scene in L.A. Craig’s was one of the first and most creative voices in the punk, post punk and alternative club scenes. I hope I get to annoy you again, Craig! But not right away.


Friday, October 15, 2004

Yes...More Interview Questions - Darby Crash and Lee Ving

Here's some more of the lengthy email interview I'm still doing with a German Punk music website/magazine. The interviewer first translates his questions into English, then translates my English responses back into German.

Q-As ever in history, there are a lot of rumours about Punk and also about Punk in L.A., for example one of these rumours is that you did not get along well with Darby Crash from the Germs, in how far is that true and what was the point for you having trouble with him ? Which role did drugs play in the early L.A. Punk scene and which were the reasons for that situation?

Another thing I was always really interested in is gathering about the band FEAR as featured in the movie `Decline of the Western Civilization` they and especially Lee Ving must have been the most fucked up assholess around trying to bitch everyone, how much of it was real and how much was fake within that behaviour from the way you see it?

What about the Hillside Strangler, did he spread a lot of fear within the Punk Scene, especially after he murdered Jane King, a club regular at The Masque?... (question has been edited)

A: I met Bobby Pyn (later to become Darby Crash) early on. We became friends and used to talk on the phone. We were both very much interested in philosophy and ethics and would often have heated discussions. Darby was into Nietzsche and I liked Kant, so of course we clashed. But at first we got along more than we fought. We were drinking buddies and were both known for our stage antics. Between the Bags and the Germs, we probably had the wildest audiences of the scene and we did several shows together. As Darby submerged deeper and deeper into his persona of “Darby Crash”, he and I began to grow apart. My observation was that he began to have less real friends and instead surrounded himself with fans and followers whom he could use and control. I totally disagreed with this and we got into an epic fight over the “proper role of fans” one drunken night. Darby thought that people who could be controlled, should be controlled and he disliked the way I treated Bags' audience members as equals. I wanted to erase the line between performer and audience and Darby saw his role as an artist being closer to that of an idol.

In the last part of his life, I can only recall one person having the guts to stand up to him and tell him to his face “No Darby, you’re wrong” and that was Nicole Panter. I have to say that when I heard the news of Darby’s fatal overdose, I was saddened but really not surprised. It’s always hard to lose a friend.

With regard to drugs in the scene, when the scene started in the Masque, it was mostly alcohol. Drugs were around, but it was mostly pot, speed, maybe some coke. Heroin did not come into fashion until around 1979 and then it hit the scene hard. I always avoided drugs as much as possible, preferring alcohol. People who were close to me got very seriously into heroin, and many of them are now dead. I think heroin had some kind of a glamorous aspect to it that might have appealed to some, also many of us (myself included) had the youthful idea that we wouldn’t live much past 22 years. We just couldn’t see a future beyond that and punk rock was very much a youth movement at that time. I personally did not have a death wish, but I do remember feeling that nothing could touch me because I was young and fearless. That attitude might have caused some people to take chances with drugs that ultimately led to their demise.

On the subject of Lee Ving, I can only speak from personal experience, and he has always been a perfect gentleman around me. He has always been unfailingly polite to me in person – I’m not kidding. I think that if Johnny Ramone could be a Bush Republican, then Lee Ving can certainly be as conservative as he seems and still be a punk. I don’t think that being a punk equates with being a liberal, even though I consider myself somewhat of a liberal. In some respects I find myself to be quite conservative and reactionary. I’m definitely not in the “turn the other cheek” camp. If someone attacks me, I kick ass first then ask questions later. I suspect that much of Lee’s onstage behavior was designed to get a strong reaction from the audience. He tried to engage the audience by provoking them - just like I did - but he did it in his own way.

Regarding the Hillside Strangler, I was aware at the time of the killings but I didn’t worry about it and I honestly don’t believe that many of the Masque regulars were overly concerned about it either. I never met Jane King or at least not that I can recall.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Unfinished Business

Self Help Graphics

Las Tres will be opening the musical portion of a great show at Self Help Graphics in East L.A. this Saturday, October 16. Click on the flyer above for more details. The admission is $10.00 at the door and a portion of the proceeds will go to Self Help Graphics, which has been at the heart of the Chicano arts community for over twenty years. Those of you who know a bit of L.A. punk history might recall that it was the site of the original Vex in the early 1980's. A lot of history will be on display at this show. Some great musicians are involved, many of whom you would not get a chance to see outside of a major concert venue, so please come down and bring your friends and family along. It will definitely be a thought-provoking and fun event.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

More Interviews...

I've been doing an email interview with a German music website/magazine and it's one of the more involved interviews I've done. I'll post some of the questions and answers here first, then eventually move them to the website archive. Oh and here's a nice little set of photobooth shots of the Bags (minus Craig Lee - we haven't come across his photo yet) that we just dug up from the basement. The pictures of Terry and Rob appear to be from the set we did for the back cover of the original Dangerhouse 7", which is going to be re-released very soon on Artifix Records. I'm not sure when the shots of Pat and me were taken. Lest anyone think I'm ignoring Craig, I will dedicate an entire blog entry to him in the near future, along with some old pictures of him I just had developed from slides.
The Bags
Q-The L.A. scene was often (accused)by others for being, compared to New York or the U.K. (scenes), built up by kids out of middle class families, who had nothing to worry about and for whom punk (was)just a phase that they (were) going through. In how far would you say is this true and do you think that punk has to be specifically connected to some kind of class, origin, style or
behaviour ?

A-I think that’s total bullshit. There are different economic levels in any major city. I grew up in a poor, working class, crime-riddled part of Los Angeles called East L.A. Growing up with economic comfort was definitely not my experience. In any case, I don’t believe you have to be poor to be punk. There are plenty of narrow-minded conformists at every economic level to rebel against. The other side of the coin is that growing up punk in Los Angeles afforded me the opportunity to meet and work alongside kids from all different walks of life. Certainly, my Bags’ bandmate Craig Lee was from a more privileged background than me. He would write lyrics using words that I did not even know how to pronounce because his education was superior to mine. He never held it against me or made me feel inferior. If anything, I recall the early L.A. punk scene as being egalitarian. Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, Whites, Gays, Lesbians and Straights all lived, loved and worked together to create their own community. We were united in our opposition to the mainstream culture.

Monday, October 04, 2004

A VERY Quick Update

Las Tres will be opening a show with some of the most creative L.A. punk and underground artists at the old Vex (Self Help Graphics) in East L.A. on October 16, more details can be found at Please be sure to come early to check out the work of some great artists, including Diane Gamboa!

Stay At Home Bomb has been busy too, we're really trying to finish the recordings of our newer songs so we can get those over to Danny at Warning Label for an official release ASAP! Stay At Home Bomb is confirmed for two So. Cal shows with the hard rockin' U.K. band, Girlschool. Judy & Sharon are especially thrilled to play these shows since they've loved Girlschool for years. The Knitting Factory in Hollywood will be an all ages show and the Casbah in SD is 21 and over. More info soon.

Lastly, Castration Squad is still rehearsing and writing new material. All of the members of CSquad are full time moms in addition to being in other bands - Dinah Cancer is very active with her band, The 45 Grave Robbers - and we all have major time commitments elsewhere, so it's slow going. When we're ready to do our first show, you'll read it here first!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Gonna Get Shit For This One

I did an interview last weekend with Todd and Kat from Razorcake and they were both very gracious and intelligent. Kat brought me a record she was involved with called "Let's Get Rid of L.A." which is kind of a nod to the old Randoms song (substitute N.Y. for L.A.) and the "Yes L.A." Dangerhouse comp at the same time, but the title is more than a passing reference. It's a way of acknowledging the past and moving forward. Todd brought me some issues of Razorcake and a copy of his own book, "Born To Rock." Kat mentioned to me how glad she was to find that I was a fan of The Gossip, since they're one of her favorites too. Reading through Razorcake later on, I found many of my own feelings and values mirrored in the writing. It'd be so easy to think that punk was really dead if you just watched MTV or listened to mainstream radio.

You don’t often hear older generation punks like me praising the efforts of young punk bands. The attitude of my age group tends to be one of “been there, done that” or “yeah, that was cool - when (insert old timey band name here) did it first, twenty five years ago.” It's difficult to explain to someone who didn't live through the mid-seventies punk explosion what it was like. For me, the Ramones and punk rock literally changed my world. When the tightly knit L.A. punk scene splintered and disintegrated around the time of the filming of The Decline of Western Civilization, it was as if a soap bubble we'd been blowing for the last three years had suddenly burst. No wonder so many of us think of that era as a moment frozen in time. But punk didn't die when that scene ended, though we might've felt that way. Punk evolved and survived. It didn't stay the same, nor should it have. As Todd Taylor writes, "History used correctly is a springboard."

Part of the reason I'm so resistant to performing old Bags tunes is because I feel that those songs were already done by a younger, better version of Alice Bag. I say better because I'm not the same person I was twenty years ago. I was angrier then and The Bags was an angry, confrontational band. Like most people, I like to listen to my favorite old songs, but I'm not into nostalgia. I'd much rather sing about something that's relevant to me now, today. That something might be my frustration with household chores or my anger at the muzzling of dissenting opinion in our country. But it will have personal meaning for me or I probably won't sing it.

For me, punk has always been more of an attitude than a fashion or a style of music. Seeing the Germs inspired me to get onstage because they had the nerve to play with the Weirdos at the Orpheum, despite their almost complete lack of musical ability. I guess that's why I still get such a charge out of young bands. Beginning musicians often are not sure of what they can and can’t get away with. They’re young enough to wear their influences on their sleeves and not feel self conscious, brave enough to try something that could easily fail. They feed off the audience’s energy in ways that more experienced performers don’t, since older performers tend to know what works and what doesn’t from years of experience. Young performers can be fearless in the way kids are and older people usually aren't. It's why seeing the Dresden Dolls in concert recently was so much more exhilarating for me than seeing PJ Harvey and Patti Smith in the weeks before and after. The Dolls weren't better than, just more exciting than. I love Patti Smith and I wouldn't be who I am today without her but for me, nothing will top the experience of seeing her for the first time at the Roxy in 1976 when she rewrote all the rules of what a woman rocker could be and do.

Speaking of not doing old Bags songs, I hope that those of you in L.A. will come see my band, Stay At Home Bomb, perform with The Gears, Thee Undertakers and Plastic Letters tonight *Thursday* at the Echo in Silverlake. Click here for more details.
No Bags songs, guaranteed or your money back!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Weekend Update

Kicked off the Labor Day weekend with a Bon Voyage party at Rudy and Maria's canyon home for La Bestia. La Bestia herself is going to Spain to study Flamenco dance for a few months. This was her band's last show for awhile, and they entertained us with hardcore "punk rawk" lunacy and Bestia's impressive Jet Li kicks. The judges awarded extra points for difficulty due to the performance in high heels.
La Bestia Kicks Ass
La Bestia is one of the most ferocious lead singers I've seen in awhile and I'm hoping we can do some shows together when she gets back.

Las Tres played a full set and I somehow managed to channel the spirit of Jimi Hendrix's much less talented uncle Clem. Clem only had three fingers on his left hand and he took over for some intricate guitar work. Here's the ectoplasmic evidence:

Both of the photos above by Angie.

The weather forecast called for 100 degree temps on Sunday, so what better place to spend Labor Day than Barstow? We piled in the car and headed out towards the desert. We never made it past the charming town of Victorville which has three large thrift stores on Route 66, and they were all having Labor Day sales - Jackpot!

That's all for now, I'm really busy between work, family and three bands. A reminder that Stay At Home Bomb will be playing on September 23rd at the Echo, more info on the news page at

More posting soon!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Reason To Believe

My father used to justify his aversion to politics by saying that all leaders were corrupt, that no matter who won the election the poor people of the world would ultimately lose because politicians would always be in the pocket of the wealthy. He thought that big corporations were the secret hand that really pulled the strings behind the governments of the world.

Thomas Paine wrote "We have it in our power to begin the world over again." When I first got into punk, I believed that we, as musicians and artists, could change the world. That was a big part of why the punk movement was so exciting to me. I felt like we were doing things that hadn't been done before, that we were rejecting the establishment and building something new. As the original L.A punk scene eventually succumbed to drugs and commercialism, I lost much of that optimism. Hardcore punk went underground and then spread out worldwide, but by that time, I was out of punk and back into college.

In the early 80's, I went to Nicaragua to work with the people there and to learn about the changes that had taken place in that country after their revolution. Living there for a short time, I saw firsthand what my own government was doing to these impoverished people in the name of "defending our nation" against creeping Communism. It really opened my eyes to the way our media and our government worked hand in hand to spoon feed the U.S. public with the official story. I began to feel overwhelmed by the power of the invisible hand that my father had talked about.

I don't know when it happened to me, but I slowly started to adopt my father's hopeless and cynical view of politics. I still vote, sign petitions, and play my share of benefits, but for years now I've had the feeling that any substantial change was beyond what I could hope for. I can't afford to have this attitude anymore. I won't allow myself to go along with politics as usual without kicking and screaming and raising a fuss.

My government has gotten so far out of control and it's partly because of people just like me. I didn't vote for that man in the White House, but I can no longer accept that everyday, he is making decisions that I completely disagree with.

It's been a long time since I dared to hope that music could change the world. I've always resisted the impulse to preach politics to my audiences, but I feel I can no longer afford to be uninvolved in the process. I know that a lot of my friends feel the same way. Musicians and artists in the U.S. are often denigrated for expressing political opinions unless they support the status quo, which I find ridiculous since one of the most dynamic forces for social change during the past 40 years has been music, and specifically rock music.

It's time for involvement. Maybe we can't change the world with a song, but if enough of us get involved, we can change the leadership of this country come November, and that's a start.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Back To Work --- WAAH!

Summer vacation is over...I can't believe it went by so quickly. Today is my first day back to work. This week will be extremely busy for me:

Las Tres will be doing one song this Friday night at Grand Performances as part of a tribute to Los Lobos organized by Quetzal. It's a free performance and it takes place downtown in the California Plaza, if you're lucky you can find free parking on the street, otherwise you can pay to park in the underground lot. More details here, it's kid friendly! Check it out if you're a Lobos fan or if you just like good music.

This Saturday, August 28, Las Tres will be doing a full set of our own material, opening for Brian Grillo and Hot N' Heavy at Casita del Campo, located at 1920 Hyperion Ave in Silver Lake. This show will start around 8 pm, so come early for margaritas. Brian's got a new cd, which will be released in mid-September and this will be sneak preview for you all.

Stay At Home Bomb is getting ready to announce some local show dates. We have confirmed September 23 at the Echo with The Gears and Thee Undertakers, $8.00 cover and 18+. This should be a high energy show, so break out the Docs and get ready to slam!

One last thing, if you haven't already done so, please REGISTER TO VOTE!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Dresden Dolls Live

WOW! We were lucky enough to see the Dresden Dolls perform at the Troubadour last night and it was an amazing, inspiring show. They will be appearing on the Jimmy Kimmel show tonight (thanks to Falling James for the tip-off) so do check them out if you're a night owl.

Amanda onstage at the Troubadour 8/18/04
As I said, it was an inspiring show and I'm really leaning towards playing keyboards in C-Squad now. As I was watching the band last night I started thinking of how far women performers have come. PJ, Patti, Amanda (Dresden Dolls), Beth Ditto (from The Gossip)... There's a long list of women who can really kick butt. When I was growing up there were a lot of great female singers, but there were all the girly traps they had to get around. Do you know what I'm talking about? Dress this way, wear these clothes, act a certain way...All those things affected not just how they looked and how they acted on stage, they affected who they were and who we, as an audience, had as role models. The great women performers today seem to go beyond those girly traps; they can wear mini skirts and high heels, or dirty jeans, it doesn't matter. They're androgynous, passionate, intelligent human beings, who just happen to be women. It wasn't always that way. OK, I know all this feminist shit has got to be boring you.

Las Tres is going to be mixing at our friend's recording studio today. I will keep you all posted on our progress. Don't forget that Las Tres will be appearing at 8:30 pm on August 28 with our friend, Brian Grillo! Hope to see you all there.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Pictures Please PJ Pla-Boy

We went to see PJ Harvey last night at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood and took a few pictures. Unfortunately this one is the best of the bunch:
The PlaYboy Liquor store in Hollywood is an uncredited source of inspiration for the late seventies L.A. Punk scene. Its location, within stumbling distance of the Canterbury, made it an indispensable part of the early community. I just wanted to bring that to your attention. Now let's have a drink!

Oh yeah, here's the one not so good pic of PJ Harvey:

PJ rocked hard but her guitarist was way too Moons Over My Hammy. Less ham, more jam please.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Interview Questions Part 2

Here are some more excerpts from a very recent interview Alice did for a doctoral candidate who is preparing her dissertation on American punk shit!
9) What drew you to the music? Politics? Energy? Lyrics? The fact that friends were into it?

A: I was drawn to punk music because it was original, creative, exciting. It made me believe that I could tear down all kinds of barriers. It (punk) also seemed very egalitarian to me, it seemed that anyone who wanted to could go out and form a band. I never felt inferior for being a woman, or for being Mexican American. In 1977 nobody seemed to care about that, except maybe Farrah Fawcett Minor, the subject of X's Los Angeles. The only ones who suffered from this egalitarian attitude were the bands that were too slick, because they were not considered punk. It used to piss off some of these seasoned musicians to see punk musicians, many who were playing instruments for the first time, play to packed houses.

23) Please talk about the role of women (as fans and/or musicians) in the LA punk scene.

A: There were more women involved in the LA punk scene than most people can imagine. The scene could not have existed and blossomed like it did without the women who were involved from the very beginning. There were women guitarists, drummers, bassists, singers, artists, journalists, photographers, managers, roadies: everything that had been done almost exclusively by men in the past was being done by women in the LA punk scene.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Vegas Roadtrip with Castration Squad

We made a blitzkrieg trip to Las Vegas this weekend to see Dinah Cancer and the Grave Robbers play. A friend lent me a CD by a band called the Dresden Dolls and we listened to it all the way to Vegas. It just got better and better with each listen. It's hard to describe what they do and I don't want to label them. It's easy to see they have given quite a bit of thought to the theatrics of performance, which is refreshing since I think that visual presentation is often overlooked by new bands. I, for one, am tired of bands that get on stage in t-shirts and jeans and then stand in one place during the whole set. Check out the Dresden Dolls' video for their song "Girl Anachronism". It's good to know that there's still exciting new music being created and yet to be created, despite what's passed off as rock music these days.

Dinah and the Grave Robbers had a ton of PUNK ROCK energy and Dinah rocked harder than I've ever seen her rock. She was amazing and has such presence. A young girl with blue hair was right in front, dancing and singing along with Dinah to every 45 Grave song. The cigarette smoke in the club just about sent me to the grave, though. My lungs can't take that kind of abuse (never could) and I've really gotten used to smoke free nightclubs, courtesy of living in California. Needless to say, we didn't win a damn thing in the casinos, but Castration Squad (Dinah, Tracy, Tiffany and me) was all-too briefly reunited, if only for a walking tour of the Hard Rock casino, as we tried in vain to find the Sid Vicious slot machine. We stared in disbelief at the Sex Pistols exit from the casino which read "The only notes that matter are the ones that come in wads" in big, ransom-note style letters. Surrounded by the glitz of the Hard Rock, it was so incongruous and cynical that I felt like a piece of me died.

Speaking of a "Piece of Me," that happens to be the title of a very cool song Tracy Marshak has just written for the new and improved Castration Squad! We've been working on new songs and contemplating reconstructive surgery on the old ones. Look for the Squad to rise from the grave around Halloween. Booking agents, send us your best offers!


Friday, August 06, 2004

She's Still My Favorite Ghoul

A group of us are very excited about going to see Dinah Cancer and the Grave Robbers play in Las Vegas at the Double Down Saloon this Saturday. Please come check out the show if you're in L.V., it's free! Here's a link to a very recent article on the lovely-as-ever Miss Cancer.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Interview Questions

I've been procrastinating for the past month on answering some interview questions. I finally got around to answering them today and I thought I'd post a couple with my answers. Feel free to comment!

Q: How did you first learn of punk rock? e.g. from a friend? from the radio? Magazines? Please describe your first encounter with the music. (If you can't remember the very first time, describe one or two of your earliest memories of punk.) How did you feel at that moment? What did you think of the music?

A: When I was in high school I used to read Circus and Creem magazines religiously. I saw an advertisement in one of those magazines for a new magazine called Punk, and I immediately subscribed.

My first taste of Punk Rock came from New York, from bands like Patti Smith and The Ramones. I remember seeing Patti Smith for the first time at The Roxy, in 1976. She looked so skinny and scrawny when she stepped on the stage. No make-up, no glamorous outfits, but then she started singing and she blew me away. She had this incredible sex appeal that came from strength rather than looks. She was doing something that I had never seen a woman do, she was rocking like a dude, and by that I don't mean that she was acting like a guy, I mean that she had the kind of power that up until then had been the exclusive property of male rock stars.

Q: What was your first punk show? Describe your reaction emotionally and intellectually.

A: In April of 1977 the Orpheum Theater had a show which featured The Germs, The Zeros, and The Weirdos. I was going out with Nicky Beat at the time, so he invited me to go hear him play drums with The Weirdos. I remember walking up to the venue and seeing The Germs outside warming up for their set by smearing food substances (whipped cream and peanut butter?) all over themselves. I went up and talked to them. They were very friendly and giddy.

The Germs opened the show. They played horribly, but were funny and very interesting to watch. The Zeros played a rocking set, but it was The Weirdos who brought down the house. When they were done playing, people were screaming for more. Some of the people started holding up three fingers to make a "W" and the audience chanted "Weirdos, Weirdos..." holding our W's up high.

The Weirdos looked and sounded like nothing I'd ever seen before. That's why it pisses me off when people claim that the LA punk scene was derivative of the English scene. New York punk came first and it was those bands that influenced the early LA punks. The Germs may have shown an Iggy Pop influence, and the Zeros may have been influenced by The Ramones, but the Weirdos were surely influenced by their own twisted lunacy and their art school backgrounds. The Weirdos were the most original band I'd ever seen, and they remain my favorite rock band.

Monday, August 02, 2004

New Old Stuff

Alice and Darby being nice to each other in SF, 1978.

We just found some more old photos and reviews which we've posted to the archives section of the website. Most of the stories that have been published about me and Darby Crash involve us getting into fights over torn bags or the merits of Nietzsche, but we weren't always scrapping. Most of the time we got along just swell.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Growing Up

Thanks to this ongoing website project and a recent reunion with old friends, I have a new perspective on something that a young fan of Stay At Home Bomb once asked me about.  This person told me that she had been under a lot of pressure from her family to grow up and find her way in life. She asked me if you ever grow out of being a punk. She felt at odds with society at large because the things she valued were so out of sync with the mainstream. Digging further, I realized that what she was really asking was whether the things that seem so important to you as a young person stay important as you grow older, or if you have to change at some point and put those things away in order to grow up. Seeing an "oldster" like me perform in Stay At Home Bomb made her think that maybe she didn't have to change so much.

Growing up is something I've always resisted. By that I mean getting mentally old and afraid to try new things, afraid of taking risks. I tried to explain to this young person that if something is really an important, integral part of who you are then that thing can never change.  It's not something you can or should try to suppress. Trying to "grow up" or change by turning your back on something that's special to you (like music is to me, for example) would be like taking a really magical part of yourself, putting it in a shoebox and tucking it safely away on the top shelf of your closet. Time passes, sometimes years go by, but one day you will find that box, take it down and open it up. You'll be shocked that you could ever have put this special part of yourself away for so long because seeing it again will remind you of just how much it meant to you.

I think that's what started to happen to me when I became a mother. I thought I could put away some of my hopes and dreams and replace them with the new sense of fulfillment I would get from being a mom. I don't want to imply that motherhood is not fulfilling; like most mothers, I wouldn't trade it for the world. But the way I was experiencing motherhood did not begin to address the part of me that needed to express my musical ideas. Recognizing and acknowledging that this part of me existed was very difficult because it felt as if I was admitting that I was a failure as a mother. I had been conditioned to believe that being a mother should be completely fulfilling, in and of itself. The realization that it wasn't eventually led me to put together Stay At Home Bomb.

Now that I'm back in touch with many of my friends from the past, it's just so exciting to be around them again, talking about making music, spending time together. The spark is still there. I was at Don Bolles' birthday party last night and he was dancing around the room to crazy, fun music, a big smile on his face, enjoying the company of friends and well-wishers. The joy that radiated off him was like the joy of a kid, beautiful and pure. The good stuff of what we all had as kids - the important stuff - is still inside of us, if we can just get in touch with it and stay in touch with it.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Don't Tame Your Shit Down

A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed by Don Letts for a movie he's doing on punk rock and he asked me about the difference between punk now versus punk back in the seventies. I responded that the attitude still remains alive in certain new bands, even if the sound is not what someone would describe as "punk". For example, a band like The Gossip is much more punk to me than a band like Sum 41, even though the latter band plays what is generally considered to be "the punk sound". The Gossip is extremely talented, but beyond that they have the attitude that they're gonna do what they like because they damn well feel like it! Their sound will change as they gain experience and they become more proficient but hopefully they will not change their sound or style to fit what a record company is looking for.

That's a big difference between bands nowadays and bands when I was playing with The Bags. Back then, before the internet, the major record companies really did control distribution. They didn't like punk rock because it was anti-establishment and it was too different from what had come before, so they didn't think they could sell it to the masses. Alot of the LA bands were laboring under the mistaken impression that if we just worked hard and polished our sound enough that we would be signed to a record label. Well, that just wasn't going to happen for bands like The Bags, Weirdos and Screamers.

In looking back at some old live footage of The Bags, I realized that at a certain point, I became so focused on my vocal performance that I lost much of my energy onstage. See, I used to sing off key quite a bit (no!) during performances because I was so busy going crazy. Once we started trying to polish our sound, I had to tone it down alot to keep my singing on key. It was the beginning of the end. It would have been better if I had gone on barking out the words onstage because, in retrospect, there was no way that we were going to get signed anyway. Once we started trying to be "label worthy," we lost the energy that made the Bags and punk rock unique.

People accuse Hardcore of killing off the original LA punk scene but I wonder if that scene hadn't already served its purpose and run its course. Bands that came after us, like Black Flag and Minor Threat, absorbed the lessons at which we'd failed. They took the D.I.Y. ethic a step further. They knew they were never going to be signed, they had no interest in being signed and so they refused to compromise on any level. 

Which brings me to my conclusion. Kids nowadays don't have to tame their shit down because they're wiser than we were. They learned from my generation's mistakes. They know that they don't need a major label to make their music heard and they know that a record company will try to control them if they get signed, anyway.

That's the true legacy of punk, not the mohawks and studded belts, nor the Warped Tour nor any of the mega-successful bands. It's the hard-earned knowledge that you can stay true to your vision, you can do it yourself, without compromise and without a major label behind you.

arf arf,

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Violence and Punk

We just added a new page to the website. It has to do with the relationship of violence to my performance in the punk band, The Bags. Check it out by clicking here.
Violence Girl was the title of a Bags song written by Craig Lee for/about me. You can hear it performed live on my website on the media page.
That's all. I have mixed emotions about putting this stuff out here, but I welcome your feedback.

Thursday, July 08, 2004


I’ve recently been in touch with some of my girlfriends from the past: Jenny Lens, Dinah Cancer, Trudie. I got an email from Trudie yesterday telling me that she wants to put up her own website and it made me think about a conversation I’d had with another friend, the artist Diane Gamboa.

I’d noticed that Diane often carried a digital video camera with her to openings and events and recorded whatever happened to be going on. When I asked her about it, she told me that it was important for people who were involved in artistic movements to document themselves, otherwise someone else (who may or may not have been there at the time) would document it for them. She'd seen it happen too often over the years.

Many important contributions to scenes and movements have been marginalized after the fact by well-meaning (and not so well-meaning) social anthropologists. How many great bands have been unfairly relegated to second string status, simply because they were not around, nor fortunate enough, to have been cast in The Decline?

In thinking about the L.A. punk scene of the late seventies, I realized that much of what people know about that time has been shaped by a very small group of voices. The same stories about the same characters get repeated endlessly, without benefit of social and historical context and sometimes without the input of people who were there, many of whom are no longer living, some of whom have simply not been asked to contribute to the oral history of the time. Notably absent are the voices of the many creative and talented women who were part of the scene: Exene is sometimes quoted, yes, but what about Phranc? Charlotte Caffey? Dianne from the Alleycats? Where are the Poodles, Piranhas and Plungers?

Expressing myself through this website is - at least for now - the way in which I can share my perspective with the world. Other women may choose other forums. I encourage all the women who were there in the late seventies/early eighties to not allow themselves to be erased. And to all of those who are busy making art right now, don't let other people document YOUR scene for you. DO IT YOURSELF! Take control of your own history before someone else writes your epitaph.