Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Nostalgia (For An Age Yet To Come)

As my website, gets more traffic, I've been receiving many more emails giving me feedback on the site and its contents. Most visitors seem to be happy that we've put together these L.A. punk archives, such as they are. I'm glad you enjoy them; I have plenty to share and will get around to adding even more as soon as I can.

I've also been asked to donate my collection to a local University for archiving and preservation and I'll seriously consider that offer, but for now I'm content to post digital copies on the web so that anyone who is interested, not just musicologists or sociologists, can access them.

Aside from documenting the early L.A. punk scene, I do have a separate agenda which you (no doubt) will gather if you spend time looking around and especially, if you read my Diary of A Bad Housewife on a regular basis. I'll admit that there is an element of punk nostalgia involved; some people want to remember the good old days and others who weren't even born yet are curious about what those times were like. And though I may on occasion sing along to an old punk song, I'm not into nostalgia; by posting my photos and memories, I hope to give a broader perspective of what was happening in Los Angeles in 1977-1980. There were many bands who never recorded and were not lucky enough to be filmed for a movie, and there were many more people involved in the punk scene who were not musicians, but whose contributions were considerable. For example, there is no way the scene could have developed so quickly without fanzines like Lobotomy, Generation X, Slash and Flipside to spread the word. I especially want to make sure that the contributions of women do not become lost through the omissions or distortions of historians, whose accounts, though perhaps not incorrect, may be incomplete.

On the subject of nostalgia, I'd like to say a few things. I never want to be seen as "an oldies act" or just punk nostalgia. I've turned down almost all opportunities to perform Bags songs for the past 20 years. The few exceptions to this usually involved a sense of humor and large quantities of alcohol. Since the deaths of Craig Lee and Rob Ritter, I've always felt it would be disrespectful and dishonest to perform as The Bags or Alice Bag Band. And even though I'm not in communication with Patricia, the Bags was really only the Bags when she was playing bass, though I didn't realize it at the time. I only recently had a change of heart about using the name of Alice Bag and for years I tried to put that behind me, but I realized that my little bit of name recognition could enable me to do other things musically and hopefully inspire people to do something of their own.

I was standing with Keith Morris (Circle Jerks, Black Flag) the other night at the Mint Chicks show when I was bemoaning the fact that L.A. audiences don't get into dancing at shows anymore and seem to have so little energy and enthusiasm. Keith made a good point when he said that L.A. is spoiled because we have the luxury of seeing bands every night of the week and so the audiences have become jaded. But then he said, "what you and I were a part of will never happen again." I disagree. While it's true that the early punk scene will never replay itself in quite the same way, history is cyclical and we are due for another revolution.

When kids (and I say kids because they are usually the ones who are at the forefront) get sick and tired of being bored to tears or fed up with the way things are, then something will happen. It's inevitable. It won't be punk, but it will be something just as exciting and meaningful for those involved. It might even be happening right now.

It's my sincere hope that young people who visit my website will come away with an understanding of the burning desire for change that was behind the early punk scene. So, please enjoy what we have to offer here. Consider it a specialized course in punk rock history. But let's not spend so much time looking back that we forget to move forward.


Skull said...

Yeah it will never be the same but there
will be a new revolution. Just Because
we get older does not mean we can't still rock out. Also with the wisdom of being older makes us better writers. Yes the old punk scene is dead but that does not mean it's over. But what is really punk anymore today. Right on Alice.

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister!
Speak on it!

Anonymous said...

There still are a few bands/scenes that bring out that sense of energy and enthusiasm. Lightning Bolt shows are a furious vortex of kids dancing even in places like SF and LA. Coachwhips' shows too. I think places the the Smell still bring in enthusiastic crowds and some raging bands.


Anonymous said...

BTW love your site! Keep up the good work!


Anonymous said...

About 2000 or so I started looking up all these cool and interesting bands I found
in a certain movie/documentary and came up with a few references but nothing real
solid. All I really found was the Artifix website. The two bands were Catholic Discipline
and of course The Bags. was far more than I was expecting. So a big thank you from the Midwest.

Now there was this other band I ran across in New Wave Theater, Monitor, that
I cant find a darn thing about....:)


Anonymous said...

i have so much nostalgia for the way things were, the raw pure unpretentiousness of the scene and the clubs. i miss begging to get in for free at madam wongs and the cathay de grande and watching bands in the smelly dirty dark dungeon and hanging out just having a blast. i miss the freedom and childlike qualities of the early days of punk, but as alice says, life is cyclical, and there are fun times ahead!!!