A nice fellow named Rod Zink recently emailed me a copy of a Castration Squad gig flyer that brought back some memories:
Castration Squad was an L.A based all-female punk band back in the early 1980's. I recall my Canterbury roommate, Shannon, sitting around, brainstorming ideas for the band back in the
late seventies, but it wasn't until the 1980's when her nightmare vision of a militant, death/horror fixated, all-girl band was realized. Shannon was a dark-haired, pale beauty, never leaving the apartment without her "full face" on. Pleasant once described her as a "punk Vivien Leigh." She found her deathly beautiful blonde counterpart in another L.A. punk, Mary Bat-Thing, later to become famous as Dinah Cancer, lead singer of 45 Grave.
Among others, Castration Squad's lineup included Tracy Lea (who was also in Red Cross and appeared as Tanya Hearst in the cult movie Desperate Teenage Lovedolls), Tiffany Kennedy (Cambridge Apostles), Phranc (Nervous Gender, Catholic Discipline), Elissa Bello (Go-Go's) and yours truly. With Shannon as lead singer and Mary as backup, Castration Squad and its avowed mission "to repair men" could have been somewhat intimidating, but it was mostly in the spirit of fun.
Getting back to the gig flyer, Castration Squad, and in particular, Tiffany had an obsession with John F. Kennedy, so much so that the band played a JFK memorial show each year on the anniversary of his assassination. Tiffany wrote a love song to her favorite dead President, entitled "A Date With Jack", which you can listen to here. I'd go anywhere with him...even Dallas!
Very sadly, I heard from friends that Shannon is no longer among the undead. She is one of the fallen comrades to whom I've dedicated my Women in L.A. Punk page. Along with bands like the Slits and the Raincoats, Shannon was ahead of her time and adopted an aggressively feminist punk stance long before anyone had heard of Riot Grrrls. If you want to learn more about female punk musicians of the 70's and 80's from all over the world, a great resource out of Switzerland is Jenny Woolworth's archive.