Saturday, August 27, 2005

Don't Forget To Bring Your Death Certificate...

I've been spreading the word about the upcoming Castration Squad reunion show, taking place this coming Friday, September 2nd in Hollywood. Click on the Date With Jack flyer above for more details. That's Tiffany in the limo with her favorite dead boyfriend.

I was reminded by Dinah Cancer at our last rehearsal that Shannon used to get angry with the rest of us girls if we broke character onstage and laughed or smiled. Shannon took Castration Squad very seriously and so we were not allowed to smile or laugh in publicity photos or onstage. This became even more difficult when Shannon decided to add a cover version of "Cruella DeVille" to our live set. During rehearsal, when she got to the line "at first you think Cruella is a devil..." we made little devil horns over our head with our fingers, which elicited some snickering behind Shannon's back. Shannon was not amused and lectured us about remaining serious onstage. But she usually ended up laughing with the rest of us as soon as we got offstage.

Dinah recalls that the reason we formed the Cambridge Apostles was in direct response to Shannon's refusal to allow us to play music with a more upbeat, pop feel. Tiffany and I switched instruments when we formed the Cambridge Apostles and she took over on bass guitar.

If you ever wanted to see Castration Squad live, this may very well be your one and only opportunity. The lineup will feature Dinah on vocals, Tiffany Kennedy on bass, Tracy Lea on guitar, Lisafer on drums and me on keyboards. We are keeping our fingers crossed for some special guests who we can't announce ahead of time. We're opening the show at 9pm, so don't be late and don't forget to bring your death certificate!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

"No Good - Always Trouble"

That's what Esther "Madame" Wong once famously said about female-fronted bands. Madame Wong passed away this week at the age of 88 and the L.A. Times, in their obituary, dubbed her the "Godmother of Punk." Madame Wong may have been the Godmother of Power Pop or the Nanny of New Wave, but she was no friend to punk rock.

From the L.A. Times article: "Besides Oingo Boingo (that famous punk band), her stages presented the Police, X, the Motels, 20/20, the Knack, the Know, the Textones, the Go-Gos, the Plimsouls, the Nu-Kats, the Bus Boys, Plane English, the Naughty Sweeties and others." Contrast this with some of the bands who played her rival down the street, the Hong Kong Cafe: The Dils, Alleycats, Middle Class, Black Flag, Germs, The Consumers and acts like Johanna Went, who defied labels. It was clear which club supported punk. Truthfully, I did go to Madame Wong's on occasion; usually to throw ice at the bands onstage. You can't take me out anywhere!

In fact, it was when the Bags played a show at Madame Wong's where the audience got out of control (read about it on Michele Flipside's website) which caused her to decide that bands with girls in them were trouble and for awhile, the club refused to book groups with females, with the exception of Martha Davis and the Motels, who drew a somewhat milder audience than we did.

It's a safe bet that one band which would never have been allowed to play at Madame Wong's was Castration Squad. Greg Holcomb just sent me this photo of Shannon and Tiffany in C-Squad uniform. Tracy Lea also sent me a review of Castration Squad at Circus Disco, which reminded me that the band "conned" their way into this gig by passing off a cassette of the English band, Penetration, performing "Don't Dictate" as themselves. We even learned the song so we could play "our hit" live. It must have been immediately obvious that the whole thing was a fake when we hit the stage and performed "No Mercy For The Dead" sans British accents, but we were a hit and were invited back the following week.

Some of the original members of Castration Squad will be performing live together for the first time in twenty years on Friday, September 2 at the Key Club in Hollywood as part of the Divas of Death Rock show, along with Eva O, Dinah Cancer's 45 Grave and Voodoo Church. Be there or DIE!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Taking a Short Break

I'm taking a short break (if you couldn't tell) to complete my relocation. I'll have limited internet access until the new place gets set up, so I won't be doing much posting or website work, but I'll be back again in a couple of weeks. Enjoy the summer!