Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Rebel Kind ... Canadian Punk From The Late 70s/Early 80s & Show # 522

On August 16, 1974, the Ramones played their first show as a four piece band at CBGB’s and using that as a starting off point CJAM FM celebrates the 40th anniversary of punk rock with a variety of programming from August 16-22nd 2014. For Revolution Rock, I decided to take a closer look at some of the bands that were involved in the first waves of the punk/new wave scenes of the late 70s and early 80s. Here is a short summary of some of the places (not all of them) in Canada that had various music scenes influenced by the punk rock attitude and ethos put forth by the loud, fast Ramones.

Toronto, Ontario

The Diodes were notable in the Toronto scene for two things, one for being the first Canadian punk act signed to a Canadian major label and secondly for running the Crash ‘n’ Burn, Toronto’s first punk club. This short lived club, also served as the band’s rehearsal space and was the subject of a 1977 film entitled Crash ‘n’ Burn, which can now be seen on Youtube. The Diodes released three albums, 1977’s The Diodes, Released in 1979, and Action-Reaction in 1980. There was also an outtakes compilation released in 1982 entitled Survivors. Several other releases have been put together and released through Bongo Beat Records. The Diodes along with many other bands in Toronto at the time such as The Viletones, The Ugly and The Scenics helped to define the early scene.

In 1978, a documentary film titled The Last Pogo was made by filmmaker Colin Brunton centering on what was billed as the last punk rock show at The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. It featured many bands from the Toronto scene, but also other bands such as Hamilton’s Teenage Head. Recently, this film has been expanded on this premise to chronicle the Canadian punk scene from 1976-1978. Titled The Last Pogo Jumps Again, the film is “a documentary about the punk/new-wave/alternative music scene in Toronto, from when The Ramones hit the stage of The New Yorker in 1976 to when the cops gave Teenage Head the boot at infamous The Last Pogo concert in 1978. Filmmakers Colin Brunton and Kire Paputts started the project in June 2006 and logged hundreds of hours of interviews, photos and film clips. Using the 1978 film The Last Pogo as a jumping-off point, the three hour and twenty movie explores the dynamics of what was arguably the most exciting cultural explosion in Toronto’s history,” according to the film’s official website. More information can be found at

The Last Pogo Jumps Again trailer from Colin Brunton on Vimeo.

Vancouver, BC

While most people identify the popular and influential D.O.A. as coming from the late 70s punk scene in Vancouver, there were also several other influential bands from that time. Active Dog was a band that featured future members of other bands, most notably John “Buck Cherry” Armstrong of The Modernettes/Los Popularos/Lost Durangos, Gord Nicholl and Robert Bruce of The Pointed Sticks, Ross Carpenter of The Melody Pimps, Antheads, and several others. They only released one single in 1979 the Rat Race/Good Filthy Fun single before splitting up and were featured on the Vancouver Complication album compiling bands from the Vancouver scene. The power pop/punk band The Pointed Sticks, one of the band’s that featured members from Active Dog reformed in 2009, releasing a Three Lefts Make a Right in the same year. They are currently finishing up a third full-length album that has an anticipated release date of 2014. The Young Canadians were another influential band in the scene at the time. The band is notable for featuring Art Bergmann, who was involved with many bands in the scene. He would go on to become a solo artist in the 1980s and 90s. The Young Canadians released two EP’s and a single before splitting up and were originally called the K-Tels, but were forced to change their name due to legal related actions. Art Bergmann recently announced a new upcoming EP to be titled Songs For The Underclass that is to be released in 2014.

In 2011, there was also a documentary created by filmmaker Susanne Tabata entitled Bloodied But Unbowed. The documentary digs deep into the late 70s/early punk scenes in Vancouver and features many of the key members that were involved in the scene at the time. The documentary “tells a tale of rebellion and music — a fiercely independent scene created from nothing and played out in a microcosm of urban squalor,” as stated on their official website. More information can be found at

London, Ontario

London, Ontario featured many bands that were influential during the late 70s and early 80s, some of which included 63 Monroe and The Demics. Taking members from one of the first punk bands in London, NFG and members of another London band The Verge, 63 Monroe was born releasing their first EP entitled N.F.G in 1980. The band often called a glam punk band still continues to perform to this day. The Demics, while they only released an EP and album during their existence (1979’s Talk’s Cheap EP and the 1980 album The Demics) were formed in 1977 in London, Ontario and relocated to Toronto in 1978. They are perhaps known for their song and breakthrough 1979 enigmatic single “New York City”. This is a song sung with attitude and aggressive guitars, despite it’s catchy and memorable chorus.

It is also worth noting that throughout the mid 80s and early 90s London had a zine called What Wave, which was a fanzine celebrating Canadian and sometimes non-Canadian garage/garage punk acts. Several of these issues also came with compilation albums on cassette and sometimes vinyl records. Currently CHRW, a campus radio station in London, Ontario has a program hosted by What Wave Dave (who ran the What Wave zine with his wife Rena from 1984 to 1996) called Radio What Wave, which airs Thursday nights from 6:00 - 7:30 PM, featuring music from the What Wave archives and several other garage and punk related acts. In November 2012, What Wave # 24 was published with a cassette compilation featuring London, Ontario bands from 1978-1992.

Saturday Night Play List:

1. The Spy's - Underground
2. The Dry Heaves - South Windsor Punk (No Funk)
3. 63 Monroe - After
4. The Viletones - Rebel
5. The Dishes - Monopolies Are Made At Night
6. The Diodes - Time Damage
7. The Hot Nasties - I Am A Confused Teenager
8. Young Canadians -Automan
9. D.O.A. - Kill, Kill This is Pop
10. The Melody Pimps - Shell Out
11. Corsage - Rome
12. Tim Ray & A.V. - Quarter To Eight
13. Exxotone - Big Shot
14. Active Dog - Rat Race
15. Active Dog - Good Filthy Fun
16. The Verdix - Media
17. The Sturgeons - Punk Rock Virgins
18. Crash 80’s - Thrills
19. Tyranna - Back off Baby
20. The Scenics - Do The Wait
21. The Secrets - Teenage Rampage
22. B-Girls - High School Dance
23. The Mods - Step Out Tonight
24. The Government - Hemingway (Hated Disco Music)
25. Drastic Measures - Mr. America
26. The Pointed Sticks - I’m Numb/What Do You Want Me To Do (Live June 1980)
27. The Nils - Freedom
28. The Unusuals - Hit And Run
29. The Curse - Shoeshine Boy
30. The Bureaucrats - She’s An American
31. The Dishrags - Past Is Past
32. Teenage Head - Picture My Face
33. The Modernettes - Barbra
34. The Forgotten Rebels - This Ain’t Hollywood
35. The Demics - New York City

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for August 16. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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