Women band the Lou’s, French/English translation


This live music video is the Lou’s, playing No escape, in the Olympia in Paris in July 2018.

More and more information about 3/4 French 1/4 Dutch pioneer punk the Lou’s is added to their online biography.

Translated from French monthly Rock & Folk, 132, its punk section Béret Punk, January 1978:

Born to Lou’s [an allusion to the Johnny Thunders song Born to lose]

The Lou’s, do you know them? Yes. They are a rock group. A good band, but most of all a real girl band. At last, the first band proposing an active program. A macho approach, strongly male-like accents. I liked to get to know more. And I met them at the place of Raphaëlle (guitar), near the Place de la Bastille.

An apartment without luxury. On the walls, posters of the Clash, Iggy Pop and Richard Hell. They are just back from a tour in England, as support band of the Clash. They have changed their soft T-shirts and jeans to clothes from London punk shops like Sex and Boy. Trousers with straps, extra-large knit sweaters. The London look.

‘Our first concert was in the theatre-restaurant Campagne-Première [in Paris]. To get that concert, we passed an audition, to see whether they wanted us. It was advertised in Libération daily as a free concert. 450 people came. We have been playing together for nine months. We had enormous problems getting somewhere to rehearse. At first, we went to a dance hall in the Marais neighbourhood. We had to get out because of noise. We landed in a sordid cellar where we froze. That did not last long as well. Then, we went here, Raphaëlle’s place. The amps and the drum kit in the apartment, that was terrible noise … the neighbours wanted to murder us. Then, in mid-December, we left London again. We have good contacts and a manager there. We managed to find two rooms. We will be able to work, rehearse and improve for four months. It’s good but it also requires big sacrifices. It’s badly paid but the lack of money does not hold us back. There are so many other advantages. The relationships in the music scene are not the same as in France. There is no real rivalry between bands. They all play in their own way, there is space for everyone. There, bands have the right to be just ordinary bands, while here, you are stuck in a permanent quality contest.

And then, in England the public is fantastic. The funniest thing is when they gob at you. That shows they love you. The band that has played best is the band most covered in spittle. Over there, the guys are impossible. When you talk to them about their gobbing, they open their mouths! It is disgusting. The concerts have nothing to do with the ones over here. With French audiences, you have the impression of playing at a fridge. Over there, the audiences move, they dance up and down, they move, they move massively’.

And then the Lou’s have just landed a nice contract with CBS. It opens up horizons.

The band consists of Sacha, drums; Raphaëlle, guitar; Toto, bass; and Popo, lead guitar.

‘Mainly Popo writes the songs. Then, we work together, insert special things. We sing in English. In French, it does not work. In a band like Bijou, the instruments sound excellent, but the lyrics don’t. Similarly with Téléphone. In French, it is difficult to avoid clichés. That starts either in the beginning or later. Only Higelin is an exception. Also, basically, only the chorus matters. It is the main thing which the people remember. What we want is music which connects people, which makes them jump into the air! We are just crazy girls. Crazy girls! And we tend to stay that. It is so boring to be intelligent. We are seen as a group of non-serious girls, it makes us laugh. Every time it happens, it makes us laugh.

When it was announced that we were the support band of the Clash during their UK tour, some pretended to know why. CBS had supposedly imposed that on the Clash. Or, they said, we had given in to the sexual wishes of the CBS manager. Or, again, the Lou’s musicians, one by one, had gone to toilets with all Clash members. Only one Clash member at a time? No, three Clash members at a time. They never considered that we might have become support band because of our musical quality. All that because we are a band of girls, and girl bands supposedly should not be taken seriously.’

Translated from Rock & Folk 143, 1978:

‘The Lou’s, Pamela Pop[o] and her bandmates, watch out, they bite! And after that, they laugh, because deep in their hearts, they nevertheless love us. ‘No Escape’, the sugary/acidic taste of the Seeds and 1960s punk. No need to run away, it’s better to stay and have fun with them.’

French-Dutch punk women Lou’s biography now online


In this video, you can hear French-Dutch punk women’s band the Lou’s playing their song Back On The Street.

Three Frenchwomen and Dutch Saskia aka Syama de Jong on drums, they were one of the first punk bands on the European continent. Also the first all-women band in any rock genre in France.

They were the only band playing on both days of the 1977 Mont de Marsan punk festival. Later in 1977 and 1978, they played with many British bands in Britain: Sham 69, the Skids, Subway Sect, Penetration, the Mekons. On 14 November 1977, The Lou’s played with Neo, Richard Hell and the Voidoids and Siouxsie and the Banshees in the Music Machine in London. They were support band to The Clash during the 1977 Out of Control tour in the UK and Ireland.

In 1978, they played with Public Image Limited, both in Paris and in London. The Clash helped them land a recording contract with CBS. However, the Lou´s did not like that contract, broke it, and went back to small label Skydog in France.

Yesterday, an extensive Lou’s biography was published on the internet, here.

French-Dutch women´s punk band Lou´s interview rediscovery


Lou´s badge

This picture shows the 1977 badge of all-women French-Dutch punk band the Lou´s, as reconstructed in 2020 by Dutch visual artist Marion van Egmond.

Today, thanks to Sounds Clips, a 31 December 1977 interview in British Sounds weekly with this pioneer band was rediscovered. Three French girls, a Dutch drummer.

It is here.

Caroline Coon, the interviewer, was very happy about the rediscovery, as she, and many others, did not have the interview anymore.

Pioneer all-women punk band Lou’s biography updated


In this live music video, pioneer all-women punk band the Lou’s play No escape, in July 1978 in the Olympia in Paris, as support band of John Lydon (aka Rotten)’s band Public Image Ltd (PIL).

PIL liked the Lou’s so well that they also played twice with them in the Rainbow Theatre in London in December 1978.

Other bands with whom they played: eg, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sham 69, the Mekons and Subway Sect.

The Lou’s were three French women and Dutch drummer Saskia aka Sascha aka Syama de Jong.

In 1979 two of the Lou’s, Ms de Jong on drums and Raphaelle Devins on saxophone, joined London band Conflict. They played many concerts for Rock Against Racism.

In 1980 Sascha and Raphaelle went to Leiden in the Netherlands. Sascha de Jong founded the all-women Miami Beach Girls. Raphaelle joined the mixed-gender band Cheap ‘n’ Nasty.

The biography of the Lou’s on Last.fm was updated today.

Maid of Ace, more punk, new fanzine


This music video from Los Angeles in California in the USA is called Dee Skusting & The Rodents – Liberty (OFFICIAL VIDEO).

A new single out in England. On one side Dee Skusting & The Rodents. On the other side Maid of Ace. With a new version of their song Forever. This time the Devil in the belfry remix.

This video is about the earlier version:

This 11 December 2020 music video from England says about itself:

MAID OF ACE – FOREVER (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

From their latest album ‘Live Fast Or Die’ OUT NOW!

This is not the only song called Forever. Same title songs: Dutch Cheap ‘n’ Nasty played their ‘Forever’, then their newly written song, on 7 August 1981 at their only ever concert in England (the Kingfisher pub in Ipswich). In 1995, Siouxsie and the Banshees played their ‘Forever’.

This music video from Germany is called Siouxsie & The Banshees – Forever. Live E Werk, Cologne 04.03.1995.

The new Dee Skusting & The Rodents/Maid of Ace single comes with the forthcoming #9 issue of Safety Pin fanzine from England. Which has, eg, an interview with Mark Perry, of 1976-1977 Sniffin’ Glue fanzine and the Alternative TV band. And with Alvin Gibbs of the UK Subs.

Polarisation in punk music, Siouxsie to Crass


This music video from England says about itself:

Siouxsie and the Banshees – Happy House (LYRICS ON SCREEN) 📺

This song is by Siouxsie and the Banshees and appears on the album Kaleidoscope (1980).

The lyrics of Happy House are sarcastic. as their author Siouxsie explained. They are about a house which is happy on the surface, but is not that happy below the surface.

These lyrics are an example of polarisation. Polarisation in a sense which is close to the original meaning of the word in physical science, of polarisation of light in a prism, different from how polarisation is often mentioned now in political discussions.

This 2013 video is called Prisms in Physics: Physics & Science Lessons.

Superficially, rays of light are white. However, when you pass those rays through a prism, they turns out to be not white, but various colours from red at one extreme to violet at the other extreme (the ultraviolet and infrared sides of light are not visible to the human eye).

When, about 1970, the word polarisation started to be used in Dutch politics, it was close to this physics meaning. To show that something that is superficially homogenous is in fact heterogeneous. One might expect the Dutch communist party using the word to denote that while superficially the interests of capitalists and workers were the same, in fact they were divergent. But not the communists used the word polarisation. It was liberal centre-left (more centrist than left) political party D66. Then, about half of Dutch MPs were in parties based on religion: a big Roman Catholic party and two big Protestant parties. D66 argued that in these three parties, common religion superficially united all party supporters. But under the surface, conservative and progressive tendencies within these parties diverged. By polarisation, subjecting the Christian parties to research by a prism, the superficial party unity might end.

Today, the word polarisation is often used in politics to denote artificially causing divisions and hatred. While originally, it is about showing that in fact there are divisions which already existed before the ‘prism’ showed them. Showing there is far less unity than there seems to be when one looks superficially.

In what way do punk song lyrics differ from other lyrics?

That ‘physical science-like’ definition of polarisation is evident in many punk music lyrics. Contrary to images of perfection and harmony, projected by television advertisements, politicians or religious leaders, these punk lyrics may confront such images with harsher realities.

According to research in Britain, in punk lyrics love and sex are mentioned three times less than in mainstream popular music. And political and social issues six times as much.

There is often polarisation in lyrics about political and social issues. I will show that in songs by various bands: the Ramones from the USA, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the UK Subs and Crass from Britain, and Cheap ‘n’ Nasty from the Netherlands. Bands representing often very different strands of where the worldwide post-1975 punk explosion went. But still, having in common writing realistic lyrics exposing real problems hiding under superficial harmony. What did not happen so often in pre-1977 mainstream popular music and ‘hippie’ lyrics, often depicting a seemingly harmonious world.

This 1977 live music video is the Ramones – We’re A Happy Family.

The lyrics describe a United States family which supposedly has every political and religious establishment approved reason to be happy: ‘I’m friends with the president, I’m friends with the pope‘. But under the surface, the officially straight father is gay, and the family depends financially on drug deals. Admitting both in public is anathema to the establishment. Polarisation lyrics.

This music video shows the 1979 song Icon by Siouxsie and the Banshees. Its lyrics are about religious leaders demanding that people give up their own eyes which can see reality for artificial eyes which whitewash reality. Artificial eyes sent by privileged people who profit financially (‘the guilt is golden’) from instilling feelings of guilt in common people.

This music video is called Siouxsie And The Banshees – Regal Zone (1981) Köln, Germany.

What Icon says about religious authorities, the song Regal zone says about political authorities. Especially royals, similar to the present crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Princes claim to act ‘for the good of the land’, while oppressing and torturing people.

This music video is the 1978 Crass song Angels.

The lyrics say:

The angels are on T.V. tonight, grey puke, celluloid shit.

The army have sent a mission to Ireland, just to see to it.

Kojac is on the streets again, grey puke, fucking shit.

The army say they seek peace in Ireland and they’ll see to it.

The first and third lines of this first verse are about fictional crime series on TV, Charlie’s Angels and Kojak, in which invariably the good guys win and the bad guys lose.

The second and fourth lines are about the reality of the British army fighting in Ireland, with human rights violations as consequences.

This 2010 video from the UK about the USA is called UK Subs – New York State Police.

The UK Subs sing about a police force which is supposedly always on the good side, stopping murderers, rapists etc. But which in reality brutalises a band on their way to a concert, making the USA look like a police state.

This music video is called Cheap ‘n’ Nasty – Covergirl (Full EP) 1981.

Now, to Dutch band Cheap ‘n’ Nasty. A band which knows the UK Subs, the Banshees, Crass and the Ramones from doing fanzine interviews with them and/or playing with them.

But which nevertheless differs from all of them. However, they do not differ so much that there is no punky polarisation in the songs on their Covergirl EP; written by bass player/female lead vocalist Terry. Let us look at the title track, Covergirl. And to No more violence on TV, the last track on the EP.

Covergirl says that beneath the seemingly glamorous lives of photo models there is just emptiness. Male bosses rule over a world of superficiality, which figuratively makes the cover girls ‘sick’. At the time of writing, the author did not yet think of literal sickness, of anorexia problems which later became a major controversy in fashion.

And No more violence on TV says that religious hypocrites try to get television to depict the world as a world without violence. While both Christian and other religious writings, eg from ancient Greece, often mention violence. And non-realistic TV may make children bored, resulting in them attacking each other violently.

British punk women Ramonas’ new single


This 4 January 2021 punk music video from Britain says about itself:

The Ramonas – I Want To Live In Outer Space (Official Video)

Title track from our album ‘I Want To Live In Outer Space’ OUT NOW on CD, vinyl and download!

Vocals – Lisa Lathwell
Guitar – Maxine Cahill
Bass & Backing Vocals – Victoria Smith
Drums – Camille Phillips

This song, and other songs, is by the Ramonas themselves.

They also play cover versions of Ramones songs.

English Ramonas concerts in Europe


This 27 December 2020 music video by the all-women band the Ramonas from Brighton, England says about itself:

The RamonasKé Futuro [Online Festival [originally from Ecuador] stream]

If you missed our set for Ké Futuro’s online festival you can watch again here!

For our slot, we decided to compile live footage from our shows in Germany and France as a reminder of some good times on the road. We can’t wait to get back to it when everything resumes! Stay safe and keep pogoing!

Songs: The Ramones covers California Sun, Surfing Bird, I believe in miracles, 53rd and 3d, Now I wanna sniff some glue. Then, two of their own compositions, the second one is Broke. Finally, the Ramones covers Pinhead, Chinese Rocks, and Sheena is a Punk Rocker.

Punk in Europe and women


This video series is called Women at Their Best: Female-fronted Punk, Post-punk, etc.

After the earlier presentations on 18 December 2020, the day about Europe of the international Punk Scholars Network conference on the internet, came a panel about punk and women in Europe.

First came a keynote speech by Laura Way – Punk, Gender and Ageing: Just Typical Girls? She has published here on that subject. She concludes that punk women, when growing older like everyone else, usually don’t ‘grow out of’ being punk.

Then came Louise Barrière on The German Ladyfest Scene and Its Venues: A Feminist Understanding of Self-Managed Leisure Collective Activities, and Inter-Generational Activist Solidarities. Ms Barrière writes a PhD thesis including histories of venues in Germany. Like SO36 in Berlin, where in 1980 British band Zounds and Dutch Cheap ‘n’ Nasty played along with German bands. In 2003, Ladyfests started in Germany, inspired by the 1990s Riotgrrl movement among United States hardcore punk women. Ladyfests promote concerts with bands with significant female participation. Usually, Ladyfest audiences are bigger in Germany than in France.

Finally, Katharina Alexi – Music and Activism: The New Feminist Movement of Punk (2010-2020), Right-Wing Populism and Punkriarchy. She noted that there are too many festivals where all bands are all-male. According to her, ever since 2010 there is a new movement of punk women, which does not have a name yet. Many of these newly emerging musicians consider themselves to be feminists. I might mention the Black British punk women of Big Joanie.

I should add that using or not using the label feminist does not always say everything. Eg, in 1970s-1980s Britain, women like Siouxsie Sioux, the Mo-dettes and the Slits supported women’s reproductive and other rights, but did not call themselves feminists, being opponents of labels. While United States Republican politician Sarah Palin, a Donald Trump supporter who favours banning abortion, does label herself a feminist.

Thanks, all organisers and presenters! The 2020 Punk Scholars Network conference was interesting and instructive. I certainly do not intend it to be my last PSN activity.

Italian and Israeli punk, music videos


This January 2020 punk music video from Italy is called Call The Cops – Wasting My Time.

This June 2017 music video from Italy is Call the Cops – They Believe.

Adding to my recent blog posts on punk in Italy and in Israel, this post. Hat tips by Terry, bass/female lead vocals of Cheap ‘n’ Nasty, author of the four songs on this EP:

The Bologna, Italy band of the top videos, which toured the USA in 2017 are not the only ones called Call the Cops. According to Last.fm, there were/are at least three others: a California, USA electro-pop band; a class struggle punk rock band from Baltimore, Maryland, USA, disbanded in 2007; and a band from Arizona.

The video below here is by a young band from Haifa, Israel; which was on tour with the Bologna Call the Cops in 2019.

The March 2019 video says about itself:

Akrabut – Hiroshima Palastina (Full Album)

(Recorded at Beit Alpha/Tel Aviv – Mix And Master By Gad Terrorfranca)

00:00 – Hayom Ve Lo Mahar 01:26 – Kluv 04:00 – 67 05:07 – Gardom 06:44 – Shin.Kuf.Resh 08:59 – Akrabut (Feat.Hala)

This is a 2018 live video of Akrabut.