the scenics -toronto proto-punk band

“It wasn't so much that The Scenics were ahead of their time in 1977, it's more that almost everybody else didn't even know what time it was...  New York had Talking Heads, and England was blessed with XTC, but here was their equal in Toronto..."                                     Bob Mersereau, author of "the Top 100 Canadian Albums"

 

“Largely unappreciated when they originally existed between 1976-81, these underground icons merged  Television’s guitar work, Big Star’s pop prowess, Pere Ubu’s dementia, & the Ramones’ urgency.”   Montreal Mirror

ALL the Scenics' recordings can be downloaded for free right here.
You can hear our crazy sounds over here.
 
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Scenics News

 
 

Dead Man Walks Down Bayview, the first new Scenics studio recordings in 3 decades, is now available on CD, digital, and vinyl at The Scenics' store, and at brick and mortar stores thru FAB distribution (Canada), and Revolver (USA). Featuring 9 Scenics originals (4 by Ken and 5 by Andy) and a bonus cover of Jackie Deshannon/The Byrds' Don't Doubt Yourself on CD and digital.

Dead Man Walks Down Bayview is the sound of The Scenics brought into the present with grace and power.


Fri Nov 1

Colin Brunton and Kire Papputs' megadoc on first era punk and more has a theatrical showing in Toronto this week. here's the poster, and some feedback he has received on it. It is most excellent!

NOW Magazine gave it 4 Ns and said "Documentaries don't come more hard core than THE LAST POGO JUMPS AGAIN; Geoff Pevere of the Globe & Mail said ""It's fantastic. That's the long and short of it...it's got huge heart, smarts and laughs." Former Toronto Star critic Craig Macinnis said: "Your movie rocks like nothing I've seen in years." The Toronto Star said "...it makes for one heck of a past," and Rotate This' Brian Taylor said "...it's really f@cken great and not nearly the wankerfest these things can often be."

Wed Aug 28  

You can pick up Vinyl or CD copies of "Dead Man Walks Down Bayview" ("It should be against the law for an album to be this good" rust.com) across Canada through your local record store and Fab distribution. From our online store, or, in Toronto, at Sonic Boom, Rotate this, Neurotica, Paradise Bound, and Kops Records. The vinyl sure tastes good!

 
Tues June 25

   Carl Gauze over at Ink 19  gives a listen to "Dead Man" and sez 

"Now THAT'S what's missing from that old Eagles/CSNY folk rock of your grandfather's generation: nihilistic sex...This might be my next fav CD."

 

Thurs May 30

Just in from Alex Green at Caught In the CarouselBack with new music for the first time in thirty years, The Scenics’ Dead Man Walks Down Bayview is one of the most age-defying releases in recent memory.  Originally formed in Toronto in 1976, these proto-punks had all the jangle of Big Star and all the jittery grooves of Pere Ubu and by the time they called it quits after six years together, they had secured their place as one of the most beloved, confounding and ultimately unheralded acts around.   With their original lineup intact, not only does this handful of new songs do nothing to damage The Scenics’ legacy, it augments it in an impressive way.  "

 

Mon Apr 1

Let's face it, Chris Frantz is hip. As founding member of BOTH Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club, Chris was one of a handful of "Punks" in 1977 who did not see the world in "Hard-Edged Rock/Smooth n Propulsive Disco" black and white. Which was especially fortuitous coz his job was supplying the groove to both of those outfits!

 

 These days, when not being kept busy with the brill new Tom Tom Club album "Downtown Rockers" ( Chris n Tina will see y'all at Glastonbury) Chris does a radio show (usually last Friday of the month) on WPKN Connecticut. We were very pleased when Chris spun our tune Dark Cave on his most recent show. Always a great mix of downtown funk, gutter rock and interviews (Wild Belle and Minus 5 this time round) you can give it a listen at the WKPN archives. Cheers, Chris!

 

Sat Mar 23

The World Premiere of Colin and Kire's Toronto Punk Doc (see poster, below) is having it's world premiere as we speak, er... write. Here's a fine appreciation of it from the CBC.

Also just in- fabulous article/interview on the Scenics from British Culture/Art periodical Paraphilia. Covers our history from way-back-then to nowsville. Thanks to Craig Woods for pulling it together:

The Scenics’ capacity for experimentation would see them craft some of the most unique recordings by a North American band during the punk/post-punk era. Enlisting a revolving roster of interesting and always capable players to fill out the rhythm section, Meyers and Badger carved their peculiar furrow for six years, continually redefining a rich and diversely textured sound that encompassed art punk, garage rock, psychedelia, and pop, all marked by a distinctly John Cale-esque appreciation of sound and jazz-influenced avant-garde flourishes. Confidently straddling both the abrasiveness of hard punk and the accessibility of new wave, often within a single song, The Scenics were largely defined by their creative refusal to be defined."

Fri Mar 22

Informative, well researched article on Club Davids, a gay disco in Toronto that doubled as a venue for that town's early punk bands. Before it was torched. Includes a short film clip of punks in action at Davids, soundtracked by the Scenics playing Sister Ray.

 

Wed Mar 20
 

The Last Pogo Jumps Again, an epic (3.5) hour look into all the nooks and crannys (most of em, anyway) of the original Toronto Punk scene circe 1976-78, has it's world premiere this Saturday at the TIFF Lightbox as part of Canadian Music Week. The flic has already been pulling in some amazing reviews. Here are a couple from two very different sources- Canada's 'national newspaper', the thoughtful and erudite Globe and Mail, and the somewhat scatological, but no less insightful Greg Klymkiw.

 

Wed Feb 20

A short Doc celebrating the 65th birthday of Toronto's (truly) Legendary Horseshoe Tavern that played on Toronto TV news a month or so ago. Toronto promoters The Garys made this a hotbed of great music in 1978-- Pere Ubu, Talking Heads, Contortions, Suicide, Toots and the Maytalls, Anthony Braxton, Sun Ra, Carla Bley, etc etc etc!!! The Scenics played here numerous times (including a couple of nights with Simply Saucer), and, of course, The Last Pogo happened there. The Scenics briefly featured in this clip:

 

Sun Feb 17 

LAZY SUNDAY MAGAZINE writing about the Scenics and the orig. Toronto punk scene. Also- a look at the continuing influence of John Lennon, and an interview w Jared Scharff of SNL. Nice colour Pics!

 

Thurs Feb 14

Andy speaks with Jack from "Do You Know Jack" on CJIM Montreal tonight at 9 pm eastern. You can hear it live here. Jack was a good guy to talk to!

 

Tues Feb 12

The Dead Man Walks Down Bayview release must be the slowest roll-out of any new release in the history of rock recordom.  Official release date was late in 2012, but then our LPs got stuck in a pressing plant queue behind the Beatles' LPs, and, so, here we are a few months later announcing that:

 

The Scenics catalogue is being distributed by FAB in Canada, and thru them REVOLVER in the USA. You can pick up our new album on LP or CD, or our first two CDs, or the Last Pogo live in '78 punk DVD at your local record store thru these good people!

 

Sun Feb 10
 
   I always enjoy looking at a year end list. At Perfect Sound Forever, there are 20 or so critics, a wide range of music celebrated, and last on the page (alphabetically speaking), Mike Wood citing The Scenics. Here's to all the artists who made the effort (and spent the cash) to record music in 2012!

 

Tues Jan 30

Here's a picture of Andy's dear Finnish Mummo (grandmother), Maria Jaakkola, taken around 1940.

Aside from the fact that widowed young, she raised five children (including Andy's mom Edith) by herself in a farm in Northern Ontario with no power and no running water, was a writer who would write epic poems about major events that happened in her community, and, as you can see by this pic, did not take guff from anyone....

What exactly does she have to do with Punk Rock?

Well, working backwards over this past week...

This past Sunday, Reading DOA frontman Joe Keithley's bio I Shithead, Andy sees that Joey's  mom was also a Finn, and Andy thinks "aha! the CanPunk Finnish Mafia! (or at least trivia question answer.)

The previous evening, Andy bounced in his seat at one of DOA's farewell shows at his home on Saltspring Island. A fantastic evening that put a big smile on Andy's face.

That same afternoon, Andy had run into and had a chat with Joe on the ferry-- while Andy was coming home from visiting his Finnish mother Edith!!!  (cue eerie music).

And, just a few days earlier, Andy had spent a half hour talking to... FINLAND!!!  In particular,  Jesse Gehlen, from the Finnish Ripple Rock Radio. We spoke about Toronto Punk, Vancouver punk, and, yes, Hockey.

Said interview will broadcast this Thursday, January 31st, at 10 am est, and you can listen to it here.

Now you must excuse me. I am off to research for Finnish blood in Dee Dee's family...

 

Tues Jan 15

Dead Man Walks Down Bayview  has begun to show up on "Best of 2012" lists.

We made DJ/blogger Dave Konstantino's 'Top 12 of 2012' list. Dave's blog is a favourite of mine. He always seems to have something insightful to say. For example, here he is on the Talking Heads.

Mary Leary loved the new LP when she reviewed it for Punk Globe, and placed it in her "Top 24 of 2012" list at daggerzine.com.

Last but not least, redoubtable rock vet Jack Rabid placed the Scenics at #67 in his "Top 100 of 2012" in The Big Takeover Magazine. Now, Jack listens to a whack o' disks, so we greatly appreciate the honour, SIR!

Wed Dec 26

Vinyl for the new Scenics' opus has been held up due to the plants being glutted with the sickly sweet sound confections of that Brit boy-band the Beatles... But we have just received news that LPs are finally shipping, so we will have them available in January!

coincidentally, here is a Christmas collage from the Scenics... wasn't thinking of the beatles pressing glut when I made it, but they seemed to have wormed their way in here too!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all, and to all, a good night!

 

 

 

Fri Nov 23

 

 Here's the first video from our new album. Video by Max Attwood, Live footage shot by Aldo Erdic (tobescene.com) It's for the song DARK CAVE, and as this new review sez:

The album opens with the pounding, country rockabilly “Dark Cave.” This song displays one of the biggest assets of the band, the guitars of Andy Meyers and Ken Badger. These founding members are so musically compatible that it seems as if they are telepathically linked... This is an excellent album."

 
Wed Nov 21 
 

Ken Badger has been lured out of his lair for an interview w Revolution Rock radio and Dave Konstantino. We will have a recording of that up soon!

 
Tues Nov 13

    blogcritics.org loves Dead Man Walks Down Bayview:

The more I listened to this recording, the more amazed I became at the quality of sound they were able to produce using only the standard rock and roll set up of bass, drums, and guitars. Normally you think "loud" when you think "full" for that kind of band. However, The Scenics manage to fill space with their music without necessarily being loud. It has a richness and a melody that gives it substance you don't normally find in a rock combo's music."

 
Thurs Nov 8

 A couple of first class music critics weighed in on the new Scenics album-- and there were four thumbs up! Bob Mersereau, author of best-selling "The Top 100 Canadian Albums"  dug our sounds and Jeffrey Morgan, official biographer of the Stooges and Alice Cooper, said we were his "Sizzling Platter of the Week". Both these gents always have something entertaining/interesting to say. Two blogs worth following!

Fri Nov 2

WHOLE DEAD MAN WALKS DOWN BAYVIEW ALBUM STREAMING AT aol.com

thru next tuesday. The moderno tech/cultural irony is that it is not streaming in Canada... (cue Grand Funk Railroad's "We're a CANADIAN band"). Link should be good everywhere else in the world, so enjoy! for all you Canuckistans-- we will have album streaming up here soon!

Peace out.

Tues Oct 30
 
The Vancouver Sun's Francois Marchand has been following The Scenics since our live Velvets album. Here's what he had to say about our new one. "The Scenics deliver with complete commitment"... thanks Francois!
 
 
Fri Oct 26
 
if you live in a Canadian city-- you know Metro News. It's a free paper published nation-wide that transit riders grab coz it goes good with takeout coffee. It was a pleasure to be name checked in today's edition along with Neil Young, who I been listening to for-evah!
 
 
Wed Oct 24
 
scenic Andy Meyers had a far ranging talk w Finn Miller at WUSB Stony Brook. Here 'tis:

 
 Tues Oct 16
 
wow-- rustzine LOVES Dead Man Walks Down Bayview:
 
The Scenic's new album "Dead Man Walks Down Bayview" is a great album.   It should almost be a crime for an album to be this good... It's a gorgeous, passionate, slightly off tune collection of pure genius"

 
 
Wed Oct 3

      Who's talking about Dead Man Walks Down Bayview?

Well, there's the folks at babysue, and there's the interview that Andy Meyers did with the British Ezine Alteria Motives. Last put not least is the rave review we received from the open-eared folks at PUNK GLOBE:

Dead Man Walk Down Bayview, the Scenics’ first studio affair since the ‘70s, is one of the best new-album-by-older-rockers I’ve heard in years. The band’s simple, lo-fi sound has the essence of everything sweet, innocent, and daring that inspired or came out under the New Wave umbrella (the Modern Lovers, early V.U., early Talking Heads, Human Switchboard)...
 
The Scenics’ inspired guitar weavings, crisp trap beats, and vocals intuitively mixing dissonance with melody to deliver from-the-heart songs are, quite simply, a joy."

 

Tues Sept 25

A couple of reviews for our upcoming disc have rolled in....

Then there's 'The Farmer', which is barbled cool-strange, a slow, dirgey, mumbley-peg cut where the singer gets to slur and stumble to his heart's delight, to excellent effect, the rest of the band falling in behind in a sparkling shimmer-curtain offsetting the hallucinogenic qualities only to eventually join them."  sez a review from FAME

 

there's also a review from long time Scenics supporter Mike Woods of musicemissions.com:

The band quickly shifts gears with "A Fox, Her Fur, and Where She Parks It," a slow shuffle with a whimsical/scatological wisdom made all the more subversive by its comforting delivery."

We are looking forward to bringing this one to you, folks. Presale news within the next week or so.

 

Tues Sept 18
 

Andy Meyers is interviewed in this months' mega issue of PUNK GLOBE.  Thanks, Ginger!!!

Fri Sept 14

FIRST ONLINE POSTING  of a song from the new Scenics album-- lead track Dark Cave right here.

 

Wed Sept 12

There is a flurry of Scenic writing, playing and recording activity going on... Back east, Ken Badger, Mike Young, and Mark Perkell got together to play through some new tunes-- including a Ken Badger song called Dead Man Walks Down Bayview, (which is the title of our upcoming album, but is not a song on said album). Also, a couple of Mark Perkell compositions.  Ken reported "Mark introduced us to 'up all night' & 'someone who likes to honky tonk'.  reminds me of Calexico with the whispered vocals & rough acoustic sound.  Hopefully we'll get together again sometime soon...I'll record."

   Meanwhile, out west, Andy Meyers is recording a guitar overdub and some vocals for a Scenic take on Big Star's Take Care, and going into see Ace producer Joby Baker to mix that one and a couple of others, specifically a studio version of the Velvet's Here She Comes and the Ken Badger original Last Train.

 
Tues Sept 11

Gig was a gas. Here's a pic from our opening set -- Brian Brett and Susheela Dawne vocalize on their composition Eveningmoves while Andy lays some bass on the drum loop.

 

Sat Sept 8
 

There's a very cool gig happening in Andy Meyers' hometown of Salt Spring Island, BC, tomorrow night.

Headlining is CR Avery, Beatbox Poet, Hobo Erotic songwriter and Punk Piano Player Supreme. Second-in-Command is Christa Couture , whose albums have charted top ten on CBC Radio 3, and won her a Canadian Aboriginal Music Award and praise from far and near.

Opening the evening is the first viewing (hearing?) of songs for an upcoming CD of "Talking Songs"-- the poems of multi award winning writer Brian Brett put to music by Andy from the Scenics and vocalist/ composer Susheela Dawne.

What's unique about these songs is that most of them are built off of loops pulled from Scenics tapes recorded from 1977-82. As Andy went through these tapes while putting together the Punk Haiku series of recordings, he kept hearing moments-- eight bars of a fierce groove coalescing, or a few seconds of Ken tuning up while Brad talked in the other room-- moments that he could hear would work as loops to build compositions on.

The long and short of it is a proposal was accepted by the Canada Council of the Arts, and Andy, Brian, and Susheela have been working on this CD, on and off, for about ten months now. Look for it to surface in early 2013, but four of the songs will be receiving their live premieres this Sunday:

 

Wed Aug 22
 

The Scenics' first studio album Sunshine World (recorded in Toronto in 1977-78 is now on youtube:

 

Fri Aug 17 

musicemissions.com waxes  poetic in their  review of the latest Scenics digital album "Punk Haiku 4: I'm Set Free", taken from tapes recorded in the autumn of 1977:

Similarly, "Younger Version" is a fitful meditation that uses song structure very loosely, the melody discarded for the more interesting echoes between the notes...

There are three Velvets covers... highlighted by a massive, emotionally raw "What Goes On" that is easily one of the most powerful versions of that track-the VU might have had trouble on some nights reaching this level of transcendence.

"Not so much laid back, but fucked up," a band member says during some in studio chatter halfway through "Punk Haiku 4: I'm Set Free." While that certainly could be a phrase used to describe the music herein, it is so much more than that. These songs truly are punk haikus, songs that burn hot with punk abrasiveness and irreverence, but with a fearless curiosity that concentrates poetic power in a few notes and choruses.

 

 

you can download Punk Haiku 4: I'm Set Free (for free if you like!) over here.

 
Tues Aug 7
 

 

Celebrated producer Joby Baker (l), and Scenic Andy Meyers (r), hanging in Baker Studios as Joby wraps up the mix and master of The Scenics' new album Dead Man Walks Down Bayview. Ken, Andy, Mark and Mike are all thrilled with what Joby whipped up from our stacks o' trax.  It sounds like Faure's requiem played by a bank of Fender amps. It sounds like a menagerie of trained animals playing the Velvet's "I Can't Stand it No More".  It sounds... really really good. Thanks Joby!!!

 
 
Tues July 10
 
Brand new free/by donation download album of 1977 protopunk. Recorded while we were preparing for a trip into the studio in Oct 1977 (A trip that yielded 5 songs that made the Sunshine World CD). This album is full of exploration-- covers and first excursions into new songs that turn into open ended excursions NOT based on what the song is 'supposed' to sound like. Letting our hair down at the end of practice when we weren't focused on honing in on exactly what we wanted to say with the songs we were taking into the studio.  Hear selections from this album, and download it, right here.
 
 
Sunday June 24
 
The latest BIG TAKEOVER is out in magazine and CD stores across this great big planet of ours, (Or you can mail order it from them directly.)  As always, it is full to bursting w great RnR reading n reviews. This issue is especially pleasing to us in Scenic Land as it includes a page on The Scenics and our upcoming album Dead Man Walks Down Bayview...

 
 
Thursday June 21

Colin Brunton and his crew of film superheroes are approaching the finish line on their upcoming full length (MORE than full length-- 3 hours plus!) documentary on the Toronto Punk Scene circa 76-77. You gotta see it!! We all gotta see it!!!!   But until we can, we can read about it right here

Monday June 18

 A couple of Scenic sightings in gigs flung far across this great country of ours. (And please try to leave it great and shut the door on your way out Stevie Boy Harper).

"Way out west" in BC, Andy has played his first couple gigs with mates Ian VW and Bruce "Alberta Time" Cameron as SUBDUDE...

 

Meanwhile, Back in Ontario, Ken Badger hit the stage with the Bartley brothers... as the mighty VONDELLS duked it out in the "Great Lakes Surf Battle"--

 many thanks to Aldo Edric for the artful video evidence!

 

Wednesday April 25

DEAD MAN WALKS DOWN BAYVIEW

Is the name of The Scenics' upcoming album, their first release of new studio recordings in 30 years. The last few pecks are being pecked at the mixes for the nine tracks (plus two bonus CD tracks) and our stellar designer Mr David Montle is churning out cover ideas.  Mastering will be happening soon, and then the path is clear for a late summer release.

The nine songs are all Ken Badger or Andy Meyers originals. There will be a couple of bonus tracks on the CD and digital download editions, cover versions of Jackie Deshannon's "Don't Doubt Yourself Babe" and Big Star's "Take Care".

Initial feedback from inside and outside of Camp Scenic has been strong. We are very happy with what we have in the can.

 
 
 
Friday April 6
 

Amazing music/cultcha blog Stupefaction shared the word on The Scenics today.... many thanks, many thanks...

 
 
Tuesday Mar 20
 

We Scenics are buried in recording studios, hard at work finishing up our first album of studio recordings in 30 years!!! A mix of Ken Badger and Andy Meyers originals, songs written in the 80s (near the end of the first Scenics run) the 90s (whilst The Scenics where torn asunder) and some songs since The Scenics got back together in 2008 (including the  Ken Badger psych-epic The Farmer. Plan is for a release in mid summer.

Here's a ruff mix of lead track DARK CAVE:

 

 

 

Saturday Mar 3

From the recently posted PUNK HAIKU 18:

 The Ramones came out and solidly rooted themselves in the middle of soft-focus entertainment dream land. Johnny looked down and grimaced, lurched from stance to stance, his hair a bowl cut from some uneven kingdom. DeeDee was a cute and vital update of De Niro's Johnny Boy from Mean Streets, cut with 10% cartoon content. Joey wore his Mickey Mouse Club T-Shirt, leaned into the song and clawed at his chest like Frankenstein's monster, "are we not human???" Tommy, as always, looked like he was driving a 16 wheeler, skidding around the corner and hitting the volume on the 8-track."

 

Yup, Punk Haiku 18 looks at the Ramones live and the Clash on disc in Autumn 77, as well as remembering King Elvis in all his glory (and the two volume Elvis bio by Peter Guralnick is an excellent read, if you're interested in the inside story of one of the biggest artists AND celebrities of last century-- a man whose career unfolded at the hinge where rural honkytonks met mass marketed, 'best of', made for TeeVee  EllPees....

As always, PH18 includes a coupla rare Scenics tracks from the vaults, including this ghostly numbah:

 

Saturday Feb 11
 
 Scenic Ken Badger has held down the bass chair in the rarely seen surf punk sensations the VONDELLS for some time now. The boys (that's Danny Bartley on guitar w his brother Neil on Drums) had a fabulous night at the Dakota Tavern last weekend...
 

The Vondells Live Part 2 from JESSE MCCRACKEN on Vimeo.

 
Sat Jan 21
 
Our friend Colin Brunton is doing a bang-up job making a doc about the Toronto Punk Scene. After years and years on the project (years!) it is appoaching the finish line. Here Colin writes about some of the teeth grinding details that make film-makers take up easier work, like hand-to-hand combat, and tells us  a sterling Joey Ramone story...
 
 
Thurs Jan 19

 

Up now- Punk Haiku 17, wherein The Scenics (l-r Ken, Andy and Brad) head back into the 4 track reel to reel recording studio and complete five more tracks for their album Sunshine World, October 1977. As always, Punk Haiku includes never-before-heard tracks recorded in the Scenics basement-beneath-the-toy store, including the garage rock bon mot HEY GLORIA SING 96 TEARS FOR YOU....

Hey Gloria Sings 96 Tears For You by The Scenics

(I mean, we wuz just joking around, you know? the other songs are real serious stuff....)

photo Rodney Bowes

Thurs Dec 23
 

The Scenics are huge fans of the brilliant pre and post modern band Pere Ubu, especially the lineup that recorded their phenomenal Modern Dance and Dub Housing albums. The Scenics dug these gents live in concert at Toronto's Edge and Horseshoe Taverns many many times. This lineup shattered in the 80s, (altho the brilliant Krauss/Maimone riddim section played on most UBU recordings thru the mid 90s) but...

(l-r Tony Maimone, bass, Keith Kornajcik, vocals, Scott Krauss, drums, Tom Herman, guitar)
 

On Dec 22, Home and Garden, a band that Tony and Scott began in the early 80s, and featuring Tony, Scott, and Tom from the original Ubu, played a gig in Cleveland. Wish I coulda been there- by all accounts they and vocalist Keith made an (un)holy row.  Scott granted the Scenics a preshow request, and being in a 'meat and potatoes' mood, we opted for the lead off track from Dub Housing- Navvy. Think I can still hear it bouncing around the cosmos... (Scott Krauss sez "Navvy was good... we rocked, and we will do it again!" Sounds like August for the next Home and Garden show.

 
Fri Nov 18

OK- The Scenics have something kinda rare, something that not a lot of bands have. A large archive of tapes recorded in our heady 1976-82 run.  We recorded almost all our shows, and a lot of rehearsals. (and we rehearsed a lot!)  These tapes ended up in a big cardboard box, and ended up with Ken when Andy moved way out west.

Over the last few years Ken has been sending these tapes out to Andy and they've been used for the How Does it Feel to be Loved CD  (that's actually a pic of the tapes used in that CD, above.) They've also been  used for Punk Haiku . Recently Ken sent the last few tapes out to Andy.  Now that the whole archive is in one place,  they're going to get organized and acquainted, and we are going to figure out ways to get more of the very best stuff out there...

 

 

Thurs Oct 27
 

The Scenics have been waiting to hear back on the FACTOR grant (That's "Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings" for you non-Canuck musician types) that we spent a couple of weeks applying for earlier in the summer. Application included a 3 song demo, and about 25 pages of references, info, and full colour diagrams.

We felt pretty good about the application, and, indeed, so did the judges. They voted 4-3 against funding, and if just one of them (perhaps the gent at the end in the polo neck and the pince-nez) had voted differently, we would have been successful. As well, we averaged close to a 70% score on the six major grant catagories. SO...

It is time to crank up the remastered Aladdin Sane that has been ruling my soundworld for the last few days and get back to work, in time to resubmit for the  Nov 30 deadline of the next Juried Sound Recording joint.

This time round, one important aspect will be greatly improved. The demo's lead track, Dark Cave, was, due to deadline duress, submitted without Ken Badger's vital barbed-wire guitar part. Since then, Ken has had a chance to lay it down and Andy is as we speak stirring it into the mix. We will then bake it at 350 for a half hour and then off to the digital post office!!!

Wish us Godspeed, Scenic supporters!!! And if you see a gent in a polo neck and pince-nez, or one with a thunderbolt across his face and teardrop on his collarbone, please put in a good word.

 
Tues Oct 25
 
PUNK HAIKU 16

"Best concerts I've seen, in no particular order:
1)  Roxy Music, Massey Hall, 1975
2)  Toronto Pop Festival/Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Revival, 1969 (Velvets minus Cale;  Plastic Ono Band;  The Doors;  John Lee Hooker)
3)  The Ramones, New Yorker, September 1977
4)  John Cale Band, Lulas' Lounge, 2006; and--
5)  The Scenics at Davids on St. Nicholas Street around 76, 77 or so..."

Mon Oct 24
 

PUNK HAIKU 16 coming tomorrow- here are a couple of audio previews: The Scenics playing David Bowie and the Velvet Underground live in Sept 1977--

Panic In Detroit (PH16) by The Scenics

I'm Set Free (Ph16) by The Scenics

 

Tues Oct 18
 

Ken Badger has just wrapped up two days at Toronto's #9 studio, nailing a slew of guitar parts for the Scenics up-coming album. Work has begun in earnest to complete the Scenics first studio recordings since their 1981 45, Karen/See Me Smile. This is gonna be fun!

 
Thurs Oct 14
 

Scenics summer catch-up part three:

One last piece of musical news (noosical muse?)-- producer/composer Andy Meyers, composer/vocalist Susheela Dawne, and award-winning poet  Brian Brett  have begun working on a CD of Brian's poems set to music.

The idea is for Andy to take loops and samples from the 300 hours of Scenics recorded live and in rehearsal 1976-82, and cook a dubby-mash-up stew to support Susheela's melodies and vocalise and Brian's rampant riffing on his poems. Building from scratch like this is going to take a while- expect this thick dub stew to be due late in 2-0-1-2.

This will be this trio's second CD. Here's a sample from their first, recorded in 2003. And here is some info/pics about that first CD, Night Directions for the Lost.

Brian, Susheela, and Andy thank the Canada Council for the Arts for their support of this upcoming album.

Brian and Andy playing live for CBC's "NXNW" show.
 
Sat Oct 1
 

OK- part 2 of this coffee-klatsch katch up- just what have the Scenics been doing this summer while we weren't staying in touch websiteularly?

(l-r Mark, Andy, Mike, Ken)

Well, old friends were hooked up with, bedroom ceilings were painted, songs were written and sung, and there were some gigs. No, not Scenics gigs, 'coz we weren't all in the same place at the same time (we don't all live in the sleepy delta land of southern Ontario anymore. And we ain't in Kansas anymore, Toto. (Hey- I wonder if any of the guys in Toto were ever in Kansas? I mean the band, not the state...)

But individually, there were some gigs gigged and some fun had. The molto talented and super nice guy Leeroy Stagger  (he of recent four star review in Uncut magazine) hit Andy's home town whilst touring. As well as putting on a beautiful show of soulful songs (with his sidekick Jr. on lap steel lead guitar and harmonies),  Leeroy was kind enough to let Andy get up and play a few of his new songs. Here's a sweet little  Leeroy video that will give you a taste of who he is.

Back in T.O. (that's Toronto Ontario, for some reason people from there call it that), Mike Young, Scenics' bassist and harmonizer, was of course out playing with his other projecte musicale, alt-country rockers (they even got a pedal steel!!) Ride 'em Cowboy  Mike co-writes most of their material w their singer Janet Stone, and they like to rock at places like the Cadillac Lounge.

But you know, there are gigs and then there are gigs. Gigs so prestigious that you are just honoured to be there, and glad you remembered to brung your guitar. Speaking of which, here's Andy playing the Salt Spring Fall Fair, the sweetest day of the year, accompanied by Bruce Cameron from the Calgary "Cunk" (Cowboy-punk) sheet disturbers Swamp Donkey....

make sure you get a salmon burger and slice o' pie from the pie ladies!

foto- trish faurot

 
 
Tues Sept 27
 

"You don't write, you don't phone...."

OK. I know- we've been incommunicado the last almost 2 months... But that don't mean we been asleep at the wheel of life. There's  been important stuff going on- weddings and funerals and kinda everything in between. So- a quick catch up is in order- but where to start?

Ken Badger has been working his fingers to the, er, callouses prepping a bunch of his distinctive caustic/melodic guitar parts. On October 17 and 18 (hey- that's Andy's birthday!) Ken's gonna be taking his trusty Les Paul jr on a drive to Toronto's #9 studio to work with head engineer Bernie Cisternas. I've heard what Ken has got in mind for my tune Dark Cave and it's killer. I'm sure the rest will be too.

Badge burrowing deep at #9
 

Yes, we Scenics are hard at work finishing off the studio recordings we began a couple of years ago, our first studio recordings in 2 and a half decades. And don't get the idea that we haven't been eager to get them out- they just haven't quite poked their noses to the front of life's endless list.... TILL NOW. So expect an LP chock full of Ken Badger and Andy Meyers originals in 2012.  The songs go back to some tunes Andy wrote for the Scenics in 1980 (including Growing Pains and I Can't Be Careful), hits a few tunes Ken or Andy wrote in the 90s, when there were no Scenics in site, and goes right up to the present day Scenics, with a song Ken wrote in late '08 (The Farmer).

Furthermore, Los Scenicos (that's us) spent a couple of weeks this summer crossing their I's and dotting their T's and filling in all 500 pages in triplicate for a FACTOR grant to help us finish said recording. (make no mistake, finish it we shall, and out next year it will be, but these things are always made a tad smoother with a bit of the ol "universal lubricant", as S.J. Perelman used to say.)

S.J. What a life span he had. Born in 1904, pre jazz, among other things. Died October 17 (the day before Andy's Birthday) 1979,  the Scenics' craziest year. S.J. wrote script for the Marx Bros and was a hero to Woody Allen.
 

Anyway- the grant application looks good, sounds good, hell, it even smells good. And very soon we shall find out how it looks to those on the other side of the desk....

 

OK- gotta go- but i'll come back over the next week w/ a few more stories from the summer and we can get caught up, K? 

'night.

 

Tues Aug 2

 musicemissions.com on our free digital FACE IT AGAIN album- they give it 4.5 stars:

Generously covering a month stretch from August-September 1977, during which time they played their first three live gigs (which ended with them opening in Toronto for Talking Heads), "Punk Haiku 3: Face it Again" is another history lesson/lost classic from The Scenics. It also adds another layer to what is becoming a running memoir of the band from that period, a set of reminiscences in print and in sound that is already a priceless document of that one of kind era.

"Face It" features a dozen songs, nine of which are Scenics originals. The covers are mostly of songs by their touchstone, the Velvet Underground, though they do a decent take on Roxy Music's "Remake/Remodel."

Their trance-like, post-rock touches are all over tracks like the almost abstract "I'm Sad" and "Gotta Come Back Here," though, perhaps in the spirit of late summer '77, there are faster, snottier punk tunes like the title track, "Wind Over The Ladder," and "Great Piles of Leaves." If you've been keeping  up with the reissues over the past few years, renewed classic "Wild Trout" from the "Sunshine World" disc is powered up with a live version. The Velvets are represented by an aborted basement intro to "What Goes On," and a killer live version of the same track. The set ends with what the liner notes calls their "psychobilly" song. While "All Belts (And Shoelaces Taken)" is frantic and dementedly whimsical, it is also held down by the band's odd sense of art-rock groove, which makes the song, like most of their music, hypnotic and effortlessly majestic.

The Scenics are doing such a good job documenting their times and creative legacy that any attempt by outsiders seems redundant. "Punk Haiku 3: Face it Again" is merely the latest fascinating missive from a criminally ignored band that is trying to set the record straight.

FACE IT AGAIN is available as a free download over here.

Tues July 19

OK- we've posted a bunch of songs from See Me Smile (Punk Haiku#2) for you to check out. (this is volume two of our series of archival albums, and it covers a lotta raw n' early Scenics sound from Feb to July 1977!)

See Me Smile (Punk Haiku 2) 1977 protopunk by The Scenics

 

Tues July 12

The latest The Big Takeover mag is out- as always, as forever, a whoppin 176 pages (! they make it big coz it gots to last, u c, like a very busy groundhog it only comes out twice a year!)

 

features writing on Best Coast, Teenage Fanclub, REM, Iggy and the Stooges, Lefte Banke, Wanda Jackson, The Left Banke... definitely one of the very best music mags out there (for me the best  would be Big Takeover and Tape Op.)

This is what The Big Takeover had to say about our latest download album - Face it Again (Punk Haiku 3):

More historic bands should open vaults and share the way this punk-era band does—in carefully curated albums for free download online (or helpful donation). Installment three of Toronto’s Scenics’ series offers their first three gigs’ unveiling, and the amount of conception/rehearsal they’d already invested shows in how together they are on seven songs from their August 27-29, 1977 debut at Toronto’s Beverly Tavern; two rougher recordings supporting Talking Heads’ first tour at The New Yorker Theater that September (I need a time machine!); and two basement demos. From slower art rock such as the previously unheard “I’m Sad” to the faster neo-Modern Lovers verve of “Face It Again,” it reminds that the “Canada’s Velvet Underground” shorthand was a start in appraisal—they do a slower “What Goes On,” plus a cool Roxy Music cover—but The Scenics had grander designs. Get all three collections, plus a studio ’77-’78 and live Velvets covers CD as free downloads at: (dreamtowerrecords.com)

Tues June 28

Here's some tape from an interview Ken and Andy did in January 2008 w Liz Worth, author of "Treat Me Like Dirt". In it they wax about the wide open cultural spaces that was 1976:

Interview- Ken, Andy, Liz Worth Pt1 by The Scenics

 

 
 
Thurs June 23
 

Brand new Video posted-- The three piece Scenics, ruff n ready w/ Roxy Music's Remake Remodel live in 1977 at the Beverly Tavern. (The audio from this is taken from the FACE IT AGAIN collection.) You Like?

 

Tuesday June 7

Now Available-   The Scenics' latest free/by donation 

download album of  hardscrabble happenstance:

get it fo' free HERE 

And listen to some highlights from it right here:

FACE IT AGAIN (Punk Haiku3) Live 1977 by The Scenics

in the latest BIG TAKEOVER mag, Jack Rabid has this to say about FACE IT AGAIN:
It offers their first 3 gigs’ unveiling, and the amount of conception/rehearsal they’d already invested shows in how together they are... From slower art rock (the previously unheard “I’m Sad”) to the faster neo-Modern Lovers verve of “Face It Again,” it reminds that the “Canada’s Velvet Underground” shorthand was a start in appraisal....but The Scenics had grander designs. Get all three collections, plus a studio ’77-’78 and live Velvets covers CD as free downloads at: dreamtowerrecords.com/free_downloads

 

 

 
 
Friday May 20

PUNK HAIKU 15  now posted-- Live Audio and the story of Sept 16. 1977-- Talking Heads and The Scenics at the New Yorker Theatre, Toronto.

   As we began our sound check, Talking Heads appeared sillhoutted in the doorway at the back of the hall. It was like  descriptions of the early Beatles- they were a four-headed monster, moving together with ineffable (and F-ing) quirky cool...

 

Tues May 17
 

"Canada's Velvet Underground"

  NYC's Jack Rabid writing about The Scenics in the Spring 2011 "Big Takeover" Magazine.

       
 
 
Tues May 3
free flac or MP3 DownloadS of 2 sterling albums recorded 1977-1981!!!       

 

Mon April 25

NEW VIDEOS!

We've been posting live videos of the Scenics at NXNE 2008. We did a two camera shoot (Thanks to Richard Fiander and Colin Brunton, edited by Kire). We've posted Waiting for my Man, Ken's Gotta Come Back Here, and Andy's Growing Pains. You can find them here, and as we post more, we'll keep you, er, posted.

(Mike Young at NXNE- photo Richard Fiander or Colin Brunton!)
 
Wed April 20

Time for a bit of picture show n' tell.

FIRST UP: a shot taken at last August's Toronto Fleshtones show by Jean Gnujet :-) 

 

Beyond being a way cool example of the party that is a Fleshtones show (one can only imagine what is happening off to the right) it is, in itself a mini history of the Toronto punk scene:

     The wide-eyed gent to the left in the white t is punk drummer mainstay Cleave Anderson,  who first came to prominence in the Battered Wives, one of the first Toronto punk bands to court the mainstream. To his right in the black v-neck is Gail Wetton, Ms Molten Core Records. A supporter of the scene from day one, and married to Randy Johnston, with his buddy Doug one of the first hard-core fans of The Scenics. To Gail's right- Ken Fox,  The Fleshtones' basso supremo and one time (1980-81) Scenics' bassist. Lastly- the Brunette taking the pic in the front is Mickey Skin, nuu-tourious singer for Toronto's all woman all punk band The Curse.  There's a lotta class in this classroom.  

     (Late breaking alert from Jean- Punk bassist/gtrist Shawna from Torawna is in between Cleave and Gail, and the blonde in front left is Ken Fox's sister Alison. Whew!) (OK, this has gotten me started... the mustachioed fellow behind Ken's bass neck is the Belgian minister of culture... Helmut Newton's lighting grip is standing behind the fellow in red....etc etc, fill in the blanks!)

 

MORE PICS: From the recent CBC "NxNE" taping that took place on Andy's home isle- A couple of pics of Andy supporting award-winning performance poet Brian Brett. A beautiful SUNNY spring morning- molto fun!!
(photos by Maggie Binnie O'Scalleigh- thanks Maggie!)
 
 
 
Mon April 11

PUNK HAIKU 14

 

PUNK HAIKU 14 now posted. September 1977- The Scenics prepare for the gig with Talking Heads by heading to the head-quarters of Toronto mainstream rock radio- CHUM FM:


   We lifted ourselves up out of the car and floated across the litter and debris and grass and up the concrete steps.  I had a buddy beside me as I crossed the yard, we marched in slouched formation. Our lives were no longer our own.  Like how you walked across the basketball court as a kid, after you'd been picked. Special? We had fallen into rock and roll and it was as sticky as a tar pit."

 

Tues Apr 5

PUNK HAIKU 14 is coming this week-  September 1977. The Scenics go above ground to Toronto's CHUM FM for an interview- pre their gig opening for one of their favourite bands, the TALKING HEADS. PH14 also features 2  Scenics songs live from the Beverly Tavern, August 1977. As a lil preview, here is one of them- a simmering slice of psychobilly "All Belts and Shoelaces Taken" (All 1:49 of it!!!)

 

All Belts and Shoelaces Taken(PunkHaiku#3) by The Scenics

 

Sun Apr 3

Our good buddy Colin Brunton (who wrote the sterling liner notes for Sunshine World, doncha know,) is nearing a final edit on his 4.5 hour film "The Last Pogo Jumps Again:  A Biased And Incomplete History Of Toronto, Hamilton and London Ontario Punk Rock And New Wave Music Circa September 24 1976 To December 1 1978, Parts One And Two." He has interviewed practically everyone (everyone!) who came close to pluggin' in a geetar or hearing said geetar being melodically sturmmed in the glory days of southern Ontario punk rocknrolla. He has a ton of great footage from now and then, as well as many cool illustrative cartoon drawings by Montreal artiste Rick Trembles, such as the one below. Colin had his west coast crew spend an afternoon interviewing Scenic Andy Meyers, and they caught up with Scenic Ken Badger in his rural ontario digs. They nabbed Scenics bassist Mike Young in the loo at the Horseshoe Tavern. Will they stop at nothing??? (You can read more about Colin's film here.)

Sat Mar 12

The Scenics throw the doors wide open! Both of our celebrated CDs of 1977-81 protopunk are now available as FREE DOWNLOADS!!! (Either MP3 or Flac). Go get 'em, and dig 'em.  And then- Please send links to hipster friends who would also be apprecianado. This is the modern world, and this is the only way around it!

(both of these puppies are yours for the listenin'. They've had their shots, and oh yes, we've checked their teeth!!!)
 
 
 

Thurs Mar 10

We've been cleaning things up here in Scenics web land. If you'd like to hear all the tracks from our two CDs, you can go  here.

 

Friday Mar 4
 

PUNK HAIKU 13 now posted: A lotta change in Scenic life. And, PUNK ROCK:

Songs like kids squabbling, songs that you could  accept or reject, but couldn’t argue with. A whole new way for bands to play together, tumbling and rolling, it breathed, we found out that rock music didn’t need steady tempo, tempo could vary wildly from bar to bar as long as everyone moved together like a jostling, pushing, packet of guys squeezing into a pub. In fact, there was liberation in ragged tempo,  the moment continually reforming and being re-discovered.

 

 
 
 
 
Thurs Feb 10

New Review in for SEE ME SMILE from musicemissions.com :

"Full of their arty, hypnotic songs... See Me SMile is amazing and places these guys higher on the list of important first/second wave punk bands...beyond essential 5/5"

SEE ME SMILE  is a collection from the Scenics's massive tape archive of some of the VERY BEST music the Scenics played in the first half of 1977. it is available as a free/by donation download at the Scenics' Dream Tower Records.  The music is collected from chapters 6-10 of our fly-on-the-wall, first wave punk blog Punk Haiku.  We've taken a hiatus from Punk Haiku for a couple of months- but we are gearing up for a new chapter soon-like!!!

 
Thurs Feb 3
 
The Scenics are getting set up with their sounds over at SoundCloud. You can hear most of the tracks off their CD Sunshine World right here.
 
 
Thurs Jan 27

Andy from the Scenics will be playing some music this weekend, under his doppelganger alias...

 

Fri Jan 21
 
Here's our ad in the latest EXCLAIM! Magazine, Canada's most excellent rock monthly that papers the country coast to coast (it's true! i pick it up here on the left coast, and i have a friend in hali-facts who does the same! They ship it via that cross-country railroad thingy...)
 
 
 
 
Tues Jan 11
 

Scenics Mike Young, Ken Badger, and Mark Perkell (l-r) are spending a coupla fun-filled days at Toronto's #9 Studio putting overdubs down on three of Ken's songs. (actually, two of Ken's songs and one cover of Jackie DeShannon/The Byrds' "Don't Doubt Yourself Babe"). Yes indeed, the first new Scenics studio album in thirty years will be dropping... well, it's way too soon to say when. LOTS of work left.  But- drop it will.

 

Sun Jan 9

What was it like coming of age in Toronto in 1978 while Gary Topp and Gary Cormier were booking the Horseshoe Tavern?  Pretty Fricking Fantastic, that's what! Here's what an average week looked like:

btw- live vinyl of that Scenics/Simply Saucer gig (The only gig those two proto-punk powerhouses shared?!!) will be coming your way from Dream Tower Records later in 2011!!!

 

 

Sun Jan 2

Now available- ONLY at Dream Tower Records                     

a free/by donation digital album crunching  straight outa '77!                             (and you can hear it right here.)
 
Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover, on See Me Smile:  ”More original, under-recorded 1976-1981 art rockers/punks should open their vaults like these Toronto trailblazers have... 1977 tunes from demos, rehearsals, and gigs amazingly preserved... covers of The Rolling Stones and Modern Lovers show new takes on old ground... Try the unreleased Chills (well named) and a fervent early rehearsal take of Sunshine World’s O Boy, among others”

See Me Smile features a Sunshine World out-take, live takes on the Stones and Modern Lovers, and potent unheard early versions of Scenics classics and rarities. It is the collected audio from chapters 6-10 of The Scenics' memoir blog, PUNK HAIKU,  and is album 2 in a series that will be continued in the spring of 2011. 

 

 

Jan 2 2011

ANNOYING BADGER SONG????

A couple of surprising Ken Badger references have popped up lately.

Ken (seen here on the cover of proto-spunk), co-founded The Scenics in 1976. He has written 50-60- 70? amazing songs for the Scenics, And I (Andy speaking) have never heard him write an annoying one...

So you can imagine my suprise when I read the headline- "Annoying Badger Song".

Once i followed the 'annoying' headline, i ended up here. 

Hmmm, I never heard Ken do that one, and i'm not sure it is annoying... It's kinda Devo meets David Byrne meets the Seeds meets... but Annoying? hardly!

Next, In  Bob Spitz's excellent book "The Beatles" he recounts how a fifteen year old John Lennon would lead his friends to lovely Calderstone Park, where they would sit in isolation, away from ridicule, and raise their voices in song- "Burst into versions of "Bubbles", or "Clear Water". End Quote.

Here is Ken Badger's song "Bubbles", from The Scenics' 1980 Bomb Records LP "Underneath the Door". Apparently, if you can believe what you read, a fav of the 15 year old J. Lennon.

always liked the lyric, myself:
 

I'm on a boat at the bottom of the ocean

trying to fix a leak, and when i try to speak

all i hear are     all i hear are     bubbles.     bubbles.

bubbles in my veins and they're cruising to my brains...

 

Dec 31 2010

Happy New Year to All- May 2011 bring good health, prosperity, peace of mind and LOTS OF MUSIC!!!

  Speaking of which- here is something pretty cool (altho it's more talk than music)- a stellar video interview with Patti Smith (and just check out the first chapter of PUNK HAIKU to find out what Patti meant to the Scenics....

 

   
   
Thurs Dec 30

Whatwave Dave,from London Ontario, has history with this type of (proto-punk garage rock etc) music and his show on CHRW radio makes that clear.

Tonight's show was on bands who have played the Cedar Lounge, London's place for loud music and cold beer in the first punk era. The Scenics had the pleasure of bouncing their sounds off of the Cedar and it's rowdy (but receptive!) crowd several times- usually as a guest of our buddies the Demics. (respect, yo).

Daves show is archived here. (just scroll down to Radio Whatwave, and then slide on over to the right and the part one and part two buttons). It will be up thru Thursday the 6th, when Dave will spin part 2 of "Bands who played the Cedar Lounge". There is a bunch of way cool punky stuff (the Secrets, Arson, B-Girls, Forgotten Rebels, and three by your faithful correspondants the Scenics. Here's a playlist.  Thanks, Dave!

 

 

Tues Dec 27

Hey- a couple of great reviews have slipped over the transom...

musicemissions.com on our first digital album- PROTO-SPUNK!

The more that the Scenics release from the vaults the more it becomes obvious that punk history needs to be revised a bit...

and the fine Chicago rockmag "Roctober" loved Sunshine World:

...these brilliant recordings from ’77 and ’78. Why they aren’t legends is hard to say.

 

Wed Dec 1

Now Available!-PROTO-SPUNK!  A 10 song, 42 minute digital album available as a free/by donation flac or mp3 download. The first volume of a series of original proto-punk 1976-82 as featured on our PUNK HAIKU memoir.

Andy sez: this is the sound of the Scenics very early, very raw, very young. Before we knew what we had or know what we were doing. We just did it.

Proto-Spunk collects the songs used in the first 5 chapters of Punk Haiku. They have all been remastered and are shiny murky slices of vintage teen-rock!!!

for info:

 

Mon Nov 29

 

NYC's Jack Rabid, surely the hardest working man in this 'biz they call show' gave the Scenics a spin today  on his "The Big Takeover" radio show. He spun Chills from our digital album See Me Smile, which is hitting our Dream Tower Records site on Dec 9. Jack described See Me Smile and it's already released companion album Proto-Spunk as "Excellent vault openings- tracks we have never heard from these Toronto Punk legends..." 

 

Jump over to  Proto-Spunk, and you can hear the whole album online and download it on a free/by donation basis.

You can hear Jack's radio show here. It features Teenage Fanclub, Bad Religion, lotsa great stuff you never heard of, including Project Film, AND most excellent Montreal Proto-Punkers The Nils!

 

Speaking of Mr Rabid, his day job just hit the newstand- Jack (and friends) puts out the most excellent The Big Takeover bi-annually- and that works becoz it takes you 4 months to read the thing- it's big and it's packed!!!   So what are you waiting for!!!

Sat Sept 25
 

A coupla things have twigged some memories and thrown us here at the Scenics practice hall-under-the-toy -store into the past, the present, and maybe even the future, simultaneously. They are all about the fabulous Fleshtones, and the Fleshtones bassist Ken Fox, a dear friend and a member of the Scenics 1980-82.

 

Exhibit One, yer honour... On Ken's facebook page there is an amazing album of photo's from Toronto's The Turning Point. This was a scuzzily gilded club the Scenics played many times.  The album is of Ken in his other 1982 band, the Ravin Mojos (below see Ken with Blair Martin, the Mojo's Movocalist.)

 

Ken moonlighted in the Mojos during the last year of the Scenics initial run. They were a hell of a rock n roll band (as anyone can see by checking out this pic), and looking back, they don't seem a huge step away from the Fleshtones. They motored, you know?

 

Exhibit Two- an  amazing documentary on the Fleshtones (entitled Pardon Us for Living but the Graveyard is Full) is streaming at this site (but only for a few days, so hurry. ) It tells the whole 35 year history of the band, and manages (in one hour) to say a whole lot about what it means to be a man, and to rock, and to also have some very cool shirts. I may sound like i am kidding, but i'm not. Watch it!!!

 

Exhibit three:

(l-r Fleshtones Peter Zaremba and Ken Fox, Lenny Kaye, Ivan Julian. foto Boogaloo Omnibus)

Just read that the Fleshtones are recording their new CD with the great Lenny Kaye producing. Ivan Julian (Voidoid etc guitarist) engineering. Can't wait!!!

 

(The Scenics circa 1980. l-r Ken Badger, Andy Meyers, Ken Fox. Front, Mark Perkell.)
 
 

Thurs Sept 17

The three Ontario Scenics (Ken Badger, Mark Perkell, and Mike Young) are at our favourite recording spot, Toronto's #9 Studio laying down a few tracks while the west coast Scenic (Andy Meyers) sticks his ear out the window and tries to hear what's going down.

The Scenics (all four of 'em!) recorded a bunch of tracks at #9 at the end of 2008.  Since then Ken has honed arrangement on a few tunes, so the Ontario Scenics (all three of 'em) are laying down new versions of a few songs, including Jackie Deshannon's "Don't Doubt Yourself Babe" and Ken's "Ticket Please".

Ken prepping a guitar part, November 2008, #9 Studio.

 

Thurs Sept 17

Following on yesterday's post, I just read that Sept 17, 1976 was the first show that Jerry Harrison played with the Talking Heads. That means the show we opened for them on Midnite of Sept 16 1977 was their one year anniversary with Jerry... Yay!!! rock trivia!

 

Thurs Sept 16
Thirty-Three years ago today (Sept 16 1977) we young Scenics opened for one of our very favourite bands, the Talking Heads, at a midnight show Gary Topp booked at his New Yorker Theatre in Toronto.

We had a blast (and the story of that show will be coming up in Punk Haiku about three chapters hence). But how did that show fit into our story?  

Well, The Scenics played from 1976-1982. In 2008, we  began playing together again, and releasing CDs (of material recorded 1976-82.)  These last couple of years we have received some very enthusiastic responses and press -I guess the time that's elapsed from our first run has somehow given our band a more understandable shape for people....

But for all those inactive, non-scenic years,  (i'm talking 1983-2007), the most concise shorthand we could give for 6 years of sweating, playing, writing, recording, being loved, hated, and mostly ignored, was to tell someone:

"Yeah. We opened for Talking Heads."

"Really?!?!?"

So thanks for the gig, Gary, and thanks for all the amazing music, Heads.

 

Tues Sept 12

 Punk Haiku is on hold for just a little while while we do some behind the scenes re-organizing... will be back soon!!! In the meantime, it's a good time to get caught up on the story and sound so far. It all starts right about here, and all the Punk Haiku chapters are listed on the right sidebar of this page!
 
 
Wed Aug 18

From Punk Haiku 12-  August 1977. The Sex Pistols and the Clash hit us like a ton of bricks. The Scenics bring their jagged proto-punk to a mansion basement full of rich kids, and Andy almost dies!!!!! (cue horror movie music)....

The Pistols and the Clash. Talking Heads and Television. The Beatles and the Stones. It's funny how often the two big bands in a scene are polarized, and cover all possibility between them.  The Clash stood on guard and the Sex Pistols didn't give a fuck. And I believed both of them.

the Clash in their ragged days....ragged glory!!!

 

Thurs July 29

  from PUNK HAIKU 11- August 1977- Wherein the Scenics meet Toronto Super Promoters "The Garys", and are booked to play with the Talking Heads:

  I told him I had something, a tape for Gary and Gary. He said they weren’t here, but he could get it to them. I said OK, and placed our cassette into his grinning hands.

 

    It meant so much to us, and the transaction was so simple and over so quickly. I felt like I should have said no, I’d wait and give it to them myself, but I couldn’t grab it back, (that’s too rude, I’m too Canadian) and besides, then I’d seem untrustworthy, awkward, demanding...

 

  I said thanks and left. That was our life there."

 

 

Thurs July 22

Mike Wood at MusicEmissions.com is a fan of Sunshine World-

Along with Simply Saucer, The Scenics are one of the greatest punk bands of the old school era, though if you live outside Canada you probably never heard of them (unless you happen to have seen the 1979 documentary "The Last Pogo)... "Sunshine World"... showcases the band's ability to slide easily among punk,  post-punk and no-wave, a document of a band that held its own with the likes of Buzzcocks, Sex Pistols and Pere Ubu.

Gems abound here, from the Lou Reed meets Weezer squawk of "Do The Wait" to "Great Pile of Leaves" no-fi power pop. "I'm hurt" has a classic Fall-esque choppy confidence, while "Gotta Come Back Here" is droning sludge, ala Feedtimeor Drunks With Guns. There are also two covers; The Kinks' "Where Have All The Good Times Gone" is rather pedestrian, but The Scenics whittle down Tommy James' "Mony Mony"  to an abstract drone, brittle, scarred and barely recognizable.

 

The best track is "Wild Trout," which mixes a little Eastern, a little Outsider dementia, into  post-rock irrational brilliance. As good as anything from the period, which says a lot. It all ends on a weird note, the ten minute plus "Scenic Caves," a weird blend of acid rock, ambient interludes, and fuzzy freakout.

... "Sunshine World: studio recordings 1977-78" sounds fresh and daring today as it did back then, when few were listening. The Scenics may not hit the big time this second go-round, but this peek into their past shows that they belong there."

Thanks, Mike! 

Tuesday July 20

Ken's song O Boy featured on Kid Vinil's podcast outa Sao Paolo, Brazil- it's a half hour of stuff you may not have heard before...

 

 

 

Sun July 18

 Ken Badger (back to the camera above) recently travelled from his home a couple of hours north of Toronto down to the big smoke. He hooked up with Mark Perkell (drums) and Mike Young (bass) for an intense session working two of Ken's songs into shape. In shape for what you ask?

 

In December of 2008 The Scenics (that would be Ken, Mark, and Mike along with Andy, who lives "way out west" in British of Columbia) headed into Toronto's swank #9 studio to lay down some tracks. It was the third time they had gotten together in 08 (their first gigs in 26 years in April, NXNE and more gigs in June, and the Last Pogo 30th anniversary concert in late Nov), and they figgered the punk was primed.

13 songs were laid down in multi-track glory (all live from the floor everybody playing together w live vox, natch, the Scenics not being some assembly line operation but a live sweatin' band!!!). 

photos by Mark Tearle

 

 Scenic eyes and ears are beginning to shift towards preparing some of that current studio stuff for 2011 release. As always these recordings feature Ken Badger and Andy Meyers originals as well as the usual choice sprinkling of covers (Dusty Springfield and Big Star anyone?)

These pics are of the current day Scenics hard at work, (not on their new recordings, but at the Toronto gig of the October 2009 Scenics mini-tour).  

Fri July 16

this just in from David Mansdorf at losingtoday.com  (check it out- lotsa good writing about good music, audio tracks, er-cetera!)

"Sunshine World, a collection of their studio recordings from 1977-1978, is a surprisingly tight and well produced group of songs that fans of proto-punk should investigate. For my tastes, the best songs are the more straight ahead rockers, although if you like Pere Ubu you'll want to spin "O Boy" and "So Fine". "Do The Wait" is one of the great unheard singles of the era (think Mink Deville covering "Sweet Jane") and "Wild Trout" isn't too far off from what Television was doing in their early years." 

 

Wed July 14

Break out the Stilletos, the Sunshine World CD is reviewed in the latest Urban Male Magazine:

Here's what well-respected rocker and rockscribe Keith Carman had to say:

 

 "One of Canada's unsung heroes of first-gen punk, The Scenics reacted to slinky art-rock made popular by New York acts such as Television, The Velvet Underground, and other Warhol-esque colleagues. However, with their sublime understanding of pushing boundaries without sacrificing grooves, their low-fidelity creations are excercises in tight, post-garage accomplishments. 

 

Celebrated on this first ever compilation of their studio works, Sunshine World provides another case in point as to why The Scenics deserve merit for being as innovative as they were- (and now are, given their reunion)- impressive"

Tues July 6

Punk Haiku 10 is up- we're in double figures, and in this installment the Scenics go public, July 1977, and visit the local alternative radio station to talk about the state of this new punk rock thang. Also- protopunk video and audio from 1977...

 it’s not about chords on paper, it’s not about playing genres of music, it’s about opening your ears and diving into what is actually unfolding. Like the way Duke and Mingus would sing parts to their horn players so they just existed in the air and in the breath. The Scenics would learn songs with out ever talking about what the chords where. So there would be room to come up with bass parts that grinded against the chords. We wouldn’t detune our strings to create dissonances. We’d just bend bass strings and find those dissonances, and ride them to that place where your ears start to vibrate funny and you feel it in your skull."

from Punk Haiku 10

 

Tuesday June 22 2010

Ace NYC music mag THE BIG TAKEOVER is celebrating it's 30th anniversary. Think about that for a sec... How many other music mags can you think of that have been around for 30 years? All I can come up with are Rolling Stone and Downbeat.  As you probably know, The Big Takeover has no trouble hanging with that crowd. The anniversary issue is, as always, 184 pages (hey, big guy) jammed full of Jack Rabid and his crew writing on the famous and insane, then known and the unknowing, from scenes all around the globe. Tons of live and CD/vinyl reviews, and in-depth interviews with bands as diverse as Spoon, an unpublished Ramones interview from '92, Canada's Subhumans, The Nerves, Big Star, and the Hollies (Graham Nash). Whew. (I really appreciate the getting-the-facts-straight aspect of these interviews, considering the "what just happened?" times we live in.)  At news stands now, or at bigtakeover.com

The Big Takeover had this to say about The Scenics' Punk Haiku:

  A well written blog memoir they've dubbed "Punk Haiku"...bi-weekly excerpts with photos and illustrations, along with more 1976-82 recordings ("Punk Haiku Audio") to accompany. These too merit inspection- free or by donation- including unreleased tunes and two terse versions of Television's "Little Johnny Jewel" from '76 and half-time in '80"

 

 

Tuesday June 15 2010

The Dead Boys were in the Stooges/Rolling Stones lineage- garage with a touch of glitter. Their stage shows edged towards mayhem and chaos. Their front man, Stiv Bators, was a high stepping sneerer, a punk puck taken to sticking his head inside the bass drum while Johnny Blitz pounded it.  He looked like he didn't have an ounce of nutrition on his bones, and he definitely didn't give a fuck what you thought. The Dead Boys, (originally from Cleveland, descendants of pre-punk legends "Rocket From the Tombs", which also fed Pere Ubu) were the most 'no future' of the first wave of North American punk. Guitarist Cheetah Chrome (probably THE best ever rock sobriquet) had orange hair and a stunned expression like he had been kicked in the balls, and was right pissed about it.  

from Punk Haiku 9, which is over here, and also features a coupla never before heard tracks from 1977 by the classic Scenics trio lineup of Ken Badger, Andy Meyers, and Brad Cooper.

(l-r Brad, Andy and Ken, 1977, pic by Brian Molyneaux)

 

 

 

Sunday June 13

The Belgian online muzikmag Dark Entries has just posted a review of the Scenics Sunshine World CD.

I think some things got lost in the googletranslation, but they did give us 8 out of 10 stars (thanks, didier!)

and it did include the quote

punk gets his mustard in history without leading to rumination."

Now, we at Scenics Basement-underneath-the-toy-store official hideaway have been consulting our english/google/flem dictionaries, but we haven't been able to say it any clearer than that, so we are going to let it stand, and merely add a hearty 'here here!" You can read the google version here here.

 

 

June 7

Last night at the Treehouse Cafe on Saltspring Island in BC the songwriting workshop that Andy Meyers has been leading took the stage. 

Marc, Paul and Megan played a buncha new songs. It was a sweet and smooth evening (I'm not saying all the songs were soft singer-songwriter stuff, some were, some weren't, i'm just saying everything was smooth, relaxed and played for full imact and presence.)

We did two sets  singing and playing together, and then Andy did a set to wrap things up, including acoustic versions of Scenics tunes I Killed Marx, and Growing Pains and Big Star's  In the Street and Take Care.

Thanks to all who came out and listened and to Mark LeCorre and his boffo staff for running such a together establishment.

 

 

May 31

pics from the Scenics most recent show in Hamilton October 09:

 

 

 

May 24

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUUUUUU

Tonight, "Live from Salt Spring Island it's Saturday Night!"  err, no, actually it's Bobfest, Bob Dylan's birthday celebration, playing to a large and appreciative crowd at the gorgeous Treehouse Cafe. Saltspring performer David Jacquest set it up w his Rolling Stoned band performing, as well stringbands, one-mans, (like Richard Cross)  & 'Trish and' (Gord).

Roots rockers Lane 31, and the Skinny Dippers played sets. Raffi (?!!) played a great Don't Think Twice, and the Scenics'  Andy Ramesh Meyers  played a couple of his favourites- Visions of Johanna and It's All Over Now Baby Blue.

Thanks, Bob, for the incredible amount of uber-hi quality stuff you've pumped out, to keep us feeling (and thinking) good. Thanks also to Mark LeCorre at the Treehouse for doing sound and recording the evening.

 

 

May 18

 I can remember standing in Records on Wheels and seeing Horses, Talking Heads 77, Marquee Moon and the first Blondie and Ramones LPS layed out amongst the Bob Seeger, ELO and Eagles and marveling, feeling like this was way more than I ever expected there would be. There was no guarantee that any of this stuff was going to get heard- it so flew in the face of everything that rock had become- it’s rhythms were jagged, it’s guitars and vocals thin and squelchy. Rock had become totally safe and was responding incredulously to this music. Now I can look back and see these bands were building on what the Velvets and Stooges and Dolls had kept  from the Kinks and Stones and Electric Dylan, and Bowie and Roxy and Bolan were doing it big time in England (Always more style than in the good old USA, and Canada full of bearded rustics and really good folk singers,)  but  from 72 to 78 bands playing this sort of music had to keep the faith and do it because that was the only way thru that they knew."

From PUNK HAIKU 8, which also features never before heard pre-recording versions of  SUNSHINE WORLD tunes I'm Hurt and Scenic Caves. (PUNK HAIKU is a blog about the proto-punk years and the Scenics.)

 

 

 

May 10

walked into my local newstand and, as I often do, bought a copy of  the UK's UNCUT magazine. This time, however, the accompanying proto-punk CD includes Do The Wait by the Scenics, from the Sunshine World CD. (it's a great cd- Dolls, MC5, Groovies, Heartbreakers, Stooges, SImply Saucer, Monks, Death, etc etc etc!)

 

 

May 2

Have belatedly found out that our Sunshine World CD snuck into the "top 100 CDs of 2009" chart from Montreal's CKUT radio. #93. A big Merci! and best of luck to Les Habs! 

 

 

April 30

The Scenics 2 CDs, Sunshine World, and How Does it Feel to be Loved: The Scenics play the Velvet Underground, are now available in the UK through Shellshock Distribution.

Any UKites (?) who like what they heard of the Scenics on the UNCUT magazine CD can order copies thru:

Rough Trade

Norman Records

Southern Records

Beatdown Records

online, and you can indeed walk right through the door of any UK record/cd purveyor and request some Scenics forthwith thru the aforementioned Shellshock. Cheers!

(You can also do that at your local store in the USA thru Carrot Top and Revolver Distributers, and in Canada thru Scratch and Sonic Unyon Distributers.)

 

April 27

ROCK ROCK ROCK ROCK ROCK N ROLL HI SCHOOL....

Here's a letter that radio station CHUM sent to Gary Topp, Toronto promoter extraordinaire of punk and beyond, while Gary was in High School in 1964.  Gary had written CHUM asking them to play the Rolling Stones, fer cryin out loud! (Gary says "I wrote it during geometry class. I remember doing it vividly".)

The powers that be wrote back to say they couldn't play the Stones because they "didn't like to bathe"?!?!?!

 A fascinating window into an early rock era- thanks for keeping it, Gary, and thanks for sharing it!

What's it got to do with the Scenics story? To find out, head on over to Punk Haiku 7

 

April 19

  We recieved one of the more entertaining reviews of our oeuvre (french for egg, kinda, doncha know) from Mr Chris Stigliano,  whose Black to Comm fanzine has morphed into Blogg to Comm

 

 The Scenics-SUNSHINE WORLD, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE LOVED CDs (Dream Tower, Canada)

With a title like SUNSHINE WORLD I would've expected some hefty peacenlove vibes more akin to the mellow out early-seventies mindset, but this tinkler ain't exactly alternative pus the kind we know and love 2010 (or 2000, 1990, 1980...) style! Naw, the Scenics, benefiting from their seventies origins, are way beyond the whole hippie shuck 'n jive presenting us with a platter that not only comes off late-seventies original (in the face of pale imitation punk and water-weak "high energy" musings), but knows how to put up a killer racket with just three members! This ain't no power trio scrangling a la fellow countrymen Triumph, since the Scenics knew how to put up a holler that really does make me reminisce about all of those records I wanted so bad back in '77 only fortunately they were gonna be cutout by year's end anyway so why spend a lotta bucks when you can end up savin'!.

 

Mighty original stuff for the time too. Well, not totally original but at least the Scenics knew enough to "swipe" from the very best. Most of the time they do remind me of Simply Saucer Mark II with their smartpop punkiness that seemed to go against the grain of the more UK-defiled, while on "O Boy" I even flashed back to John's Children mainly because singer/guitarist Ken Badger sounds like he's vocalizing a rewrite of "Strange Affair"! Let's just say that if you're expecting punk rock rewrites with all of the fury yet none of the spark this might disappoint a bit. As if I have to second-guess everything that goes through all your collective beanies this late in the game.

 

The Scenics' other offering entitled HOW DOES IT FEEL Cee-Dee really had me thinking "throw for a loop" time. I mean can ya believe it, another Velvet Underground tribute album in a world already saturated with Velvets tributes from all of those wanky acts we've been feasting off the corpse once that became safe! And really, how many faint praises passing as tributes from reams of bright 'n bushy amerindie types have we been subject to these past thirty years. Sheesh, it's like one can't even walk into a bar or pass some buskers onna street w/o some perky Mary Tyler Moore 2010 type saying "Here's a song by a group called the Velvet Underground" before launching into one of the lamest versions of "Sweet Jane" imaginable! But hey, the Scenics are different if only because their entire oeuvre is based on a seventies fanboy base 'stead of the eighties/nineties/oh-ohs watered-down variety and this disque does the proverbial cooking because of it!

 

Appearing on this release are nothing but hotcha covers of a whole buncha VU familiars done live or in the rehearsal outhouse with that low-fidelity 99-cent cassette feeling that adds to the knotty-pine-ness of it all. It even can boast of a ten-minute closer of "Sister Ray" that seems more of a rewrite of that venerable number the same way the Pink Fairies re-did it as "Uncle Harry's Last Freak Out" or Eno and Phil Manzanara's "Miss Shapiro" for that matter. And as far these "tributes" go HOW DOES IT FEEL succeeds if only because these songs were recorded at a time when being a fan and follower of the VU was kinda like being the member of an advanced race that knew all the true meanings of life and energy, along with the myopic self-absorption that goes along with it. REM should've been tied up and made to listen to this until they cried for mama's boobies!"

 

 

April 17

Thanks to the wonders of social networking, I spent the other morning  having a brief flurry of correspondence with uber-ace Talking Heads/Tom Tom Club drummer (and producer) Chris Frantz, in between bouts of dealing with a ground water issue that was threatening my septic system. This is the modern world.

As a music-obsessed youth in the late 70s, few things matched the thrill of the lights coming up on The Heads plugging in on stage. You knew it was going to be amazing, and it always was.

I posted Punk Haiku 5  (which includes the story of the first time Ken and I saw Talking Heads in January 77) on Chris's Facebook page, and he posted his memories of that event, from the other side of the drum stool:

These two gigs in Toronto were our first shows outside the New York City area. It was so exciting for us to get such a warm reception. Then we got snowed in by a blizzard and spent a couple of days hanging our with A.A. Bronson and Jorge Zontal until the roads and the Peace Bridge were opened. Good times!

(note: Bronson and Zontal were founding members of the activist art collective GENERAL IDEA)

To read what it was like seeing the Talking Heads for the first time, (when they were still a trio, no less),  you can go to PUNK HAIKU

 

April 11

Scenics Ken Badger, Mark Perkell, and Mike Young convened at Ken's palatial country retreat (his home near Owen Sound, Ontario) to have some fun, work on some tunes old and new- fat was chewed, harmonies sang, guitars throttled. Andy, meanwhile, stayed home in B.C. having a lovely weekend with extended family.

Scenics' bassist Mike Young's other gig is as guitar-slinger/songwriter for Toronto Alt-Country rockers Ride'em Cowboy. They have just released their first CD, Grace, and enjoyed a very successful CD release show at the Cadillac Lounge in ole T.O. You can get info and hear their stuff if you mosey over yonder.

April 6

Here are the details about the UNCUT magazine CD- who's on it, what they play et-cet-era.

Feast your eyes- the ears will have to follow. That is, unless you are in the UK, where the mag has already hit the stands.

mmmm, musical mayhem.....

 

April 1.

Hope all are well and getting a chance to connect with some family and friends this long weekend. You know, feel that good stuff.

Scenics co-founder, Songwriter, Singer, guitar-wrangler Ken Badger is gonna sit down with the crew from the new film that Colin Brunton (director of the Last Pogo) is putting together. (working title- "The Last Pogo Jumps Again: A Biased and Incomplete History of Toronto Punk Rock Circa Sept. 24 1976 To Dec 1 1978.) (I dunno. I think it needs a longer title, don't you?)  

Ken, (seen above) was the guy who pointed to the far shore when he and Andy pushed their tiny boat into the mighty ocean of sound. He knew where he wanted to go, even if he didn't know where the journey would end up taking them, or exactly what it would sound like when they got there.  Looking forward to hearing what he has to say to them film-folk.

Andy,  (seen below), meanwhile was the guy who knew there was something thrilling to be done musically, but didn't know what it was. Upon leaving high school, he posted an ad in a Toronto music store, and received one reply. From Ken.

 

 

Mar 31

the May 2010 UNCUT mag has hit the newstands in blighty. (that's UK for you non, er, blights.) If you're a rockenroll fan, you probably know what a cool mag it is, and how consistently good their cover CDs are.          We here in Scenics land are stoked coz Andy's song Do the Wait from the Sunshine World Cd is sharing earspace on this month's disc w the Flaming Groovies, Stooges, MC5, Heartbreakers, NY Dolls, the Sonic Rendevouz Band,  and fellow Ontari-ari-ari-o  protopunkers Simply Saucer. 

Do the Wait was recorded in the summer of 77, and features Andy on guitar and vocals,  Ken on bass and vocals, and fellow Scenic Bradley Cooper on drums.

 

Mag will be on sale in North America more like the middle of May.

 

Mar 28

The latest Maximum Rock n Roll Magazine features a 6 page transcription of Greg Dick's interview w Last Pogo DVD director  Colin Brunton about, well, the  Last Pogo DVD , and Toronto punk circa '78. The following illustration accompanies the interview, and features various Toronto Punk Handbills, mostly from the Horseshoe Tavern, 1978.

It contains posters for:

one of the best shows I ever saw- the Contortions (original  'No New York" lineup, no less) with Teenage Jesus and the Jerks and Toronto favs The Government.

a couple of the best shows i missed- John Cale at the New Yorker (heard a tape) and Suicide at the 'Shoe (heard the stories.)

also the world premiere of the Last Pogo Film, 1979 w the Buzzcocks, Viletones, and Gang of Four. THAT was a good 'un.

the Troggs, Viletones and Scenics show is where we played the version of "Real Good Time" that is on this.

 

Mar 17

And now such sad news. Alex Chilton, singer, songwriter, guitar-playing iconoclast, has died at 59.

Big Star's music has always been incredibly important to the Scenics. RIP.

Here's a video of pictures of Alex set to the Scenics playing his heartbreaking ballad Take Care.

 

Mar 15

WOW!!! Incredible news!!! Editor Allan Jones has chosen Do the Wait from the Scenics' Sunshine World CD to be on the free cover CD of the May, 2010, UNCUT Magazine. That will hit the news stands around April 1 (could be 2-3 weeks later if you are not in the UK.) That's the issue after this one:

And will feature a cover interview with Iggy Pop and James Williamson on the new "Raw POWER" re-issue.

The CD has a 'proto-punk' theme, and also features our friends in the Hamilton, Ontario band Simply Saucer, with their song Return of the Cyborgs Pt 2.

Uncut is a British Music Magazine (circulation 75,000), one of the best, I think, and features monthly a lovingly curated CD. Some of my favorite CDs I have purchased in the last few years have been UNCUT discs.

 

March 9

 "Seeing the Ramones take the stage was stunning, it was as if they were going to shoot themselves out of a cannon. You’d seen the pictures, you’d heard the record, but now these four boys were offering up  a scientific proof by performing their unimaginable recasting of the rock form in person. There was no man behind the curtain to ignore.

The audience was right on edge, really excited, - lots of noise, shouting, applause, even a few “1-2-3-4”s- their amps belched loudly as they plugged in, Deedee thumping his bass like a caveman testing out a new club, Johnny building up a wall of feedback as Joey stood stock-still centre stage, brushing his hair back from his sunglasses. He loomed forward- “Good evening, we’re the Ramones, you’re a loudmouth baby you better shut it up”, Deedee barked "1234" and they were here. "  Punk Haiku 4 here

March 2

 And here's a review that our friends at Moltencore passed along. Not exactly a new piece of press, it comes from 1979! It's a review from the fine Toronto rock mag Shades Magazine, of our Bomb records LP "Underneath the Door". It's penned by a "captain sensible". No, not from the Damned- James Booth of CBC radio 3 admits to showing a lack of originality in grabbing the last minute sobriquet- by the next issue he had more sensibly become 'James Sensible'.  Who ever he was, to Paraphase Sally Fields: "He likes us, he really likes us.

 

 

Feb 27

Working feverishly (103? f) behind the scenes on some stuff we can't talk about yet. that and just general tightening up of this site, and our music store, dreamtowerrecords.com. Have you noticed that for a band site, there is not a lot of actual music up? We have. 

If you want to hear the Sunshine World CD, the easiest place to go is here.  But you gotta click on the song titles to interrupt their regular stream and hear the Scenics.

And if you would like to see videos of the Scenics- live and studio stuff? Here you go.

 

Feb 23

"Bands were releasing eps, 45s with 3-5 songs on it, which suggested a connection with 60s British pop and mod music. Conciseness in songwriting and arrangement and deportment favored again, not the bloated rock stars taking up a huge amount of space, and again, unlike the standard household rock star, danger being part of the mix again. “Gimme danger”- Iggy Pop and the Velvet Underground and New York Dolls recognized not as dead end oddities, but known by the unscattered diaspora who had heard those albums and knew that they weren’t crazy..."

Punk Haiku 3 continued here.

 

Feb 17

Just got a copy of my favorite review of the Last Pogo DVD, by the Montreal Cartoonist Rick Trembles, originally appearing in the Montreal Mirror:

Feb  10 2010

Punk Haiku has begun!!! a bi-weekly blog that combines:

 

-excerpts from Andy Meyers'  fly-on-the-wall memoir of the do-it-yrself first wave of punk 1976-82

-audio tracks hand-picked from the Scenics' archive of over 300 hours of music recorded on-the-spot, just hit-the-tape-deck, back in those pre-digi days!!!

get caught up with the story and the sounds right here.

 

Jan 25 2010

Scenics CDs: 

How Does it Feel to be Loved: The Scenics play the Velvet Underground

and

Sunshine World: Studio recordings 1977/78

available at CD Baby.

and at the Scenics online store.

Also- if you walk into any CD store in North America, they should be able to order you a copy. distributed by Scratch and Sonic Unyon in Canada, and thru Super D in the U S of A.

 

Jan 18 2010

Scenics' drummer Mark Perkell, (l), with Screamin' Sam Ferrera,  Toronto artist and Viletone and Ugly bass-playin' legend, at the Gladstone release party for Liz Worth's book, Treat Me Like Dirt.  Photograph by Michael Dent.

 

Jan 14 2010

Our friends at the Last Pogo post a couple of links for donating to the aid relief in Haiti.  Helping out is definitely the punk thing to do. The story coming from Port au Prince is heartbreaking- aid has begun to arrive, but there is so much more needed.

 

Dec 31 2009 

Andy Meyers is mastering Montreal no-wave pop band Denial Tone's 7 song EP- soon to be available on the Dream Tower Records site. As well, he is doing a dub version of one of the songs from Victoria, BC reggae/latin band Buena Buya.

And- hey- it's New Years Eve tonight- "I hope it's a good one, without any fear".

May all beings be at peace.

 

Dec 25 2009

Happy Christmas/Holidays etc everyone- hope you are with loved ones and feeling some warmth on this cold night.

We Just rec'd some photos Toronto photog Mark Tearle took when we played the El mocambo in October. Here's an eg:

 

 

Dec 21 2009

appreciate the spin that Jack Rabid gives us on the latest Rabid in the Kennel broadcast on Breakthru Radio. (if you go there, it's the big takeover show on Dec 21 you are looking for, pt 2 of Sloan. the dec 14 one is part one of Sloan. get it?)

Jack talks with Canadian power-pop masters Sloan, who also play live in the studio.  Jack spins the Scenics' "O Boy" around 51 minutes in (cool! Thanks Jack!). Then Jack spins the Viletones' "Possibilities" and says several right-on thangs about the Sunshine World CD, The Last Pogo film, and Toronto proto-punk in general.  Sloan are, as always, great, so it's worth a listen, ya'know?

if you haven't seen the new copy of The Big Takeover, as always- a ton of cool stuff, interviews with Sonic Youth, Big Star, Swervedriver, etc, and great reviews of Sunshine World and How Does it Feel to be Loved.

All in all, 170 glorious pages of ace r'n'r reading!!!

 

 

Dec 15 2009

The Scenics' online store is operating- Dream Tower Records. Both Scenics CDs are available for sale, and are available as either flac or mp3 downloads for the same low price! also available- copies of the 1981 Karen/See Me Smile 7" 45 rpm vinyl.  Coming soon to Dream Tower- Montreal no-wave pop band Denial Tone and proteus-punkers Simply Saucer!  Stay tuned for details in January.

 

Dec 10 2009

Toronto writer Liz Worth's book "Treat Me Like Dirt: an Oral History of Punk in Toronto and Beyond" is back from the printer and will be in stores soon-like!!!

It, well, spills the dirt on first wave punk in Toronto, London, Hamilton, etc, coz Liz talked to everybody!!!

we will keep yuh posted!

 

A further note from liz..

it will be available for sale in Toronto at a couple of events this weekend. 

 

Tomorrow, Saturday, December 12, it will be for sale at the Toronto Small Press Book Fair at the Gladstone Hotel: 

 

TIME: 10 am-5 pm (presses should be on-site by 9:30 at the latest—doors open at 9 am)

ADDRESS: 1214 Queen Street West, Toronto M6J 1J6

 

And on Sunday, it will be available at the Toronto Hardcore Record Swap: 

Sunday December 13th

 

Wrongbar 1279 Queen West

11AM - 5PM All Ages General Admission $5

 November 29 2009

rave review of Sunshine World CD syndicated across Canada- Toronto Sun, 24 hours Vancouver, Sudbury Star, etc.

The Scenics

Sunshine World: Studio Recordings 1977-78

Proto-punk

****

If a band makes an album and nobody hears it, does it still rock? It sure does. Three decades after the the fact, recently reunited Toronto punks The Scenics have finally issued a sophomore disc — this long-lost batch of wiry Television guitars, black Velvets art-rock, Pere Ubu yelping and the freakiest Tommy James cover you’ve ever heard. Stay tuned for a new CD in 2039 or so. Download: Do the Wait, Mony Mony

for the record, we expect our next cd to be out in 2010,  from sessions The Scenics recorded late November 2008.

November 28 2009

 The Scenics' online store is up and running at Dream Tower Records. All of The Scenics' available recordings, at way reasonable prices!!!

 

November 28 2009

The Scenic's feel some love in Jack Rabid's review of Sunshine World in The Big Takeover:

They filtered Lou Reed, and brand new contemporaries Talking Heads, Richard Hell, and Television into a Big Apple amalgam, adding Big Star’s picking power-pop funneled into early XTC’s vigor, via clipped guitars, busy, sharp-edged bass, rhythmic drums, and idiosyncratic, loopy vocals—and made it all sound uniquely theirs with their own slant, which is crucial. There’s even noise rock and free jazz hints. Like The Last Pogo, this spiky-tinged-tension collection is another tireless example of the wired nervous-energy, creative, nascent punk era (look how they subvert Tommy James and Kinks songs!), caught rawer and harder that their rare, lone 1980 Bomp! LP, Underneath the Door. What a pleasure to hear Sunshine—it’s like time travel! (More time travel: The band reunited around Pogo in 2008—leaders Ken Badget and Andy Meyers with two vintage members—and has remained active!)

            Meanwhile, as if to bring it all back home to the godfathers of every band named above, the Scenics prove they weren’t/aren’t afraid to honor stylistic debt by compiling an entire album of Velvets covers they blasted on various Toronto stages from 1977-81. While that might sound so-so, unlike many who’ve covered Lou Reed and John Cale’s visionaries, they got the point; similar to Sunshine’s Kinks and James covers, they play decade-old songs as it they’d written them, in their Verlaine/Byrne/Hell-updated panache. How is less essential than Sunshine—but equally fun.

 

 

November 21 2009

 

hmmm, j jack flash, suspicious minds elvis, 3 angels dylan, super bad and capt beefheart, crashing in the same car, tammy wynette, ella and johnny hodges, john cale and nat king cole? musta been ALLOWED SOUND RADIO- and it's happening again tonight 10-12 pm est. Hosted by Andy from the Scenics.

 

November 18 2009

Here's a good pic for a picture sleeve 45 of Scenics' song I'm Hurt:

You can hear I'm Hurt here, 2nd last song on the page.

November 14 2009

A late night interview that  popular Montreal music/cultcha blog Midnight Poutine conducted with Scenics' drummer Mark Perkell (seen below, and for an extra $50 he'll play totally naked) has surfaced- it is indeed a striking glimpse behind the glamourous curtain that is rock n roll.

November 11 2009

All the songs from Sunshine World are streaming on the Scenics' CBC radio 3 page

 

November 11 2009

Let us Never Forget that war is an abomination.

Nov 10 2009

from CHART ATTACK''s review of SUNSHINE WORLD:

 

The Scenics' "In The Summer" needs to supplant "Seasons In The Sun" as the finest Canadian summer anthem ever.  4/5

 

November 8 2009

The Scenics Dream Tower Records store site is almost up- which means we can soon start to bring you a steady stream of Scenics, Proto Punk, Noise Rawk, Ambient/Improvisational, and Roots CDs.

 

November 6 2009

"Do the Wait" from the Sunshine World CD shines on nationally syndicated radio program ExploreMusic.

 

October 21 2009

Scenics mini tour over- amazing shows in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, London, and Hamilton. Many thanks to all who helped put it together, and all who came out. The Scenics truly sounded better than ever. Here's O Boy  from Hamilton, the last night of the tour.

 

O BOY/ HAMILTON OCT 18 2009

  • Length: 4:07 minutes (5.66 MB)
  • Format: MP3 Stereo 44kHz 192Kbps (CBR)

Oct 18 2009

Here's the Scenics in Hamilton before the last show of their mini-tour. 

l-r  guitar/vocals songwriter Ken Badger. drums/vocals Mark Perkell. guitar/vocals songwriter Andy Meyers.

bass/vocals Mike Young.

Oct 15 2009

Here's what the Montreal Mirror's Punkaraucous Rex column had to say about the Scenics-

this should prove to be a once-in-a-lifetime event. Largely unappreciated when they originally existed between 1976 and 1981, these underground icons merged Pere Ubu’s dementia, Television’s panoramic guitar work, Big Star’s pop prowess and the Ramones’ urgency. Adding further ballast for the night is the bratty punk of Denial Tone.

 

 

 Denial Tone were indeed a lovely racket- further news about them forthcoming from thescenics.com.

 

 October 13 Official release date for the Sunshine World CD!

                  you can order it at any CD store in Canada thru Scratch/Sonic Unyon distributing.

                  It will soon be available for download or mail order thru our Dream Tower Records online store.

“It wasn't so much that The Scenics were ahead of their time in 1977, it's more that almost everybody else didn't even know what time it was.  The Scenics were on top of it though, grabbing the freedom promised by punk's first blush, and incorporating their own smarts. The group pulled sophisticated musical tricks that no bands had before considered.   New York had Talking Heads, and England was blessed with XTC, but here was their equal in Toronto and they never got the necessary push and support. It's fabulous we finally have the evidence, but it's a drag we haven't been able to enjoy it for the past 30 years.”

Bob Mersereau, author of  "The Top 100 Canadian Albums"

A couple of music fiends are grooving on the Scenics in anticipation of the "Sunshine World" mini tour- due to open in Toronto this evening:

Film-maker, punk historian and good time boy Colin Brunton at the Last Pogo.net:

and Steve Mclean- music journalist with a C.V. longer than your arm.

Steve sez: 

The Scenics are one of the secrets of Canadian music that shouldn't be secret any longer.

 

 

Oct 10, 2009

Do the Wait, from the Sunshine World CD, makes the Toronto Star's Anti-Hit List

 

Sept 15 2009

ADVANCE PRAISE  for SUNSHINE WORLD

 

“It wasn't so much that The Scenics were ahead of their time in 1977, it's more that almost everybody else didn't even know what time it was.  The Scenics were on top of it though, grabbing the freedom promised by punk's first blush, and incorporating their own smarts. The group pulled sophisticated musical tricks that no bands had before considered.   New York had Talking Heads, and England was blessed with XTC, but here was their equal in Toronto and they never got the necessary push and support. It's fabulous we finally have the evidence, but it's a drag we haven't been able to enjoy it for the past 30 years.”

               Bob Mersereau, author of the "the Top 100 Canadian Albums" 

 

 

"Brainy crackpot art-pop with an ear for off-kilter melody, a headful of magic and twitchy grooves to burn. It's a sin the Scenics have left such a faint mark on punk-rock history -- Canadian and otherwise -- but now we can start to make things right: the reborn cult starts here."

                                                                          Ben Rayner, Toronto Star

 

 

“The world's premier Velvet Underground interpreters are back with a new sizzling platter of studio songs originally recorded between 1977 and 1978. Needless to say their genetically-infused VU sound is on display as expected, but it's their poppy art rock and trippy jazzbo excursions which'll leave you sonically sated and wondering why most of today's bands are incapable of sounding half as good!”

 

Jeffrey Morgan, authorized biographer of Alice Cooper and The Stooges


 

 

 

JUNE 18, 2009

LIZ WORTH'S oral history of Toronto, London and Hamilton punk rock TREAT ME LIKE DIRT is finally approaching release. It's a killah read, and advance copies can be advanced through Bongo Beat. congrats, Liz!

JUNE 12, 2009
Another Last Pogo review, from the fanzime RAZORCAKES

“ Of course, Teenage Head and The Viletones are here, which is to be expected, but I was truly taken aback by how much I dug the other bands on here, especially The Scenics. Visually, the film is a sight to behold: classic grainy, ‘70s film at its finest featuring a bunch of weirdoes in a really smoky bar playing strange music. I love it! It really reminds me of a live Stompin’ Tom Connors movie from the same era. Something about the vibe of this film is distinctly Canadian and I like that. I’d like to think that in any city across this country that a riot would break out if you cut Teenage Head off after one song. This is a great little history lesson that I would recommend to anyone.”

MAY 15, 2009
Getting back into finishing the mix of SUNSHINE WORLD the upcoming CD of scenics' studio recordings from 1977 and 78. Really exciting to hear the recordings taking on a new shine. Mastering coming up, and then a September release. (you can here original 70's mixes of some of the tunes HERE, under “Studiio Recordings”, 1977.

 

APRIL 19, 2009
You can keep up with scenics via Facebook .

The Last Pogo DVD continues to receive killer reviews:

AUSTIN CHRONICLE, TEXAS:

…neatly captured the sneer and swagger of 30-year-old punk without snickering or jabbing you in the ribs. The beauty of The Last Pogo is that it is Everypunk’s story. Skinny ties, nerdy lead singers, angry young men, short songs with sharp chords. The brief interviews reveal bursts of enthusiasm, passionate, ideological beliefs, plus the usual in-fighting between bands.

MONTREAL MIRROR

Finally seeing the light of day this week, three decades after its initial completion in 1979, is this short film by director Colin Brunton. Dec. 1, 1978, Toronto’s famed Horseshoe Tavern. Although a little light on the goods, there are great live performances by all the bands that played on the bill—the Cardboard Brains, the Secrets, the Mods, the Ugly, the Viletones (!) and, for my money, one of Canada’s best punk rock ’n’ roll bands, Teenage Head. Things are indeed a little lean here, but the bonus footage of a cable TV performance by highly underrated Scenics proves quality will always win out over quantity.

METRO, CANADA The Last Pogo, which is like Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz, only with fewer stars and higher decibels. The Last Pogo comes off like a great punk song — short (26 minutes) and unsweet. You don’t have to be a punk aficionado to enjoy this documentary, which hits theatres Tuesday. The camera work on Pogo is exceptional, and Brunton and Lee effectively mix interviews with concert footage from the club.

HERE COMES THE FLOOD
(DUTCH FANZINE)

with bonus footage of The Scenics playing their surprisingly new wave sounding stuff with off beat lyrics about wanting to go out, catch a fish and eat it. Not exactly punk, but back then acts like the Talking Heads were branded as a punk band too.

Long live the LAST POGO!!!

MARCH 1, 2009
Magic Teeth Records releases a very cool CD of covers of Rusty WIlloughby songs. Rusty was songwriter for Seattle band Flop , who were too cool to cash in on Grunge wave in the 90's. Rusty has continued to make very original records, and this CD rocks! (it brings to mind a less cerebral elvis costello- funny, intelligent off the cuff lyrics in hot, well-crafted rock/pop songs). CD was mastered by Andy Meyers at his Allowed Sound Studio. info[AT]magicteeth.ca
We are going to be taking some time away from Scenic central- we'll check back in a little later in the spring- enjoy the budding of the buds, buzzing of the bees, and various spring etcs!

FEBRUARY 15, 2009
THE LOST HAVE BEEN FOUND! scenics drummer (circa july 77- Feb 80) Brad Cooper has emerged from the mists of time. As longest serving scenic (after Ken and Andy) we have been hunting for Brad's whereabouts, with no success, until a friend of a friend of Brad's heard about the reconstituted scenics and told Brad's sister, who told Brad, who is-
Living in a small coastal town in Florida with Suzzette Urs, his artist wife.
Well no wonder we couldn't find him. Brad always hated the cold, and we had a gas talking over old times, and letting him know that his music, which seemed to confuse a lotta folk back in the day in Toronto, was being so well received in '08. That's Brad playing on 4 tunes on the back half of the “How Does it Feel to be Loved” CD, and in particular that is Brad driving 10+ minutes of “Sister Ray”. Welcome back to the scenic circle Brad. Now the only person still MIA is scenic's producer Barry Steinberg. Will we find him before we release “Sunshine World” (in Sept 09), the CD of recordings we made with him in 1977? stay tuned....

JANUARY 21, 2009
SCENICS GO TOP 10: ‘How Does it Feel to be Loved: The Scenics play the Velvet Underground’ has made Jeffrey Morgan's “Top 10 CDs of 2008” ballot in NYC's esteemed Village Voice newspaper. What's extra sweet is that Jeffrey was one of our favorite critics when he wrote for Creem magazine back in the day. We also made top 10 of '08 in the Detroit Metro Times' “Media Blackout” column.

You may have noticed that our “Punk Haiku” blog has been interrupted- once we got going with it, we realized we needed to do things a bit differently, and so we are recalibrating for a bigger and better presentation in mid-February.

Punk Haiku is an original memoir which tells the story of the Scenics and the heady musical years of 1976-82.
We will be picking the story up when Andy Meyers met Ken Badger and the Scenics began. If you'd like to read Andy's view of what led to that (starting with his being born on the day of Lennon and McCartney's first gig together (!), go HERE

Happy, healthy New Year to all, and to our long-suffering American friends, may you finally have the President you deserve!

DECEMBER 12, 2008

Look at this! The most fun review The Last Pogo movie to date, written and drawn by Montreal’s Rick Trembles , of many things including the band American Devices.

DECEMBER 5, 2008
Mongrel Zine , a grrrrreat Vancouver Garage rock Zine published by primo punk painter Bob Scott drops issue #4 today. Comes with is a 22 SONG COMP CD, a barrage of garage, featuring many unreleased tracks by some of Canada's best with a wrench and a guitar. Nestling in there very comfortably is “O BOY” by the Scenics , a duophonic audio version of the filmed special feature track on “The Last Pogo” DVD.

Mongrel Zine is both a fun garage rock read and an artfully put together mag. And the CD is hot! $5 will get you a copy HERE
you can read the June 2008 interview that Andy from the Scenics did with Whatwave Dave from London's CHRW HERE (from Mongrel Zine 2)

NOVEMBER 29, 2008
The Scenics play live to a sold out, packed Horseshoe Tavern as part of the 30th anniversary “Last Pogo” Show. Bands also appearing that night - The Ugly, The Mods, Steven Leckie and the Solutions, Mickey DeSadist , and Cardboard Brains .
Colin Brunton was there filming with a five Camera crew, Live sound was great and the room was hopping. It was a tremendous amount of fun, and numerous faces were seen for the first time in numerous years. For an in depth accounting of the night with lots o' poppin pics, go HERE.

NOVEMBER 22-27, 2008
The Scenics have three days of long rehearsals followed by 3 long days of recording at Toronto's #9 Studio. IT WAS A BLAST!!! Rehearsals were long because we were recording a bunch of material that was new to us (“The Farmer” , a new 8 minute psycho-grind of Ken's, “Miami”, a song of Andy's from 1981 that this line up had never done). 13 songs recorded with vocals, written from 1977-2008. 7 of them new to us, only a couple were things we really knew pre-rehearsal. Bernie Cisternas , ace head engineer, and Neale Ramakrishnan in the front office took good care of us, and ensured that the sessions were very creative.
The plan for these recordings? release in late 2009. Still lots of work to do with them.

NOVEMBER 21, 2008
Andy Meyers , flying in to Toronto from B.C., went straight to the Horseshoe Tavern to see the fabulous Fleshtones drench the audience with Super Rock. Ken Fox, bassist with the Fleshtones since the late 80s, was in the Scenics 1980-82. Still a warm, relaxed, open hearted dude with a big bottom (bass, that is)- it was great to see him get the crowd hopping, and a treat to sit and talk and get caught up.

NOVEMBER 2, 2008
The Scenics receive shout out from AIDS wolf, Montreal band setting hearts abeat with their “danceable noise rock”. They are in the midst of a 31 date North American tour (yeah!) and listed The Scenics' CD as #6 on a top ten that included 1960s distorted psych from Mali, “Wozzeck”, Donna Summer live and the U of Minnesota Marching Band . Of the Scenics they said:

“6. The Scenics - Play the Velvet Underground - How Does it Feel To be Loved (Dream Tower Records) Recently released, unearthed tapes of some scrappy Ontario boys belting out VU covers in various Toronto clubs circa ‘79-80. No frills, no skills versions of all your faves by some no-name jammers from hogtown. Lovely. (Alex)” ;

Whole list is pretty entertaining reading: check it out at http://aidswolfs.blogspot.com/

As well, The Last Pogo 30th Anniversary show is heating up with plenty of buzz. Hope we see you there- tickets are going fast!

OCTOBER 14, 2008
LAST POGO DVD RELEASED ON DREAM TOWER RECORDS
26 minute film on Toronto Punk, filmed in 1978. Includes 20 minute special feature- Scenics filmed live in 1978. For more info click HERE.

OCTOBER 14, 2008
SCENICS LAUNCH “PUNK HAIKU” BLOG
a weekly blog serializing Andy Meyers' memoir of 1976-82, the Scenics, and the sounds/sights of those years. Described by Toronto concert promoter Gary Topp as

“The best writing I have read about those years. You really captured the time”,

and by Andy Meyers as

“Like 'Waiting for Godot' with a bar tab”.

Punk Haiku Still to come (will start in November) is the weekly audio blog "the Box", 2 songs a week from the Scenics' library of 300+ hours of tape.

OCTOBER 6, 2008
Reviews have begun to pour in for the LAST POGO DVD. Margaret Moser from the Austin Chronicle said:

“ The beauty of The Last Pogo is that it is Everypunk’s story. Skinny ties, nerdy lead singers, angry young men, short songs with sharp chords. ”

Jack Rabid wrote in The Big Takeover (issue 63):

“ Wow! I’ve been hearing about this 25-minute movie for 29 years, and it’s amazing to view it now! What a window to a time that was rarely documented: the pre-hardcore, original punk era when it was astonishingly fresh, creative, rule-busting, and shot full of newborn energy/excitement. It’s Toronto, December 3, 1978, a three-camera, good-sounding film (not video) of seven bands (one song each) playing at the farewell concert of premier punk club, The Horseshoe Tavern. The stars are Teenage Head and The Viletones, known from collectible singles—but not footage. Lesser known openers prove equally supercharged, fascinating, and varied. The Scenics open like a Canadian Velvet Underground; Cardboard Brains are more The Weirdos vein; The Secrets add a taste of R&B/Skulls/Vibrators/U.K. Subs groove; The Ugly ripsnort through a Dead Boys/Ramones dirty shockwave; and The Mods are Jam clones to a “ t ” (or a suit and skinny tie!), but they’re excellent, fierce, and tight; Nazi Dog’s Viletones make magically menacing three-chord rock, and, in the one song they were allowed before cops stopped the show and punters rioted, Teenage Head cooks a classic rock ‘n’ roll infested chaos. Beyond that, is how vivid this film is, of a scene and underground moment it captures. It’s not just the dancing and pogoing creatively dressed, jazzed, skinny people—no idiot slam dancing and sneers—or the notorious sweaty buzz the crowd gets from seven wired, wiry bands, or the pleasant sight of punk’s front row ringed with women—led by impossibly cute punkette co-host Margarita Passion. It’s that this was an art-meets-music lightning flash the likes of which has never been replicated. Short but absolutely essential history comes alive! ”

The Last Pogo DVD comes out on October 14th, And showcases a sizzling seven song Scenics' set in the special features.
For purchase info, go to thelastpogo.net

SEPTEMBER 8, 2008
Brand new review of our CD “How Does it Feel to be Loved: The Scenics play the Velvet Underground” (from Chicago’s “Roctober” Magazine , issue #45)

 

“ Hard to believe that this is actually an essential record, but it is. The Scenics were a Canadian Punk band circa 76 and they recorded a lot of their shows. Over their five or so years as a band they covered 10 Velvets songs, and hearing these high intensity, innovative, sincere, lofi recordings is magnificient. There is more room in Velvets songs than you'd imagine. This ends with an epic cacophonous “Sister Ray” , but it's the more subtle transgressions on songs like “I'll be your mirror” and “beginning to see the light” that make this a must have. ”

More on CD

SEPTEMBER 1, 2008
The Last Pogo DVD to be released on Dreamtower
Colin Brunton's half hour film on Toronto punk, “The Last Pogo” , (filmed in 1978 and fresh from closing the 2008 NXNE film festival), is being released on DVD on The Scenics’ own Dream Tower Records imprint!

This fun (fab) film features The Scenics playing Ken's “I Wanna Touch” , as well as performances by Toronto Punkstars Teenage Head, The Viletones, The Ugly, The Mods, The Secrets, and Cardboard Brains! (OK- can't let that pass- the Head are, of course, from Hammertown.) It also include interviews with the Head, Viletones, and The Garys (Toronto Promoters Gary Topp and Gary Cormier) , who have been turning on audiences since the early 70’s by bringing in everyone from Pere Ubu to Sun Ra to William Burroughs.

DVD special features include seven songs by the Scenics , filmed live in a (small, sorta shabby) TV studio in 1978!!! They include Ken's “O Boy” and “New Part in Town” , written at 4 am by Andy, running a 103 fever after seeing Iggy live for the first time.

Audio for the Scenics special feature has been mastered by Juno winning producer Joby Baker . Sound for the whole disc has been remixed in dazzling Duophonic Sound by Andy Meyers at Allowed Sound Studio.
This exciting DVD has a release date of Oct 14. It’s already been recieving lots of interest from the press and is distributed by Scratch Records . We’ll let you know where you can pick it up as soon as it is available. More on The Last Pogo DVD

Aug 15/08
“How Does it Feel to be Loved” CD recieving American airplay

“How Does it Feel to be Loved:he Scenics play the Velvet Underground” has been receiving USA campus airplay, charting in the top 30 at WNYU , and making #3 on the WXYC Loud Rock Chart . It’s comforting to know that our version of “Sister Ray” qualifies as drive home music for some.

CD is available in the USA through the distributers Revolver USA and Carrot Top.

JULY 1, 2008
Scenics back from rocking NXNE
The Scenics
are all safely back home after the second leg of their 2008 mini tour. Three dates were played- NXNE showcase at Rancho Relaxo, Scenics’ first show in Kitchener in 28 years, and a return to Hamilton.

The band sounded hot and so in the groove- it was amazing to experience the musical connection from years past, already re-established in the April 07 shows, grow even stronger. New guitar parts, three voices singing harmony, and as ever, the rock solid telepathy of Mark Perkell and Mike Young on drums and bass. A few new songs, as well.

The NXNE show was filmed by ace cinematographers Richard Fiander and Colin Brunton . Footage is being edited by Toronto cineste Kire Paputts and will be in the Scenics’ hand soon. All the shows (and two marathon paractice sessions) were recorded,- we are thinking of a “best of june 08” cd available for downloading soon from this website.

Also at NXNE - the video for “Waiting for my Man” , from the “How Does it Feel” CD, closed the NXNE film festival as a double bill gala with the legendary 1978 film on Toronto Punk “The Last Pogo” (it’s first public showing in 30 years!) The theatre was packed with Toronto punks and fans thereof, including Last Pogo Director Colin Brunton, promoter deluxe Gary Topp , 3 Scenics and members of the Viletones, Secrets, Mods, and Cardboard Brains. The ‘Pogo’ recieved a great reception- it’s held up VERY well.

One of the best parts of playing out again is the people you meet- the support and friendship of longtime friends (you know who you are) and new ones (likewise!). For example, in Hamilton we played with a hot new punk and roll trio, the Barettas. And just before the Hamilton show Rob Brent (ex-Demics) came up and re-introduced himself. Rob was a true friend back in the day and it was great to see him again.

MAY 1, 2008
Scenics confirmed for NXNE
The Scenics will be playing NXNE festival in Toronto (at Rancho Relaxo) on June 12, 2008. As well, they will be taking part in both halves of the NXNE film festival finale on June 15.

First on the screen will be legendary quebecois director Chester (Chet) Lebeaux’s video for “Waiting for my Man” , from the “How Does it Feel to Be Loved: The Scenics play the Velvet Underground” CD.

Main feature will be the first public screening in 30 years of “The Last Pogo” , Director Colin Brunton’s thirty minute short on Toronto Punk, circa 1978. The Scenics perform Ken Badger’sI Wanna Touch” , and the film also includes performances by the Cardboard Brains, the Secrets, the Mods, the Ugly, the Viletones, and Teenage Head.

APRIL 13, 2008
Scenics play first gig in 26 years w/ Carla Bozulich at Horseshoe
Scenics play together, new songs, very successful gigs at Horseshoe Tavern, Club Absinthe in Hamilton and back to T.O. and the Dakota Tavern . What was it like to walk back into the Scenics 26 years later? Read Andy Meyers' post-tour myspace blog posting HERE. (after first rehearsal April 5, Andy posted;

The Scenics have had their first rehearsals as a full four piece in 26 years, and they were killer! All systems are go man go for our first shows next week- sunday monday tuesday. new songs, old songs, new versions of old songs, rock solid bass 'n drums, wild guitars, smooth vocals, loud, quiet, you name it, we’re bringing it to the shoe, absinthe , and dakota. ”

but on top of all that, it was FUN- laughing, wise assing, no hassles, no dead weight, intense FOCUS.”

MARCH 10 2008
How Does it Feel to be Loved” CD charting all across the country on Campus radio (eg 28 nationally, 4 in Halifax , 9 in Hamilton , 3 in Ottawa) . Also recieving rave reviews. (‘top 10 cds of 2008’...best Vu tribute ever’ wrote Jeffrey Morgan Metro times . Jeffrey who was one of our very favorite critics of the 70s, writing in Creem Magaizine .) To see a selection of reviews go HERE.

FEBRUARY 9, 2008
Quebecois film maker Chester Lebeaux has made a brilliant video for “Waiting for my Man” . It has already been accepted by NXNE and, well, we love it. Thanks, Chester , for nailing our song. You can find it at our sites, and on youtube, among other places.

THE SCENICS are excitedly preparing for their first live shows in 26 years- in support of their CD “ How Does it Feel to be Loved: The Scenics play the Velvet Underground”.

Line up will be:

  • Ken Badger gtr, vox
  • Andy Meyers , gtr,vox
  • Mark Perkell , drums, vox
  • Mike Young , bass, vox

This is an original 1979-1980 line up of the band and the line up that plays on the stunning tracks from “How Does it Feel...” that are posted on Myspace. Ken, Mark, and Mike have begun to play together, and Andy is flying out from BC to join them April 4. Songs from all periods of The Scenics are being re invented, and The Scenics are thrilled to be bringing in NEW MATERIAL from Ken and Andy , as well as a couple of surprise covers...

APRIL 13, 2008
at the Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto: Scenics supporting Carla Bozulich in an early show. Scenics on at 8:45, Carla to follow at 10.

April 14
at Club Absinthe, Hamilton 233 King St East Scenics on at 10 PM for two sets.

APRIL 15, 2008
at Dakota Tavern, Toronto. 249 Ossington Avenue, Scenics on at 10 PM for two sets.

JANUARY 28, 2008
“How Does it Feel to Be Loved: The Scenics play the Velvet Underground” released on Dream Tower Records , distributed thru Scratch/ Sonic Unyon

 

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