Punk haiku 12- Sex PISTOLS, THE CLASH, and PUNQUE for the well-heeled.





A couple of songs from our show in the basement of upper-class Toronto, Aug 1977. 

First, a song musically inspired by the Sex Pistols. This version is still pretty new. A few stumbles but builds up a head o' steam.

Lyrics? "When daylight comes and you feel frustration/coming down again like that same blank stare/and you feel that any end to your pain/would leave you burned out hopeless numb again./ Tomorrow the sun will be shining/ Tomorrow the sun will be hot./ Muscles fuck in frustration/ No I couldn't face it again"


You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.


A cheerier tune that tells a story

"In the spring it never rained./In the summer not too hot. In the winter just enough snow./ in the fall he played in great piles of leaves."

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

 Punk Haiku 13-  coming soon-  The Scenics play the Beverley Tavern and a view of the Toronto punk scene circa September '77 from a passing car....



We began to hear the Clash and the Sex Pistols over the summer of '77. The whole Brit approach to Punk- quite different than the Cleveland/New York axis.

Ken had the  Clash's White Riot/1977 45, and he put it on one of three 90 minute mixtapes he made  in the spring of 77 when we moved into our practice place.  The tapes  were hugely varied- Pere Ubu. Roxy. The Shangrilas. Sparks. Flaming Groovies. Etc. Etc. Etc. A lot of it was new or new-ish to me, too, so I kinda took it as a wall of charming sound that soundtracked our coffee and  joint time. 1977 made more of an impression because of the jarring riff and guitar sound, It's conciseness, but White Riot was a hoot too.

Then I got the Remote Control/London's Burning 45 as part of an order I mailed off to one of those dealers in the back of Trouser Press. Remote Control was subtle and involved. Mick Jones sang part of it in his yearning, gently out of tune voice. I mentioned to Gary Topp that the Clash were kind of unique because they had that softer feel. He said that was the only song on their LP like that. He had an extra copy of the Clash LP and gave it to me. Killer!!! Janey Jones, Police and Thieves, Garageland... They rocked hard and to the point like the Ramones, but Mick was capable of layering guitar shapes on top. While the Ramones spoke in shorthand cultural cool, there was a striving quality to Joe Strummer. He was climbing up through his intelligence, and love of rock and roll, and his inspirational, won't take no shit leadership, trying to get to a place where he could see clear and let us all know where  life's good stuff was kept.


I also got a copy of the Pistol's God Save the Queen/Did You No Wrong 45. I'd heard about them- the filth, the fury, the scandal. I was suspicious- didn't want to be taken in. It took me a few listens to stop thinking and just dig it. It was rock and roll, close enough to the Chuck Berry/Rolling Stones lineage, (it swung,) but the drums and the guitars  were solid like an unbreachable wall. On top of it all Johnny Rotten danced like a man at the end of a hangman's rope, not giving a damn- he wasn't going to be taken in for an instant. God Save the Queen is still a song I return to when i want to get hit hard- it's  a perfect record. Stunning  guitar riff intro- dead simple, made into music by the way that Steve Jones hits it with (Paul Cook on drums) and by the way that Chris Thomas (wait a second- didn't he do Roxy Music?) gets it down on tape. The whole band right there rocking like crazy. Fantastic lyrics and vocal and the whole thing tops itself with the amazing "No Future" coda. Gives me chills.


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.



  Bouyed by the Garys support we booked a date for the Scenics at the Beverley Tavern, the downtown dive that was booking "Punk" bands.  First gig for the Scenics with Bradley Cooper on drums- Friday and Saturday August 27 and 28, 1977.

Then Gary Cormier phoned to say that some film biz  friends of his in a mansion out on the Bridle Path (an ultra tony district located just 5 minutes drive from my suburban Don Mills  home) were having a party on Saturday the 21st and wanted a punk band. Gary said he could have got them the Battered Wives, who were wearing the right clothes and had an English lead singer and were attempting to shock, but Gary said we were better and they were just wankers, so we got the gig.

The Battered Wives. I enjoyed 'em when i saw 'em, and their drummer Cleave Anderson has been a backbone of the Toronto punk scene from 78 through to the present day, a rock-solid rocker and a mega decent guy.



  Two days later the Scenics' fleet, (Ken’s Impala and Brad’s van), drove up to Don Mills, picked me up on the corner, and then drove past Carol Nash's house, to pick her up. Carol lived just down a hill and up a hill from the Bridle Path. The only reason Dr. Nash, a wealthy doctor, had not bought in the Bridle Path is because those mansions were on septic fields, and Dr. Nash wanted to be tied into the municipal sewer system. (A man who kept his shit in order.)


Samuel Nash, a bit older than i am in this story


  Dr. Nash was an educated man, an immigrant who arrived from Poland under the name Nefsky,  and so it was a given that Carol, his intelligent eldest, would seek higher education. At the end of August, 1977, Carol was preparing for her first weeks of university. The University of Toronto’s ivy-walled downtown campus must have been quite an experience for a young woman from the suburbs, but how that experience was for her, I don’t know. All my attention was on myself and my naive belief that i was on a path to... something.


My dad, about my age in this story, at basic training. Looking a little bit like the Clash.

My father, Gordon Meyers, left school in grade 7 to work for his painter/decorator father Frederick Meyers. Gordon ended up pulling himself up through years of working days and writing nights, combining advertising with a growing career writing for radio and TV, until he was very successful, and had the opportunity to do some amazing good works in the community.


my dad in early ad years- 1961. 

Unfortunately, like Dr. Nash, Gordon was of the generation where men were trained to keep it all inside, and keep things simple, and black and white. Then the world  became pychedelic, and, like so many of their peers, they imploded early, leaving a generation of young widows like Mrs Meyers and Mrs. Nash, many of whose lives were simpler away from the complex emotional requirements of the impossible lives these men had to lead. (They were also  the first generation to reach maturity only to find that youth had taken precedence.)


Dr. Nash, who brought countless babys into the world,  saved my life one evening in Carol's kitchen.  I was standing by the sink downing an orange when I laughed and then began choking. Every ounce of my energy and focus zeroed in on hauling oxygen in and out, up and down my throat past the large  obstruction that had become part of me. Carol was standing near to me and her eyes grew wide and round as I tried to give her a reassuring look as if this would pass. At the same time I was sizing up the fact that it was incredibly hard to breath, I wasn’t getting as much breath as I needed, and I was frozen, unable to put energy into coughing it up, in case I couldn’t, and the gag reflex forced it further down my wind pipe and delivered me to terra ingocnita. In that moment, I could sense there was no way out. 


   Carol’s scream alerted Mrs. Nash, who said "Sammy, Andy's choking". Dr. Nash was at his usual seat at the head of the long table where he would silently read the paper while Margaret dealt with the 6 screaming Nash siblings. Dr Nash was a short and powerfully built man who had suffered polio as an adolescent and now walked with a limp. He fixed his gaze on me  through his heavy dark-rimmed glasses , and did not take his eyes off me as he lurched up out of his seat and took steady, determined, efficient steps toward me. He  reached up in my mouth, stuck his fingers far down into my craw and wrenched the orange from my throat as if he were delivering a baby. With one movement he freed it and threw it into the sink, leaving me doubled over, shaking, heaving for breath.  He turned and walked back to his chair. I thanked him later and he looked up from his paper and smiled and nodded. He was a good-hearted man.


Three years earlier Samuel Nash had hired me to pull a band together and play at an auction for Simmental cattle, a brand that he was marketing, an event that he appeared at with belt buckle and sports jacket. I got a band together, featuring, again, Mark Perkell on drums, and my sister Judy’s boyfriend Steve, (who had taught me guitar), and we rehearsed country Dylan and Byrds and Kristofferson and Prine.

However, when we packed and went to the gig outside of Toronto we forgot our microphones at home, and me being young and inexperienced. I did not know how to deal with this situation, and no one else in the group was any help, and I went to Dr Nash and told him and he  told me to just play something, he was in the middle of an event that would make or lose him a lot of money, and he was stuck with my candy-ass problem. Eventually we did play something, for a while, until they realized that they didn’t actually require much from us.


What makes this one of the two or three most excruciatingly embarassing episodes of my life, (a life with no shortage of large scale travesties,) is that although I did not pay myself, I did come to Dr. Nash the next week and ask him for part of our fee to pay the other musicians who had worked the set up, (probably under pressure from Judy’s no-count boyfriend Steve) ,and he had just nodded and wrote me a check. And then, a few years later, when my time was running out in his kitchen, he came and delivered me again to this good life.


My older sisters Judy and Janet did recieve post secondary education, but I was the willful youngest who ended up driving by these gracious homes en route to  a rock and roll gig.  


 the Bridle Path

The place we were playing was a bit disappointing, one of the neighbourhood’s more modest mansions, mostly made magnificent by it’s address.

It transpired that we were essentially the kid’s entertainment, and were sent down to the basement rec room to set up. We had our rough shod practice p.a. and strange collection of amps shoved into one corner with the guests plastered, or more accurately, with plastered guests- all around us. In that most intimate setting we turned into our version of The Who and pounded and slashed our way through our entire repretoire over three sets.

There was the usual party assortment- the girls talking in clumps looking over their shoulders, the stoned couples in the corner who never came out of the shadows, some kids attempting to dance to our music, people wandering in and out of the room all night long. There was an awareness in the party that we were emissaries from this new thing called punk. People sized up how close it was to the thing called rock. Some people got it, it was too rough and unmannered for some, and  one guy  stood wide-eyed right in the front, bellowing at everything we played.


We had practiced steadily for a couple of months, and with this gig, and the Beverley next week, and then the TALKING HEADS?  Well, we were ready- the music was not some tentative tryout- it was hot, albeit loose around the edges.



  And then our three sets were over and we were packing up and our middle-aged host was walking through the debris in his socks, shorts, and dress shirt, satisfied. He paid us our $450 (unfortunately this was probably the highest paying gig we ever had), and he called back over his shoulder as he climbed the stairs “Help yourself to what you like from the bar.” 


Now, as he later called out as we piled into our cars and drove away, “I meant have a few drinks, not walk away with half the bar”, but to an enterprising young band, and especially a drummer from Scarberia who knows the value of things, this was exactly what it sounded like he had said. A couple of sturdy liquor store boxes were found, and numerous 26ers of scotch, and wine, and, well, scotch and wine, were packed away and carried up and out of the house in such a way as to not draw attention to themselves. Once they were back into OUR basement, Ken took the lead, and they were not pounded back, as could have been the case in Scarborough, but were sipped and savoured, in liberal quantities, as Ken’s ad exec father Cliff had taught him to do.

For it was a good quality scotch.


Samuel and Carol, some years before I met them.  Sorry, i don't have a picture of Cliff.





GREAT PILES OF LEAVES (Andy Meyers, Allowed Sound Music) 

guitar/vocals Andy Meyers .   bass/bgs Ken Badger.  drums Bradley Cooper.


Recorded August 21 1977,  In the basement of a Toronto mansion.

PUNK HAIKU AUDIO produced by Andy Meyers  ©2010 Dream Tower Productions.  

PUNK HAIKU written by Andy Meyers ©2010 Dream Tower Productions.