The Scenics did do Waiting for my Man, but not until 1980, when this video version was recorded.



Songs from the beginning and end of the Scenics' set opening for Talking Heads on September 16, 1977.  Audio is a bit rough, included for the historical record (as opposed to the 12" long playing record...) 

DO THE WAIT  last song of our set, rocking out with a vengance.

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the second song of the set, Scenics sliding in slyly with the live premiere of Ken's "GCBH"

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If these versions are too lo-fi- here are the studio versions from SUNSHINE WORLD:

Do the Wait by The Scenics

Gotta Come Back Here by The Scenics


The story so far: Ken Badger and Andy Meyers began The Scenics in the Summer of 1976. They found a drummer who stuck (Bradley Cooper) in the summer of 1977.  With demo tape  (that ended up as half of SUNSHINE WORLD, a CD you can download for free here)  in hand, The Scenics met legendary Toronto promoters The Garys, who loved what they heard, and booked The Scenics to open a show with the Talking Heads.
Coming soon- PUNK HAIKU 16- The Scenics play the show they shoulda played at the New Yorker at David's Disco.

The Scenics playing Wild Trout at the New Yorker. (Andy, Brad, Ken). To the left you can see the big round bass speaker Ken made. Leaning against it is the Acoustic bass head we liberated from the Long and Mcquade repair dept (where Ken worked) after it sat unclaimed for nine months.





The Garys had loaned us a reel to reel copy of the Talking Heads as yet unreleased first lp. It was different from what was eventually released, songs in a different order, seemed like it was the order they were recorded in.  Begins with Pulled Up, which shoots out of the gate, nervous, pumped up, simple. I loved Who Is It because there was so little to it, Byrne’s voice the squeal of excitement when you realize that somebody is 'IT' for you. The Book I Wrote is killer with it’s extended playful metaphor and extended two chord instrumental break. Mega-smart minimal rock. There was an acoustic version of Psycho Killer with cellos which did not make the lp. There was a runaway acoustic rumble through Thank You for Sending Me an Angel,  all tight in the throat, lacking the streamlined power of the version that opens their second lp. No Compassion had changed a lot from the version that I recorded at the trio show at “A Space” in January 1977, a tape  wrapped in layers of cardboard distortion, barely listenable, but often listened to to help me remember.  My dad took it in to technicians he knew at the CBC who said it could not be cleaned up,  nothing there but blodgy imprints of impossibly loud levels of sound.



    By September 77, the early promise of the first outsider wave from NYC 75/76 (Patti Smith, Television, Pere Ubu, the Heads), so inspirational to The Scenics,  had been largly replaced by the simple and violent outburst of the Sex Pistols and Clash et al from Britain. (The Ramones were the hinge that joined the two scenes, and of course, we Scenics loved the Pistols and Clash as well.)  It didn’t matter that the economies of  Britain and North America were different and that there were no masses walking the streets of Toronto or Cleveland or San Francisco chanting “No Future”. There were jobs and housing to be had, and there was no class system in place against young white males. Culturally, however, the early seventies had sucked, and  there was an  awareness that rock and roll had become big business, and that if we didn’t do something, it would never be three guys in a small studio with Elvis again. 

 By that September, as this New Wave was already hardening, and being defined as something angry and ugly, the Talking Heads 77 Lp stood out as a statement of one individual band's genius for self- invention, opening the door for other bands to do what ever truly moved them.

                                                                         (photo by David Andoff)

   We collided with this no longer fluid wave on September 16 at the New Yorker Theatre, when The Scenics opened for Talking Heads. A beautiful sunny day, a perfect slice of the short spring and autumn that act as a respite from Toronto’s steam bath summers and deep freeze winters. We got down to the Theatre mid- afternoon.  Gary Topp let us in, pleased for us, excited about the show, one of the thousands of incredible cultural turn-ons that he has continued to present to this day. We were thrilled- Talking Heads were my favourite of the current bands. They were so original that it seemed to me they could do anything.

   For us it was a doorway, but we didn't know into what. We had no way of knowing that for the rest of our 76-82 run, and for all our fallow years after that, “we opened for Talking Heads” would be the five-word shorthand that would  express all that The Scenics had dreamt of, aspired to, and accomplished in six years of blood, sweat, raw throats, dazed eyes, and bludgeoned ears.


We loaded in, and then while we waitied for our sound check, we went next door to the Ford Coffee shop, kind of an employment agency/ breakfast spot (all day!) for hookers and transexuals, and  got coffees. Standing back in front of the New Yorker like it was the Gem Spa,  Colin Brunton came through the sidewalk crowds and greeted us with the news that Marc Bolan had driven his sports car into a tree in England and been killed.


This brought things to a full stop.  I had played my copy of Electric Warrior,  the only T Rex LP to infiltrate  the Canadian mainstream, to death- loved it, and knew in my heart that I was a cosmic dancer.

  Heads down, we dribbled back inside the pitch black and hollow Theatre for sound check. Alone on the large  stage we had Ken’s lonely Fender twin guitar amp sitting on a straight backed wooden chair, with a mike up to it. I felt the empty space around it, the lack of Marshall stacks, the incompleteness of this meagre  set-up.  I sidled over to Ken- what did he think of this? He chuckled and told me that this was, in fact, actually cool, it was the new way, part and parcel of the new wave's stripping down of rock’s artifice. Something Lou Reed might do. I accepted this, relieved. Years later he told me he had been bull-shitting, he felt the same way.

   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. They slid into seats in the back row as we played Do the Wait and listened through our entire sound check.  In the dressing room before the show they complimented us on our version of I’m Waiting for the Man and I explained that it was mostly the same chords, but a different song. Our song- Do the Wait.

(tickets courtesy of Molten Core)

   The concert was taking place at midnight, after the  evening's movies (The New Yorker being a rep theatre). So we went out for dinner and then back to Ken’s place, spinning records, smoking joints, and counting the clock until we could go back to the Theatre. Nervous, coiled, ready.

  The doors were already opened when we got there, people wandering around who had stayed after the last film. Slipping through the crowded lobby and feeling that it was happening- life was being what it was supposed to be.

  We slipped through hidden doors behind the snack bar and down into the close chamber that served as the dressing room. T Heads were already there. David kept walking in and out of the room, silent. Jerry was wedged back into the shoulders of an armchair, sleeping. They had flown out from New York just after noon, they were using our gear, having just brought guitars, bass and drum sticks  with them. A business trip, a long day stretched out of shape and comfort, all to make some music at the end of it.

Chris and Tina were perky, friendly, sitting at the edge of their chairs, smoking. We pulled out a joint. Tina was beautiful and refined,  like she was east-coast upper class, not like she was living in a loft and in hock to the record company. Chris said we should come down and play CBGBs. I said I know, but it was embarassing, already a cliche. Tina asked me what I meant and I said “you know, like going to Malibu with your surfboard in 1967” Chris got it but smiled and said we still had to do it if we were serious.

  This exchange says so much about The Scenics in our early days. That I would waste any energy thinking that playing CBGB's was a cliche. That we didn't immediately ask Chris if we could open for them at CBGBs. Chris had heard us play, he was telling us we were ready to take it to the next level, but we didn't hear him say that. In those days we weren't serious in that way.

In those days the punk scene was so accessible. There's pics of the Diodes, Viletones, B-Girls, a few different Toronto bands, hanging out with the Ramones or Dead Boys, various bands who came to town, but for some reason, for us, the respect we held these bands in always stopped us from palling up to them, or considering that maybe we were like them.


   Then it was time to play, and we walked up another hallway to the back of the stage. The New Yorker was a 600 seat theatre, and the hall was vast, smoky, hot. To that point we'd played in basement rooms and small dives. This seemed like the whole world. The crowd was crawling with anticipation. Gary introduced us and we went on.  We stood in green and red lights plugging in as Brad rapped his snare.

   We began our nine song set. It was a bit hard getting the sound started in that great big space. It was a bit strange how the sound sounded, large and distant, like it had a distance to travel. I didn’t know it, but Mark Perkell (my high school buddy and Scenics drummer circa 1980-82, and again now) was in the audience.

   As a trio, our sets were split in half. Ken's songs, with Ken on guitar and me on bass, and vice versa. Ken's sets were usually more accomplished, mine tended to have more aggression. This night we began with Ken, maybe we were thinking we would build to some type of red-hotness. Three songs in, Ken led a rocking Mony Mony (mentioning that we were competing against Tommy James, who was also playing Toronto that evening) but that was followed by a ballad. Ken's half of the set was tight, very together, but didn't grab you and force you to come along. The crowd started out pumped,  welcomed us warmly, were excited about the show, but we didn't completely bring them along with us... there began to be catcalls mixed in with the applause...

    We didn't know that The Dishes and The Viletones were there too. Later Gary told me that as Toronto’s first new wave art school band to surface, The Dishes had made it clear to him that this should be their gig.  They booed and cat-called, challenging our legitimacy all set. The Viletones were always up for a fight and went along for the ride.  As we began my half of the set Ken and I conferred, deciding to drop “See Emily Play” and go straight into “Great Piles of Leaves”. Standing with hands resolutely on pudgy hips The Dishes shouted out “You’re boring me”, the  hands-on-hearts motto of the punk nation, prescient of where our culture has gotten to in it’s attitude towards any dead air or consideration.

   After Great Piles of Leaves, my tense teenage rocker self took over, wouldn't take no for an answer, and our set climaxed into I'm Hurt, Face it Again, and Do the Wait. We ended to deep roars of applause.

  For an opening act we did really good, ended up with cheers and appreciation, dug deep and rocked out some Scenics sound and energy, but from our standing start didn't consistently fill the hall with “Us”.
   We came off, I was a bit disappointed, (think I was hoping to secure our entire career with this gig) but Gary said “No, you did great.”

   (l-r Garys Cormier and Topp. foto Viliam Hrubovcak)

Years later, Colin Brunton told me that Gary Topp had thought our set would be a lovely coming out, a gift to the Toronto scene, and that everybody would 'get' us. But there were already no-wave noise elements to our sound, just enough to make it difficult for a 1977 Toronto audience. And there was the element of intra-band sniping that caught us by surprise.

Talking Heads followed, their first time in Toronto as a real recording act, here to stay, their first LP about to be released, and also had some challenges. Hard to get your sound with another band’s gear, especially for Chris with Brad’s drums, and part way through their set Brad leaped up from his seat beside us in the 13th row and ran backstage and onto the stage. He had heard that his snare had broken off his snare drum and he helped Chris tie it back on. That evening was the most earth-bound I ever heard Talking Heads. They had to rock like a rock band in order to pull it off. And so they did.

They played all those great songs off their first LP. No Compassion, Book I Read, New Feeling, Don't Worry About the Government, of course Psycho Killer. Threw in Take Me to the River, (which made Ken howl with delight) Stay Hungry and more.

The Talking Heads ended up playing a great set. Mega-smart minimal rock, played with heart and grit, on borrowed gear.

They knew what they had, and there was no stopping them.  Stay Hungry!


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O Boy

Gotta Come Back Here

Mony Mony

Not Dead Yet

Wild Trout

Great Piles of Leaves

I'm Hurt

Face it Again

Do the Wait

(Everything but Face it Again off the SUNSHINE WORLD CD)



Do The Wait  (Andy Meyers Allowed Sound Music)

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

Gotta Come Back Here  (Ken Badger, Timmy's Music)

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

September 16 1977,  New Yorker Theatre, Yonge St, Toronto, Canada

PUNK HAIKU AUDIO produced by Andy Meyers  ©2011 Dream Tower Productions.  

PUNK HAIKU written by Andy Meyers ©2011 Dream Tower Productions.

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