(the most recent Scenics video to surface, from NXNE in 2008) 


OCTOBER 1977--The Clash, The King, The Ramones

One oddity and one solid sender this time round.

A YOUNGER VERSION is the oddity. I wrote the music on bass, and tried to work out the words as Ken and Brad figured their parts out. Ken outdid himself, smooth and raw, and Brad nailed down the groove. The words were like overheard conversation, and I could never quite overhear all of the conversation. So we stopped doing A Younger Version a few months later. This is the earliest strong version of it we've got on tape.

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

ZOMBIE GO ROUND is the solid sender. A great riff from Ken in the Can't Explain/Amazona lineage, Followed by a tightly writ song. Actually Ken never liked these lyrics either- i remember him calling them trashy. But i figger when the song is this shiny and catchy, what does that matter?

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

Both of these recorded in The Scenics' basement.


Both songs available as free downloads. As are our first three albums of PUNK HAIKU songs

Coming soon: Punk Haiku 19-- Iggy and The Ramones, The Dead Boys and The Viletones, and more!

Hey! Like The Scenics on Facebook. Thnx!


(the story so far: The Scenics have a busy August through October 77, with a bunch of gigs, including opening for Talking Heads, several brushes with mainstream radio, and a trip into the Recording Studio to record 5 songs for the Sunshine World album. But...)


I've gotten ahead of myself.


(ken and shadowy andy.)

In my effort to bring the past back to life, to get back inside the humming, buzzing 220 square feet that was Mushroom Sound with the late October 1977 afternoon sun beating on but not penetrating the panelled insulated double coach-house doors, the sound of Ken throttling his Les Paul Junior while playing football footfall with his Morley Power Wah Pedal-- in my effort to focus in on that and drag it back to the present for all you who were not there that day...

I have neglected a whole slew of other rock and roll that we experienced in the late summer and early autumn of 1977.


At midnight on Friday August 9, I sat primed, joint in hand in front of the TV in the basement of the suburban Don Mills house where i lived with, and seperate from, my dear parents, Edith and Gord Meyers. Don Kirshner Rock Concert was on. Over the years I had tuned in, and dealt with the Doobie Bros and Jefferson Starship and the unfortunate Commodores (had at least one good song but spawned Lionel Richie), Paul Simon, Aerosmith, Curtis Mayfield, Bad Company, Rare Earth... always the good and the bad, the bands presented live in twenty minute, half hour sets, no lip syncing. It was amazing how many bands did not have a half hour of interesting material or know how to deliver it in an arresting fashion. A lot of bands lived in a safe, and therefore deadly, land. But "Rock Concert" was Rock and Roll, at least some of it was, and you took what you could get in 1977. It was rare and valued.


That evening, at this point in our collective cultural unfolding-- it was hard to fathom, but the Ramones were on Don Kirshner Rock Concert.

One went into it wondering how these two worlds would meet... it was like the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, a door opening and connecting two unrelated realities.  Don Kirshner Rock Concert had soft rock production values, banks of soft focus lights, a cheery logo and an audience of average kids pasted in front of the stage.


 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.

 The ripped and torn Ramones, rooted in front of banks of stained grey amps, in front of the crowd, many dancing and bopping, others standing like the man in the lemon shirt literally scratching his head. Don Kirshner Rock Concert had good mixes and camera work, and the Ramones were princes and pros up there, sounding like rock gods who had all the answers, had the goods, and could deliver them all day long like a slick infield turning double plays. Defence wins championships.

Don Kirshner, who alway looked like he had his eye on a deal that was going down in some other room, came on and introduced The Ramones, and punk rock, to middle America...

You can see it if you watch it today. (4 songs are on their "It's Alive" concert DVD.) The Ramones hit it out of the park,  (ok, at this point i am mixing baseball metaphors), but seriously-- that night, as always, the Ramones were real, were stars, were completely reliable as performers,  did everything they possibly could to show the American mainstream the way.  The Ramones met the mainstream halfway, and the mainstream did not have the wit to follow.  But The Ramones did their part.

This was the period when the Ramones  began to discover that there was no door between them and the North American mainstream, at least not in their lifetime. But that night, it was too early too know that. It was just "Holy Shit, The Ramones were on Don Kirshner Rock Concert and they were great"!!!


A week later I came out of the Don Mills Brewers' Retail with a case of Canadian under my arm. For you who are not from Ontario, perhaps you can imagine a place where Beer is only available from Government outlets. You walk into a large room, the sun shining in through the front wall of floor to ceiling windows, and you cross 20 feet of nondescript glaze-eyed linoleum to reach the counter where a non-descript gent in a cardboard-brown shirt stands, rocking back on his heels, ready to take your order. You have sent someone in with your order, or you have managed to cadge a piece or two of nondescript, non-pictorial ID that pegs you as Wallace Gromney, who is of legal age, or you have summoned up the courage to cross that 20 feet without ID, hopefully that voyage aging you enough to pass. Or, perhaps, you are old enough to legally buy beer.  Or maybe you have already managed to pass at your neighbourhood store, and have kind of got known as someone who bought beer there regularly, and was, therefore, legal.

   So I had just ordered a case of 24 Canadian, passed my money across (what would it have been in those days? Twelve Dollars?). Jack behind the counter spoke my order into a microphone and Jimmy in the back room had crossed the concrete floor, picked up a case of 24 and slid it down the roller conveyor belt that ran down the left side of the store. The beer had flown through the plastic flaps, I had said thanks and had rolled the beer down to the entrance of the store.



I walked out the door with my 24 and ran into Rob Waldie, major Led Zep fan, tall and slim with a flat nose and frizzy hair, who had played euphonium in the DMCI band. And he told me he had just heard that Elvis Presley had died.


I was not a huge Elvis fan, even his good records, his hits, his voice was too much like satin for me to ingest without a reaction. But I understood how he had moved, I knew how good those records were, and I  got how hugely important he was. And I remember where I was when I heard he was gone, Daddy.



A few days later Groucho Marx died. I was a huge Groucho Marx fan, and a couple of weeks later, playing at David's, I dedicated All Belts and Shoelaces Taken  to "The King of Rockabilly, who recently left us.... Groucho Marx."




 In October '77 a new 45 hit our world, with a great picture sleeve of 4 big speakers jammed into a box, and really, what else was it all about?  A brilliant record by the Clash, Complete Control, the story (their version anyway) of how they took Complete Control of their record company and their fate. It was produced by the Jamaican Dub Master Lee Scratch Perry, altho i wasn't really aware of that at the time, and have since found out that the Clash had gone back into the studio after Scratch left, scraped off most of the layers of echo, and turned Complete Control back into a rock and roll record.

This record is one of the 4 or 5 best things the Clash ever did, and I have  used it to literally transform sonambulent drummers into bucking beasts of burden ready for a rock and roll excursion. It leads with breathless rhythm guitar and pithy lyrics-- Joe is just a guy in the pub, pissed at his job, setting you and his boss straight. There is the remnants of a cavernous dub breakdown in the middle, then the Clash rounding up the rock and roll cattle for another storming of the Canyon of Sound, and we are treated to Joe both calling out to Mick 'you're my guitar hero"  and asking us "I don't trust you.... why should you trust me.... uhhhnnnn???" as the song twists three different ways around him before it gathers itself for the last charge and thunderous ending. I've never stopped loving it. It's kind of a perfect rock and roll record.


(this is the best I could find but the real 45 is loads punchier.)


So, yes-- Complete Control. What is it, and how do you take it? That is the question The Scenics were left with. We had just finished our gig with Talking Heads. We had made two recordings that our friends were telling us were everything they could be. Hell, we had even been on Chum FM four times in the last month, and why should that happen to a punk band in Toronto in 1977???

So who the fuck where we, how did we let people know, how did we reach those beyond the small group of people who got us?  We kind of knew that there would be challenges. We might have had 4 brushes with Chum FM, but the last thing we heard from them was their on-air review of our set with Talking Heads:

 "The Scenics, a so-called New Wave band, seemingly without much musical knowledge, played tunelessly, and for some of us, endlessly. However, dyed in the wool punkers offered encouragement to the band, so even if they don't improve, they have a market..."

We had gotten a strong response from the crowd, but pockets of Viletones and Dishes had heckled us for our timerity in getting that gig, and the crowd that walked the well-worn punk paths hadn't needed much coaxing to decide we weren't their cup of spit...


 So how do we build  this thing?  A friend of Brad's had taken a few pics of us at that show, and we decided to turn one into a postcard to send as a greeting to those who could help us- who could give us a gig, who could introduce us to the helpful few or the appreciative many. But still we had to kind of explain ourselves. Here is what we wrote on the back....


Here is the picture on the front:


With these postcards printed up, and with Gary and Gary penciled in in the role of manager, we strode forth with vague ideas, of the little ripples we had created spreading out into larger circles...


1977 was indeed  a more innocent time.



Like The Scenics on Facebook.

A Younger Version (Andy Meyers Allowed Sound Music)

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

Zombie Go Round  (Ken Badger Timmy's Music)

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

Recorded October 16/17 1977,  The Scenics basement, Toronto, Canada

PUNK HAIKU AUDIO produced by Andy Meyers  ©2012 Dream Tower Productions.  

PUNK HAIKU written by Andy Meyers ©2012 Dream Tower Productions.

If you dig this, please share... thnx.