back in the 1970's decided to break the rules of society. They rallied together
under the banner of the punk movement. Many of them are no longer with us.
This page is dedicated to their memories.
I am sending out e-mail interviews to women who were actively involved in the late
seventies L.A. punk scene. Everyone gets the same eight questions. No space or
time limitations. Since I think that women's voices have already been over-edited
by others, I reserve the right to refuse to edit these women's responses. Instead, I
intend to publish them in their entirety, raw and unexpurgated.
LET THE WOMEN SPEAK!
conducted September 2005
I first met Jane in the alley outside of The Masque. She was a cute, young, aspiring
designer who would soon become a fixture in the L.A. Punk Scene. Shortly after our
meeting, she moved into the Canterbury with my drummer, Terry Graham, and we
became good friends. I remember singing Supremes' songs with her and Belinda in
Jane's and Terry's apartment. In those days, we joked about forming a singing
group - we sounded pretty good too. I remember Jane getting a guitar and writing
her first songs like "Fun with Ropes," "Hilburn It's Time to Burn" and "Living at The
Canterbury." She has obviously blocked out her Pyrana initiation as a traumatic
experience, believing that she was drugged and molested. But this isn't my
interview so I'll let Jane tell it her way. Jane is super talented and every bit as
sweet and optimistic today as she was 25 years ago, and it is my privilege to be
able to interview her for my website.
It's not possible to talk about Jane without mentioning the fact that her band, the
Go-Go's, was the first all-female band to write their own songs, play their own
instruments and sell millions of records and cds. In the process, they inspired a
whole generation of young girls to pick up guitars and start writing their own
songs. They were true trailblazers in an industry which, up until the time of their
incredible success, considered all female bands to be novelty acts.
Jane continues to make music with the Go-Go's and other musicians, including her
jazz combo, Jane Wiedlin and the Downtown Sensation! She also acts, produces,
does work on behalf of several noble causes and indulges her love for fetish wear
whenever possible. What a gal!
Jane has her own thrilling website at www.janewiedlin.com. Check it out!
Oh...and about that little soundclip that plays on this page - it's taken from my
favorite scene in Clue - The Movie, featuring the cutest singing telegram girl
|Jane Wiedlin as Jane Drano in a
photobooth shot from 1977.
|Jane in a group shot of the
Pyranas at Sam Wong's, 1978.
Photo by Belinda.
|Jane plays twister with Shannon.
1. What was/is your contribution to the punk community?
I was around pretty much from the beginning. I joined the local scene after I had started designing punk
style clothes in 1976 and was selling them in a store on Sunset Blvd called “Granny Takes A Trip”. The
store had gone from hippy to glam to punk. I was in there one day and met Pleasant Gehman, who told me
there was a whole local scene starting. I immediately tracked down The Masque and never looked back! It
quickly became my whole life. Even though I was a punk kid, my basic nature was to have a happy attitude
and good manners, so I probably infused a more optimistic twist to the scene?? I don’t know! I was just in it
for the fun and the creativity. The violent aspect of the scene both attracted and scared me. And I’ve
always been drawn towards what frightens me!
2. Which artist, band concert and/or show had the most impact on your life?
As far as local bands, I adored The Weirdos. They were absolutely mesmerizing live, and had the most
intense energy. From England, The Buzzcocks were my favorites and I was very influenced by their
3. What was the role of women in the early punk scene?
The best part about the scene was that for the first time, women weren’t treated like some separate part of
humanity. Punk took away gender distinctions, at least more so than any music before it.
4. What is the legacy of punk in your life?
energetic music. I still like to get drunk, get rowdy and fuck shit up. I’ve never become a regular grown-up,
even though I am mature enough to function in the world.
5. What are you listening to now?
6. Do you have any funny or interesting stories to share?
One of my silliest memories is walking down Hollywood Boulevard with girlfriends and having “straight”
people actually cross the street to avoid us because we were scary punk rockers. In fact, we were young
cute nice girls from The Valley!
7. Are there any punk women from the early scene that you feel have not been been adequately
I don’t think any women from the LA punk scene have ever been properly recognized with the possible
exception of Exene. Even the Go-Go’s, as famous as we once were, have never been credited with being
original LA punk rockers, which we absolutely were.
8. What is something we should know about you that we probably don't know?
That Alice Bag and her friends once drugged and molested me?????
|Jane's fan letter to the Weirdos,
part of the EMP archives. Click
on the image above to visit the
EMP Hollywood Punk page.
|The Go-Go's circa 1979.
Photo courtesy of www.janewiedlin.com
Photo courtesy of www.janewiedlin.com