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
Paraphrased from the Frontier Records website: "Frontier Records was founded in
1980 by Lisa Fancher. It was one of the first independent labels to document the
nascent hard-core punk rock scene of Los Angeles before branching out into other
scenes...The very first Frontier release was the self-titled EP by the Flyboys, soon
followed with iconic punk releases by the Circle Jerks, Adolescents, T.S.O.L., China
White and Suicidal Tendencies."
business. She got her start at Bomp, which was one of the first stores to carry punk
music. Through her label, Frontier Records, Lisa was responsible for helping
establish and distribute globally what became the blueprint for the So-Cal Hardcore
sound. It would be hard to overestimate her importance to the modern punk scene.
Because I limit my interviews to the same 8 questions, Lisa's interview skims the
surface of her contributions. For a more in-depth interview with Ms. Fancher, you
should also check out Spontaneous Combustion's site.
|Lisa, from a Bomp Records
Photo by Theresa Kereakes.
In the ‘70s, I worked at the Bomp Records store from when it opened in 1977 to mid-’78. I sold
every proto-punk there: copies of “New Rose,” “Anarchy in the UK” on EMI, “Spiral Scratch,” as
well as ground-breaking indie records by the newly transplanted Devo and the Cramps. I waited
on everyone from Craig Lee to Stan Lee! Besides working at the store, I went to Cal State
Northridge (1.5 semesters and I dropped out!), ran the Dickies’ fan club, had a fanzine called
“Biff!Bang!Pow!” and wrote for the LA Herald Examiner. I wrote about four things for the LA
Times before Hilburn fired me for being “too enthusiastic”—what did he expect when he gave me
the first Ramones’ album to review??? I thought writing was going to be my lot in life until I
started Frontier Records in 1980.
2. Which artist, band concert and/or show had the most impact on your life?
That is soooo hard to answer, like records I feel like I’d almost have to make choices year by
year. But no one cares that much so I’ll say Mott the Hoople at the Santa Monica Civic in 1974.
Runaways with Mickey Steele in 1975. Pre-punk. Then of course seeing every show the
Ramones played at the Roxy when I was in high school. Those were definitely life altering shows,
that was the line between what was and The Future.
3. What was the role of women in the early punk scene?
There were women musicians and women photographers. Women rock critics and women band
managers. Women club promoters like Michelle Meyer. Honestly, the majority were just
girlfriends or groupies. I really, really could say otherwise… But whether they played in bands or
paid the bills, they propelled the scene forward. It’s good to see so many more women involved
in every facet of the the music world now, even production. Someday I hope to see the female
Jimmy Page or Jeff Beck!
4. What is the legacy of punk in your life?
I know that punk as a musical genre changed my life completely but punk as a philosophy or
lifestyle was always inside me, even as a child. I always asked too many questions and I was
always an outsider. (Punk as a fashion statement, of course, meant absolutely nothing to me—
my dress-up/act out era was glam.) So I would say my legacy, and punk’s legacy, is to always
think for yourself, don’t join up or give in, and be original. Don’t believe the hype or anything else
unless it comes notarized!
5. What are you listening to now?
The Rize soundtrack, any and all UK psyche comps circa ’66-’70, Jandek, Merry-Go-Round
comp on Revola. Decemberists. Oranger. Feeling nostalgic for Rocket From the Crypt since they
just broke up after 16 years. New bands? Bad Reaction!
6. Do you have any funny or interesting stories to share?
Yes. But they’ll be in the book I write for $$$!
7. Are there any punk women from the early scene that you feel have not been
Mama “Zed” Zampelli- co-owner of Zed Records in Long Beach. Not only did Zed import all the
coolest UK records before anyone else (I had to drive down there every Friday, usually with my
buddy ML), Mama Zed made badges for most of the bands and labels! She even did my tax
returns. R.I.P., she was the coolest mom and owned the real hub of the local scene for years.
Diane Zincavage- graphic artist. She and I both worked at Bomp Records, so I had her design
my first handful of album covers. (She was very close to Frank Gargani from NO magazine and
probably worked with him as well.) She will especially be remembered for creating the Circle
Jerks’ “Group Sex,” the Adolescents’ “Blue Album," China White, TSOL, Salvation Army and
Suicidal Tendencies' first LP.
Donna Santisi- photographer. She never tooted her own horn too much but she was very easy
going and always on the scene, ever since her first pictures of Janis Joplin!
Dee Dee Faye from Back Door Man fanzine, she was just my idol, I knew I could never be that
Johanna Spock Dean, member of Backstage Pass and all around FAN girl. Her enthusiasm is
just always inspirational…
The woman that was half of the POSEUR duo, that store was the great hang-out and she was
super nice. Sorry, can’t recall the name!
8. What is something we should know about you that we probably don't know?
I’ve been a member of the West Memphis Three Support fund since 1998. If you don’t know
who the WM3 are, you should—they’re three men who were convicted of murder with absolutely
no forensic evidence. They were the “weird” kids in West Memphis, AR. I think anyone in the
music scene can relate to being shunned, ridiculed and singled out by authorities for the clothes
they wore, nothing else. I visit them (Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr, and Jason Baldwin) in
prison at least once a year, attend hearings, raise funds, and fulfill all the merchandise orders
through the Frontier offices. I’ve always been fascinated by serial killers but I never dreamed I’d
be involved with the demand for justice for three INNOCENT imprisoned men. I blame the power
of the documentary for getting me off my ass! In many ways this is the most important thing I’ve
ever done, and it’s far from over yet.
And oh yeah, I’m starting my very own documentary! I learned how to be a TV producer after
working at World of Wonder for four years, now I’m starting one about the beginnings of rocket
science in Southern California called "The Birth of the
|Lisa Fancher, captured on film by
Jenny Lens in 1977. Check out
Black Randy in the background.
Thanks again, Jenny!.