San Francisco had a pretty good scene back then – not, it seemed to us, as good as London or LA or New York (the Bay Area cultural inferiority complex), but not bad. The Mabuhay Gardens (aka, the Fab Mab) in San Francisco’s North Beach was one of the main venues for live shows, along with the Savoy Tivoli, though I was living in the East Bay at the time, and tended to prefer venues I could walk home from – like the Dew Drop Inn on San Pablo and the excellent, outrageous Barrington Hall.
Of all the local bands playing then – including Flipper, The Dead Kennedys, Pop-O-Pies, etc., etc. – my favorite was The Avengers. They were really only together for about two years, so many people have only heard this awesome band through their Pink Album, a record released in 1983, long after the band split up, which contained high-quality recordings of all their best material.
Out of print and hard to find for many years, The Pink Album has now been re-released, following a number of reunion shows over the last five years by members of the original band, including lead singer and star presence Penelope Houston, who has had a successful solo career in the years since The Avengers.
At least one of those reunions, the show at CBGB’s in 2006, is available on YouTube, but you can also take a trip in the wayback machine and check them out at the source – in a show at The Fab May in 1978:
- The Pink Album – Amazon.com.
- YouTube – Flipper – Live Target Video 1980-81 – see if lead singer Bruce Loose in this video doesn’t remind you just a bit of Doogie Howser/Dr. Horrible/How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris.
- YouTube – Dead Kennedys – Holiday In Cambodia – live in 1981.
- PUNKCAST#1028 Avengers – CBGB NYC – Sep 8 2006 – stream of recent show by reunited Avengers
- ‘Punk Passage: 1977-1981’ – SFGate.
- Punk: The Whole Story – by Mojo Magazine – Powells.com
- Punk ’77: An Inside Look at the San Francisco Rock N’ Roll Scene, 1977 – Powells.com
- My First Time: A Collection of First Punk Show Stories :: AK Press.
- Savoy Sound Wave Goodbye | Last Days of Man On Earth