Saturday, January 29, 2005

How I came upon Punk... Photos: 1978 ANDROIDS, TOOLS , Toronto


In first year Ryerson ('76 I believe) I had a brief coupling with the one resident punk, evident as he had orange hair and a pink t-shirt with the words PUNK ROCK inscribed on it, by hand no less. He dressed me up in platforms, evening gown and white wig and escorted me to the Hotel Isabella, where I was mistaken along the way for a transvestite and then a hooker! Once seated at the club, we ripped apart a rose and spat it at each other dramatically across the table. A mini riot ensued, where my wig was ripped off and used as a mastubating tool onstage by the band. We were subsequently banned from the club.

"No-one's ever been that affectionate with me..." declared my first punk as he LEFT
ME perplexed but somewhat impressed by the overall severity of it.
(I was into existentialism at the time. Situationists be damned! We were reading Camus and Sartre.)

I was also banned from Larry's Hideaway for instigating another minor riot in the Men's room, and as a consequence, never photographed there!
I took a year off in 1977 / 78, travelling to Hawaii and LA, and essentially getting into a lot of trouble. Sometimes painful, always instructive. There was a fledgling punk scene in LA, but I missed it. I'd believed the press when they said it was for 15 year olds, which at 20 I felt was long past. All I'd heard of the riotous downtown punk clubs were the spitting contests between bands and spectators, which truthfully didn't hold much appeal. Anyway, having no car or license, I was (happily) confined to Venice Beach with my fellow skaters!

The one punk gig I was scheduled to attend never happened. I was backstage with one of my roommates, a would-be groupie who was friends with a local "punk" band. (They looked disappointingly normal, I recall.) It was the "first" annual outdoor festival of Venice street musicians, and probably the last. The band just about to go on when they were suddenly "upstaged" by real life punks of the traditional ilk. We heard popping sounds, which sounded like fireworks, except it was daylight. It turned out that a black gang member had confronted and shot a motorbike gang member, right in the audience. Random bullets were then fired into a crowd of families as the shooter fled the scene. The perpetrator was later cornered and stabbed on the Speedway but amazingly no-one died. As a result, my musical punk rock initiation was put on hold.


My first photo on a Punk Poster, 1979

I returned to Toronto and second year Ryerson (Photography) in Sept. 78.

My career shooting punk bands began in an all night diner! That Thanksgiving I decided to go to Fran's, intending to photograph the kind of people who frequent the place at midnight. I was hoping for old, lonely but photogenic misfits, and instead met a couple of gorgeous and sardonic young guys- not a bad trade-off. One of them placed a curse on my film, predicting that it would never turn out, and offered his phone number for verification of his prescience. I phoned him when the negatives came out blank, and fell instantly in love. (I'd say "we", but I'm no longer sure.) He happened to be a bass player in a local punk band, and there it began! I started shooting his largely unattended and now forgotten gigs, and those of his equally unknown friends. I remember feeling really insecure in the relationship as his lead singer allegedly wanted him to dump me. I didn't look punk enough for her taste (though neither did he in fact) and our infrequent trysts were cutting into practice time. But she appreciated my photography and when the band split, walked off with all the band photos I'd given him.

Wayne eventually joined The BOY'S BRIGADE (let's ignore that) and now works as a producer with Daniel Langlois






and TOOLS photos are on my Indyfoto site.



Eddie Duquenne said...

Very good blog
New Blog New Wave-Indie

Anonymous said...

Hi - does anyone know of or remember a film - shot maybe in 8 mm but probably 16 - of the Androids in concert in 1977. I don't know the venue but I do know it was edited at OCA's film house, Toronto (OCAD now), possibly with Chris Terry at the helm. I don't know if The Funnel was involved - I sorta doubt it. ANy help would be appreciated in locating the film.

About Me

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Linda Dawn Hammond,MFA, AKA Dawn One, is a photographer and journalist. As a teenager in 1976, she began covering music events for various magazines. During the late 70s she became involved in punk, documenting an insider's perspective of the music, political and social scenes in Montreal, Toronto, NYC, the UK and Europe, included in this blog as photographs and commentary. Linda Dawn Hammond continues to work as a photojournalist, specializing in music, cinema, art and politics. As a fine arts photographer, she has exhibited in galleries in North America and the UK, and published widely.