Thursday, May 10, 2007
Punk Turns 30's tribute to the ladies of punk continues with Diane Chai of the Alley Cats. Here she is standing outside the Whisky A Go Go on Lobotomy Night. With her Ronnie Spector-meets-punk rock-chic, Diane Chai was the kind of girl that boys wanted and girls wanted to be. She and Alley Cats singer/guitarist, Randy Stodola are a real-life husband and wife team.
Although many bands do trace their routes back to LA's South Bay, back in the early days of punk rock, it seemed like the South Bay was owned by the Alley Cats, The Last, and The Minutemen. The filter of semi-suburban life mixed with the waterfront roughness of San Pedro (the Port of Los Angeles) contributed to the themes these punks wrote about. Its easy to see how hardcore grew out of the South Bay.
Though short-lived, this power trio made a serious mark and continue to influence punk rock. I was thrilled to hear one of my favorite currently-working power trios, River City Tanlines from Memphis cover the Alley Cats' "Nothing Means Nothing Anymore" (its a 7" single b/w "Devil Made Me Do It," which you can get from Contaminated Records of Memphis...and you should; I have it.)
Back in the day, The Alley Cats worked as hard as anyone, and maybe even harder. I think I saw them play in San Francisco more than I did in LA! The Alley Cats performance was a furious, no-nonsense, straight-forward rock n roll assault. Lean and mean, no frills, just punk rock purity.
Both Randy and Diane were two of the nicest people in punk rock, and I wish I knew what they were up to these days. While other bands from the South Bay had and continue to get a lot of press, memoirs and notices, there is still a lot of love and sentiment for the Alley Cats. I found a couple links on the web attesting to that love...Common Thread Punk is one of them. And I'm not sure if any of the Alley Cats members themselves constructed this growing myspace page, but its there for the checking out. Its got music!
happy birthday to sid vicious! who would have been 50 today