Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Up front and center for the Avengers: Penelope Houston. They embodied the best of all punk rock, those Avengers – releasing records on the cool LA punk label, Dangerhouse, they were also an important part of the scene in their hometown, San Francisco.
Avengers play the People's Temple in San Francisco
Like other San Francisco punks, they expressed way more politics than other American punk bands. The Dils come to mind, although the Kinman Brothers have called many Western cities “home.”
Dils at the People's Temple, same show with the Avengers
San Francisco was also home of the Dead Kennedys, whose name alone reflected their irreverent attitude for the politics of the day and then there was front man Jello Biafra’s campaign to become Mayor of the City by the Bay in the middle of punk rock’s reign.
Penelope sang with conviction anthems like “We Are the One,” and “The American in Me.” At times, she wore the requisite punk haircut – blonde and spiky – and she looked better in that unforgiving ‘do than anyone else. Like Billy Idol, her appearance was the ultimate in punk hair fashion. Other times, Penelope looked like a hippie with her flowing white skirt, flowing blonde hair and bare feet. But that’s all surface stuff. Stuff the camera loves, for sure.
I do believe that the Avengers, especially Penelope could have become huge stars in the music game, but they stayed true to their punk rock roots. After several years of exploring solo options, Penelope and band have started doing shows as The Avengers again, much to the delight of their fans, both from back in the day, and new ones. Keep up with them!
Penelope on Rodney on the ROQ, 1978