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pogo2posterFINAL2The Last Pogo Jumps Again studies the evolution of Toronto from small town to big city and it’s pop/counter-culture lifestyle during the early and mid-70s.  It centers around the first wave of Toronto punk rock and new-wave music, from the Ramones playing the New Yorker Theatre in ’76 through the police shutting down Teenage Head and causing a riot at the Horseshoe Tavern’s infamous “The Last Pogo” concert in December 1978.

London had the Sex Pistols, New York had the Ramones, but Toronto had a punk movement all it’s own.  The Toronto landscape by the late ’70s was forever changed with the infusion of the DIY/Punk/Alternative Culture(s) movement.  Six years in the making, The Last Pogo Jumps Again successfully explores the whys and wherefores of what was arguably one of the most exciting but misunderstood movements in Toronto’s history.

The DVD contains the 204 minute documentary, plus over a 100 minutes of added material, and a snazzy 24-page booklet.  Check the Shop for details on where you can purchase it.

The Last Pogo (1978) is the documentary that chronicled the last punk rock show at the Horseshoe Tavern when it was run by legendary Toronto promoters The Garys (Topp and Cormier) featuring The Scenics, Cardboard Brains, The Secrets, The Mods, The Ugly, The Viletones and Teenage Head. The Last Pogo was released on DVD in 2008 to great reviews.  Available at the Shop.

December 2006

December 10th, 2006

December 10, 2007.
Karl Stockhausen is dead; Led Zeppelin is alive. And somewhere in
between is their red-haired stepson, Punk Rock, circa 1976 – 1978.
To get a perspective from a second-generation punk, the Pogoers
interviewed ex- Headstones lead singer Hugh Dillon last week.
Alternating between juicy acting roles, and his new band the Hugh Dillon
Redemption Choir, Hugh’s a busy guy, but took time to sit on the edge of
the Horseshoe stage and talk about Teenage Head and what the mystique
of the Horseshoe was (I still theorize that this much-talked ballyhoo
about “mystique” has something to do with the ratty bathrooms, but there
ya go).
Hugh couldn’t say enough about the wisdom and guiding lights of
mentors Gordy Lewis and Frankie Venom and Steve Mahon and — even
though it didn’t actually come up in the interview — we’ve read that he
modeled his character of Joe Dick in Hard Core Logo on the esteemed Mr.
Venom. Hugh was well-prepared for the interview, and gave us a lot of
stuff to work with, including a new word in the English language:
overstand, as in you understand it so well, you overstand it. Pogo HQ
overstands that Hugh will be sending us some before and after photos
Sunday we went down to the Brickworks to revisit Will “The Count” Cork.
We’d interviewed him already last summer, but Will asked for more, ’cause
he recalled a few more things, and so against the backdrop of a massive
exterior set for an American feature film called The Repossession Mambo,
we changed “mambo” to “pogo”, owned it, and shot Will some new
questions. He told us more stories about his good pal, the late great Mike
Nightmare; about taking three hits of window-pane and seeing Iggy and
the Stooges at the old Victory Burlesque in 1972; drinking and listening to
ex-Raving Mojos Blair Richard Martin singing Bob Dylan tunes in Montreal
at a speak-easy they ran; and how much respect he has for — wait for it
— Wayne Newton. The lesson: don’t take LSD! All kidding aside, a great
talk. But really — don’t take it.
Find the Scenics ad below and buy their first album in 30 years; listen for
recording news by The Mods in the new year; look for a show by the
Cardboard Brains; Teenage Head will be releasing a new album of old
material produced by Ramones’ producer Daniel Rey, and featuring Marky
Ramone on drums. Might be a Scenics book out in 2008; might be a book
about being in the scene from the perspective of Cardboard Brains
guitarist Vince Carlucci; and Liz Worth’s tome on
Toronto/Hamilton/London punk should be out in 2008, working title:
Treat Me Like Dirt, edited with Gary Pig Gold. Plus, I hear there’s someone
putting out a book of photos from the scene…and there’s a student at
Ryerson, Daisy MacLean who’s making a punk movie….there’s a woman
out west, Susan Tabata, making a film…
And don’t forget, kiddies, this is the only place on earth you need to go
for holiday presents: Last Pogo t-shirts on sale on this site ; cool metal
sculptures by Screamin’ Sam Ferrara on exhibit and for sale at the
Cameron (and Wednesday night at the Cameron, the long-delayed new
album by Kevin Quain. If you don’t know Kevin’s stuff, you should). Plus
Theresa K’s amazing photos at (links on the links
December 6, 2007. It’s impossible to nail down exactly when punk rock
started anywhere — let alone if the The Last Pogo ended it in 1978 — but
for sure the Toronto scene had it’s punk seeds planted early at the
Original 99 Cent Roxy theatre in the early ’70’s; the amazing rep theatre
run by Gary Topp, (later one of The Garys; member of obscure Toronto
punk bands Punkinheads, and later Corvetz) who would bring the very
best of the best punk bands (and otherwise; the jazz and blues list is just
as impressive) to the New Yorker Theatre, and later The Horseshoe
On any given night at the Roxy there might be a half-dozen of Kenneth
Anger or early John Waters films (including a secret midnight screening of
the uncut Pink Flamingos); a double bill of Truffaut, or Bunuel, or
Antonioni, or Russ Meyers movies; B-movies by Scorcese or Coppola; just
the hippest stuff.
But besides the great movies that were played at the Roxy (“just 243 giant
steps from the Donlands subway!”), it was the music Gary Topp would
play before shows that really nailed it: song-lists on an old reel-to-reel
tape machine, were tailored to the films playing that night; cutting edge
and if it fit, very loud; instead of boring trailers before a show, twenty
minutes of them, the sound muted, the music blaring. There were
contests (with at least one fixed so one of the favourites won) and prizes
(weekend at sleazy hotel across the street; a pinball machine). And — at
the least on the weekends — everybody was stoned. And it just had this
unbelievable cool, fun, and really interesting vibe. And lots and lots and
lots of laughs. Everyone that went to the Roxy heard Roxy Music before
anyone played them; AC/DC when no one knew who they were; the Velvet
Underground, Iggy, Mott the Hoople, Little Feat. The Last Pogo Jumps
Again co-director Blair Richard Martin, ex-Raving Mojos claims that the
Roxy was where he learned to be “cool”; Viletones’ Steven Leckie would go
there; director/producer Brunton worked there (and later at the New
Yorker, then the Horseshoe).
Which leads, in a really long-winded way, who we interviewed today: Mike
Dent, ex of The Dents, and the Pogo braintrust realized that he and
producer/director Brunton had know each other since the early 70’s —
Brunton was an usher at the Roxy, and Mike used to go there. The first
time Mike met Gary Topp was at a screening of Reefer Madness there, and
was apparently kicked out.
We didn’t head out to Victoria, B.C. to interview Mike: we planted our
camera at the computer screen, called him up on Facebook and did a Q &
A for about an hour. He missed The Last Pogo, but talked about being a
roadie for Nash the Slash (who played the Roxy when he was in an
amazing band called Breathless; one of the first concerts Gary Topp
presented; Nash must have been all of 16 years old) on a tour opening for
Gary Neuman; talk about The Dents; a bit of chatter about the bands from
1977/78, and of course, the occasional word about sex and drugs and
rock and roll.
December 2, 2007. To use a worn-out cliche, a sea of humanity poured
into the Horseshoe Tavern last night for the 29th anniversary of The Last
Pogo, and a full crew of The Last Pogo Jumps Again caught it all. Director
Aldo Erdic and four shooters got “classic” footage of the bands that
played; Richard Fiander worked on groovy hand-held shots; and
director/producer Brunton wandered the halls, the back-alley, the
sidewalk out front and the dressing rooms for “fly on the wall” stuff, with
occasional technical help from Fiander and master director of
photography Gerald Packer.
Writer Liz Worth started the night by introducing The Existers, perversely
proud that they didn’t play the original Last Pogo because they’d been
banned that night, a consequence of stealing a couple of mikes from The
Garys months before. They’d had their first practise in 26 years the night
before, but pulled off a way-more-than-credible set, before being
followed by The Screwed, pounding out a “best of” that included the usual
U.K. and NYC standards, as well as trying out their version of the Teenage
Head chestnut, “Picture My Face”. They were followed by audience
favourite (especially the goils), Screamin’ Sam, who was joined by original
Ugly member Tony Torture and a brave Greg Dick (ex The Dream Dates)
who filled in admirably for the late Mike Nightmare.
The afore-mentioned “sea of humanity” crowding the bar and sprawling
onto the tiny smoking section out front included: Chris Haight, Rayme
Mulroney and Randy Johnson, who tried but failed to find
director/producer Brunton and gift him with a Scenics button; Scenics
drummer Mark Perkell who was well chuffed when Brunton told him The
Scenics were his fave back in the day; Little Mosque on the Prairie editor
and Punching Nuns frontman James Bredin; director and producers of
Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, Scot McFayden and Sam Dunn; ex-Curse
Patsy Poison, who not only made the rounds meeting and greeting old
pals, but at one point actually dropped her drawers and stuck a wig over
her privates for the benefit of Pogo cameras (the same wig that Cleave
Anderson used for his stint as a “Raclones” drummer; sorry to break that
to you, Cleave!); Denis “Fast Eddie” Smith was almost never seen not
taking pics of all and sundry (check out this for some of Eddie’s shots);
some record company suits showed up in a stretch limo; The Existers
were caught on tape in the back alley — smoking marijuana!, while
Screamin’ Sam and Colin Brunton were gently lectured by the Horseshoe
bouncer, the neo-Tank, for smoking cigarettes. Chris Haight and Rayme
Mulroney hung out; Solar salesman and Pogo interviewee Dave Watts was
there; Wayne “The Fits” Brown in all his gothic cowboy gloriness snuck
smokes out front, and helped Brunton find the elusive but iconic Pogo
character Roger, who looked awesome and not nearly what her age must
be; Imants Krumins repped Hamilton, and was seen imbibing beers; Zero
seemed to alternate between the bar up front and the dressing rooms
downstairs…and tons more people we either didn’t know by name, or
can’t recall right now. Teddy Fury, ex-Bopcats manned the bar and sold
hundreds of bottles of beer on the wall, hundreds of bottles of beer.
Screamin’ Sam Ferrara didn’t have to battle any of the tech troubles he had
at the original Last Pogo, when he was forced to play a left-handed bass
for the Viletones; Sam only had to deal with all the exes that were there.
By my count, I believe it was either two exes, or one ex and two ex exes.
Or something. But classy dude that he is, he thanked ex Gina Batchelor
who flew in from England for the show by dedicating the set to her.
Screamin’ Sam and The Ugly were followed by the night’s headliners, The
Mods. Obviously pumped and primed for the show, the Mods were really
tight, really loud, entertaining .. and majorly sweaty. Pogo director
Brunton watched in horrified awe as drummer David Quinton slathered his
himself with gel hours before hitting the stage; the mind wandered to
dark and secret places. Big thumbs down to whomever was on the sound
board that night, because when The Mods came on stage for a muchdeserved
encore, the mikes were killed.
After The Mods came The Raclones, one of 324 bands that drummerextraordinaire
Cleave Anderson is currently in; decked out in leather and
wigs, they pounded through a set of tunes from the first album, and then
it was time for the Pogo crew to get back to the ‘burbs.
Make sure to check out the annual sculptures on sale by the one, the
only, loverboy of the late seventies, Screamin’ Sam at the Cameron Tavern.
Opening reception is on Thursday, December 6 at 7:00 p.m. If you’ve
never seen any of Sam’s work, now’s your chance. And if you don’t yet
know what to get for that hard to gift Christmas person, buy one of our tshirts!
Or some Sam stuff. Or a t-shirt, and some Sam stuff.
December 1, 2007. The 29th anniversary of The Last Pogo. Big show
tonight at the Horseshoe, and a full report tomorrow. Meanwhile, here’s a
shot that could sum up the Horseshoe, The Last Pogo, rock ‘n’ roll, and
just plain good times: Hank Williams in Toronto, 1952. We presume it’s at
the Horseshoe, and the Pogo R & D team will certify or deny within days.
November 29, 2007. Thanks to Lisa Millar of Frontline Records in The
Hammer, Pogo HQ was visited today by Dave Rave, ex-Teenage Head
member from the early eighties. Dave’s now into other music (and is
currently short-listed for a Grammy Award), but he regaled us with stories
of Teenage Head, Frankie Venom, Imants Krumins, Paul Kobak, and Gary
Pig Gold; being in grade one with Gord Lewis, and in high-school at the
original rock ‘n’ roll high-school, Westdale High in Hamilton. And he
offered up some interesting insights about Hamilton, punk rock in
general, who he thought the first punk was and lots more. The puzzling
question he wasn’t able to answer though, and one that came to Pogo HQ
in an epiphany last night was this: “Of all the bands that were at The Last
Pogo, why is it that Teenage Head are the only ones who still have all their
hair?” Hopefully this mystery will be cleared up by the time the DVD is
released next December. If you wanna find out more about Dave, click
November 28, 2007. The buzz about Teenage Head’s excellent
performance at the Grey Cup last Saturday is still…well… buzzing. This
morning on a sports radio station a d.j. who hadn’t seen the Head in
twenty years was raving. So we thought that justified us sticking up a few
more pics of the show. Sorry, drummer Jack Peddlar — the Pogo
photographer wasn’t in the right position to get shots of you! He’s since
been fired. (Which is awkward, since he’s a son of Pogo director/producer
Colin Brunton, but whaddya do?!).
Mike from the Hamilton Tiger Cats is sending off some footage of Head
from that night, and a full video should be up and running on the Teenage
Head site, this site, and the oft-neglected Last Pogo YouTube site. Details
And lots of buzz this week about The Last Pogo in general. We just did a
quick phoner interview with Now Magazine for an article coming up about
the Horseshoe’s 60th anniversary, and we dug deep into our archives to
pull out a few gems for the Star, who are publishing an article on the
anniversary this Sunday. And if that ain’t enough, the folks who promote
the Luminata festival in Toronto are hoping to have a screening this June.
We’ll see…
Don’t forget the big show this Saturday at the Horseshoe, the 29th
anniversary of The Last Pogo featuring The Mods, The Existers, The
Screwed, Screamin’ Sam, and The Raclones….and whatever pile of special
guests pop in for a set or two. We’ve got a feeling it might be as packed
this Saturday as it was 29 years ago. We’ve heard from a couple of people
coming from England for the show, and the Pogo Internet Machine is
buzzing with emails of all kinds of folks who are going to take in the
festivities. The main Pogo crew will there filming, with new cameraoperator
Richard Fiander, co-director Aldo Erdic, and a sweet 16-track
sound recorder-thing so we can get some good sound.
November 25, 2007. Went down to the madness of the CFL parties at the
Toronto Convention Center to catch Teenage Head playing in the “Tiger
Town” room. Ran into Little Mosque on the Prairie’s DOP Mark Debroscu,
director Jeff Beesley, and actor Boyd Banks — as well as Wayne Brown, and
Liz Worth.
From the moment Head hit the stage, they owned the audience — and
took names. You could set your watch to Jack Peddler’s
drumming…Steven Mahon shed his usual pose of bored indifference to
laugh, smile and jump around stage; guitar-whiz Gordy Lewis cranked out
a number of blistering solos, a few of which were way raunchier than I’ve
ever heard in a while. And maybe it was the transplanted hometown crowd
that triggered it, but Frankie Venom was spot-on and charming, with still
some of that lurking dangerous aura — and he’s still got moves. He spat
on the stage, swigged only a couple of beer, and welcomed a few drunken
female revellers to join him on stage dancing to one of the many Teenage
Head classics, Lucy Potato. A great, great show. Check out their website
and try and catch these guys. Here’s the website…
November 23, 2007. Bruntons Ollie and Colin visited with CIUT-FM dj /
and master hairstylist Greg Dick, ex of The Dream Dates, at his house in
Kensington Market, and marvelled at a collection of 1978 punk that rivals
that of friend Imants Krumins and Gary Pig Gold. A box full of old buttons
was spilled; Greg revealed that indeed “Dick” was his last name, and that
his grandfather helped build the Titanic. Along with lots of Last Pogo talk,
of course.
This morning Erella “Vent” Ganon sent us a link to an Italian book that has
a big section on Canadian punk. And there were a lot of Italian/Canadians
in the Toronto scene. Lots of cool pics…and I have no idea what the text
is. It’s in French or sumpin. Check it out here.
Getting set to shoot Teenage Head at one of the many Grey Cup parties
this weekend. Teenage Head and the Grey Cup?! How Canadian is that?!
November 15, 2007.
Armed with a handi-cam, a tape-recorder, a couple of hundred bucks and
a return bus ticket, punky scribe Liz Worth ventured down to Philadelphia
to interview Freddy Pompeii and Margarita Passion. Freddy, of course, was
the original Viletones guitarist, and later the front man for The Secrets,
(appearing as such in The Last Pogo) and Margarita ran the original punk
store in Toronto, New Rose. Not only did they both give a great interview,
Margarita even ran the camera while Freddy was being interviewed, and at
the urging of Mr. Pompeii, we got some footage of Rob from the ultracool
store CrashBangBoom. Big thanks to Rob and Stephanie for letting us
shoot there, and big thanks to Liz for getting the footage for us. Not to
mention Freddy and Margarita for letting us get caught up with them.
Check out CrashBangBoom by clicking right about here.
While Liz was chatting up legends Freddy and Margarita, Pogo HQ was
contacted by Gina Batchelor from over the pond in jolly old England, who
supplied us with a pile of photos from 1977-1979. Once we get them rescanned,
we’ll post them.
We also heard from Tara at the Horseshoe Tavern, who are looking for any
photos from “back in the day” to plaster on their walls in time for their
60th Anniversary on December 9, 2007. If you’ve got anything you care to
part with, you get hold of Tara right around here.
Don’t forget the big show at the Horseshoe on December 1st, 2007 — the
29th Anniversary of The Last Pogo. The Mods, The Existers, Raclones,
Screamin’ Sam, The Screwed, and maybe even Cheetah Chrome from The
Dead Boys and Rocket from the Tombs. Big thanks to Bear for the new
handbill added…somewhere on this page.
Found out about some other punk projects: out on the Left Coast,
Vancouverite Susanne Tabata is shooting a film about old-skool punk,
and Ryerson Polytech University film student Daisy MacLean started
shooting her punk rock movie today by interviewing Pogo
producer/director/editor Colin Brunton at the Bovine Sex Club. Tentative
title? Bought the T-Shirt.
And out in L.A., award-winning screenwriter and director William Phillips
(FOOLPROOF, TREED MURRAY) is busy scribbling away at his screenplay
about Teenage Head.
And we’ve gotta thank Andrew Strehler for digging deep and finding
footage of Teenage Head and Keith Whittaker of The Demics doing that
old chestnut, New York City, at the Horseshoe in the early nineties.
And while all that’s going on, we’re ramping up our shooting schedule,
and possibly pulling all-round film guy Ollie Brunton out of a few classes
at high-school so we can keep shooting and shooting and shooting.
Chained to his laptop edit system at Pogo Post Production,
producer/director/editor Colin Brunton is busy solving pesky tech issues,
pulling favours to get old videos transferred, and starting to put
sequences together for the film. With a release date a little over a year
away (December 1st, 2008) we’ve got until late spring/early summer to
catch up to all those folks we still wanna bag and tag.
October 31, 2007. BOO! On Sunday, we interviewed one of the more
beloved characters from the Horseshoe, Dave “Tank” Roberts. As well as
the chat, Tank showed off some of his Ramones’ memorabilia, and gave
us a demonstration on how to throw someone out of a bar. Meanwhile,
back at Pogo Post Production, we’re busy editing, searching out clips,
tracking down leads, putting our nose to the grindstone, and making hay
while the sun shines.
In other Last Pogo bands news, the current issue of Exclaim Magazine has
a short interview with Andy Meyers of The Scenics about the imminent
release of live Velvet Underground covers, How Does It Feel To Be Loved.
Right about … here. We’ll be sure to let you know the minute it’s released
(and it rocks).
And don’t forget The Mods at the Horseshoe Tavern, on December 1st —
the auspicious 29th anniversary of The Last Pogo. Along with The Mods
that night are The Screwed, Raclones, The Existers, and Screamin’ Sam. So,
to paraphrase Freddy Pompeii, “…it’s time to shine your shoes, it’s time to
comb your hair…”, ’cause the Pogo Jumps Again crew will be there, video
camera set to stun, ready to capture one and all for posterity’s sake.
October 22, 2007. We continue to connect with bands, audience members
and other folk who were at The Last Pogo, or at close enough for rock ‘n’
roll. DJ Dave Marsden has said “hello”; we tracked down Dave “Tank”
Roberts; last Sunday we interviewed The Fits’ singer Wayne Brown.
Punky scribe Liz Worth is heading off to Phillie in a few weeks, and we’re
trying to find someone down there who can help her shoot Freddy
Pompeii and Margarita Passion; Nardwuar the Human Serviette supplied us
with The Evaporators’ song Cardboard Brain, and sent us along a snapshot
of Cardboard Brains’ singer John Paul Young.
David Quinton sent us a photo of The Androids, circa 1977, the band he
drummed for before joining The Mods. The lead singer was Ruby T’s. Gary
Pig Gold sent us a jpg of the cover of the Pig Paper from 30 years ago.
And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the 20 hour marathon that
Nardwuar will be doing to celebrate his 20 years of interviews.
The Scenics are fine-tuning some details before releasing their new CD,
How Does It Feel To Be Loved, a CD of live Velvet Underground covers;
The Mods are getting ready for a gig at the Horseshoe Tavern on
December 1st, 2007; rumour has it that the Cardboard Brains might get
together for a gig with The Screwed; and thanks to Wayne Brown, we’ve
just got our hands on never-before-seen footage of Wayne and Freddy
Pompeii, and Wayne with Screamin’ Sam and Tony Torcher; and if that ain’t
enough, he also dug up a piece we’ve been hunting for, for a while: Rick
Moranis as Chet Brinkley struggling through a Viletones review from
October 14, 2007. Now that Little Mosque on the Prairie is wrapped for
another season, producer/director Colin Brunton is busy reviewing all the
footage shot to date since June, 2006, and Pogo HQ is buzzing with postproduction
activity. Looking at over 100 hours of footage, we can finally
see the forest, ’cause those pesky trees aren’t in the way anymore.
With late-night calls to editor Ryan Noth, and words of sage advise from
Pogo director Tristan Orchard, we’re starting to piece together the grand
puzzle of THE LAST POGO JUMPS AGAIN, fussing through Final Cut
software, and seeing what the missing pieces really are.

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