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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.

Hey, ho — let’s Pogo!

Colin Brunton and Tommy Ramone.
Kire Paputts snapped this photo after Tommy autographed the bumper sticker.

After a month of down-time, we’re back with a slightly slicked up and slimmed down website and all the stuff we’ve been doing since we last left you in March…

While we gone, The Scenics snuck into town. With Andy Meyers on the left coast on Salt Spring Island and the other Scenics scattered around southern Ontario, rehearsals were taped in Toronto, sent by passenger pigeon to Andy, who’d jam and sing and add and subtract notes and riffs and after a while flew to Toronto to meet the band, version 2008: long-time partner/co-creator Ken Badger, drummer Mark Perkell and bassist Mike Young. Gary Topp presented them at the original scene of the crime, the Horseshoe Tavern with lots of family and old friends there for the occasion. They had to duck out of an interview at CIUT-FM when technology failed and everything fell apart (through no fault of interviewer Greg Dick, I should add); they got lost in the wilds of Hamilton on the way to an interview with B.F. Mowat; charged through a sweat-soaked hour and forty-five at Club Absinthe, made the hearts grow fonder, and then back to Toronto (didn’t get lost this time) for a final last blast at the Dakota Tavern.

Here to have fun, make noise, and promote their awesome and audacious CD “How does it feel to be Loved”, (on ITunes!) a collection of live Velvet Underground covers, the Scenics were big and noisy and as hell-bent creative as ever, doing old tunes new ways and new tunes old school, and looking forward to coming back in June when for NXNE.

On Friday night directors Richard Fiander and Kire Paputts headed down to Healey’s Roadhouse (r.i.p. Jeff Healey) for the Teenage Head record release of their new album, Teenage Head with Marky Ramone, a collection of olden-goldies and total-effin-goodies redone with you guessed it, legendary drummer (two terms of duty with the Ramones; drummer with the most service) Marky Ramone. The former Ramones drummer couldn’t make it up here, but we got lots of good back-stage stuff, one-liners, antics and chatter and then the show for the sold-out crowd. Tight, fun, the kind of shows they’ve been doing off on and for, oh, thirty years (!). In June, they head out west for an all-too-rare trip beyond the city limits, so take note all you cowboys and cowgirls, yee-haw, Teenage Head are comin’ to town! But seriously, kids, you get a chance, go see them.

Awesomely enough, the next day we hooked up with…drumroll, pleaseTommy Ramone, the last man standing of the original fabulous four, the first manager, the producer, the guy who helped with Band of Gypsys with Jimi Hendrix when he was a teenager, the one, the only. In town for gigs with his new bluegrass band Uncle Monk (named after jazz icon Thelonious Monk and painter Edvard Monck, and “because it sounds cool”). The interview was pulled together by uber-promoter and all-round good guy Gary Topp. Tommy offered up his theories on punk rock, the line from punk to bluegrass, a bit of Ramones 101 (“Joey and Dee Dee were there for fun. Me and Johnny were on a mission…to bring rock ‘n’ roll back to America”). At the end of the interview, Tommy signed the Pogo Mobile Unit’s bumper-sticker — and that’s why we’ll never wash our truck again.

Finishing up the weekend and saving ‘best ’til last, Brunton’s Ollie and Colin finally made visit #1 with legendary promoter Gary Topp who told tales of rock ‘n’ roll, Steven “Nazi Dog” Leckie, drunk cops, misadventures, the genius and genesis of punk and the lasting effect. With a steel-trap mind (and a firm-handshake, I might add) Gary talked about gigs by Suicide and The Contortions and Edie the Egg Lady and Mike DeVille, how Gus the cook would brandish a knife and threaten Nash the Slash when he’d play the Horseshoe (“too loud, too loud!”) — endless great stores and insights. He brought us down to a basement cubby-hole to file cabinets stuffed with handbill, newspaper clippings, pictures, all sorts of stuff.

Please bear with us — we’re still working out the kinks with the new website, digging up the old archives, and picking pretty pictures to show off. We plan to update at least weekly, so please check in later.

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