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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.

I’ll take today, you take tomorrow

Teenage Head/Last Pogo display at Dr. Disc’s in The Hammer

It’s been a busy week since the passing of iconic Teenage Head frontman Frank “Frankie Venom” Kerr.  Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and now the dust is settling.   No word yet on any official tributes, but once we know, you’ll know.

Pogo H.Q. cut a cheque for Frankie’s children today (and we urge you to do the same;  details in the blog below), and sent along a few copies of The Last Pogo.   As mentioned in the previous blog, Frank’s immediate family hadn’t seen much of him in action, and in fact were somewhat surprised at the huge turnout for the three visitations last weekend.  At the least, our little DVD will give them a glimpse of what the fuss was all about.

Last Sunday, new Ugly frontman Greg Dick had Pogo director Colin Brunton on for a couple of hours, and it was fun.  Of course they started off the show –after the hilarious Mr. Rogers opening — with a Teenage Head song — Kissin’ the Carpet — and then got into the interview proper for a couple of hours.  Brunton played some favourites from his childhood (Good Thing by Paul Revere & The Raiders, Caught in a Dream by Alice Cooper) and even admitted that his guilty pleasures in high-school included the standard Led Zeppelin but also…uh…Jethro Tull and others too embarrasing to mention in print.  Greg asked about working at Gary Topp’s The Original 99 Cent Roxy back in the early seventies (there’s another blog in here somewhere with a story about that) and the through-line that went Roxy to the New Yorker and then The Horseshoe, and how much all of those places planted creative seeds into the brains and souls of many who would become part of the Toronto punk community.   Two things were apparent:  Brunton mentioned drugs and said “Y’know” a lot.  (Hey, he barely graduated high-school, whaddya want?).   Of course, two hours isn’t nearly enough time to lay out all the fun punk facts from back in the day, and after it was over, both Dick and Brunton realized they’d forget to mention tons of people, not the least being Stephen Davies, who both drummed for The Dishes and The Everglades, and had his fingers in many a creative pie.  And then there’s Tony Malone, and The Diodes, and The B-Girls, and The Curse, and…hey, you know the names.   Memories were a little rusty too, but not bad for a couple of middle-aged fellas.   A phone in fact check by Gary Topp clarified that yes, Wayne County and band had to sleep in the New Yorker Theatre after their gig there in 1977, and that was when they watched for the first time The Rocky Horror Picture Show.   Recounting one of his most memorable shows at the Horseshoe — Suicide — Topp also cleared that up:  Teenage Head opened, the joint was packed, and as soon as they left the stage, the audience left the building, leaving only about a dozen people to watch an intense and almost frightening show by Suicide.   They never got around to playing Edie the Egg Lady or Herb Alpert, but did manage to spin a few discs, and tell lots of tales out of school.

Initially uncomfortable with the timing of Frankie’s death and the long-planned release date of The Last Pogo DVD, we’ve kept ourselves busy popping off copies to various indie record stores, and today sent a couple of boxes to Dr. Disc in Hamilton.  Owner Mark Furukawa has set up a nice Teenage Head display, and is going to help promote the upcoming December Last Pogo screening at Lou Molinaro’s new digs, details to follow.   Mark has also generously promised to send one dollar from each DVD sold to Frankie’s family.  You can find out in a blog below just where you can buy the DVD, and we’ll add more stores as they come in.

It looks like we won’t be shooting any new material for The Last Pogo Jumps Again until the New Year, but we will of course have the cameras humming for the big Last Pogo 30th Anniversary Bash at the Horseshoe Tavern, on Saturday November 29th.  Ten lousy bucks gets you in, and it promises to be a great show.   The Scenics (the original line-up from 1979) start the show off around nine, fresh from a Hamilton gig the night before, and after a week of recording a new album of both new and old material.   Mickey DeSadist never got to play the original Last Pogo back in 1978, but he’s graciously agreed to pull together the Forgotten Rebels and take the stage.  Next up will be a screening of The Last Pogo, and then the second half of the show starts off with original Viletone (and Toronto’s first real punk rocker) Steven Leckie unveiling a new sound with a new band, Steven Leckie and The Solutions! (the exclamation mark is part of the name, not that we’re not excited anyways).  Steven promises a show like you’ve never seen before, but don’t think you’ll be hearing old chestnuts like Screamin Fist or Possibilities — this is all new stuff.   Following Leckie will be one or other of the original line-up of power-pop punkers The Mods, and Greg Dick replacing the late Mike Nightmare in The Ugly, featuring original members Steve Koch, Tony Torture and Screamin’ Sam.  In between the scheduled acts DJ O.P.P. of Toronto record store Hits ‘n’ Misses will be spinning vintage punk vinyl.  And while organizers David Quinton and Greg Dick have things planned out in detail, you know there’s always the good chance that a little anarchy will break out.   Watch out for some surprise guests and drop-ins;  it should be a great show.   Advance tickets at the Horseshoe, Rotate This, Soundscapes, Ticketmaster and Hits ‘n’ Misses.

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