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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.

That Was The Year That Was

In January we got some great photos of The Government (Flat Tire, Hemingway Hated Disco Music);  add Bobbe Besold as yet another of the terrific photographers there were in Toronto back in the mid-seventies.   Our total count so far is 612 photos spread over our four hour movie.

We discovered http://chuckmanothercollection.blogspot.com/ and John Chuckman’s awesome collection of postcards.  Unfortunately, not enough dpi to show on the big screen.

How cool was Yonge Street back in the mid-seventies?!  Note that this was even before the “famous” neon record that Sam the Record Man erected in the late seventies.   As with much of what made Toronto cool, virtually none of the stores in this picture still exist.

The Last Pogo Jumps Again co-filmmaker (along with Kire Paputts) Colin Brunton sketched out this rough map as a guide for Montreal artist (and ex-punker from the band American Devices) Rick Trembles in order to create a slicker full-colour map.

We tried (and failed) to get permission to feature a few seconds of the Bunuel/Dali short masterpiece Un Chien Andalou.  Too bad.  Many people will recall Nash the Slash performing for the first time at Gary Topp’s Original 99 Cent Roxy Theatre his musical accompaniment to the film.  Jaws dropped.  Five years later, Pogo filmmaker Colin Brunton would copy the famous eye-slitting scene for his first film, a short called Bollocks that he made with Liz Aikenhead.   Bollocks was in part shot at Club Davids, the infamous gay bar by night, punk bar by later in the night, and featured performances by The Viletones and The Ugly, and appearances by scene notables Wayne Brown and Mr. Shit.    Brunton purchased a sheep’s eye for the scene, just like Lou and Sal did;  a safety pin was used instead of a razor.  Good times.

A fascination with the 1976 – 1980 punk/new-wave scene in Toronto continued as (excellent) photographer Don Pyle’s photo album Trouble in the Camera Club was released in April 2011.

We got our first draft of the map of Toronto circa 1977 from Montreal artist Rick Trembles.   He also drew up maps of Southern Ontario, the U.S., and Canada, pointing out some of the punk hotspots, i.e. CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City in NYC, The Smiling Buddha in Vancouver and the cities Toronto, Hamilton and London in Southern Ontario.

In April 2011, co-filmmaker Kire Paputts packed up the equipment and took the bus down to Philadelphia (that’s just how we roll, people) to re-interview Toronto scenesters Freddy Pompeii, guitarist for the original line-up of The Viletones, and later lead singer of The Secrets;  and Margarita Passion, who used to own New Rose, the cool clothing and record store hang-out on Queen Street East back in the day.

Rick Trembles continued to awe us with his comic-strip rendition of the day back in 1977 when Joey Shithead and his band The Skulls (who would soon later morph into D.O.A.) borrowed the stage at the infamous Gasworks Tavern (the name “Gasworks Tavern” now copyright Mike Myers if you can believe it) from the power pop trio Goddo.  Needless to say, neither was impressed with the other.

Shock Theatre impresario, artist, filmmaker, LSD and music fan William “The Count” Cork showed filmmakers Brunton and Paputts the crypt at Mt. Pleasant Cemetary that he and Ugly singer Mike Nightmare slept in for a six month period back in 1978 or so.  Bill told us that a Vietnamese colonel told him that because they slept under the surface of the ground at a cemetary, they were able to become invisible.   Brunton and Paputts then think:  “Intervew of the year.”

In May, sad news:  super fan and collector Imants Krumins passed away.   Later in the year, the Forgotten Rebels would dedicate their live CD to him.  Much beloved in Hamilton and Toronto, we managed to snag an interview with him when we started this project in 2006;  Imants supplied us with tons of handbills and info.  He’s credited as “Lead Archivist” in the credits to our film.

In June 2011 one of the last band interviews was conducted when Brunton and Paputts drove down to the Beaches area of Toronto to speak with Michaele Jordana and Doug Pringle of The Poles.  Noteworthy for the anthemic single C.N. Tower, The Poles were always slightly controversial, but not how they’d like:  there were quite a few punkers in Toronto that didn’t feel that, somehow, they were as genuine, say, as The Viletones, Teenage Head, The Ugly, Scenics, Martha and the Muffins, The Secrets, The Mods, etc. were.   So — the question of validity was asked, feelings were hurt, and months later, after not being able to come to terms for a music license for C.N.Tower (ridiculous, by the way!) the whole segment and any mention of the band whatsoever was dropped from the film.

We found a photographer in NYC with the uber-NYC moniker Nicky L who licensed us some Super-8 footage of The Ramones at the New Yorker, September 1976.  With bootleg audio of the same show from Randy Johnston and Gail Wetton (who also gave us the ticket stub above), we pieced together the exact moment they hit the stage and changed Toronto music oh those three decades ago.  We’re currently trying to negotiate a deal for the music and are actually 3/4 of the way there.  But that last quarter is a bitch.  More on that later.  Ugh.

Cardboard Brains copyright Vince Carlucci.

After several somewhat unsettling emails from Cardboard Brains‘ lead singer and co-founder (along with guitarist Vince Carlucci) John Paul Young, we gave up hope of ever getting permission to use an original Brains song in the movie.  Boo!  We’re currently scratching our heads on how to solve that one, but hey — out of the 50 songs we wanted to license for the movie, we’ve only lost about four (and we’re still continuing to fight for three of those) so if our movie were, like,  The Toronto Blue Jays, and the filmmakers were the fourth and fifth batters?  We’d be knocking it out of the park!

Our very first Skype interview and our very last band interview, was with the lovely and talented Sally Cato, live from her apartment in NYC.  Former lead singer of The Concordes, The Androids, and later, post-Toronto, Smashed Gladys, Sally gave us a great intervew, and some Super-8 footage of The Androids to boot.  Hey-o!

Picked up a remastered live track of Drastic Measures from ex-Measures and ex-Dishes Tony Malone;  found some hilarious Super-8 footage of the Forgotten Rebels.  And in a thrilling coup, received permission to use an old SCTV clip of the Agoraphobic Cowboy, Rick MoranisThanks, SCTV!  Thanks Mr. Moranis!

Nash the Slash, copyright Paul Till.

Photographer Paul Till sent us a few more pictures of Nash the Slash, for the ‘before and after’ style we’ve been using throughout the film with people we’ve interviewd.  Of course with Nash, he looks eerily similar in photos from 1977 as he does in the interview we did with him in 2007.  Nash was actually scheduled to play The Last Pogo in 1978, as, like the rest of the bands that evening (Scenics, Secrets, Cardboard Brains, Mods, Ugly, Viletones, Teenage Head) he was one of promoters The Garys’ favourites, but punched a wall in his loft above The Original 99 Cent Roxy Theatre and broke his hand.  

We had our third interview with Dishes and Drastic Measures songster Tony Malone in September, visiting him and his pit-bull Bella in Toronto’s west end.  We needed to clarify a point about The Dishes, arguably the first band in Toronto who felt New-Wavish, and who clearned a lot of decks on Queen West for OCA bands and others.

In October we recalled the death three years earlier of Teenage Head singer Frankie Venom.   Around the same time, we finally finalized the Teenage Head songs (seven versions of six songs;  hey, we don’t fuck around!) and completed the deal with Gordie Lewis.  In December we found some more footage (beautiful 16mm black and white) of The Original 99 Cent Roxy Theatre through Facebook pal Talis Briedis which we hope to incorporate.

And now we’re just waiting for a handful of release forms to come back to Pogo H.Q.  Once done, we start the sound edit and mix, and then scheme up the release pattern and festival plans.  Our near six year task is almost done.  Which is bittersweet.

Cheers

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