LA punk / New Wave history 1980s
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the early
L.A. new wave
& punk scene

and annotated
by Number 36






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Los Angeles Punk Rock 1980s Billy Eye Punk Rock Articles


In the early eighties, young people in Los Angeles were going to makeshift clubs in droves to see new up and coming bands. Live new music, not DJs, was what they wanted to hear. These writings provide a sketchy look at the underground club scene in Los Angeles during the time that bands like X, The Go-Go's, The Minutemen, Red Wedding, Missing Persons and Wall of Voodoo came into the public consciousness.

This unusual 'new music' column, co-written by Billy Eye and Judy Zee, was buried in the pages of a gay entertainment magazine called Data-Boy, which had a decades long publishing history in West Hollywood. The magazine was circulated free through the gay bars and clubs all over Southern California and San Francisco; these articles appeared bi-weekly for two years (and then very irregularly) beginning in October of 1980 and read like a diary of a time now long gone.

LA punkTypically, Billy Eye wrote the first half of the articles, then Judy Zee followed up with her comings and goings. Their world revolved around small, dark dives like The Brave Dog and Al's Bar downtown, in floating clubs like The Veil and in established Hollywood icons like The Whisky, The Starwood, The Roxy and The Odyssey. This was truly a golden age of live music in LA.

The emerging Downtown/East LA music scene was highlighted frequently in Billy Eye's articles, where he covered the growing punk underground club happenings in and around the downtown Los Angeles area - with pivotal groups like Nervous Gender, Los Illegals, 45 Grave, Red Wedding, Kommunity Fk, X, The Brat, The Fibinacci's, The Minutemen getting the most coverage.

Judy Zee reviewed performances by a number of artists including John Hiatt, John Cale and David Bowie in addition to the fringe of known musical styles that she was exploring on the west side of LA in clubs like Blackies and Club 88. Judy was especially fond of girl groups and took time to share her thoughts about life in general in early-eighties LA.

Judy Zee (real name Judy Zanders) was a friend of mine, she lived in Venice and was a typesetter for Data-Boy Magazine.

Judy looked to all the world like the last hippie in So Cal, with her waist length blond hair, loose fitting dresses and strong California accent. With a keen eclectic musical taste and a penchant for the bizarre, Judy often teamed up with ascerbic Venice artist/scenester Punkasso in some of her 1981 articles. The two rarely agreed with one another and this made for some entertaininig, if mildly confusing, reading. Judy Zee was trying to push the format - to her, that was what the era was all about.

I lost touch with Judy in 1984 but remember seeing a blurb in the LA Weekly in 1986 with Judy Zee's name on it. It was in a regular feature of the paper that listed a notable person's top ten favorite albums and, to my surprise, her picks were all heavy metal. Surprising to me, because in her columns, she never passed up an opportunity to savage the heavy metal poseurs of the early-eighties and referred to a short but bittersweet relationship with Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue (then called London).

Judy Zee stopped writing her portion of the column in late-1981 while Billy Eye continued to contribute only very sporadically over the next few years; that's because they both left the employ of Data-Boy magazine in 1981. Billy Eye is better known as Billy Ingram.

I remember attending a few of the same parties and club dates that are written about here. Those were great times, fond memories. I particularly enjoyed reading about the rise up through the clubs of two LA bands - one that made it (Missing Persons) and one that didn't (Red Wedding).


Some of the articles are missing, but we will continue to transcribe more as they are found.

We would like to include updates on what the musicians and artists mentioned here are up to today, so if anyone knows the whereabouts of any of the people written about here please E-mail us.

This website was first created in 1994, updated in 2006.


Punk Rock Los Angeles


10-7-80 The first article, The Masque, Punk bands, Darby Crash & The Germs, The Garage

10-21-80 The Toasters, Great Buildings, The Go-Gos

11-2-80 New Wave nights in Hollywood, T.S.O.L, Shandi, The Smog Marines

11-16-80 Grace Jones, The Nobodys, Billy Sheets and the Elites, The Talking Heads

12-1-80 Hollywood Boulevard 'punks'

12-27-80 End of the year wrap-up, The Naughtie Sweeties, Dead Kennedys, Fear, punk riot in the OC

12-27-80 David Bowie as The Elephant Man

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1-05-81 Devo, Rock Against Racism

1-19-81 John Hiatt and The Toasters at the Starwood

2-03-81 Wendy O Williams, London aka Motley Crue, and Live Nude Girl

2-17-81 The Veil, Darby Crash death, Phil Seymour and The Textones

3-5-81 New wave night at the Odyssey, Ray Manzerek

3-19-81 The East LA scene, Hey Taxi!, The Rentz, The Plugz, The Detour, Human Sexual Response

3-19-81 Judy Zee on LA radio in 1981

4-02-81 Tonio K & Romeo Void, Oki-Dog, Flippers, A week in the LA clubs

4-16-81 XTC, Wall of Voodoo, Madame
Wong, and The Pop

4-30-81 U2 and Missing Persons

5-14-81 Billy Eye Rock Awards, Manakin

5-28-81 Missing Persons at the Topanga Corral

6-11-81 The Brat, Parapalegic Infants in Downtown LA and U2 in Santa Monica

6-25-81 Performance artist Adore O'Hare, downtown clubs, Red Wedding

6-25-81 Missing Persons in Westwood

7-09-81 Los Illegals, The Brat in Hollywood, Al's Bar, Johanna Went, Jerry Lee Lewis

7-09-81 John Cale live at The Whisky

7-23-81 Brave Dog, Stiff Little Fingers with Missing Persons, The Grandmothers

8-06-81 Bow Wow Wow, Malcolm McLaren, Mad Society, Ian Hunter , and the new psychedelia

8-22-81 Missing Persons, Jean Pierre Rampal

9-07-81 Filming at the Brave Dog, Red Wedding, Atomic Cafe, The Stains, Los Illegals, East LA bands

10-06-81 KROQ of the '80s, hardcore EPs, Missing Persons at The Whisky

10-20-81 West Hollywood & the end of The Starwood

4-7-82 New Wave Theatre, Aphotic Culture, The Waitresses and The Plimsouls

5-07-82 In the clubs, The Spoons, Nick Lowe, Madame Wong's West, Angry Samoans, Motley Crue

5-21-82 Interview with Terry Bozzio in 1982

8-27-82 Missing Persons, Red Wedding at the Whisky, Dream Syndicate, The Untouchables, The Go-Gos, Orange County hardcore

1-12-83 End of the year, Minutemen, Fear, Gun Club, Theoretical party, KROQ, Missing Persons

3-14-85 Red Wedding closes The Odyssey in 1985


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