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Baby steps to a new era vol. V

Parthenogennesis - 1980 (Mousiko Express issue 24)

Parthenogennesis - 1980 (Mousiko Express issue 24)

Advertisement of the forthcoming gig of the band Parthenogennesis. The band would play live on Sunday October 26 1980.

They never released their matterial – check past postings.

Parthenogenesis 2 - the Makridis accident

Parthenogenesis 2 - the Makridis accident

Funny advertisement of the same gig , with the band announcing that bass player George Makridis (he would form later the band Forward Music Quintet) broke his leg. The gig wasn’t canceled.

Spyridoula - Tiffany's (Mousiko Express issue 4 - 1979)

Spyridoula - Tiffany's (Mousiko Express issue 4 - 1979)

Advertisement of the forthcoming shows of the classic rock band Spyridoula at the Tiffany’s Rock Club. Spyridoula reached a cult status during the next years. This comes from 1979.

Infa Riot - TVC - FMQ 1983

Infa Riot - TVC - FMQ 1983

T.V.C. and Forward Music Quintet supporting the english punk rock band Infa Riot. T.V.C. was the band of Panx Romanas’s drumer Dimitris Dimitrakas, oriented in a more new wave sound. Forward Music Quinter were George Makridis new band.

Flower Of Romance 1985

Flowers Of Romance 1985

Poster of the band The Flowers of Romance for their gig on April 24 1985. The band would achieve cult status in the following years – check past and forthcoming postings.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2009 in Baby steps to a new era, Posters/Ads

 

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Baby steps to a new era vol.IV

Poster

Poster

I guess there are a lot of people out there that would like to have it .

Thanks to a friend (hello Marios) it came to my possesion and it might make  somebody’s weekend.

The poster of a historic event that took place in Sporting basket ball stadium in 1982 or 1983…I seem to forget lately…

Birthday Party, The Fall and New Order.

Metro Decay, Magic De Spell and Forward Music Quintet.

The 80’s were not that bad after all 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2008 in Baby steps to a new era, Posters/Ads

 

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Baby steps to a new era vol. III

Vanakos

Vanakos

Now, this might make some “old timers” crack a smile.

George Vanakos was the owner (and propably he still is) of the “new wave” store “Remember 79” in Plaka, Athens.

Following the punk fashion of the late 70’s, “Remember” was the place where rich young fashion victims could buy their clothes, badges, record albums, hair spreys and all that was needed for someone to look “cool”.

Since Plaka was the center of the Athenian punk underground, the store soon became a target for the young punks who didn’t like such an exploitation of their ideals.  Sometimes the owner was standing terrified in front of the broken glass windows of his store trying to find where the Hell this brick came from.  Since punks were leaving the place without paying for what they got, the owner decided to use cameras to cut down his loss…  A couple of years later, a new shop opened in a different area by the name “Plaza” (this was owned by punks) so the “brick incidents” against “Remember” stopped.

Meanwhile, on the other hand, the Greek goverment decided to turn the whole area of Plaka into a tourist attraction so, since the punk clubs had to change location, the punks had to leave too.

back sleeve

back sleeve

George Vanakos was a member of the band Sybligades and I am not quite sure whether this very single was released to promote his “Remember 79” store or simply to express himself…

In any case, the label belongs to “Remember 79” and states the year of release as “1980”.  On the back sleeve, the year of release is stated as “1981”…

What we got here are two new wave songs by the titles: “If You Want To Go To Amsterdam / You Say You Are A Good Boy“.  I won’t  review this single as I find it  hilarious.

So, for those of you who haven’t heard of these songs, I’ve uploaded the back sleeve so you can at least read the lyrics… where there was a strong suggestion to the listener to visit the city of Amsterdam… cause you can “see them fucking on the road”… 

Johnny Alex is mentioned as bass player.  This is the name of Johnny Vavouras of the Vavoura Band.

In 1983 I attended an Infa-Riot gig in the basketball stadium of Panellinios in Athens.  The Greek band of TVC opened for Infa-Riot and everything was fine till they played a Sex Pistols cover and the punk audience started throwing empty (of course…) beer cans at them. 

Since the audience hadn’t forgetten the “Remember” store, when Vanakos entered the stadium to watch the show, the empty beer cans changed direction and within a short time there was a small aluminum hill  forming in front of his feet…

“Remember 79” still operates in Plaka selling new wave stuff, I hope without any further problems like the ones of the past… but I guess they are doing well since they opened as second store on Myconos island.

The last time I met Vanakos was during the 90’s in a gallery where he was exhibiting a number of his paintings. 

He never released anything else.

Back in the early 80’s, one of the clerks of “Remember 79” was Glaufx Garland (aka Stefanos Koukoulomatis), of the experimental band Viridian Green, which later started his own record label, Capp.

“Plaza” operated for a few years on Voukourestiou Street and was closed after the sudden death of the owner.

P.S. I can’t remember how I got this single…

*CLARIFICATION NOTATION OF ALBUM ARTWORK:  It should be duly noted that drummer Thanos Papapostolou (Θάνος Παπαποστόλου) plays only on the track “If You Want To Go To Amsterdam”.

 

Baby steps to a new era vol. II

Why is it that the major labels of Greece were never interested in exporting all these bands?

I suppose, partly, the answer is simple:

Let’s say the mother major record label (we’ll name it “X” label) opens a branch in some country … er … Greece, for example. 

The branch has to distribute or re-press the releases of this foreign “x” label.  They are allowed to use some of the profit to sign local artists (bouzouki musicians) and to distribute them not only in Greece, but to also distribute them elsewhere, too.

However, there is a catch.

The Greek branch can sign a Greek rock band too but the “x” label won’t be interested in exporting these artists out of Greece.

Why ?

Metro Decay – Σκιές (engl: Skies – Shadows)

Cause the “x” label has its own signed local artists and doesn’t want other foreign artists (that sound almost the same as the local ones) to do some serious damage and lose good money.

Skip the accent thing. 

In this world there are more people speaking English (some with weird accents anyway) than Americans and English.  It’s like Marianne Faithful said: “Don’t say it in Russian/Don’t say it in German/Say it in broken English”.  Cause people want to communicate with more people from other countries and everybody uses the English language.

This wasn’t my decision … and this is why this blog is in English. 

Because somebody may become aware of these bands if the blog is in English. 

There are already plenty of blogs in the Greek language doing a very nice job passing on information about all these people.  So, this thing with the majors is understandable up to this point and probably the same thing happens with other countries where English is not their native language, but…

This is why they call it “the industry”.  It’s all about money.  Not “art” or “expression”.

Its like selling cheese or shoes or… i don’t know… umbrellas lets say…

Its not about dreams. This is the real world and it smells really funny…

Of course, the branch of the “x” label cannot export the Greek releases to a random foreign major label.  They can only export to the “x” label, or, to other branches of this “x” label, in some other part of the world or to small independent distributors.  I am talking about distributors, not record labels that are not called “x branch of USA”, for example.

So here comes the question:

Why didn’t the biggies send Greek rock releases to these small distributors?

We all know that a demand is needed, but we also all know that promotion is bringing the demand.

And why is it that most of the Greeks living abroad have no idea about the Greek rock scene?

Cause promotion is an investment, meaning ‘well-spent’ money … and the Greek branches just don’t want to spend money on some weird looking kids (who might give them a new target group — people who don’t speak Greek).  They are too focused in exporting the big bouzouki names, keeping the rock scene as a well-hidden secret.

You can call them narrow-minded people.

Being polite, I could call them all stupid.

Clown – Λευκά κελιά (engl: Lefka Kelia – White Cells)

By the time the first indie Greek label showed up in the early 80s, the scene was heated.  Punk rock bands, new wave bands, heavy metal bands, and prog rock bands with Greek or English lyrics were playing in clubs, in schools, in theaters, and even in public squares.  Some of them were signed to biggies, such as the band P.L.J (who later changed their name to Termites), as well as the band Apocalypsis.

In 1982, Babis Dalidis created the first Greek independent record label in Athens, Creep Records.  It wasn’t an easy thing to do. He had no one to turn to for advice.  Recording studios were not sure if these bands were doing the right thing cause they sounded nothing like the usual bouzouki stuff they were working on.  These were loco new wave bands with singers crawling on the recording room floors while recording the vocals.

But Babis just loved music and he wanted to see some Greek bands on vinyl.  That was all.

It was a long way.  Going to recording studios, then to the pressing factories, and then finally distributing those weird Greek new wave bands in the Greek market.

But Creep Records left a mark beginning a new era for the Greek indie labels.  Bands that sounded like the Birthday Party or Bauhaus found a home.

South of No North – Fell Frozen

Greek lyrics or English lyrics, it didn’t matter.  The point was MUSIC.  And Creep Records made this point very clear.

Cause thanks to this label, the Greek underground of the 80s survived on records.  Eight 7″ singles and 13 LPs that keep the music of these bands alive and which will last forever.  From the dark wave melodies of South of No North to the Birthday Partyish atmospheres of Yell-O-Yell.

The Art of Parties recorded their single in England. They live in the States now and one of them is a famous jazz sax player.

The Vyllies were from Switzerland.  They released two more albums through some other label.

Villa 21 became big in the Greek underground.

Even Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys was thrilled by the Creep releases and exchanged a few letters with Babis.  Actually, Biafra spoted Villa 21’s song “Too Much Nothing” in the American compilation “World Class Punk” released by ROIR “Reach-Out International Records” and he sent the first letter.

There wasn’t any official distribution for Creep’s releases abroad.  There was no sign of help from anywhere.  After “opening” the doors for future labels to put their releases on record store shelves without any problem, Babis decided to stop after a couple of years.

He sure did a great and respectful job.

The Vyllies-Babylon

CREEP RECORDS RELEASES

SINGLES:   CR   01

  CR   02

  CR   03

  CR   04

  CR   05

  CR   06 

  CR   07

  CR   08 Yell-O-Yell

Villa 21

Headleaders

The Reporters

Metro Decay

Villa 21

Clown

Art Of Parties Shoot The Truth

I See No

Voices

Computer World

Κειμήλια

Move

Λευκά Κελλιά

Last Time – Central Room

 L.P.’s:   Creep 01

  Creep 02

  Creep 03

  Creep 04

  Creep 05

  Creep 06

  Creep 07

  Creep 08

  Creep 09

  Creep 10

  Creep 11

  Creep 12

  Creep 13

  The Reporters

Yell-O-Yell

Headleaders

Villa 21

Metro Decay

The Vyllies

Yell-O-Yell

CPT Νεφος

South Of No North

Rehearsed Dreams

Angelo and His Egos

Villa 21

South Of No North Bare Hands

Funtime

What It Means To Me

A Ghost On The Move

Υπερβαση

The Vyllies

Hello Hell

Silence Interrupted

Lacrimae Christ!

Repulsion

Egotriping at the Gates of Hell

Men Of Clay

Fell Frozen

 
 

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Baby steps to a new era

By the late 70s it was easy to watch movies like “Woodstock”, “Monterey Pop Festival”, and maybe even “Tommy” or “Quadrophenia” some early Sunday morning at a theater near your neighborhood.  Maybe this applied more to Athens and Thessaloniki and not with the countryside where the kids who listened to rock music were given a hard time.

Students in the senior class of high schools in Greece get a six day excursion to a Greek island and most of the classes organised events in order to raise funding for these excursions.  The above-mentioned movies were sometimes used for that reason as there was an on-going interest in rock music.

But things changed in the international music scene.

Punk rock gave a chance to new bands and musicians to come to the surface and Greece followed.  Well, not exactly the whole country but there was a small number of bands and kids that joined the punk movement…

The first Greek punk rock band was called “Parthenogenesis” and by 1978 they supported “Socrates Drank the Conium” when they stated on stage that “Rock is dead“.  The audienced booed them heavily but this was the beggining of the Greek punk rock scene.

A second band was formed next year, “Stress“.  Their frontman, Frank, would later form “Panx Romana“.  In the early 80s the movement in Athens became even more powerful by having 250-500 punks centered around the Plaka (the old part of the city under the Acropolis hill) with even more bands, a punk club for gigs, “Aretousa“, and a couple of places like “Mad Club” (in Plaka) or “Snowball” (in the Kolonaki area) where these kids could go.

chaos-generation-sofita-1982

chaos-generation-sofita-1982

Several bands were active, such as “Chaos Generation“, “Birth Ward 82“, “Stress“, “Ex Humans” (the first greek hardcore band to release an album in 1984, former names: “Guilotins” and “Soldiers Of Anarchy“), Anypoforoi,  “Ausschwitss“, “Flowers Of Romance“, “Gulag” (in Salonika), “Grover“,”Adiexodo“, “Magic De Spell“, “Arnakia” “Panx Romana” and others.

In the years to come, some of them would split, some of them would change or move into different music directions, but most of them helped each other during those heydays and shared instruments and rehearsal rooms.

Things were difficult for these kids while they had to deal with the conservative Greek society.  Every day people attacked them or they had to stand for hours and hours during police interogations and street fights with football hooligans who were carrying knives, razors and chains (there was a club for hooligans, called “Aris” on the oposite sidewalk of “Aretousa“).

The skinheads were their only allies (until 1983 when the skins and punk parted ways after a fight during the Bauhaus gig in Athens).

Some were visiting London, bringing back records and some were working for record stores (Happening was one of them) ordering punk vinyls especialy for their friends. The first 7″ single of this first-generation of Greek punk rock scene, was released by “Birth Ward 82” through Happening Records (this Athenian record store had a few releases).

Birth Ward 82 - Fireworks

Birth Ward 82 - Fireworks

EMI offered a deal to “Soldiers Of Anarchy” after a gig at Zografou University camp where they were the opening act for “Mousikes Taxiarhies” (engl: Music Brigades).  When “Soldiers Of Anarchy” went on stage, a crowd of 2500 booed while about 50-100 punks took positions in front of the stage to protect the band. Lambros, their singer back then, was very sharp dressed and the audience didn’t realise what would happen. When the band started playing the audience almost turned to run to escape while Lambros started shouting, singing and trying to bring down the towers of speakers. That night, EMI went backstage with an offer for them. The band had to agree to change their name first.  They refused although they changed their name to “Ex Humans” a little later. During the same year, this Black Flag influenced band released their album, and in 1984, the first punk compilation was released too on an independent record label (Enigma) titled “Diataraxi Kinis Isihias” (Engl: Disruption Of Public Peace gr: Διατάραξη Κοινής Ησυχίας) that featured only bands with greek lyrics.

Aretousa” was shut down when somebody set the curtins of the club on fire and the scene moved “Skylab“, the club next door.  Almost every night you could find live performances by “Birth Ward” as they played their own songs in addition to UK Subs and Cockney Rejects covers.

One more club opened the doors for these bands, “Sofita“, owned by Iraklis Triantafylides, a very open-minded musician of the Prog Rock band, Lernaia Hydra.

During the mid 80s, the goverment decided to turn the whole Plaka area into a tourist attraction and everything was turned into little shops which sold ouzo and miniature replicas of the Acropolis … and, of course, there was the addition of tavernas …

Punks were spread in many other areas of Athens after that and new clubs opened for their music.  “Blue Note” (mostly a new wave bar with video projector), “Dragon’s Fly” (with a VCR for punks to watch “The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle“, the “White Riot Tour“, “Plasmatics Live“, etc., every Saturday morning).
More people joined the movement, new wave bands appeared, independent labels were founded and things took their way.

Panx Romana released their debut album, “Paidia sta Opla” (engl. Kids on Guns gr: Παιδιά στα Οπλα) in 1984.  They were carrying a strong anti-war message and quickly gained the interest of the public with songs heavily influenced by the Clash and the Ramones.

In 1987 the band released the LP “Antartes Poleon” (engl: “City Guerillas” gr: Ανταρτες Πόλεων).  Both albums sold thousands of copies and the band released a third album titled “Spase tin Grami” (engl: Break the line gr: Σπασε την Γραμμή).  Three years later, “Diagogi Kosmia” (engl: Good Behaviour gr: Διαγωγή Κοσμία) came out and “Kratos Kliston” (engl: The Country is Closed gr: Κράτος Κλειστόν) was released in 1999 before the band went on a break.

Their music influenced a lot of greek groups to follow this music style that Panx Romana never changed.  Using Greek lyrics made it very difficult for the band to go over the Greek borders, but on the other hand, their lyrics were dealing mainly with Greek issues.

During 2008 the band was reactivated with their first line up for a string of gigs.  Time will tell if they will release a new album or not.

All their releases were through independent record labels.

panx romana – official site

Panx Romana – live 29/08/08

Thanks to those first punk bands, it was just a matter of time before hundreds of new wave bands showed up, as well as fanzines and independent labels. The underground scene in general would become more active than ever for the next 10 years.

 

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