Sunday, August 26, 2007

For Tomata du Plenty

A record left for Tomata at his memorial site in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California.

Tomata du Plenty (1948-2000)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ground Control to Tommy Gear

Still no luck finding Tommy Gear. Leads via Kristian Hoffman of The Mumps and Vaginal Davis have been fruitless.

Jeff McGregor is also off the radar even though his acclaimed solo project The Solipsistics has a minor, though obscure, web presence. I'm trying to make contact through his former Snot Puppies bandmate Kevin Hunter (now with Wire Train and Bella Nova).

On the positive side, I've made contact with a friend of a friend of David Braun, which looks hopeful.

Monday, August 13, 2007


L.A. art blogger Fette led me to this unexpected posting on Artipedia by Philippe Mogane regarding my Screamers project. (Philippe started the record label Siamese Records in 1977 with guitar-demigod James Williamson of The Stooges, which devotees know is the label that released the rawest of Raw Power before David Bowie's weakened remix for Columbia Records.) Because of my own typo in the email address for Raid Projects, Philippe's email messages were bouncing back. Philippe wrote:

I just wanted to tell M. Leonard that, as the founder of the first LA punk label Siamese Records and the Editor of the I Wanna Be Your Dog fanzine, I befriended Tommy and Tomata of The Screamers. Our paths did cross many times. The LA music scene was quite small in the early 70’s. Specifically in the punk world.

I have some candid shots of both of them and some on stage as I was one of their biggest fans.

I understood as soon as I met them that they had plenty of talent.

I do hope this project will bring them to the light. They do deserve recognition and fame.

Thank you,
Philippe Mogane

Siamese Dogs Records
Home of The Godfathers of Punk and out of control Rock & Roll!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Still Searching For Screamers

I'm still searching for Tommy Gear, David Braun, and Jeff McGregor. I've now connected with KK Barrett and Paul Roessler. (Paul actually showed up at the opening reception.) I'll have to redouble my efforts to find the others since I'm only in LA for another three weeks.

Regarding the gift exchange, the agreement is that the records be kept on display until August 25th then given to the band members before I return to Halifax at month's end.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Finding KK Barrett

I've been in contact with KK Barrett, the drummer for the Screamers, through email correspondence. KK has shed some valuable light on the source of the demo tapes, demystifying their rarity to a degree, but his information satisfyingly closes the chapter on the origin of the recordings. The Eva Braun tape is from a video made at UCLA and retained in their archives. The versions of Peer Pressure and Punish or Be Damned are from the '77 recording sessions with Pat Garrett (see July 9, 2007). Chronologically, this would explain how the demos could have ended up in the CEAC collection in Toronto, since Crash & Burn operated in the art centre's basement from May to August 1977 before being shut down. The Screamers did not perform at Crash & Burn during its brief existence.

However, according to KK, the band eventually made it to Toronto for a gig in 1978. (Anybody out there remember seeing this?) KK remembers "playing at a club in the basement of the George Nelson Hotel" and "going to the FILE magazine offices and also spilling [his] college French to a drunken fan outside." I double-checked this with AA Bronson (KK->AA!) who wrote that the Toronto venue was the King Eddy (King Edward Hotel) not the George Nelson. (AA Bronson published FILE magazine with Jorge Zontal and Felix Partz under their collective name General Idea.)

KK recalls that tapes of that show circulated, which he's never heard. Rarities for sure! AA Bronson says he isn't aware of these tapes, but pointed me in the direction of FILE's punk issue, which may have information on the Screamers' stint in Toronto.

KK Barrett is now a successful production designer and art director. He has worked on I Heart Huckabees (2004), Lost in Translation (2003), Adaptation (2002), Human Nature (2001), Being John Malkovich (1999), Crack House (1989) and Cheerleader Camp (1987).

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Opening Reception @ Raid Projects

Photos by Jennifer Leonard. More photos at

Paul Roessler pictured in bottom right-hand photo.

Installation Views

A few shots of the installation at Raid before the opening:

Photos by Craig Leonard