Two pioneer punk women meet in Paris

Terry and Tollim Toto, 25 April 2023, Paris

Terry and Tollim Toto, 25 April 2023, Paris

This photo shows two bass players, both (co)-founders of the first all-girl punk bands in their countries.

On the left, Terry, bass/vocals/founder of PVC (later: of Hideous, and Cheap ‘n’ Nasty) in the Netherlands. On the right: Tollim Toto, of the Lou’s (not just first all-women punk, first all-women any type of rock in France. Later: of Les Rois Fainéants. Happy birthday to you, again!).

The photo is from Paris, on 25 April 2023. They both had been bandmates of the late Raphaele Devins. They both had been in a recording studio with Lou’s drummer Saskia/Sacha/Syama de Jong. But this was the first face-to-face meeting for them.

The photo reminds me a bit of the recent photo of the 1970s first US punk wave woman Alice Bag meeting 21st century UK wave Alison of Maid of Ace, showing punk breaking generational and national barriers.

Alice Bag and Alison of Maid of Ace

Alice Bag and Alison of Maid of Ace

Terry and Tollim, being (almost) the same age, did not need to break generational barriers, but this meeting surely transcended national borders!


Siouxsie and the Banshees’ Join Hands, podcast made

6 February 1979 Siouxsie and the Banshees in Paradiso, Amsterdam. Poster by Martin Kaye

6 February 1979 Siouxsie and the Banshees in Paradiso, Amsterdam. Poster by Martin Kaye

On 27 May 2023, Siouxsie Sioux‘ birthday, Herman of Cheap ‘n’ Nasty participated in a podcast from Ohio, USA about the 1979 album Join Hands by Siouxsie and the Banshees.

The Banshees already played many of the songs on Join Hands before the album was recorded, like on 6 February 1979 in Amsterdam; see the poster. The report on that concert in Pin fanzine is here, p. 8.

Thank you so much, Phil, Lisa, Aaron in Ohio for two hours of your interesting questions!

We talked about the music and lyrics of Join Hands, also on many things more or less connected to that. Like the musicians in Banshees line-ups during, before (like violinist Simone Thomas) and after (like guitarist John McGeoch) Join Hands. About the authors Edgar Allan Poe and John McCrae. About German anti-nazi visual artist John Heartfield. About Alvin Gibbs of the IK Subs; members of the bands the Lou’s in France, and Cheap ‘n’ Nasty and Ivy Green in the Netherlands. About political leaders: President John F. Kennedy and Senator Edmund Muskie in the USA; President Putin and his adviser, Alexander Dugin in Russia; and the Shah of Iran. About religious leaders, like the Reverend Paul Mackenzie, pastor of the Good News International Church in Kenya.

Lesley Woods in the Hague,11 February 2023

On 11 February 2023, guitarist and singer Lesley Woods, ex-Au Pairs, played and was interviewed in the Barthkapel hall in The Hague.

The Barthkapel, built in 1906, used to be the church of a nunnery.

Now, it is mainly for acoustic concerts.

Amplified music is not allowed in the Barthkapel, its rules state.

But this time, it was OK for Lesley Woods to sing through a microphone. And she could plug her white electric guitar into an amp, as the well-filled hall looked expectantly at her to begin.

Her show was part of the Grauzone festival, of many bands on various The Hague stages.

In her band the Au Pairs, founded in 1978, Lesley was a pioneer in showing that punk could be more than prejudices about three predictable chords said, by adding experimental elements.

From the moment on that Lesley started her set, the audience reacted enthusiastically, with applause after each song. The decades-long gap between the end of the Au Pairs and her restart as a solo performer had definitely not affected her strong voice and great guitar playing.

Lesley announced all songs. The first one, Let It Go, was about divorces and other break-ups in relationships, she said. It was a new song.

Then, her new songs and old Au Pairs songs alternated with each other.

Her third song was Repetition by David Bowie (that cover had already been included on the first Au Pairs album). Later came Sweet Jane by Lou Reed.

Lesley had changed the lyrics in some Au Pairs songs. Like in the fourth song Sex Without Stress, from the second Au Pairs album. Lesley explained that she had adapted the words to recent developments in the LGBTQ community, like in transitioning.

Lesley concluded her set with the Au Pairs’ best-known song: It’s Obvious, very well received by the audience.

John Robb of Louder Than War interviewed Lesley after her show.

Lesley told that after the painful break-up of the Au Pairs, she wanted to concentrate on something non-musical. That became her law studies. She became a lawyer specialising in refugees’ cases. That taught her a lot about situations in other countries which she otherwise would not have known about.

After decades, she considered that she no longer wanted to neglect her musical side. She bought, first an acoustic guitar. Then, an electrical one.

She told about how the Au Pairs began. She met fellow guitarist Paul Foad, looking cool in a leather jacket, then in a New York Dolls-style band. ‘I seduced him into starting a band with me. His drummer Pete joined as well’. Then, she became active in Rock against Racism; where she met Martin Culverwell who became Au Pairs manager. Martin knew someone who had recently, inspired by the punk explosion, bought a bass, and had started teaching herself Stranglers’ bass lines: Jane Munro. She completed the line-up of the band.

‘I liked melodies, I didn’t agree with the idea that melodies did not belong in punk. On the other hand, the songs I wrote shouldn’t be too complex, Jane being a self-taught though solid bassist’, Lesley said.

‘The first Au Pairs concert was a total mess, but the audience loved it’, according to Lesley.

The Au Pairs played more and more concerts. Finally, too many just after each other. ‘I lost my voice then’, Lesley said. ‘Losing my voice made me feel devastated, sort of paranoid’.

‘Will you make an album with your new songs?’, John Robb asked.’Eventually I may do that’, Lesley replied. ‘At the moment, I don’t have enough new songs yet’.

John Robb’s final question was: ‘Are the Au Pairs’ lyrics still relevant now?’

‘Yes’, Lesley said. ‘They are well-written songs. Lyrics, of, say, Dear John or We’re So Cool still have their meaning. In the end, what I wrote were songs about freedom. That is relevant’.

People left the Barthkapel, satisfied about this memorable night!

Lou’s Mont-de-Marsan 1977 review in Dutch paper

Lou's slagged off in Oor in 1977

Lou’s slagged off in Oor in 1977

This is a part of the review by Dutch music magazine Oor of the second Mont-de-Marsan punk festival in August 1977 in France. They did not like the festival, especially not 75% French, 25% Dutch all-women band the Lou’s.

My translation from Dutch, first my comment which I had written in the left margin:

Oor, 24 August 1977. [Their reporter] Peter van Bruggen did not understand that [the Lou’s] drummer was Dutch. Like he did not understand more sides of this punk festival …..’

Then, on the right, fragmented sentences from the Oor article; in these, and other sentences which I added between [] of his review, see here, scroll down, he slagged the Lou’s off:

Slum girls

The French version of the Runaways [?] who got much positive publicity, the band the Lou’s, consisting of four women, are the only band to also come back on the second day to play, [but the how and why for that is completely not understandable for me.

Of course, for a few moments it is a sensation to see four muscular slum girls at work. The drummer beats on her gear like she is chopping meat in an old-fashioned butcher’s shop where nobody minds one or more bone chips; the rhythm guitarist is demolishing her instrument with similar verve and conviction; and the singer, who every now and then wipes a strand of greasy hair away from her eyes, may be at a respectable punk festival here, but during their set it might have been a hucksters’ contest. The music, all my readers have understood that already, is, to say it extremely politely, in search of what it is. After their show was finished, let us laud and praise the Lord for that, a few minutes later I see their drummer [Sacha de Jong] stride with big steps towards Mick Jones [Clash guitarist], a beer can in her left fist, giving him a big blow on his right shoulder.]’

That review made me so angry that I started a punk fanzine and a band.

Thanks, Andrew Bintang, for scanning this piece of paper! I had given it to him when we arranged the second gig of Sacha’s later band, LoveCramps, in Zoetermeer. See my flyer.

LoveCramps flyer, Zoetermeer

LoveCramps flyer, Zoetermeer

Siouxsie and the Banshees LP podcast

This live video is Siouxsie and the Banshees playing their song Regal Zone. It is from the LP Join Hands.

A music podcast from Norwood, Ohio in the USA wants to do a review of a Siouxsie and the Banshees album together with ‘a hardcore Banshees fan’.

They chose the vocalist/toy saxophonist of Cheap ‘n’Nasty, who chose the album Join Hands. They sent the code to Zoom with them on Saturday 27 May, which is Siouxsie‘s birthday.

The Lou’s, 1977 Mont-de-Marsan festival, fanzine review

The Lou's at Mont-de-Marsan festival 1977, from I Wanna Be Your Dog fanzine

The Lou’s at Mont-de-Marsan festival 1977, from I Wanna Be Your Dog fanzine

This is from a review of the 1977 Mont-de-Marsan punk festival in French fanzine I Wanna Be Your Dog (thank you so much for sending, Hervé!). I have translated the parts about the Lou’s. Here it comes, first day of the two-day festival first. Comments by me between []:

‘I was wakened up by the chirping of the band Strychnine, I got my razor and my safety pin. I went up front, where the bands 1984, Asphalt Jungle were waiting for me. But wait … there, four representants of the female gender appeared, one red-haired [their singer/lead guitarist, the late Pamela Popo], one [rhythm guitarist, the late Raphaele Devins] b[l]onde, two brown-haired ones. As sexy as Berliet vintage cars, they played their rather original rock ‘n’ roll compositions. They had to play two encores. Their audience were as pleasantly surprised as they themselves. They were the most sympathetic FRENCH band of the festival! Their name: the LOU’S (Les chiottes [toilets], according to the French translation) [not according to Raphaele Devins, who said their name was an abbreviation of loubardes, motorcycle gang girls]

Next, the Maniaques [Maniacs], an English band. Their guitarist Henry [Henri] Paul [Tortosa], ex-member of Parisian band the Young Rats, ran and jumped, showing how very young he was.’

Now, from the second-day report:

Marie et les Garçons really moved us. As an encore, they played a Velvet Underground song. The LOU’S came back, their second set and second success. More people on that second day, attracted by the big headline bands EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS, DR FEELGOOD’.

Lou's at Mont-de-Marsan, second day report

Lou’s at Mont-de-Marsan, second day report

Mont-de-Marsan, Pamela Popo and Lou's photo's from I Wanna Be Your Dog

Mont-de-Marsan, Pamela Popo and Lou’s photo’s from I Wanna Be Your Dog

The Lou’s were the impulse in the Netherlands for founding Pin fanzine, and later, the Cheap ‘n’ Nasty band, joined eventually by Lou’s co-founder Raphaele as saxophonist.

Lou’s bassist Tollim Toto interviewed

The Lou's, left to right Tollim Toto, Pamela Popo, Raphaele Devins in the Gibus in Paris, photo DR

The Lou’s, left to right Tollim Toto, Pamela Popo, Raphaele Devins in the Gibus in Paris, photo DR

A new interview, in French, on the Monstres Sacrés blog, appeared today! With the Select Your Language option on the top of the page if you prefer another language.

It is with Tollim Toto, bassist/co-founder of the Lou’s. The Lou’s were one of the first European continent punk bands in 1977; and the first-ever all-women band in any sort of rock in France.

The photos, by DR, are from the Gibus venue in Paris.

Photo here: their drummer, Sacha de Jong, from Leiden, the Netherlands.

Sacha de Jong with Lou's in Gibus

Sacha de Jong with Lou’s in Gibus

Photo on top: left to right: Tollim Toto, the late Pamela Popo, lead vocals and lead guitar, and the late Raphaele Devins, rhythm guitar.

Much interesting stuff by Tollim, like how Sid Vicious stole Raphaele’s guitar strap. Raphaele did not appreciate that: the next time she saw Sid Vicious, New Year’s Eve 1977 party where they both had been invited, bystanders had to separate them.

Help making a new DIY film on punk women worldwide possible!

Please, help to make a new unique DIY film on punk women worldwide possible!
Above is the YouTube trailer of a film about women’s important contributions during the early days of punk in the UK.
Director: Zillah Minx, also singer in the London band Rubella Ballet.
Zillah decided to, after that film, to make a new documentary about punk women worldwide. Please, contribute generously on the Patreon link for the film at , the link for the new film She Rocks Punk, by Zillah Minx and Zillah’s partner and bandmate Sid Truelove.
Most of the work for the film has been done already, but not all yet. You can help at Patreon to complete it. Please, help to not let rising prices for equipment and film software stop this DIY film which is so close to getting ready!
Police and Terry at Paradiso, Amsterdam 1981

Police and Terry at Paradiso, Amsterdam 1981

As for the Netherlands, She Rocks Punk has interviews with four women: Terry, founder/bassist/singer/songwriter in the bands PVC, Hideous and Cheap ‘n’ Nasty (photo: on the Paradiso stage, 1981). Diana Ozon, poetess, editor of Koekrand fanzine, singer in the NonValeurs and the Squelettes (photo: with Petert van Abbe on the Paradiso stage, 2020 ).
Petert van Abbe and Diana Ozon, Paradiso, Amsterdam, 12 December 2021

Petert van Abbe and Diana Ozon, Paradiso, Amsterdam, 12 December 2021

Photographer Amrita. And Mathilde MuPe, artist and designer.

Siouxsie in Paradiso, Amsterdam 4 May 2023

Siouxsie in Paradiso, Amsterdam, 4 May 2023, photo by Ingrid Cave

Siouxsie in Paradiso, Amsterdam, 4 May 2023, photo by Ingrid Cave

Here is my report on the 4 May 2023 concert by Siouxsie Sioux in Paradiso, Amsterdam. It is a somewhat different version from the one published in Punktuation: mentioning the drummer in Siouxsie’s band, etc.

Siouxsie Sioux triumphs in Amsterdam

Siouxsie Sioux played her second concert after a ten-year gap on 4 May in Paradiso, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I was there, standing in the sixth row from the stage.

For ten years, we had to miss gigs by 1970s pioneer woman Siouxsie. She, arguably, more than any other person contributed to making punk known all over the world.

Now, she is back, with a big bang!

Her first concert after a decade was on 3 May in Brussels. She and the audience obviously really enjoyed themselves. Reviewers, like this one, and this one, were positive.

The next day was Paradiso in Amsterdam. Where she had played for the first time in 1977, in Siouxsie and the Banshees, opening for the Clash.

Hours before the show, a big queue of punks, Goths, and individuals in between, formed outside the sold out venue. From teenagers to 1970s wave veterans. Slightly over half women.

4 May is the day when in the Netherlands, the hundreds of thousands of dead killed by the German nazi occupation are remembered with two minutes silence at 8 pm. In the jampacked Paradiso big hall, all fans made no sound for 120 seconds.

No support act. Then, before Siouxsie and her band got on stage, the fans showed with massive clapping and screaming that they wanted the performance to begin.

Probably, Amsterdam was even more brilliant than Brussels!

There were several differences with the Ancienne Belgique venue on 3 May. Siouxsie then was in blue, wearing wide trousers and trainers. In Paradiso, she was in white with leatherlike suspender stockings underneath. This time, her hair was naturally grey, unlike the blonde in the 1976 Bill Grundy Sex Pistols TV interview, and the black in 1980s performances.

In Brussels, the concert started 30 minutes past the official time. In Amsterdam, 15 minutes.


Never say never’, Ms Sioux said in Paradiso about her unexpected return. She smiled throughout her 90-minutes set. The very upbeat mood of her, and of the audience, may have contributed to her singing eighteen songs, one more than in Brussels.

Her instrumentalists were all dressed in black. Like in 2007, when Siouxsie recorded her Mantaray solo album, Robert Brian was the drummer. Robert is a bit unusual, as he does the traditional drumming grip, often associated with jazz. He got questions like:’Why do you use that grip in a punk band?’ Robert showed that you don’t have to use matched grip to play Siouxsie’s songs loudly.

The other band members were a guitarist, Chris Turtell, new for Siouxsie. The others, like Robert Brian, had already played on her “Mantaray And More” Tour: Joe Short on bass, Steve Evans on second guitar and keyboards, and sometimes accordeon.

The set were 12 Banshees songs and three songs of the Mantaray album, two covers, and from Siouxsie’s other former band, The Creatures’ “But Not Them”, of the 1981 Wild Things EP.

Siouxsie often pointed the microphone at the audience, so that everyone could sing along loudly.

Siouxsie said in Paradiso about her unexpected return: ‘Never say never’.

Right from the opening song, Night Shift, the audience exploded. It is about the horrible subject of femicide. Yet, like some other songs on very serious things, it always lifts my spirit.

Next came Arabian Knights. About the monarchy in Saudi Arabia. Here is the video:

Written over forty years ago, but so poignant now. When Saudi women are in cruel prisons for advocating the right of women to drive cars, and the armed forces of the Saudi crown prince massacre civilians in Yemen.

Siouxsie interacted perfectly with the crowd. During their Beatles cover Dear Prudence, when she sang: It’s beautiful and so are you, she pointed at the audience, which reciprocated.

Cities In Dust sounded better than the recorded version. On the background, a film of a volcanic eruption played. The song is at first sight about the ancient Roman town Pompeii, covered under volcanic dust. At second sight, it is about the threat of nuclear war. Film was projected in the background during the whole gig.

For Sin In My Heart. Siouxsie played guitar, making for three guitarists then.

Happy House resulted in a frantically pogoing audience. A feat, considering that everyone was packed together like sardines in a tin.

The last song of the official set was Spellbound.

But the audience did not want Spellbound to be the last song. They let the whole hall hear that, very audibly.

Under loud applause, the band returned for an encore. First, Peek-a-Boo.

Then, the Iggy Pop cover The Passenger. The Banshees had recorded that song, but had never played it live. Siouxsie said: ‘Now, we will play it live for the second time in my life’ (Brussels on 3 May had been the first time). In the Banshees’ recording, the wind instruments were an addition to the original. In Paradiso, the keyboard was an addition. Siouxsie said about the 2002 Banshees reunion that she would only do it if it included something they had never done before. So, in 2023, again a first for her. In the background, a film of vintage twentieth-century cars played.

The enthusiasm of the audience was boundless. They also did not want The Passenger to be the last song,

So, after Siouxsie had some tea, there came another encore. The Banshees’ 1978 single Hong Kong Garden.

What a final highlight in a night so full of highlights!

Siouxsie will play more concerts later this year. Don’t miss them if you can!

May 7 — Milan, IT @ Teatro degli Arcimboldi
May 20 — Pasadena, CA @ Rose Bowl
Jun 21 — Wolverhampton, GB @ The Halls
Jun 23 — Athens, GR @ Release Athens
Jun 29 — Madrid, ES @ Noches del Botánico
Jul 1 — Belfort, FR @ Les Eurockéennes de Belfort
Jul 7 — Tynemouth, GB @ Tynemouth Priory & Castle
Jul 23 — Suffolk, GB @ Latitude Festival
Jul 25 — Glasgow, GB @ Kelvingrove Bandstand
Aug 7 — Lokeren, BE @ Lokerse Festival
Aug 31 — Malaga, ES @ Cala Mijas Festival
Sep 2 — Lisbon, PT @ Kalorama Festival
Sep 6 — London, GB @ The Troxy
Sep 7 — London, GB @ The Trox

Dutch and French punk pioneers meet

This 1978 song recently landed on the Wild Fire EP by the Lou’s, out on Cameleon Records in France.

Today in Paris, a copy of that EP with a personal message by Lou’s bass player Tollim Toto became a present for another bassist: Terry from the Netherlands. What a meeting! Both (co)-founders of the first all-women punk bands in their countries. For Terry PVC; before she later co-founded Cheap ‘n’ Nasty. Where one of her bandmates, on saxophone, became the late Raphaele Devins. Raphaele had been the rhythm guitarist of the Lou’s.

Terry liked meeting Tollim very much. Though living far apart, these two have important things in common.