The Scenics

The Scenics

BandAlternativePunk

THE SCENICS- formed Toronto, 1976, by Ken Badger & Andy Meyers. Engaged & enraged audiences by not playing by the punk rules of the day. Together again, 2 striking songwriters, "shrieking 2 guitar meltdowns" & fearless creativity make any Scenics performance an adventure. "top 10 cds of 2008"

Biography

THE SCENICS

The Scenics formed in the summer of 1976 after Andy Meyers posted an ad at a Toronto music store about starting a bold, risk-taking band. Ken Badger was the only person to reply, and with a rotating cast of drummers and bassists, they made some of the most innovative music Canada has ever produced during their original six-year run.

You can hear elements of Television, Talking Heads, The Velvet Underground, Pere Ubu, Roxy Music and free jazz in The Scenics' intricate yet powerful twin-guitar sound, but the band put everything together in a way that was uniquely their own.

"The Scenics never toed the line," says Meyers. "Never once did someone bring in a song and was told, 'You can't do that.'

"There was complete acceptance and support of each other. Musically and lyrically, there was this sense of being able to do anything you wanted."

The Scenics' originality earned them a small core group of devoted fans, but they were far from universally beloved in the late '70s Toronto punk and new wave scene that spawned the likes of Teenage Head, The Viletones, The Ugly, The Mods, The Secrets and The Cardboard Brains, all of whom are featured along with The Scenics on The Last Pogo DVD released on Dream Tower last fall (which included seven Scenics songs performed on video as a bonus feature).

"Punk was a revolution, but there was no room in the revolution for another revolution," says Meyers. "And that's what The Scenics were.

"There were a lot of people in the Toronto scene who didn't get us and there was a serious debate in the Toronto scene about whether what we were doing had any validity whatsoever."

The Scenics opened for Talking Heads and The Troggs and were part of the infamous Last Pogo punk blowout concert at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern in 1978. The band recorded their Underneath The Door album for Bomb Records in 1979 and the "Karen/See Me Smile" single two years later before breaking up on amicable terms in 1982.

Almost nothing was heard about The Scenics after that. But when Badger sent Meyers some of the more than 300 hours of rehearsal, live and studio recordings that had sat in a box for a quarter-century, he was knocked out and "totally taken by surprise by the songs and the passion of the performances."

The Scenics re-introduced themselves to music fans in early 2008 with the release of How Does It Feel To Be Loved: The Scenics Play The Velvet Underground. This collection of 10 live recordings taped between 1977 and 1981 and released on the band's own Dream Tower label earned critical acclaim across North America. But as glowing as the feedback was, the album left many music writers asking if The Scenics wrote any of their own material.

Those scribes got their answer with the Oct. 13 release of Sunshine World, which features 13 original songs as well as intriguing covers of Tommy James And The Shondells' "Mony Mony" and The Kinks' "Where Have All The Good Times Gone?" The songs were laid down in the studio in 1977 and 1978 and these are the original 4 track recordings, remastered.

People are finally able to discover such previously buried gems as the art-punk album opener "O Boy," the jangly "In The Summer," the melodic yet still mildly cacophonous "So Fine,' the outsider pop of "Sunshine World" and the danceable rock of "Do The Wait" — which features an unsettlingly long pause two-thirds of the way through that literally makes listeners "do the wait." The album ends with its longest and most experimental track, "Scenic Caves," which was the group's original name in the spring of 1977.

While there's little doubt that what The Scenics created was musically ahead of their time 30 years ago, it no longer sounds so radical. As Meyers says, "Then was the perfect time to do the creative end of it because there was so much space and freedom, and now the public is ready for it."

The Scenics have played a few shows over the past year-and-a-half with singer/guitarists Meyers and Badger joined by former bandmates Mark Perkell on drums and Mike Young on bass. They recorded 14 new songs — Original Scenics material, and songs written by Meyers and Badger over the years following The Scenics' break-up — while in Toronto for The Last Pogo 30th anniversary show last fall. Those tracks will be released on an album next year.

But there are a lot of things going on in The Scenics' world before that.

A short Canadian tour hitting cities between Hamilton and Montreal coincided with Sunshine World's October 13 release on Dream Tower. The musicians may have grown older, but their take-no-prisoners performances remain vital.

The Scenics will be featured in The Last Pogo Jumps Again, director Colin Brunton's sequel to The Last Pogo, which will be released in 2010.

"Do the Wait", from the Sunshine World CD, will be featured on the CD that accompanies the May, 2010 edition of Britain's UNCUT Magazine.

May of 2010 will also see a release

Lyrics

O Boy

Written By: Ken Badger

He's a product of a college community
he takes drugs and so does his mother
he's quite unstable yet he seems so serene
the way he talks from one side to the other
to paint to cook to play the fiddle

He's a product of a college community
he's around for a while then he fades in thin air
wish he had a pal to make things real
wish he had a pal instead of these nuts

At the watering hole they all knew him
cause he could spit from underneath his tongue
drink and drink and drink and go home and get sick
football game tomorrow O boy

Look out people when you see him walking around
he's Clark Gable now ain't that funny
look the other way don't wanna attract his attention
if you see him at a party go home.

Do The Wait

Written By: Andy Meyers

Do the Wait

Hey there's a new dance down at the club bub
Maurice and the Duke do it with Alice and Greer
Hey you had better show tonight cause it's wild child
child you had better show tonight cause it's here
It's just the Sweetest thing that you have ever saw
like walking doing nothing at all

Do the Wait

Some say Jenny Janey found it looking for work
Some say Maurice himself found it in line for the clerk
some say society taught it to us from birth
all I know is sweet heaven I am waiting for all that I'm worth
It's just the Sweetest thing that you have ever seen
like walking standing still in a dream

Do the Wait

You put your right foot down you put your left one beside
about shoulder width apart not too tight not too wide
you let your arms hang loose down there by your side
then you just stand there

Hey little boy quit your pushing around
you're going to be here for a while you had better slow down
hey little girl take your time
don't you try and rush me cause I'm doing mine
Do the Wait

Slow down you're moving too fast
hey baby don't you want it to last
of course you know it makes no difference
if you do the wait

It's just the Sweetest thing that you have ever seen
like walking standing still in a dream...

Tommy, Joey, Johnny and DeeDee

Written By: Andy Meyers

Tommy, Joey, Johnny and DeeDee

look out boys it’s the end of the world
into the void you’re about to be hurled
but who’s that rocking on down the street?
Tommy, Joey, Johnny and DeeDee

From your broken fingernails
the cigarette stub hits the garbage pail
smoke signal but who will see?
Tommy, Joey, Johnny and DeeDee

Here they come they’re the real deal
here they come they’re like Kiss except they’re real
Tommy, Joey, Johnny and DeeDee

Stopped at a broken traffic light
for 26 days and 26 nights
but joey can fix it
cause he’s got the height

when I’m down, need cheering up
DeeDee’s playful, an amphetamine pup
Tommy’s frying up the bacon and eggs

Here they come they’re the real deal
here they come they’re like Kiss except they’re real
Tommy, Joey, Johnny and DeeDee

Alone in bed there’s no one home
my parents gone out drinking, it’s almost dawn

But the ghost of Johnny has his leathers on
But the ghost of Johnny has his leathers on
But the ghost of Johnny has his leathers on
Tommy, Joey, Johnny and DeeDee,
Yeah.

I Can't Be Careful

Written By: Andy Meyers

I CAN’T BE CAREFUL

Hey Honey, you look gorgeous
in your new sundress
I’ll bet she smiles a lot
flashes everything she’s got
I’m sure she cares in lots of ways
and that adds up lots of days
I’m sure she makes me sing
adding up to everything why not

I don’t beg to differ
happier when I’m with her

Hey Honey you’re a peach
hung up inside my reach
soft shoulders are easily bruised
I know we’re already lost
not worrying about the price
this kind of deal won’t pass by twice
giving it all I’ve got
giving it all we’ve got why not

It makes no difference
whole world smells of your fragrance.

I know I’m easily led and I want my memories right now but a
still diamond is secret- you’re news all over town.

And that’s funny I do funny things some times
there’s funny girl I’m trying to love I do funny things some times
there’s a funny girl I’m trying

Hey Honey life's sweet made incomplete
you take part of me I’ll take back what you don’t need
and If we get in each other’s way
our problems will fade and evaporate
at an astounding rate why not

And that’s funny....

Great Piles of Leaves

Written By: Andy Meyers

GREAT PILES OF LEAVES

His father always told him that perfection wasn’t
necessary as long as he always got things right.
His father always gave him everything he ever wanted
so he always asked his father every night.

I Want to play like Pablo Casals
When I pick up my cello
I can practice just as hard and as well
think I’ll start with the preludes

poor little boy didn’t know that talent still counted
Lucky little boy always managed top get what he wanted-

In the spring it never rained.
In the summer not too hot.
In the winter just enough snow.
In the fall he played in
Great Piles of Leaves

raked up for him by his gardener in piles up to ten feet high
so he could tumble giggle laugh and play
no leaves were allowed to blow to the next yard or the next or the next as he was here and fit to play.

His father always told him that winning was not the main thing for him
as long as he never lost or tied.
His father always gave him everything he ever wanted
so he always asked his father till he died.

I Want to play like Pablo Casals
When I pick up my cello
I can practice just as hard and as well
think I’ll start with the preludes

Lucky little boy never had to learn that talent still counted
Strange little boy always managed more than he needed-

As a baby sleep and eat all day as a child go out and play
as a young man learn the trade as a mature man go get married

In a marraige of convenience arranged for him by his father
when he saw his young boy become a man
His father died and left the rolls to him and soon he found
that it was him that was no longer disobeyed.

Come here little boy see the world from your daddy’s knee
I’ll teach you everything you need to know
In the fall you’ll play in great piles of leaves
Great Piles of Leaves

No Sleep

Written By: Andy Meyers

She changes her mind like she changes her clothes
whips ‘em over her head drops ‘em on the floor
No Sleep No Sleep No Sleep anymore.

I say I love you and I get the fear
That you’ll never doubt me for a thousand years
No Sleep No Sleep No Sleep anymore.

Tall Sally built for speed she takes speed it’s all she needs
third shave on a disposable blade
No thanks I gotta go knock down a domino row
that’s as good as it gets when I’ve got
No Sleep No Sleep No Sleep No Sleep

I’ve got this fear of the months become years
lose our minds lose our hair and I’m tired of hearing

She looses her love than she takes it back
grows slack says thanks gives a yank I hit the ceiling

Tall Sally built for speed she takes speed it’s all she needs
third shave on a disposable blade
No thanks I gotta go knock down a domino row
that’s as good as it gets when I’ve got
No Sleep No Sleep No Sleep No Sleep

One thing I like is a gal who says
one thing one moment and the next the next

Growing Pains

Written By: Andy Meyers

Some lights seem brighter when they’re farther away.
I’ll make you my Gala.
Some things you hold just to hold away
and they’re no answer.
I see you in streets and shapes
I see you in sidewalks and streetcars
then I see something else
and you’re nowhere at all like me.

Some things you want to save
and you can’t wait to say
Think of the strangest things
sidewalks bats and grapefruit
watch what you say to me
this is love of any description

This is the silence in between.
when nothing really happens,
you watch out.
I wrote a story about bones
you were the only meat in it.

This is the silence and the crazy sounds this is the sensation
this is the mother tongue of translation
This is an echo of something I’ve heard before, and it’s...

Instrumental

You’re what I do not leave
You’re what I return to.
You’re where my finger dials.
You’re where I’m leaning.
You’re a wind that blows me around
and keeps me eating.
You’re the snow by my side door
you’re in the awning

till I see something else and you’re nowhere nothing at all
till I see something else and you’re nowhere nothing at all
till I see something else nowhere at all

Discography

Beginning Jan 2010- digital release of 2-3 Scenics songs bi-weekly, recorded 1976-82 with PUNK HAIKU thescenics.com/punkhaiku1. Available on a free/by donation basis.

October 2009 - "Sunshine World" CD. The best of the Scenics' legendary 1977/78 studio recordings, remastered. Dream Tower Records DT04.

September 2008 -"The Last Pogo" DVD. Seminal 1978 film on the Toronto Punk scene. Extras include video of 6 unreleased 1978 Scenics performances. DT02

"How Does it feel to be Loved: The Scenics play the Velvet Underground" CD January 2008 Dream Tower Records DT01. Went top 30 on national Canadian Campus radio.

Karen/See Me Smile 7" 45 1981 Scenic Route Records

"Underneath the Door" LP 1980 Bomb Records

"The Last Pogo" compilation LP (2 tracks) 1979 Bomb Records

"The Last Pogo" film. directed by Colin Brunton. (1979) Scenics featured performing "I Wanna Touch"

Set List

Scenics can play all night. We usually do 2-3 one hour sets.
We feature songs from both of our CDs, as well as more from our wide repertoire of original and cover songs.

Set list from Dakota Tavern April 15 08
Set 1
I Killed Marx (Meyers, from 'Underneath the Door' LP)
Sunshine World (Meyers. from 'Last Pogo' LP)
O Boy (Badger- 'Door' LP)
Real Good Time (Velvet Underground- "How Does it Feel to Be Loved" CD)
Take Care (Big Star cover)
I'm Set Free (VU from CD)
Growing Pains (Meyers)
Gotta Come Back Here (Badger, from upcoming 'Do the Wait' CD)
What Goes On (VU CD)
Walking in the Desert (The Scenics- 'Door' LP)
Set 2
Ticket Please (Badger- new song)
Beginning to See the Light (VU CD)
Waiting for my Man (VU CD)
Candy Says (VU)
Here She Comes Now (VU CD)
Tommy, Joey, Johnny and DeeDee (Meyers new song)
A Fox, Her Fur, and Where She Parks It (Badger new song)
Do the Wait (Meyers 'Wait' CD)
In The Summer (Badger 'pogo' and 'door' lp)
No Sleep (Mey