The Scenics
Gig Seeker Pro

The Scenics


Band Alternative Punk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"2008 Live Review"

After having to choose between Teenage Head's show at Dundas Square and the Scenics, both scheduled for NXNE at 9pm on Thursday night, I decided to head out to see the Scenics at Rancho Relaxo... Having missed the Scenics last time they were in Toronto, I have to say I wished I hadn't! The show was full of intensity and they not only sounded great, but put on a great performance, too.

- Liz

""Menacing Hypnotic Genius""

Like Simply Saucer, The Scenics are a legendary Canadian band barely known in their own country, let alone elsewhere. Both bands built off of the abrasive drone of the Velvets, warping it into their own menacing hypnotic genius. "how does it feel to be loved" makes that debt explicit, but is more than just a set of Velvet Underground covers: it is also a reminder of and an introduction to the beast that was The Scenics.
Recorded in the late 1970's, these covers were taken from various live gigs around Ontario, and show the band inspired and cheeky. While the highlight is a ten-minute plus eviscerating of "Sister Ray," what the band does with songs like "I'm Beginning to see the Light" and "Here She Comes Now" is what is remarkable. They manage to inject warmth into dark tracks, and sarcasm into Lou Reed's more hopeful tunes; in a way, they expose deeper meanings to the songs, while maintaining a seeming reverence for the original material. Pretty gutsy for 1977. While the Scenics naturally had a sped-up pub rock sound typical to the era, on their Velvets covers, show themselves to be smart and willing to take risks, even with the songs of legends. At a time when covers were an excuse for punk bands to tear down, The Scenics were rising above. 4/5 stars mike wood


""The Most Creative""

"The most creative the most original, the most daring, and probably the most misunderstood-- of all the bands in that scene"
Colin Brunton, film maker (The Last Pogo, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) - Colin Brunton

""Such a Level of Intensity""

"The Scenics were truly modern... with influences from Tommy James to John Coltrane, they had a vast repertoire and such a level of intensity. I loved them for searching out new ideas, being wildly exciting, and so contradictory. They were perfect!"
Gary Topp, promoter, winner Toronto Arts Award - Gary Topp

""True Artists... Impressive""

The Scenics
How Does It Feel To Be Loved May o8 exclaim
By Keith Carman

In the grand tradition of musicians covering their favourite bands comes a collection of live tracks recorded throughout Toronto between 1977 and 1981. How Does it Feel To Be Loved compiles five years of Hogtown’s Scenics unleashing various renditions of beloved Velvet Underground ditties in every hole-in-the-wall imaginable, from the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern to the now-defunct Beverly Tavern, with even a few basement recordings. Interestingly, many of the songs, such as “Here She Comes Now,” “New Age,” “Waiting For My Man” and “Sister Ray,” are slightly more upbeat and rockin’ than VU versions. They’re also tighter, performed by accomplished musicians, as opposed to the instrument carrying art scenesters that created them. The end result is surprisingly palatable to non-dedicated VU fans and proves the Scenics innovative in their own right, tweaking elements here and there, adding their own twist as true artists should. Factor in the low-fidelity recording techniques and How Does It Feel To Be Loved is impressive even three decades after its original recording. (Dream Tower)

- Exclaim (Pop Rocks)

""Top 10 of 2008""

SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: The Scenics — How Does It Feel to Be Loved: The Scenics Play the Velvet Underground (Dream Tower) :: Only a madman would dare to start picking his Top 10 Albums of 2008 in the first week of January, but this is one record that's got me gnawing on my straitjacket.

Recorded live in a number of trashy Toronto punk dives between 1977 and 1981, it's the first album of Velvet Underground covers I've ever heard that actually manages to evoke the VU's classic cacophony of studio sound ...

...the Scenics use that primal distortion as a jumping off point to differentiate themselves from the masters while remaining true to the source. And the fact that all 10 numbers were recorded, in true live Velvets tradition, on a buncha crappy cassette tapes doesn't tarnish the Scenics' sonic patina — it only enhances their chances of making this the best VU tribute album ever.

First of all, there's their informed choice of song selection.... the Scenics mine the less-obvious depths of Unca Lou's songbook to essay what are arguably some of his greatest songs: "New Age," "I'm Set Free," "What Goes On," "Here She Comes Now" and "I Heard Her Call My Name." Finally, it all culminates literally live in a basement with a twisted 10-minute Metal Machine Music-meets-Television version of "Sister Ray" that even John Cale never envisioned in his wildest nightmares.

" the Scenics don't ape the Velvets, they enhance them..."
Jeffrey Morgan is also one of our favorite writers of the newly revived Creem Magazine - Detroit Metro Times

""Shrieking Twin Guitar Meltdowns""

The Scenics, How Does It Feel to Be Loved: The Scenics Play the Velvet Underground: ... there's plenty more in which to delight on this archival curio collecting four years' worth of live Velvet Underground covers performed by first-wave Toronto punk band the Scenics between 1977 and 1981. ...captured about town in such scenester haunts past as the Edge, Larry's Hideaway, the Cabana Room and the venerable Horseshoe Tavern ... the Scenics' irreverent, slightly woozy way with a Lou Reed tune, and gift for shrieking twin-guitar meltdowns, comes through just fine. Constant chatter in the background of some tunes contributes to the overall feeling of psychedelic dislocation the band brought to songs like "Here She Comes Now" and its take-no-prisoners assault on "Sister Ray." A dandy little history lesson."
Ben Rayner's "Reasons to Live" - Toronto Star

""stunning- 8/10""

...This collection of their live interpretations of ten VU classics is stunning in the same way that the Byrds playing Bob Dylan was so stellar. The Scenics used Lou Reed’s songs merely as a jumping-off point and quickly make them their own. This is a must for completist fans of Simply Saucer and other Canadian psych-punkers. 8/10 (Johnson Cummins)
- The Montreal Mirror


“It wasn't so much that The Scenics were ahead of their time in 1977, it's more that almost everybody else didn't even know what time it was.  The Scenics were on top of it though, grabbing the freedom promised by punk's first blush, and incorporating their own smarts. The group pulled sophisticated musical tricks that no bands had before considered.   New York had Talking Heads, and England was blessed with XTC, but here was their equal in Toronto and they never got the necessary push and support. It's fabulous we finally have the evidence, but it's a drag we haven't been able to enjoy it for the past 30 years.”

- Bob Mersereau, author of

""Kicking off like a Frayed Electric Shock...""

The Scenics
How Does It Feel To Be Loved
By Liz Worth

Kicking off like a frayed electric shock, How Does It Feel To Be Loved quickly immerses the listener into a warm frenzy of fuzzy energy. First formed in 1976 by Andy Meyers (guitar/vocals/bass) and Ken Badger (guitar/vocals/bass), the Scenics were one of the most intrepidly inspired bands of the Toronto new wave/punk scene. They now return with a full-length collection of Velvet Underground covers recorded live between 1977 and 1981 in Toronto. At their inception, the Scenics were fuelled by the sense of rampant possibility that the oncoming new wave scene carried... This album is rife with the inventive fervour that drove the Scenics. Although these are classic Velvet Underground songs, from “Waiting For My Man” to “Here She Comes Now,” the Scenics have made this into something that is all theirs. Jangly, inverted pop aesthetics and wild mood swings of feverish noise dominate these ten tracks, making How Does It Feel To Be Loved an abrasive wash of harmonious distortion.

What made you decide to release a covers album now?
Meyers: It is kind of funny, because our songs were one of the strong points of the band, but we did do a lot of Velvet Underground songs. The simple structure allowed for you to take it down almost anywhere you wanted. We didn’t really feel differently about the covers and our songs. They were some of our songs as well as far as we were concerned.

What state were these recordings in? Did you have to do a lot of mastering on them?
They were remarkably good to start with. They were recorded live with a two-track. You can hear all the instruments, but you can also hear great atmosphere. There’s a real sense of being there, which is very direct and powerful.

Does the feeling of the Scenics being outsiders 30 years ago still apply to the band today?
We were absorbing the same influences as everyone else, so at the time we were just being ourselves. We were responding to what we liked, who we liked, and being who we liked. And that’s all I’m really concerned about. We’re just continuing to be ourselves now at this point. (Independent) - EXCLAIM! MAGAZINE


Beginning Jan 2010- digital release of 2-3 Scenics songs bi-weekly, recorded 1976-82 with PUNK HAIKU 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"




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