Archived
Interviews

    This website exists today only because courageous, intelligent and daring women back in the 1970's
    decided to break the rules of society. They rallied together under the banner of the punk movement.
    Many of them are no longer with us.

    This page is dedicated to their memories.

    Because many people have written to me to suggest other people to interview and wondering how I
    choose the women I interview, I want to explain my criteria for inclusion in this section. They are:

    1) You must be a woman - or have been one at the time.

    2) You must have been active in the L.A. punk scene before 1980. By active, I mean actively participating
    by frequently going to shows, taking photos, writing, being in a band, supporting the scene in some way.
    This section was never intended to be a "celebrities only" section. It's an oral history of the early scene
    from the female perspective.

    3) You must be able to send me your answers via email. I don't talk on the phone.  I have previously sent
    interviews via email to women who would seem to be obvious choices for inclusion but they have either
    not responded or have told me they are working on it and then they forget about it (you know who you
    are). So if you know someone who belongs in this interview series, remind them to finish up their
    interviews and send them in.

    Everyone gets the same eight questions. No space or time limitations. Since I think that women's voices
    have already been over-edited by others, I reserve the right to refuse to edit these women's responses.
    Instead, I intend to publish them in their entirety, raw and unexpurgated.

    LET THE WOMEN SPEAK!
    Interview with: Connie Clarksville
    conducted January 2008

    1. What was/is your contribution to the punk community?

    When I moved to Hollywood from Orange County in 1972, I moved into the Canterbury
    Apartments. Back then it was full of drag queens and pimps and gays. I was a Bowie fan and
    liked the array of different people. After (the era of) Glitter, Rodney Bingenheimer's (English
    Disco),The Real Don Steele Show, The Rainbow, disco and hanging out on Sunset, I went to
    a show at Larchmont Hall one Saturday afternoon. There was a show at the Whiskey where I
    met Bruce (Moreland) who would become Bruce Barf (of the Weirdos) later. He told me how
    this guy named Brendan Mullen was wanting to open a place where we could hang out and
    bands would play in the basement of the Pussycat Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. He took me
    over to this mess of a basement where I met Brendan. I loved his accent and had a crush on
    him rite away. He said he's naming this mess "the Masque." I loved the idea and wanted to do
    something to help so I hauled trash out of the basement. There was a small, cut-out room in
    the middle, so when bands started playing and people started showing up, I decided to ask
    Brendan if I could sell sodas. He said "Sure, Clarksville." Nobody ever called me that before,
    so I got used to the name. Brendan was really the only person who called me that.

    Soon after, I met this girl named Sheila (Edwards) and we needed a place to stay. I was going
    to beauty school and had a little money and with her half (of the rent), I suggested the
    Canterbury. It was close to school and the Masque. Soon after, many bands moved in: The
    Bags, Nicky Beat from the Weirdos, The Germs, Geza X lived across the hall... so,so many to
    list.

    My other contribution is all the hair I cut from members of Blondie, to the Dickies, Blasters, X,
    Plimsouls, The Go-Go's; the list goes on. At the end of my haircutting career, I had 500
    clients in my guest book. I also was a back-singer for Black Randy and the Metro Squad -
    yes, I was a Blackette.

    2. Which artist, band concert and/or show had the most impact on your life?

    The Go-Go's had a big impact on me as I lived with Belinda ((Belinda Carlisle, lead singer of
    the band) for 4 years off and on. I also lived at Disgraceland with Pleasant (Gehman) and, of
    course Belinda was there too. That was before I went on tour with the Go-Go's to England. I
    had to play roadie as there were no friends allowed on the tour. The other roadie was Lydia -
    she went by Seal later though.

    3. What was the role of women in the early punk scene?

    Our role? I don't know how to answer that - I was just there. From a personal point of view, it
    was that we could be as rude and fucked up as we wanted to and do whatever we wanted to
    and if you looked at us or made judgement, well we'd spit at ya and tell ya to fuck-off and that
    was freedom to me.

    4. What is the legacy of punk in your life?

    I feel I made a big gash/mark on the early punk scene, not just by doing a lot of hair but by
    being there in the nitty gritty of everything and every show that happened. It was a small
    bunch of people, but we stuck together.

    5. What are you listening to now?

    I listen to lots of oldies, a lot of Elvis, Blues and music I grew up with. I hadn't paid much
    attention to punk in years until my 19 year old daughter got into it some years back. She is
    now a famous Portland Punk and goes by the name Horrible Heather. I gotta admit, she got
    it down! Hmm...gee, I wonder if Punk is in her blood?


    6. Do you have any funny or interesting stories to share?

    Stories? Are you ready? I've got so many I could fill a book but here are a few that stand out
    in my memory. One early morning at the Plunger Pit (that's where Helen, Trudie and Trixie
    lived), Helen says "why don't you cut your hair?" I had this messed up perm I got in beauty
    school so I was glad to say yes. She gave me my first spikey short cut since my Bowie days.
    When she was cutting my hair, Rock Bottom was watching. I happened to look up and see
    him pick up some shattered pieces of glass out of the sink and start munching the glass in
    his mouth and swallowing the bits down. I said "Rock, did you just eat glass?" and he said
    "Yup." I asked why and he replied "cause I wanted to see what it felt like." That was good
    enough for me and we all laughed.

    Another memorable night was when I watched Leonard, singer for the Dickies, jump off the
    balcony of the Starwood and break both feet. Let's see - oh yeah, the first time Belinda got
    on stage at the Masque she was so freaked out she peed her pants. The next little tidbit: the
    Sex Pistols were playing Winterland in San Francisco, so a group of us decided to drive up. It
    was Belinda, Jane, Terry Bag-Dad, that's all I can remember... oh yeah, some friend of
    Brendan's with the God awful smelly feet. We checked into a hotel room in Chinatown,we
    trashed the room and broke the beds. No other hotel would give us a room. I wonder why?
    Well, the Sex Pistols were great - there was a sea of spit, sweat and everything you can
    imagine was thrown on that stage, even tampons. After the show, there was a party at some
    girl's apartment so we all went. Shortly after we got there, in comes Sid Vicious. He's loud and
    crude and rude and breaking stuff and this girl that is having the party was happy that he
    showed, never mind that he was destroying her place. I was getting hungry and I asked Sid if
    he wanted food he said "yeah" so I went and got sandwiches. When I got back, Sid was
    passed out in the empty bath tub. I yelled, "Sid, I got your fucking sandwich!" but he wouldn't
    wake up, so I ate his food and we left to find another party...

    Back to Hollywood. One night, me and Belinda were bored, so we took out a wheel chair that
    Shannon from the Castration Squad had and I wheeled Belinda around Hollywood Blvd. She
    was acting like she was retarded. We just wanted to freak people out. Well, at a curb I jerked
    her out and she fell in the gutter, kinda spazzing out. This old man yelled at me to be careful
    and what the hell was wrong with me, being so reckless! That was a good laugh for me and
    Belinda.

    Nicky Beat tried hard to teach me to play drums. This guy from a band called the Hands gave
    me a drum set, but I had a hard time learning. So one morning when I was supposed to have
    a lesson I freaked and was scared to tell Nicky I just don't get it. Well, he almost broke my
    door down, yelling "If I can do it, anyone can!" over and over until he finally gave up. Here's
    some more tidbits: one night, I wouldn't let Sheila in, cause she had a bunch of guys that I
    didn't know and they were out of control messed up, so she kicked in the hall window in and
    cut her leg up badly. She moved out after that. Also, there was this old woman with a
    homemade dress that looked like it was made in 1940. She had matted up grey hair, she was
    very small (and she had) lived in the Canterbury like forever and she fed the pigeons every
    day, so we called her the Pigeon Lady. One day, I ran into Trixie in the hall and she had the
    Pigeon Lady's dress on. I asked her "where did you get that dress?" She said she died and
    her door was open and that she liked her a lot and wanted something of hers to remember
    her by. I was creeped out a little but the dress looked real good on Trixie.

    At the Elks Lodge when the riot happened, Black Randy played and yeah I was up there
    behind him as a Blackette. When the Go-Go's went on, I went to pee and all hell broke out.
    The cops were there in full riot gear. I peeked out of the stall as a cop looked in the
    bathroom. I was standing on the toilet, hiding so I wouldn't get my head cracked open with his
    billy club, so after he left I ran out and to safety. One more small story that I can't forget: one
    night a bunch of us were bored and Bobby Pin AKA Darby Crash begged me to let him burn
    the inside of my wrist with a cigarette. I said no but he was so persistent that I finally said yes.
    He was so excited after he gave me the burn and said "See? Now you have a germ burn like
    the rest of us." To this day, I still have that germ burn on my wrist. Well, I will get on to the
    next question.

    7. Are there any punk women from the early scene that you feel have not been
    adequately recognized?

    YEA! Gail Bartlette she was seeing this guy Rory and he managed Blondie and the
    Runaways, I met her back stage at the Whisky and we became good friends, she went out
    with John Denny (Weirdos) for a while, She was also real close to John and Exene of X. She
    later married Ray Zone the 3D pioneer.

    8. What is something we should know about you that we probably don’t know?

    That I wasn't just a hairdresser, that I got down and dirty and participated heavily in the
    beginning of the original punk rock movement. It was quite natural for me, since I'd gone
    through every music scene before punk, starting with glitter in 1972. I was a regular at the
    Rainbow, the Roxy, The Whisky, I was there when Rodney Bingenheimer opened his English
    Disco on Sunset and was there constantly and also I was on the TV show the Real Don
    Steele Show every week. After punk became mainstream and New Wave, I got into
    Rockabilly. I even was Ricky Nelson's hairdresser. I married and had a family. That didn't stop
    me, though. In the '80s I worked at Hot Locks on Sunset and waitressed at The Roxy for the
    next four years.

    During heavy metal and glam rock, I met a man who managed a glam band and we wanted
    something new, so we packed up my kids and moved to Las Vegas. We struggled for two
    years and he got sick and passed away. My world fell apart, so I got into a church and
    learned about myself and God. After four years, I fell away from the church. My kids were
    getting older. I had a good job with the State, working with people who have Developmental
    Disabilities; as my youngest boy suffers from Autism and MR, his medical needs were such
    that I had to place him in permanent care. Soon after my other two went out into the world, I
    had a great place in Vegas and a good job. I always wanted a motorcycle so I bought a
    Harley and learned to ride. Soon I was on runs and meeting tons of bikers; I decided to start
    an all women outlaw club - I almost did it, when I met the president of a club and started
    dating him. One year later, we married. He moved me seventy miles outside of Vegas and I
    landed a job at the Test Site. We are involved with his club and events, so my life is good
    and as far as my punk days, I think they prepared me to be one smart ass biker bitch,
    seriously. I miss Hollywood and wouldn't change my past for anything.

    Peace and maybe one day soon I will go back to Hollywood on my Harley Davidson. All my
    best to those who read this -Connie Clarksville AKA : CC
Connie Clarksville
courtesy of Connie
michelle gerber bell interview
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She's A Violence Girl
Women in L.A. Punk
Belinda and Connie
courtesy of Connie
Last "official" night at the Masque.
1/17/78
Rand McNally aka Pat Garrett behind
Penelope Houston/Avengers, then
Connie, with Exene behind her.
Courtesy of Jenny Lens
debbie schow interview
Craig Lee and Connie.
Originally printed in Slash May 1978.
Connie today...still raising hell.
Courtesy of Connie
Connie's daughter, Horrible Heather.
This apple didn't fall far from the tree.
Courtesy of Horrible Heather

    Some of the women who lived in the Canterbury Apartments in Hollywood back in
    the late 1970's identified themselves as (or through association, became known as)
    either Pyranas or Poodles. My roommate Shannon and I both belonged to the
    Pyranas, a group of young women who tended to be a bit more sexually aggressive
    and confrontational than the norm. Whatever the Pyranas had in tough, man-eating
    mystique, the Poodles had in style. The Poodles included Connie Clarksville in their
    ranks and I believe that Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Go's must have been operating
    as a double-agent between the Pyranas and Poodles.

    I remember Connie Clarksville as one of the first punks to marry the hard-edged
    punk look with 50’s pin-up glamour. Her rockabilly hairdos and fashion easily set
    her apart from the crowd. She had a place on the first floor of the Canterbury ,
    where on any given day she might just as easily be hosting a raucous party as
    cropping a punk 'do or styling a DA. Compared to the rest of us, Connie seemed to
    have her shit together. She served food and wine at her parties while the rest of
    us were sharing half pints of rum and Dr Pepper and a bag of chips. As a fellow
    Blackette with Black Randy & The Metro Squad, Connie showed us all that she was
    a multi- talented Glamazon. She danced and sang along with me, Trudie Arguelles,
    Exene Cervenka, Sheila  Edwards and Belinda Carlisle.

    Looking at her current pictures, it’s hard to say whether she isn’t even cooler now
    than she was in the late 70’s. She’s still ahead of the curve, still stylish and still
    looks like she can kick your ass if you don’t mind your manners!
Last "official" night at the Masque.
1/17/78
Connie and Rock Bottom.
Courtesy of Jenny Lens
The Masque Presents Black Randy and the
Metrosquad with Arthur J and the Goldcups at the
Whisky. Sheila Edwards, Trudie, Trixie, Connie, Spaz
Attack, Alice Bag, Nickey Beat, Exene sitting on KK’s
lap. Whisky, March 5, 1978.
Courtesy of Jenny Lens
Trudie, Exene, Connie and Alice as
Blackettes.
Second and last night of the Masque
Benefit, February 25, 1978 at Elk’s Lodge.
Courtesy of Jenny Lens