Alice Bag

No Soy Monedita de Oro

The official website of Alice Bag: musician, author, punk feminist, master troublemaker.

Genny Body

Interview with Genny Body, originally conducted June 2005, reposted September 2017

One of my strongest memories of Genny Body is of her, onstage with Backstage Pass. She had one half of her face very glamorously made up with lipstick, eye shadow, etc. and one half with no makeup at all. It was a very interesting look and reminded me a bit of the cover of Bowie's Pinups album. I was thinking about this last night and it occurred to me that Genny's makeup could be a metaphor for the time and place that her band, Backstage Pass, occupied. I thought that the made up half represented the glitter scene which was then being replaced by the new punk scene. The half with no makeup represented the punk scene.  It was raw and real, as opposed to the more showy, artificial glitter side. 

Spock and Genny Body at the Masque, 1977. Photo by Donna Santisi (?) 

Spock and Genny Body at the Masque, 1977. Photo by Donna Santisi (?) 

 

Backstage Pass was made up of more polished and proficient musicians than most of the punk bands around at the time. Their music bridged the gap between glitter and punk and was inspiring to many female musicians, who eventually went on to form their own bands. 

Thanks once again to Jenny Lens for putting us in touch with one another. Photos and date info on this page have also been graciously provided by the Jenny Lens Punk Archive.

Che Zuro with Genny Body.

Che Zuro with Genny Body.

Backstage Pass, photo by Jenny Stern/Lens, as published in NY Rocker May/June 1977

Backstage Pass, photo by Jenny Stern/Lens, as published in NY Rocker May/June 1977

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

I was in one of the first all-girl bands called Backstage Pass with Marina Del Rey, Spock, Holly Vincent and later Che' Zuro. Marina and Chas from the Skulls helped Brendan sign the lease for the Masque and build the rehearsal studios. Backstage Pass and The Controllers were the first bands to rehearse there. It's been said that the Go-Go's were inspired by us. In fact, post-Margot, I was asked to be the bass player but I turned it down because I had just opened a clothing store called "Strait Jacket".

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

Well, one of the first bands I fell in love with was actually an English pub rock band called Dr. Feelgood that came here in 1976. Their tour manager was Andrew Jakeman (Jacko) and later named Jake Riviera. My introduction to Jake was him donning a bi-centennial tie and kicking a rent-a-car with his pointy cockroach shoes. It was in front of The Starwood. I was shocked and exhilarated.  We kept in touch with Jake and he stayed at my first apartment where I lived with Marina. He practically started Stiff Records from there. Then he brought The Damned over and half of them stayed with us. The Damned kept bugging our band to play shows, so we finally did one. I was crazy about the Damned. I loved their humour. I was having a fling with Brian James at the time. Then later Jake had us open for Elvis Costello at the Whisky - his first L.A. show - and I fell in love with that band. I had a weakness for English bands.

Genny Body backstage at the Whisky in Feb 1977 with Joey Ramone and Arturo Vega.

Genny Body backstage at the Whisky in Feb 1977 with Joey Ramone and Arturo Vega.

 

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

I think they had their own point of view that was really unique. Before i came to Hollywood, I lived in the San Fernando Valley. Everyone [there] was so square. I was playing electric guitar and the kids there thought i was a freak. On the punk scene, i felt that i fit in because there were other females on the scene performing full throttle.

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

Well, Backstage Pass of course.  I had the chance to witness the L.A. punk scene first hand, and in some ways we were instrumental in building it - literally, as in The Masque, the rehearsal studio. We were at all of the first shows: The Runaways, The Ramones, The Damned, X , The Go-Go's, Elvis Costello, Blondie, The Sex Pistols, Eddie and the Hot Rods plus all of the shows at the Masque on the L.A. Punk Scene,  the list is endless. I shagged a few too, Brian James, Jonesy, Paul Gray, Dee Dee Ramone, Elvis Costello, Gary Valentine. My God, I was a slut! Actually, I was reeling from my mother's death and I did anything to find a distraction.

5. What are you listening to now?

I love so many things. I like a lot of British Invasion bands like The Kinks. I like all of the original punk bands, especially the ones with humour. I was never keen on the death thing, like what's his face from the Germs.

6. Do you have any funny or interesting stories

Yes, a ton.....but we'll have to get together if you want me to tell you all.

Tommy Gear and Genny Body, 4/9/77 at Bomp Records

Tommy Gear and Genny Body, 4/9/77 at Bomp Records

 

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

Well, I loved your band. Maybe Siouxsie and the Banshees.

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

I came on the scene just months after my mother had died. I was really desperate to find a place I fit in and I think that's how it all began. Just recently, Backstage Pass has reunited and we have had a chance to heal the past, have tons of fun and write music. I can't believe I'm creating again with the same incredible women. It's great to have the hindsight. It's much more fun and I think we sound better for it.

Representing the next generation of cool women, Genny's daughter Eden. Photo courtesy of Genny

Representing the next generation of cool women, Genny's daughter Eden. Photo courtesy of Genny