Interview with: Kari Krome conducted May 2005
Kari Krome's interview came about quite by chance. A few months ago, when some of the remaining members of Castration Squad were toying with the idea of a reunion, Tracy Lea received an email from Kari Krome, asking about the reunion plans. Given Kari's role in creating the all-female rock band, The Runaways, we were very impressed and intrigued. One thing led to another and I decided to ask her to do an interview for my website.
Kari's involvement in the development of The Runaways is well documented elsewhere on the web, with several versions (as stories like this often have.) Basically, the 14 year old Kari's street-wise and provocative lyrics piqued the interest of one Mr. Kim Fowley. When Kari introduced him to her guitarist friend Joan Jett, the wheels of rock history were set in motion.
The Runaways have a beautiful website that has a page dedicated to Kari Krome, which you can visit at www.therunaways.net. (Editor's note: since the time of this interview, the website and webpage referred to above has been taken down. More recent online statements and imterviews with Kari are available here and here.)
1. What was/is your contribution to the punk community?
I started an all-girl band called The Runaways, who I wrote songs for. They weren’t really punk, but they weren’t "rawk" either. They sort of fell in that weird netherworld that was allowed to exist at the time, despite all the bitching of how awful things were in the music business. I’m still amazed they even got a deal. But really my best work was to be a glorious example of what NOT to do with your life. Ha Ha.
2. Which artist, band concert and/or show had the most impact on your life?
Well... I don’t know, that's a tough one, there's so many.
I saw the New York Dolls when I was a kid and Iggy at Rodney Bingenheimer’s, they made a big impression. I was 13 and watching Iggy carve his chest up. Johnny Thunders stomping around in fringed cowboy chaps, and Arthur Kane barfed on me. What can I tell you? Everything else after that pales by comparison. Punk filled the void.
The Screamers were very dramatic. I saw them at the Whiskey on acid once, and I never looked at things the same after that. Thank you, Tomata. And I must admit that spending an evening with Black Randy and listening to him expound on the meaning of life was an eye opener. You just can’t get that kinda advice in the real world.
It’s always been about glam and punk for me and always will be. Nothing’s changed. When I’m 80, I'll be on the bus: confused, covered in cat fur, but I bet I'll be able to quote you the words to “Rebel Rebel.”
3. What was the role of women in the early punk scene?
Women in punk didn’t have a role, they ran the ship. I never saw so many ballsy, scary women in my life! I think all that changed when the jarheads invaded the scene.
4. What is the legacy of punk in your life?
The legacy of punk in my life? That would have to be Iggy and Buzzcocks songs for TV commercials. I’m not sure I even understand this question.
5. What are you listening to now?
Right now I’m listening to: The Troggs-Hits and B-sides
Glitter From The Litter Bin (glam comp)
Best of Tommy Roe
The Delays-Faded Seaside Glamour
The Pretty Things-Parachute
Milk and Cookies reissue
Beach Boys Pet Sounds Box set (yes, all of it)
6. Do you have any funny or interesting stories to share?
I have many funny stories to share. If I told all of them, everybody would be mad at me. Once, I tried to kiss Alice Bag while she was in her car and she rolled the window up on me. She was like, "Buzz off, Junior!" Ha!
Alice: “I did not ever roll up the window on you. I don't believe it!!”
Kari: “Yes, you did!”
7. Are there any punk women from the early scene that you feel have not been been adequately recognized?
I would like to hear from Sheila, Cheri the Penguin, Hellin and Trudi, Loretta A, Trixie, etc...all those fabulous dangerous dolls that made the scene so crazy and fun. Where are they now? Where is everybody???!!
8. What is something we should know about you that we probably don't know?
I am a closet AM radio bubblegum fan, and I like older women, especially if they got big butts. Over and out.
Kari later added this: Well, I just realized that everybody probably already knows that I like older women and big butts, so that’s a stupid answer. I should probably tell ya something ya don’t know right? doh. O.K. So I opt for the AM radio closet bubblegum freak, that's good. I would also like to say (ahem): that I am clean and sober for almost 10 years. I don’t smoke, I don’t eat meat, I don’t eat dairy, only organic food, I no longer put crap chemicals in my body, and that means toiletries, cosmetics, etc too. I refuse to have immunization shots, and threw out my TV, cause it’s all lies and propaganda.
I am a happier person because of it.