The Bags (Los Angeles band)

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Bags
Also known as Alice Bag Band
Origin Los Angeles
Genres Punk rock
Years active 1977–1981
Labels Dangerhouse
Associated acts The Gun Club, Castration Squad, 45 Grave, The Damned,
Past members Alice Armandariz
Patricia Morrison
Craig Lee †
Rob Ritter †
Terry Graham

The Bags was an American punk rock band formed in 1977. They were one of the first generation of punk rock bands to emerge from Los Angeles, California.

Career[edit]

Bags was formed by Alice Armandariz and Patricia Morrison, who had met at an audition for Venus and the Razorblades, Kim Fowley's next attempt at creating a band after The Runaways had left him. Armandariz and Morrison decided to form their own band and from this Bags were born. They took the band's name and their stage names "Alice Bag" and "Pat Bag" from a gimmick that the band used during early performances where they would perform with grocery bags over their heads (the practice did not last, in part due to an incident where Darby Crash of The Germs ran up on stage and ripped the bag off Alice's head). Alice Bag was the vocalist and Pat Bag played bass. The band was rounded out by guitar players Craig Lee and Rob Ritter, and Terry Graham played drums.

Bags played their first concert at The Masque on September 10, 1977. Their concerts were riotous affairs including altercations with celebrities, such as one between singer Tom Waits and drummer Nicky Beat at The Troubadour.[1]

By 1978, they had released their only own record during the band's lifetime, a single called "Survive", backed with "Babylonian Gorgon", released by independent record label Dangerhouse Records. "We Don't Need The English" was included on the Yes L.A. punk compilation album released by the same label.

After this, Pat Bag left the band. In 1980 the group, minus Pat Bag, was filmed by Penelope Spheeris for the seminal punk rock documentary film, The Decline of Western Civilization, which also featured The Germs, Black Flag, The Go-Go's, Catholic Discipline, X and other prominent L.A. punk bands. However, at the release of the film in 1981 the producers billed the group as "Alice Bag Band" to avoid any conflict with ex-member Pat. By then, however, the band had broken up.

Craig Lee also played with Catholic Discipline, and he and co-member Phranc would perform together occasionally when she embarked on her subsequent solo career. However, Lee is best known as a writer and critic for publications such as Flipside fanzine, among many others, and as co-author of the book Hardcore California: A History Of Punk And New Wave. He died, as a result of AIDS, in 1991.

Terry Graham went on to play drums for The Gun Club. Pat, now known as Patricia Morrison, also joined The Gun Club soon after. Once she left The Gun Club she joined The Sisters of Mercy and then The Damned, one of the original British punk bands (and the one that was often credited with sparking the L.A. scene), for which she plays bass. She would also go on to marry the Damned's lead singer, Dave Vanian.

Rob Ritter also joined The Gun Club, and appears on their first LP Fire Of Love, but left to change his name to Rob Graves and form the seminal death rock band 45 Grave, with Dinah Cancer, Don Bolles, previously of The Germs and Nervous Gender, Paul Roessler of The Screamers and Nervous Gender and Paul Cutler. 45 Grave was influential in the creation of goth rock. Graves died in 1991 of a heroin overdose.

Alice Bag went on to join to the deathrock band Castration Squad, which included Phranc and Dinah Cancer among its many members. In the 1990s she would form Cholita! with punk rock drag queen Vaginal Davis and the band released several videos. After this she performed with Las Tres and then formed Stay At Home Bomb, her most recent musical project. According to her official website, since the deaths of Lee and Ritter and her estrangement from Morrison, she considers the Bags to be permanently disbanded, and has refused to perform Bags songs in public.

A collection of recordings from the group has been released on Artifix Records as well as a reissue of the original Dangerhouse single.

At the 2008 exhibit "Vexing: Female Voices From East L.A. Punk" at the Claremont Museum of Art, Armandariz performed punk versions of mariachi music (and some Bags songs too).[2]

In 2011 Alice Bag published her memoir, Violence Girl and embarked on a reading and performance tour across the United States.

Discography[edit]

  • "Survive" (single by Bags, 1978)

compilation contributions

  • Yes L.A. (one track by Bags, Dangerhouse 1979)
  • The Decline of Western Civilization (one track by Alice Bag Band, 1980)
  • Life is Beautiful, So Why Not Eat Health Foods (one track by Bags - We Will Bury You); New Underground Records, 1983

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tom Waits Library". 
  2. ^ Gurza, Agustin (2008-05-10), "Museum showcases female punk scene", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 2009-08-30 

External links[edit]