Wayne County & the Electric Chairs

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Wayne County & the Electric Chairs were part of the first wave of punk bands from the 1970s. The band was headed by Georgia transgender woman, Wayne County, who later changed her name to Jayne County.


Wayne County had originally begun performing in New York with a band called Queen Elizabeth, followed by Wayne County and The Backstreet Boys which was documented on Rhino's DIY: Blank Generation compilation album with an early single, "Max's Kansas City 1976". Upon moving to London, England, with Greg Van Cook, a member of the Backstreet Boys, she recruited a new drummer and bassist to form "The Electric Chairs", with the band comprising Van Cook (guitar), Val Haller (bass) and J.J. Johnson (drums) The band became known for their campy and foul-mouthed ballads, basic punk rock, and image which was heavily influenced by Jackie Curtis and the Theatre of the Ridiculous.[citation needed]

Jools Holland had his first studio session with the group in 1976.

None of County's albums were ever released in her native country of the United States, except for three songs on the very early punk compilation, Max's Kansas City.

They were supported by The Police during their 1977 tour of Holland, and brought Henry Padovani in on rhythm guitar after he was booted from the group.[1] Greg Van Cook left the band and was replaced by Elliot Michaels. After two albums with this new lineup, Storm the Gates of Heaven and Things Your Mother Never Told You, Wayne County & the Electric Chairs split in two, with Elliot Michaels following County in his solo career. Padovani, Haller, and Johnson recorded a final single, "So Many Ways", as simply The Electric Chairs, before management problems forced them to disband completely.[2] During this period, Padovani and Haller took turns on lead vocals.

Wayne County played 'Lounge Lizard" in the first punk rock film, Derek Jarman's Jubilee, and performed "Paranoia Paradise", which also appeared on the Jubilee Soundtrack album, released by Polydor UK in 1978; the film also starred Adam Ant and Toyah. Sharon Needles, the most high profile winner of RuPaul's Drag Race has cited Jayne County as a major career influence, a statement Needles made on the Ru Paul TV show on Logo TV TV network.

The 'Wayne" County character, who sexually reassigned to Jayne County by 1980, is featured in the 2013 film CBGB, and Wayne County And The Electric Chairs have the featured track, "Out Of Control", on the CBGB film soundtrack, released in the US by Omnivore Records.

The legendary, much bootlegged 'live' appearance of Wayne County & he Electric Chairs in 1978 on the German tv show Rockpalast ,was released as a DVD/CD double pack by Repertoire Records UK in December 2014; the concert happened while the band were touring their second album, "Storm The Gates Of Heaven".



  • The Electric Chairs (Safari, February 1978)
  • Storm The Gates Of Heaven/Man Enough To Be A Woman (Safari, August 1978)
  • Things Your Mother Never Told You (Safari, May 1979)


  • Best of Jayne/Wayne County and the Electric Chairs ( Safari, July 1982)
  • Rock 'n' Roll Cleopatra (RPM, 1993)

Singles and EPs[edit]

  • Max's Kansas City: New York New Wave EP (1975)
  • "Fuck Off" / "On The Crest" (Sweet FA Records, Nov 1977)
  • "Eddie & Sheena" / "Rock'n'Roll Cleopatra" (Safari, February 1978)
  • "Stuck On You" / "Paranoia Paradise" / "The Last Time" (Illegal, June 78)
  • Blatantly Offenzive EP (Safari, June 1978)
  • "Trying To Get On The Radio" / "Evil Minded Mama" (Safari, August 1978)
  • "Thunder When She Walks" / "What You Got" (Illegal, Feb 1979)
  • "Berlin" / "Waiting For The Marines" (Safari, June 1979)
  • "So Many Ways" / "J'Attends Les Marines" (Illegal, 1979)




  1. ^ Sutcliffe, Phil & Fielder, Hugh (1981). L'Historia Bandido. London and New York: Proteus Books. ISBN 0-906071-66-6. Pages 42 and 54.
  2. ^ Marko, Paul (16 January 2001). "JJ Johnson: Drummer Electric Chairs". www.punk77.co.uk. Retrieved 1 August 2010. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

List of musicians in the first wave of punk music