EVERYTHING YOU'VE HEARD ABOUT THE SCREAMERS IS TRUE
"The Screamers are not an entertainment, they're an assualt! Their music sounds like danger!"-Twisted. "The furture-the one and only group in this galaxy to have done away with guitars and other lame gimmicks!"-Slash. "Mutant offspring of the New Wave, they are an evolution in what the movement is supposed to be all about-something new."-B.A.M.
"As you might have guessed from their instrumental lineup, the Screamers are not just another guitar band...'We're not trying to play music-we're trying to play an anxious sound.'"-Creem. "Their authoritative stage presence reflects an intense desperation...As a front man, (Tomata) is charismatic and visual. His movements range from statuesque quizzical gaze or arrogantly thrashing bitter embittered outrage."-B.A.M. "The music is more melodic, less harsh with the synth and keyboards... 'A controlled nervous breakdown'"...On stage, Tomata is:"Emotional, pleading 'I Wanna Hurt,' he climbs onto the piano... The audience is riveted, "the lights are bloody. Then, he is doing a demented duck walk, eyes wild, mouth curled, hoarse-voiced, magnetic...'In a Better World, everybody must be made to feel important,' he sings.
"Bristling and potent, glamor-boy Gear takes center stage for his anthem: 'If I Can't Have What I Want-I Don't Want Anything.' Shirt torn open, flailing a chain around, he moves like a whip. In a blur he dips, pivots and motors back to his instrument."-Montreal Star. "KK has developed into a booming, powerhouse drummer, punctuating the group's songs with diverse and infectious rhythmic patterns...
"Musically jarring and visually bizarre, it was mood alteration enmasse as the band shifted from the turbulent, upbeat 'Magazine Love' to their dark and brooding interpretation of Billie Holiday's 'Gloomy Sunday' with Tomata using a guitar as a percussion instrument... (The) crowd left excited, intrigued, and emotionally drained."-B.A.M.
"What the Screamers 'do' is a concept previously untried...they defy convention without sacrificing the...mass audience. They are like the wild animal...whose primary goal is...to survive. Instinct rules. Intelligence meshed with instinct-a force to contend with in anyone."-Chatterbox.
"Sophisticated... Punks - Hollywood-style." - Variety, Japan
BETTER WORLD BEGINS WITH...
Europe, L.A.) "I have led a very dull life," dryly intones Tommy Gear.
Building a nuclear reactor & studying Japanese as a child to finishing
high school in two years have left their mark. Branded an "intelligent
misfit" throughout his life, he never "fit in"... Threw himself into radical
activism, dabbled in bizarre theatrics, took up formal music study, fitfully
toured Europe. Career-bent from the start, he studied psychiatry-it didn't
satisfy-turned to vivisection... Went from Med School to Music when he
bought a synthesizer on impulse. He made music his passion and a new structure
to his existance began to emerge. His new wave leanings became a commitment
when he went from his first group, the Tupperwares, to forming the Screamers.
"There is a definite need for Screamers music today. Anxiety, frustration
and rage must be worked on constantly, underscored. Brought out in the
open and positively resolved." This is what the Screamers do, our music
does this, in fact that is the purpose of the group," says Gear. Reputation:
Perfectionist. Still subscribes to Scientific American.
FROM THE BEGINNING...
5-28-77:. Screamers make their performance debut at a Slash magazine storefront party. "Standing in the midst of the frenzied crowd it dawned on me that the Screamers had tremendous potential and truly epitomized everything associated with punk rock."-Bob Taylor, Hollywood Press.
7-4-77: To a packed house, the Screamers make their official public debut at the Starwood. "The Screamers are real showmen and their act is much more varied than most of the other punk bands... Their songs speak eloquently but directly to their peers... (They) create a sound that has few comparisons in pop music."-Phillip Miller, I Wanna Be Your Dog.
7-7-77: Demo tape is cut, featuring "Punish," "Anything," "Peer Pressure" and "Magazine Love."
7-28-77: At Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco, Screamers headline for the first time. "Screamers had the audience up and dancing... they far surpass the better-known new wavers (in L.A.) in terms of originality and ability to communicate their art."-Jack Basher, S.F. Progress.
8-8/9-77: Screamers play the Whiskey for the first time out of five times to date.
8-16/17-77: Benefit for Slash, Larchmont Hall in Hollywood.
8-7-77: Screamers perform at a private party in Malibu for Iggy Pop. Iggy dubs them "Tomorrow's Leaders."
David Braun exits group to form Dangerhous Records. Enter Jeff McGregor, 17, as temporary keyboardist.
12-16/27-77: Benefit at the Masque Club cabaret in Hollywood. Introduce "Violent World" and "I Wanna Hurt." "The stage is swamped with bodies. A chicken-wire 'fence' goes up as part of the psycho-drama... Coming closer, paying attention, the crowd crawls into (Tomata's) hand. Eight songs, the set is over. Strong, hard, quick." - Susanne, de Lotbineire-Harwood, Montreal Star.
York, Seattle, L.A.)
Raised on the island of Manhattan, hated Catholic school, was a constant daydreamer. Ran away from home at age sixteen, recommends the same to everyone. Star-struck, he migrated to Hollywood and landed a job selling maps to the star's homes... Hung out constantly, craved the crowd. Not to be noticed, but to be part of it all. Fascinated by the freeways, it "ached him inside" when he bacme too attached to a passing car and then, like that, it sped away... Organized a radical theater group, stuck it out in Seattle a while, then bused it back to Manhattan... Was neighbors with Blondie and the Ramones, wrote porno, performed off-Broadway, did experimental video. First group he sang with: Suicide Blondes... Is there a reason for Tomata du Plenty? Is there a need? Tomata thinks so: "I ask myself, 'is it possible to be all things to all people?' Yes. It is my fate to assimilate the inner turmoil of others. I am a human illustration of struggle, anxiety & fear." Reputation: Spotless. Posed for Naked Teen #1 (try and find it). Has kept a ten-year journal of his life.
12-18/19-77: Back to Mabuhay Gardens. New Songs: "Let's Go! Vertigo!" and "Better World." Screamers demo tape gets airplay on KSAN radio.
1-5 thru 7-78: At the Whiskey, Art with a vengeance: Tomata rips through a 50-foot-wide wall of black plastic to open the show. First sell-out crowd. "There's more variety here than in the usual three-chord punk sound. Its instrumentation... leads the sound into an electronic area, where it develops pleasant hypnotic patterns and occasionally approximates a more conventional rock band sond."-Richard Cromelin, L.A. Times
2-28-78: A benefit for the Masque Club at the Elks Hall in downtown L.A. "The show climaxed with the Screamers who lived up to its strong local reputation with a well-placed set ... lead singer (Tomata) fashions a style of techno-punk completely his own.. Keyboardist Tommy Gear... delivers vocals with equal fervor. The Screamers have a unique, high-voltage personal that should take them a long way."-Kristine McKenns, L.A. Times
3-15-78: At the Marquee Club in Arcadia. Screamers introduce "The Girl in the Car with the Glasses and the Gun."
3-23-77: Screamers play an Easter Dance benefit at Camarillo State Mental Hospital. "The affinity was obvious-anxiety level music for anxiety-wrought minds... All attention was focused on the Screamers, however, as they ascended the stage. Some were repulsed and others were fascinated... (The performancs) was a welcome deterrent to the confined, regimented existance of those less fortunate that us."-Bob Taylor, Slash.
3-24-78: Down to San Diego for a night at the Straighta Head Ballroom. "They opened their set by proclaiming, 'We'd like to thank the first groups for playing you music of the 1960s and 1970s, now we'll give you music of the 1980s,' and they backed it."-Mikel Toombs, Slash
4-8-78: Back to the Elks Lodge, this time for the annual Artists and Lawyers Ball.
Detroit, L.A.) Hustled from state to state, went to six different
schools, survived early drowning... Misguided aggressions made him "Class
Clown." Trying to fit in somehow, he got his first snare drum to join
his Jr. High School Marching Band-was kicked out two weeks later for throwing
his sticks. Didn't drum again for seven years, kept a constant ear to
a transistor radio... Bought his first full drum kit from a roommate for
90 bucks. A rickety, gold-sparkled set which he painted battleship grey
and played everyday for six months, practicing to Aretha's "Chain of Fools."
He developed his own threatening approach to drumming with an avant garde
Okie groups called Mondo Combo... Felt stranded in Oklahoma, his restless
nature drove hime to L.A. where he met Gear and Tomata at a party. "He
seemed to have a lot of pent-up aggression," Tomata says, "... He was
elbowing people and sort of pushing and shoving. His crowd behavior was
his audition." He then sent for his battered old grey kit and became master
of the Rhythm Generator... Reputation: Lady Killer. Executive producer
with Dangerhouse. Never wears T-shirts.
4-13 thru 15-78: Another sell-out Whiskey booking, the Screamers introuduce "122 Hours of Fear" and reintroduce a new "Eva Braun"-backed with a wall of construction-site scaffolding.
Exit Jeff McGregor (back to school). Enter Paul Roessler, currently on keyboards.
5-78: Screamers embark on their first West Coast tour, playing San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. In the works: New York, Japan, England.
WHERE THE SCREAMERS HAVE APPEARED:
NEWSPAPERS: L.A. Times (1-7 & 2-27, 28-78), National Observer (6-77), Montreal Star, Canada (1-78), San Francisco Progress (7-77).
MAGAZINES: New West, Bomp, Wet, Synapse (12-77). In Japan: Apache, Rock Show & Variety.
ROCK PRESS: Creem (12 & 1-77), New York Rocker (#8), Circus, Slash (#1,2,10), Rock Scene, Chatterbox (#6), Trouser Press, B.A.M. (5-78), Twisted (7-77), Phonograph (5-77), Record World. In England: N.M.E., Sounds, Melody Maker.
FANZINES: Lobotomy, I Wanna Be Your Dog (#7), Search & Destroy (#5), Joyride, Flip/Side, Raw Power, Street Life, Blank Generation, Nightmare, Back Door Man.
"Let the machines control the machines, let the people control the people." -Gear
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