Activism

Punk pioneer Alice Bag will show her many faces at Wax Trax

Best known as '70s punk pioneer and frontwoman of The Bags, Alice Bag -- born Alicia Armendariz -- had a hand in pushing women to the front of the musical movement. Though history memorializes bands like The Germs and Fear as the dominating acts of the East Los Angeles scene during this pivotal time, Bag and her counterparts were there, too; In advance of Bag's appearance at Wax Trax Records tomorrow, here's a brief rundown of some of the ways Alice Bag and her work have influenced counterculture over the last three decades.

See Also: - Dan Fong's previously unpublished rock photos on display - MasterMind: Sarah Slater, founder, Titwrench - Wax Trax celebrating 33 1/3 birthday in April

The Bags

Serving as the world's introduction to Alice Bag, The Bags made its debut at The Masque in Hollywood in1977. Co-founded by friend Pat Bag (Patricia Rainone, later Patricia Morrison of Sisters of Mercy, The Damned and The Gun Club), the women took gender completely out of the performance equation by playing with paper bags over their heads. The Bags would go on to make music together for less than half a decade, but Alice persevered in bands like Castration Squad, The Boneheads, Alarma, Cambridge Apostles, Swing Set, Cholita -- the Female Menudo, Las Tres, Goddess 13 and Stay At Home Bomb.

In Penelope Spheeris' 1981 documentary The Decline of Western Civilization, The Bags stand out as not only one of the few female-incorporating acts of the era, but possibly the most fearless in the pursuit of creating a well-informed ruckus.

Educator and Chicana activist Growing up in a Spanish-only speaking household, Bag would encounter resistance and discrimination from an English-only education system in Los Angeles. The experience not only informed Bag's later work as a bilingual instructor, but placed her at the forefront of the Chicana punk movement. To this day, Bag continues to be a voice for Mexican-Americans and their roles in the formation of the modern music story.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Bree Davies is a multimedia journalist, artist advocate and community organizer born and raised in Denver. Rooted in the world of Do-It-Yourself arts and music, Davies co-founded Titwrench experimental music festival, is host of the local music and comedy show Sounds on 29th on CPT12 Colorado Public Television and is creator and host of the civic and social issue-focused podcast, Hello? Denver? Are You Still There? Her work is centered on a passionate advocacy for all ages, accessible, inclusive, non-commercial and autonomous DIY art spaces and music venues in Denver.
Contact: Bree Davies

Latest Stories