Stephanie Silk

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, in the suburbs of Los Angeles. I went to Catholic school for 14 years. I had a pretty standard but boring start to things. I loved going to the beach. I hung out at the mall. I listened to rock and roll on the radio. I read all the rock mags I could get my hands on. Circus, Hit Parader, Creem, Rolling Stone. My parents didn’t like me spending money on them. So when I would go out and buy them, I would return home through the alley and leave my bag of magazines by the garbage cans. An hour later I would go back into the alley and stick the mags under my t-shirt and hide them back in my bedroom. I was a nerdy, arty, and weird, and I sucked at sports. In the 8th grade I listened to a lot of Dr. Demento. Later I referred to his show the “gateway drug of punk rock”. When everyone else picked Pink Floyd and Lynyrd Skynyrd, I listed Blondie and Pretenders as the best band for our yearbook. A hot weekend night for me was eating popcorn and staying up late to watch Saturday Night Live, The Kenny Everett Video Show, Rock World, or any number of late night rock video programs. One night a video came on by a band I had never heard of before. They wore weird clothes, thrashed around, a little kid ran around the set and smashed a plaster statue of David. It left me baffled. To this day I still remember the feeling inside while I watched this video. I was used to Van Halen and Led Zeppelin and not what I was seeing on the TV. That video was Helium Bar by The Weirdos. After that I started switching from the L.A. rock stations to the new wave station, KROQ. Very quickly I found Rodney Bingenheimer’s Saturday night radio show. Rodney on the Roq was the gold standard for all things punk rock and quickly cemented any feelings I had about punk. I loved that I could hear a band on the radio and then go see them live on the weekend. From his show, many mix tapes were made and played relentlessly. From the night I went to my first gig in 1982, Chelsea at the Country Club in Reseda, CA, I explored every avenue, every possibility of punk rock presented to me. I never once looked back. 

One of my favorite parts of the scene was having punk rock penpals all over the world. I am still friends with many of them after 38 years. 

I worked for JEM Records, Caroline Records, Bay Area Records and Tapes, and Pacific Coast One Stop. I was a shit worker for Maximum Rock and Roll. I worked at the Scream, TVC 15, and Club with No Name as an assistant to VDO Mic the VeeJay. I have been an extra in David Markey’s Lovedoll Superstars, Macaroni and Me, and Raymond Pettibon’s Citizen Tanya. My husband and I have been married for 20 years and we have two sweet but surly teenagers in Berkeley, CA.

Am I an artist? You decide. Do I love to paint? Absolutely.

  1. Keith Field

    Hey Steph. Got your message about this project and will give it some thought. I too lived in the Valley, but just as you were getting into punk in 1982 I was giving up the ghost after about 5 years as a fan. Saw hundreds of shows over that time, took 1000+ photos, almost all of which sadly were taken and then lost when my first wife left me for her new drug dealer. By ’79/’80 or so, surfer kids from OC were coming to shows and using the pogo pit to start fights. Just kept getting worse. The Masque and its few sputtering spinoffs were gone, the Whiskey and dozens of other clubs either wouldn’t book punk bands anymore or just went belly up altogether. But it was fun while it lasted.

  2. Chris O'Connor

    Amazing full stop! your likeness is spot on…your story brings back memories of my own…..

  3. Kurt Sermas

    The Helium Bar video was a game changer for me too when I saw it in 1980. Amazingly one of my local record stores in Wilmington, Delaware had the Action Design ep

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