Tony Cimo

My first experience with punk was negative, in that I hated that my favorite music magazine at the time – Cream – was featuring more stories on the Sex Pistols and Ramones then my favorite band, KISS. I remember seeing pictures of Johnny Rotten, with his infamous sneer and acne riddled face and just hating him. Somewhere around 1978/79 I was hanging out with a friend at his house and we were listening to the radio and there was an ad and in the background there were some Sex Pistols songs playing and I recalled liking it; musically it just sounded like edgier rock ‘n’ roll and the British sneer in the vocals was quite appealing to a pre-teen. There were two other transcendent events that pushed me into punk. Accidently happening into a Stepmothers gig at the West Valley Teen Center; they were wild, loud, frightening and totally awesome. Soon after that, as with most young kids looking to explore the world of Punk music in LA, I discovered Rodney on the Roq. The New Wave hits that were popping up alongside at this time – Devo, the B-52’s, Blondie – also had their musical impact. I think what punk rock did for me was save me. Up until that point I was a very depressed kid, with no identity or direction and a soul crushed by my mother’s death. In the short run it gave me a community of other kids that didn’t fit in to the “normal” teen life; that had different interests or ways of looking at the world. And in the long run Punk opened up my mind and heart to the possibilities that existed in the world; in art, society…really in the entire universe. It’s informed my political and philosophical beliefs. It has forced me to challenge my perceptions and to always question authority, power and money. It’s truly an honor to share this experience with others.

My first punk rock show was unofficially the Simpletones at the West Valley Teen Center in 1979 (just happened to be there but really liked them). Officially X at the Country Club 80 or 81. Some punk trivia about myself – I had a Christian punk band called Revelation VIII. Of course I was the only Christian. My brief flirtation with Jesus caused me to miss ALL of the Godzilla’s gigs 🙁 These days I am married with a son and daughter living in San Francisco, CA. Today, I still listen to punk and consider the punk scene to have been one of the most formative experiences of my life. I will always be a punker.

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