Jennifer Schwartz

This first time I heard the two words, “punk rock,” was around 1977. My mom, brother and I had just moved to Beverly Hills. That place sucks. Anyway, one day, a girl from my 8th grade class, Joan, showed up with a choppy, short haircut, a single earring of a dangling, glittery fish and a ripped Fiorucci t-shirt (I would kill for that T-shirt right now). I heard her tell her friend that she was now into “punk rock.” Fast forward one year, we moved to Santa Monica (we moved a lot), and my brother and I befriended Dave Markey, who lived down the block. 

Dave was into anything out of the ordinary. He liked Saturday Night Live (he had a Mr. Bill t-shirt…again, I’d kill for it now), published a proto-zine, The Neighborhood Journal, and had his own Super 8 camera, which he would use to direct feature-length films. Oh, and, get this, he was only 16. Truly a unique individual, who enlightened and inspired me and my brother, and still does to this very day.

Dave and Jordan bonded over their mutual dislike of asshole-rock of the day (Led Zeppelin, Ted Nugent, Boston, etc), and both gravitated toward different sounds. We had to look hard to find anything New Wave, or ska, but we’d take the bus to Westwood to shop on the Village, steal 45s from Rhino Records and Tower, also in Westwood, and listened religiously to Rodney on the Roq, to heard Black Flag, Circle Jerks, etc.

I pretty much tagged along. I wasn’t really into hardcore, like Dave and Jordan, I liked, what they termed “girlie bands.” Which meant, a punk band that had melodic songs. But when I discovered Redd Kross, Descendents, Minutemen, and any band with a girl in it (X, Go-Go’s, mainly) I was hooked for life. 

We started finding shows in Hollywood. We’d take the bus or pile into someone’s car. We’d go out every night if possible, to the Cathay De Grande, Godzilla’s or whatever horrible hall somewhere in the pits of LA hell. Didn’t matter where, if there was a band, we were there. Dave and Jordan started a fanzine, We Got Power. I wrote reviews and helped out wherever I could. Later, Dave and I made two feature-length movies with his Super 8, “Desperate Teenage Lovedolls” and “Lovedolls Superstar.” I formed a band from the film, a la Monkees, with Kim Pilkington, Janet Housden, and Abby Travis. Oh, and get this, I did all this before I was 18 years old.

I kinda moved on from punk rock as it morphed into pure hardcore, but I can still say the music and sentiment inspires me to this day, and probably for the rest of my life.

Some extras about Jennifer: First punk gig was The Selector and the Plugz at the Whisky. It was my friend’s 14th birthday and her mom was cool. She worked for Barking Pumpkin, Frank Zappa’s label. So she took us to see the Selector. I was a big ska fan, so I was stoked. I worked for Capitol Records from 89-93. I helped found We Got Power with my brother, Jordan, and David Markey. I was in Dave Markey’s films Desperate Teenage LoveDolls and Lovedolls Superstar. Today I work in digital for Fender guitars. I have one son who’s 22 and I live in LA.

(Watercolor and gouache, 9″x11″ cold press paper. -SS 12/06/2021)

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