I grew up in the 1970s, and when I turned 15, I experienced live music for the first time when my boyfriend, who was 18, took me to see Rod Stewart and Faces. WOW! What an eye-opening experience! I knew that this was where I wanted to be, and I couldn’t wait for my next show. My father was a Marine, and I went to Catholic school, so I was waiting for my life to begin. I felt stifled, and, as a young woman, I often experienced the sexism that Catholic schools were famous for. Over the next few years, I went to as many concerts as I could. But I think two shows opened the door to punk for me: Patti Smith in March of 1976 and then Blondie and Iggy Pop in 1977. Instantly, I recognized that there was something different about these performers—something a bit edgier, physical, and dangerous. I immediately gravitated to punk, and began devouring Punk Magazine to find more bands to listen to. Punk fed the rebelliousness inside me. I like its gritty aesthetic. It spoke to me as a teenager who felt alienated and marginalized. And the music energized me and made me so happy.
First punk show – Patti Smith, March 27, 1976 – I loved Patti Smith. She was free, poetic, stylish, uncompromising, unrestrained. Seeing a strong woman on stage was transformative for me.
I was the manager for a Philly band called Sadistic Exploits and for the Boston band Society System Decontrol. I worked for the Boston record label XCLAIM, booking shows and answering fan mail and mailing out merchandise. I wrote for the Philly fanzine Savage Pink , and I contributed to various fanzines in the early 1980s. In Savage Pink, I had a column called “Out on the Town with Shirley,” which talked about shows but was also a bit gossipy and fun. I promoted gigs in both Philadelphia and Boston. Probably my most notorious show was the one my friends and I did as the Philadelphia Better Youth Organization with Minor Threat, SS Decontrol, Agnostic Front, Crib Death, and Flag of Democracy on November 20, 1982 at Buff Hall in Camden, New Jersey. I briefly made an appearance in the movie American Hardcore. Regarding the punk rock penpal scene, Punk Magazine had a list of punk pen pals in the back of their issues. I got a punk pen pal named “Silver Adams,” who was from New Orleans. We wrote for several years. It was SO FUN to talk to another person who liked punk as much as I did. He told me about a New Orleans band called The Normals, and I went to see them when they played Philly in 1978. We lost touch after a few years, but we reconnected about 2 months ago! Instagram found him for me, which was just CRAZY. He’s still awesome. I wrote a book called “I’m Not Holding Your Coat – My Bruises-and-All Memoir of Punk Rock Rebellion.” Lastly, I have been a high school English Language Arts teacher for 28 years, an Adjunct Professor in the School of Undergraduate and Graduate Education at a Boston area college, and a writer for Skyword. I am married to Alan Barile, and we live with our beagle Flippy outside of Boston.
More about Nancy can be found on her instagram – @nancybarile
6″x9″, Cold press paper, watercolor, pen and ink, gouache, June 2023