Penelope Houston in 1978, the AVENGERS


Ein wenig mehr Interesse am Interview hatte ich ja doch von Penelope Houston erwartet, aber sie hatte mich ja vorgewarnt, das sie nur ein kleines Interview beantworten koennte. Naja, besser als nichts, und so schickte ich ihr im August einen mittleren Fragebogen zu. Hier das Resultat.


So, how has the last two decades changed your perspective in general?

PH: I’m a bit less didactic. I know the world is not all black and white, right and wrong. There’s a lot of grey areas, where forgiveness could come in handy. Maybe I’m not as fast to judge others now.


You have played at the end of august some all ages shows under the scAVENGERS with the original guitarplayer Greg Ingraham aka Gerg Scars, and Joel Reader from the Plus Ones, plus Luis Illades from Pansy Division/Plus Ones on the rhythm section in the California area. Which was the best show? Did you had also watch some of your support bands? Maybe the Stitches or the Crowd?

PH: I enjoyed the show at the Galaxy the most. There was a good crowd of 550 fans and the sound was great. I felt myself disappearing and being lifted up into the songs.

Unfortunately, I find it hard to watch bands playing before me. Too distratcted. But what I saw of the Crowd and the Stitched was good.


I have seen on your webpage, that you are making CD-R copys of your s/t full-length, which was coming out on CD Presents in 1983, and selling them to the fans worldwide, who could not find a original copy of the vinyl or the CD. Was there not a talking between the label and you, to put a new and much more better release out?

PH: I plan to release the “pink “album sometime, but it is an involved process. There are some bootlegs out there now, but I haven’t been able to get any.


Do you have collect from the past any video shots, that we maybe can expect in the near future a AVENGERS DVD?

PH: Never say never.


What question would you like to be asked in interviews, but you are never asked? And what is your answer?

PH: Hmm… Can I take you out to dinner? Answer… yes (or no)


What is the best sentence you have ever heard, that someone has managed to get into a song's lyrics?

PH: “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”


How is life in your street where you live?

PH: Sweet and peaceful, lot’s of kids, trees and but we’re in earshot of the occasional siren and gunshot.


Name one famous non-punk person you would consider "punk" and explain why you believe they deserve this distinction.

PH: The Suffragettes. They expressed outrage for the voiceless and utterly believed in their battles, without worrying about the status quo.


Which record could I find in your CD-player or at your turn-table?

PH: Bart Davenport s/t


What is your fave word, that you used very often for writing songs? Any explanation?

PH: “Shining”.


First record you ever bought yourselves?

PH: Maybe a Cat Stevens LP!


What was your last interview you did?

PH: 2 weeks ago and tomorrow.


What qualities are important for you in individuals?

PH: Intelligence, a sense of humor, positive outlook…


When you look back at the time you spent in the Avengers, what sticks out the most? What's the general feeling you get about it? Do you miss it?

PH: I loved the community of musicians and fans. It was a vibrant time, innocent of the commercialization that would come later. I used to miss the opportunity to scream, but have that again!


Was there much violence at your gigs? What was the strangest thing that’s been thrown at you on stage?

PH: Not too much violence. We’d stop playing if things got out of hand. I don’t remember too much being thrown.


Who is/was the biggest loudmouth in punk rock, that you met or knew? And why?

PH: Jello Biafra. Of course, he says a lot of things that are true… Being on a panel with him means you’ll never have to open your mouth.


The most clever word you ever said?

PH: Once I wrote “He was a flower from Oblivion’s Garden” Thought that was good… but I can’t say what the cleverest word would be.


Let´s talk a little bit about  the new release on DBK Works "The American In Me". Never heard the name of the label before. How did you get in touch with them?

PH: They are friends of mine and put out the new Penelope CD too.


Why the label switch? Are you still on good terms with "Lookout Records", where you released in 1999 the "Died For Your Sins" record?

PH: Lookout seems to be floundering a bit. They were very hard to get a hold of, so I went with DBK Works.


After I hearing those old material on "Died For Your Sins" like "I Want In", "Crazy Homicide" and "The End Of The World" in those newer versions, my first thought was, how about to re-recorded the old classics from the ´70ties for a whole new record?

PH: That’s an idea, but if I can get the pink album out again, it would be redundant.


In general, what do you see wrong with music today?

PH: The same crap that’s been wrong from the start… labels releasing product simply to rake in the money and promoting the hell out of it. Mostly for the kids. Too much crap out there.


What would you like to tell a new band, who is coming fresh on the scene?

PH: Do it because you are driven to. Because you can’t not do it. If you don’t really feel it, then find something else to do, because you’re just wasting everybody’s time!


What´s the best place to write a song?

PH: Anywhere.


In 1977 you were a very young band on the frisco scene. Did your parents supported you in any ways?

PH: Not really. We all lived in the same apt. and shared the rent, ate cheap food and bummed beer from out friends.


Let´s talk a little bit more about parents: As such a young punkette, did you have often trouble at home?

PH: I moved away from home at 16 to go to college, so by the time I was 19 (when the band started) I was far from home.


What was the stupidest dress - style out of punk rock in 1977?

PH: Plastic bags and Plastic wrap. Performing in those was way too hot!


What made you stop your band engagement in ´79; what caused the breakup?

PH: We were on our 2nd guitarist and seemed to have hit a plateau. Nobody had radio, label, or club support back then. It was a tough time.


Today, do you have any contact to your ex-members; James Wilsey, Danny Furious, Brad Kent aka Brad Cunt or even Steve Jones, who produced the timeless classic "The American in Me" 12"inch?

PH: Jimmy and Danny are in touch.


I discover on your webpage, that in the pipeline are some shows planning for december in the U.K.

PH: Yes we are playing with the Damned on Dec 12th in London. We’ll try to do a few other UK shows around that time too.


Do you have all original records from your band?

PH: Yes and I wish I had a big box of Dangerhouse singles!


Thanks very much for the interview.



Interview: Ralf Real Shock ( August 2004 )