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03/11/2004 (interview with Penelope)

So how did the reunion come about and why reform after all these years? Did the band keep in touch with each other in the 80's / 90's?

I put together a CD in 1999 "Died for Your Sins" of unreleased Avengers material and found three good songs in live shows that had no listenable versions. So I got the original guitarist Greg Ingraham and two young friends on bass and drums and recorded them. Then we decided to do record release shows and ended up playing SF, LA and NYC. in 2004 when a new collection on unreleased material came out ("The American In Me" on DBK Works) Greg and I thought we'd play a few shows. We asked the same bassist, Joel Reader, and a new drummer, Luis Illades (Both from The Plus Ones) to play with us and we've gotten a lot of offers for shows that we can't turn down. It's been great fun. I've been the one to contact the band when things are coming out or ugly lawsuits raise their heads.

What difference do you notice in the audience today, compared with when you first played?

The early audiences in 1977 were more varied. Now they are pretty straight across the board punkrockers.

Over the years you have worked with some influential punk people such as Steve Jones and Howard Devoto - given the choice what other musicians would you like to work with and why?

I'd love to work with Tom Waits who's a hero of mine.

As you were one of the early punk bands - where did your musical influences come from? And what bands have you heard the Avengers Influence in?

Patti Smith and Lou Reed.

A lot of people tell me that Courtney Love was copping my vocal sound onher first 2 records, but I don't know... Right now Pearl Jam and Mission of Burma are doing live versions of "The American in Me" The lead singer from Pretty Girls Make Graves told me I'd influenced her. I guess perhaps there are many punks who'd say the same.

Are you still San Francisco based? What is the music scene like in your area?

I live in Oakland CA (across the Bay from SF) and there a cool garage-y scene here with the Cuts, Hard Place, The Peels. And a folky scene with Devendra Bandhardt, Joanna Newsom, Bart Davenport, The Moore Brothers and others. Plus about a million rock, indie, punk and every other kind of band you can think of. SF has a lot of clubs. Maybe too many!


Do you prefer watching, or playing gigs? Why?

Playing gigs. I guess because I get to be in the spotlight!

Would The Avengers allow one of their songs appear in a commercial? If yes, what would you like it to be advertising?

Maybe a campaign theme song for a female presidential candidate for the future radical third party, that we so desparately need here in the USA.

Tell the readers five facts about the band / band members they will not

Joel was born in 1977 and knows the Avengers songs betteer that Greg and I!

Luis was born in Mexico and speaks perfect TJ Spanish and perfect Californian English.

Greg has 2 teenage kids. (one of whom is coming with us to the UK.

I run the www.penelope.net PH/Avengers site and fill all the orders myself.

I can sing Avengers songs better now then when I could in 1977.

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2004/05.

Penelope Houston and LOUT (this is my "solo" rock band)
(Pat Johnson, Mike Theriau,
Ned Doherty + Dave Leonard on drums)
Thee Parkside Tuesday Nov 16th
with the Mike Therieau Band @ 9:PM

The Avengers play Cafe du Nord, SF
Friday, Nov 26th 9:PM $12
support TBA

The AVENGERS play for the limeys
Dec 8th w/ The Damned Roadmender, Northampton, UK
Dec 9th w/ The Damned Bristol Acadamy, Bristol, UK
Dec 10th at The Charlotte in Leicester, UK
Dec 11th at Club Zero in Sheffield, UK
Dec 12th London at The Astoria w/ The Damned, Sham 69, UK Subs, Chelsea, 999 + more

Any final comments?

I'm really looking forward to play in the UK as I lived in London for a few years in the mid 80s.

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Please note that the opinions expressed by band members does not necessarily reflect the views of this website. Punk & Oi in the UK Limited are in no way liable for comments made by interviewees.