The Band, The Myth, The Volume

In the late 70s the nowave band Vox Pop spawned in L.A. Members included (but were not limited to) Dinah Cancer, Paul B. Cutler, Jeff Dahl, Del Hopkins, Mitch Ochoa and Don Bolles. At the time members of Vox Pop were also in or would later form 45 Grave, The Graverobbers, Dream Syndicate, Naked Prey, Angry Samoans, Lazy Cowgirls, Poison Idea, Jeff Dahl Band, Germs & others.

The aim of Vox Pop was to go punk rock on punk rock, following somewhat in the footsteps of Sun City Girls. Drummer Don Bolles described Vox Pop as follows:  

It was pretty random. Everyone wanted punk! We were, of course being the rebels that we were, we were all rebelling against our rebellion even. That's all we DID was rebel! We'd rebel against the rebels. We'd rebel against ourselves basically. Whatever, we were rebelling against it.

The band performed more than any other band for the show New Wave Theatre, a UHF program in L.A. Which is funny as in the intro for their youtube video for Just Like Your Mom, they can be heard saying "New Wave sucks!"

Vox Pop embraced a wide gamut of influences, including glam. Their drummer Bolles would dress in drag, garnering either approval or scorn from those in the crowd who were not duped. In fact, Bolles's penchant for woman's wear got him ousted from his spot in the Germs by the late vocalist Darby Crash. During the Germs reunion tour following the release of 2008's What We Do Is Secret, Bolles was able to play drums again with the remaining members of Germs. The aforementioned film, while not explicitly about Vox Pop, does contain a brief scene with actors portraying the band.

Look for Vox Pop in the crates of your nearest vinyl heaven or ask your favorite friendly punk purist DJ to dig some out for ya or youtube that shit. (Altho the mp3 links on the first blog listed below are superior to those available on youtube—check out "Become a Pagan" for 60s acidrock goodness.)

Vox Pop disbanded in the early 80s.

additional info and links to mp3s on bottom of blog
Don Bolles interview from Citizine Mag
Germs reunion tour on WFMU's blog

Lexicon Devil: The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash and the Germs 10: 0922915709

Question of the Day: What does vox pop mean to you?

YOUNG WOMAN WITH FAKE TAN: Isn't that, like, that new club stuff?

MIDDLE-AGED MAN WITH COMBOVER: Ah. Quite. Vox Pop. From Vox populi, the voice of the people.

GUY IN BASEBALL CAP: Vox Pop. Oh, that's the name of a student newspaper in Aberdeen.

TOUSLE-HAIRED KID: I haven't. I haven't tried that flavour. Is it like ginger beer?

MAN IN TRENCHCOAT: Vox Pops are "average person in the street" segments, typically brief commentaries on topical issues.

GRANDPOP: That fella had the Tonight Show, all those years ago. Di'n't he invent that? Oh, now what was the fella's name?

GRANDMA: Steve Allen.

GRANDPOP: Steve Allen! Sure, he did those "man on the street" interviews. And prank calls. Didn't he start that Prince Albert in Can gag?

JITTERY MAN: No! But Steve Allen's were, were staged. Yes. Staged. He used, he used actors.

GRANDMA: It helped popularize the thing.

GRANDPOP: Popularized.

SOME GUY: The Pythons did a parody sort of thingy on Vox Pops.

REPORTER: Well, er, let's ask the man in the street what he thinks.

FRENCH AU PAIR: I am not a man you Silly Billy.

MAN ON ROOF: And I'm not in the street.

MAN IN STREET: Well, er, speaking as a man in the street, I... (he is at once struck down by a car) Waugh!

MAN IN BOWLER: The typical vox pop has a reporter, possibly in a trench coat, heading into the street and asking usually simple questions about hot-button issues. (All of a sudden, a pale-looking douche leaps in front of the camera).

PALE-LOOKING DOUCHE: Vox Pop was a band spawned in LA in the late 70s! They tried to be punk rebels against punk! They--

MAN IN BOWLER HAT: See here! This was my topic! It's Speaker’s Corner gone video. Everyone has a chance to pipe in their opinion.

MAN IN TRENCHCOAT: A lot of newspapers do something similar. They’ll have question and a little thumbnail piccy and they’ll take reader responses. This was long before it became ubiquitous on the World Wide Web.

GREEN-HAIRED WOMAN WITH BABE-IN-ARMS: Oh, now the Chat Shows do that. Sorta makes people feel like what we have to say is important-like, don't it?

MIDDLE-AGED MAN WITH COMBOVER: Back in late late 60s, Phil Donahue jumped spontaneously into his audience and took feedback. The next day, the tiny fence that separated the stage—he had a fence separating the stage from the audience—well, they took that fence away. Vox pops became integrated with the show's format.

WOMAN WITH GLASSES: Some newspapers feature sporadic editorials by non-journalists called "Vox Pop" columns.

MIDDLE-AGED MAN WITH COMBOVER: Everyone quickly cloned the format, Oprah assuring everyone that their every littlest feeling is worthy of approbation, and Springer cheering and jeering and trolling you for every feeling of elitism you don't want to have. But you do.

SHORT-HAIRED WOMAN: Significantly, the classic Vox Pop permits only a brief response. They don't lend themselves to thoughtful responses. It's democratization and empowerment, but of a very limited sort.

SOME GUY: I don't want to sound elitist, but damn. The internet has shown us what the voice of the average person can sound like, unfiltered, unrestrained, untrained. Youtube gives every idiot in the world a chance to be his or her own broadcaster, and every idiot and the world has obliged. And the comments section...!



NECKBEARD IN UNDERSHIRT: It was controlled demolition, probably. But we'll get those bastiches come November 5.

FATBEARD IN UNDERWEAR: I don't know about Dave Sim's contribution to art, but I’ve seen nothing to contradict his views on women.

STRIDENT-LOOKING WOMAN: Well, I, too, am outraged to hear Corey Feldman's statements on pedophiles in Hollywood. But you know, the school board will look after its own! It’s like my son, he had all of these absent and late reports, but then I learned the teacher took attendance after the bell but before the anthem. No wonder he had all those unfair lates! What do you expect, when our schools tolerate this?


BARBIE-LOOKING WOMAN WITH VACANT STARE: It would be a much better country if women did not vote. That is simply a fact.

SHORT-HAIRED WOMAN: Hey! When I said I wanted to empower women’s voices, I meant the ones that agree with mine!

LITTLE RED-HAIRED GIRL: If Facebook has done us a service, it's the Facebook Wall, which has helped drag a fair percentage of loudmouths to places where, once again, only their friends have to hear them. Think of it as the corner pub, where--

REPORTER: Sorry. That's all the time we have.

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