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French Punk New Wave 1975-1985

Ignored for a long time in the past, the French punk music is now the subject of books and CD compilations. Legendary names are now combined with new releases of old pieces. Very influenced by the evolution of the American and British scenes, musicians meet in the clubs and music stores of major French cities.

Our selection :

ASPHALT JUNGLE : Led by Patrick Eudeline, this short-lived group recorded three singles. Among them are Deconnection (1977) and the famous Polly Magoo. After touring (most of their concerts were cancelled), the group broke up in 1978 without ever meeting any commercial success.

BIJOU : Led by Vincent Palmer this group first performed live in 1975 at the punk festival of Mont-de-Marsan. In 1977 Philips released their album Danse avec moi featuring a rock version of Jacques Dutronc’s La fille du Père Noël. Serge Gainsbourg then wrote for them Betty Jane Rose. Their second album OK Carole was released in 1978 and in 1979 came Pas dormer recorded in the USA. In 1980 their single Rock à la radio from the album Jamais dompté was a hit. The group broke up in 1982 after the release of their last album Bijou pop, which was a commercial failure.

BLESSED VIRGINS : The three friends were hosted to perform in Japan in 1982 for the release of their first album including the hit Jean-Pascal et la France. 5 years later Commotion released their second album Jour de Fête which marked as well the end of the group.

CALAMITES : These three young ladies, students in medicine, set up a group in 1982 and recorded a mini-album full of energy released by the label New Rose in 1982. Toutes les nuits, Pas la peine and the latest Vélomoteur still remain classic.

LES CIVILS : They recorded only two singles, released by Man’kin (label which signed Taxi Girl as well): the famous La crise and La peur du loup.

DOGS : This group from Rouen claimed their rock and roll attitude. Very influenced by The Stooges, their lyrics were mostly in English. Philips released their first album Different in 1979. Their taste for violent music could really be heard on their second release Walking Shadows (1980). Too much glass for the neighbourhood was released in 1982 (Epic), followed by Legendary lovers in 1983 (by the producer of Dr Feelgood, Vic Maile). The albums Shout and More more more marked the decline of the group.

EDITH NYLON : Singer Mylene Kaski, her brother Zako and two more members, very representative of the post-punk era, met a huge success with their first single Edith Nylon (CBS). After a second album Johnny Johnny and the LP Quatre essais philosophiques they travelled to London in 1982 to record Bravo Bravo (Chiswick). Mylene then retired in Singapore.

ELECTRIC CALLAS : Fascinated by Roxy Music and David Bowie, this group from Lyon led by Jangil Callas released only two LP : So chic (EMI, 1979) and Winner. Marie, an ex-member of the group Marie et les Garçons, then joined them.

GOGOL 1er : This born-agitator, usually dressed as a priest, quickly drew attention to himself with his outrageous lyrics ( I fuck, Adolf my love) and live performances featuring young ladies dressed as flogged slaves and an executioner. His first album Vite avant la saisie was released by New Rose in 1982. His most spectacular show was yet to come. It took place on the square of the cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris on a Saturday afternoon during a mass. He arrived driving a wrapped truck on which we could see a crucified woman wearing a garter.

GUILTY RAZORS : This Parisian group recorded only one piece together I don’t’ wanna be rich (Polydor, 1978). Then the singer Tristan released the single Je suis de bonne humeur ce matin which was a hit. The other members formed a new group called Bandolero and successfully released the single Paris Latino.

ICI PARIS : Led by singer Marie Al Kha Raz (Betty Boo style), this group performed a second class and cheerful rock n roll which Gaumont enjoyed. Their records: Souris (1980), Twist à Paris (LP, 1981) and the album Allo le monde (1982).

KAS PRODUCT : Ex male nurse in psychiatry Spatz and beautiful mixed-race Mona Soyoc were the members of this group. He played the synthetizers and she was the singer. After their first LP Take me tonight they released their first album Try out (RCA, 1982). In the piece Pussy X, Mona sang like a cat, which attracted everyone’s attention. Their second album By pass (1983) including the hit Loony been took them on tour across Europe. Afterwards they set up their own record company Pussy Disc and released Shoo Shoo distributed by AZ in 1985. The third and last album Ego eye met a qualified success (Musidisc, 1986).

LITTLE BOB STORY : This group from Le Havre led by Roberto Piazza was formed in 1975. Their aggressive blues rock music was really made for live performance. RCA released their first album High Time in 1976. The criticisms of their first singles were on the front pages of the New Musical Express and Melody Maker. Their second album Livin’ in the fast lane was released in 1977. The same year the group gave two unforgettable concerts at the punk festival of Mont-de-Marsan and the Olympia. Then a European tour followed, a new live album and Light of my town (1980) and Vacant heart (1982). Their new record company Pathé released the excellent album Too young to love me in 1984. The decline of their success got the better of the group. The singer continued to perform alone and released the album Rendez-vous in Angel city in 1989.

MARIE ET LES GARCONS : Influenced by the Talking Heads and Television, this group of four recorded the single Rien à dire in 1977. Marie played the drums and Patrick Vidal was the singer. In 1978 they travelled to New York to record the famous Re Pop (Ze Records) under the management of John Cale. A posthumous album came out in 1980 including previously unreleased pieces.

MARQUIS DE SADE : Formed in 1977 by Christian Dargelos (future member of Les Nus) and Franck Darcel (future member of Octobre), this group featuring Philippe Pascal (future member of Marc Seberg) recorded the album Dantzig Twist in 1979 (EMI). A deep stage aesthetic and a European comes out of this praised album and more particularly Conrad Veidtn Murnau’s favourite actor. A second album Rue de Siam was released in 1981 when at the same time the group broke up due to irreconcilable differences.

MATHEMATIQUE MODERNE : The album Les visiteurs du soir produced by Jacno in 1981 (Celluloid) made this group famous and more particularly the single Disco rough. This short-lived group made of two members Claude Arto and Edwige Braum-Belmore played light pop music.

METAL URBAIN : Fond of The Stooges, Lou Reed and the English punk, this Parisian group recorded Panik (1977, Cobra), which drew the attention of the London media; Paris Maquis and Hystérie connective both released on the album Les homes morts sont dangereux (Byzz/Celluloid). Mixing art and anarchy, the group then renamed Les Métal Boys was eventually called Dr Mix and the Remix. They went on tour in Britain and recorded an album of new versions called Wall of noise (Rough Trade). Charles Hurbier, an ex-member, then founded Via Viva in 1984.

OBERKAMPF : It used to be one the greatest French punk groups led by Joe Hell and which attracted a lot of attention with both their performances on stage (they burned the French flag) and their productions: Couleurs sur Paris which urges young people to stand up against state institutions, La Marseillaise which featured pig screams and the album Plein les couilles (1984).

ORCHESTRE ROUGE : Theo Hakola, born American, arrived in Paris in 1978 and founded Orchestre Rouge. The group released their first album Yellow Laughter in 1982 (RCA) and a second one in 1983 More passion fodder. Their dark and activist lyrics were both in English and French and their discs sleeves featured Ricardo Mosmer’s paintings. The group broke up in 1984 and Theo then founded Passion Fodder. This new group released 5 albums (Barclay).

LA SOURIS DEGLINGUEE : This legendary group, better known as LSD, was born in 1979 in Paris thanks to the singer Thai Luc. Their first single was entitled Haine, Haine, Haine. The label New Rose allowed them to release their first album. They went on tour in 1982, first in Paris and then throughout the country. Their Parisian shows caused riots. Their second album Une cause à rallier was released by Kuklos followed by Aujourd’hui et demain by Celluloid. In 1989 they changed their musical orientation to hip-hop and world music with Banzai...

STARSHOOTER : This group of four qualified of « funny punks » was led by Kent. Their first album Starshooter offered singles like Get Baque a new version of the Beatles’ original song, which was controversial because of the lyrics : We are fed up wit the Beatles and their crap music, only good at making teenagers dance. Their second album Mode, a pop one, included the famous Loukoum Scandale. The third one, the cover of which was designed by Kiki Picasso, included the treasure Machine à laver. Mick Glossop, the British producer of The Ruts, produced their last album Pas fatigues (CBS). It was a commercial failure.

STINKY TOYS : Jacno and Elli Medeiros met in 1976. On 20 September with two friends they performed at the first punk festival of London at the 100 club (Elli was then on the cover of Melody Maker). They released their first single Boozy creed in 1977 (Polydor) followed by their first album including the original version of Amoureux solitaires later sung by Lio. Vogue released their second album before the group broke up. Elli and Jacno continued singing together light pop songs.

SUICIDE ROMEO : Formed by the Godart brothers in 1978, this group was very much inspired by the Talking Heads. They released an album Images in 1979 (Island) and stopped their adventure.

TAXI GIRL : Alexis managed this legendary group with Daniel Darc as a singer, Laurent Claviers playing the keyboards and Mirways playing the guitar. Their first two singles Man’kin and more particularly Cherchez le garcon met a huge success. They then created their own label Man’kin Records which produced the records of Les Civils, Bandolero, Clap Machine... Jean-Jacques Burnel produced their album Seppuku. Their performed live in first part of The Stranglers. In 1983 the group reduced to two, released a mini-album and the singles Paris and Aussi belle qu’une balle. Daniel Darc then continued alone whereas Mirways fromed the group Juliette et les Indépendants before launching his career into techno music and producing the famous Music for Madonna.

TC MATIC : Led by Arno from 1977 to 1985, this Belgian provocative group became famous in 1983 thanks to the single Putain, Putain. They released 4 albums (O la la la, Choco more particularly). Arno then went solo.

TELEX : Influenced by Kraftwerk, this Belgian trio (Marc Moulin, Dan Lacksman and Michel Moers) released in 1978 a new version of Twist à St-Tropez which allowed them to be signed by Sire and to release the European hit Diskow Moskow. Faithful to their very out of line humour, they refused to perform live. In 1980 they ended last but not least at the Eurovision Competition with their song Eurovision. After 5 conceptual albums they broke up in 1986. Their influence on the techno scene is very important.

TUEURS DE LA LUNE MIEL : Founded by Marc Hollander, future creator of the label Crammed Disc, and singers Yvon Vromman and Véronique Vincent, this Belgian group released an album in 1982 featuring a new version of Charles Trenet’s Nationale 7. They were on the cover of the New Musical Express. After touring in Japan, the group broke up.

WC3 : Initialy called A 3 dans les WC, this group from the North of France released Poupée Be Bop in 1981 (CBS) and Machine Infernale in 1984 (punk rock music). The group broke up after the suicide of one of the members.


"Nos années punk 1977-1980"
BIJOU Oh Carole
BIJOU Betty Jane Rose
DOGS Here comes my baby
STINKY TOYS Boozy creed
STINKY TOYS Plastic face
METAL URBAIN Hystérie connective
STARSHOOTER Quelle crise Baby
MARIE ET LES GARCONS A bout de souffle
GAZOLINE Killer man
GAZOLINE Radio flic
GUILTY RAZORS Don’t wanna be a rich
Plastic BERTRAND Ca plane pour moi
Plastic BERTRAND Pogo pogo
TAXI GIRL Chercher le garçon
TAXI GIRL Les yeux des amants

20 January 2005

Olivier Marteau

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