Sparkle and Destroy Episode 29 Featuring Madelyn “Lucy Mad” Ropner
On July 21, 2019 I went to see legendary LA punk band X at the Siren in Morro Bay, CA. It was my third or fourth time seeing them and I was pumped. I sang along to all the words as hard as I could, dancing till I sweated through my clothes. It felt good. I just like living in a world where Billy Zoom is still smiling like a maniac and ripping his Gretsch a new one, where John Doe is still dreamily crooning, DJ Bonebrake is still punishing the kit and Exene is still dangerous and wild! Age has only made them more of who they were. I expected to feel super nostalgic about my teenage years (when I first discovered X) but I did not expect that I’d walk away with a newfound friend (and podcast interview) after the show! Let me explain.
The next day after the show, I wrote this post on Facebook.
“Last night I met a lady who said she was in one of San Luis Obispo County’s first ever punk bands, Publik Enema. This flier (see right) is from a 1978 show she did with X in sleepy Pismo Beach, CA! (Also note Deadbeats, The Eyes and Black Randy and the Metro Squad on the bill, which was known to feature LA punk pioneers like Belinda Carlisle, Lorna Doom, Alice Bag, among others).
Apparently her bandmate had to drive to LA to pick X up, and then drove them 4 hours back to Pismo for the show! Wish I could have seen that gig, as punks and punk shows were pretty rare (and still are) on the Central Coast of CA! Anyway, flash back to last night. The lady brought this flier to the X show in Morro Bay to get Bonebrake’s signature (her white whale).
It’s funny when album reviewers stick up their noses at where we’re from and say ‘I didn’t know there were punk bands in San Luis Obispo, CA.’ As if they even cared about all the hard-won little gigs happening away from the major cities! Before moving back to the LA area at 16, I was one of four teenaged punks in a small Central Coast town, and we didn’t even have a record store.
My first REAL punk show was in 2001 (I was 14) at a Grange Hall with a lopsided wooden floor surrounded by rural farmland. Decades before, in 1978, X played then cow-town-by-the-sea Pismo Beach to what was probably a very motley little crew of weirdos. That’s what it’s all about, right? Record reviewers and those who mythologize punk (after the fact) hate this because they were too cool to get off their asses and mingle with the real people, the ones that had to create scenes and zines and shows out of sheer will, against all odds.
PS I gave the woman with the flier my CD and told her to find me online. If you are local and think you know who she is, DM me! I'd love to interview her for my podcast or just buy her a beer.”
WELL, GUESS WHAT? Someone DID DM me and I DID learn her identity!
Not only did I have the chance to meet this mysterious woman again in real life—the fabulous Madelyn “Lucy Mad” Ropner”— she graced me with the interview I had so dreamed of. I was overjoyed! We had a grand time and she spun some long yarns about punk rock, drugs, leopard print, small town shows, and DIY. I think you will totally enjoy this episode, which also features the Rotter’s tune, “Sit on My Face Stevie Nix.” Unfortunately, none of Lucy Mad’s music can be found online—it’s all gathering dust on reel-to-rell (someone better get on that).