Editor's Note: Leslie Singer's work in the 1980s incorporated elements of pop, conceptual and performance art; as well as doses of hardcore punk and lo-fi experimentalism; and even contained traces of progressive rock. Her music and films prefigured Harsh Noise and Riot Grrrls.
Dear EC Community Members,
Hal McGee and I have been working on uncovering and assembling an untold history of unheard music. This one is centered in the much storied Washington DC Punk / New Wave scene at the dawn of the Reagan 1980’s. While many fans of US punk and post-music have heard or read about the straight edge, hardcore punk scene that was based in DC during the very early ’80’s, not as many know about the art punk bands such as the one I was a founding member of in 1982, Psychodrama. Based out of the DC “bedroom communities” of Northern Virginia, Psychodrama (Brett Kerby, Rob Lippert and me) came into existence after playing together and meeting each other through the Throbbing Gristle-damaged From Far Away, Beauty?
Psychodrama’s influences were no wave, prog rock, electronic music, dada, surrealism and horror movies like the original Night of the Living Dead. Our lyrics were naive excursions into “transgression”, covering such topics as death, Armageddon, drivers ed movies and bitching about the DC music scene as was fitting for a band who consisted of mostly disaffected teenagers (I was 18 going on 19, Rob was 15.). Brett, in his mid ‘20’s, was a veteran of DC progressive rock group, Bazilisk.
Psychodrama performed/gigged at the now legendary DC clubs, d.c. space and The Chancery as well as one wacky show at CBGB’s in NYC. Audiences didn’t know exactly how to respond our blend of musics and theatrics but that didn’t stop us from releasing a cassette album in the spring of 1982, 300 Days of Sodom. Inspired by the burgeoning art cassette movement, we self-produced and distributed a 30 minute cassette of our tunes.
By the late summer of 1982, two of us in Psychodrama, (Brett and me) decided that it was time for a change. We drove across country and moved to San Francisco in October 1982. After two weeks, Brett moved back to Northern Virginia and I stayed on to put out a series of five cassette albums under such monikers as Girls on Fire, Sadistic Gossip, and Girls Who Hate Their Mothers.
Over the past several months, Hal and I have been putting together this story in words, pictures and music. We hope you enjoy it!
After high school and a year in the DC noise band, Psychodrama, I moved to SF in 1982.