On October 10th 2007, San Francisco's notorious female-led punk rock band THE AVENGERS will embark on their first-ever cross-country tour, covering a profusion of virgin territory. Equally-adored queercore pioneers, PANSY DIVISION will join THE AVENGERS as direct support for the entire outing. This also marks PANSY DIVISION's return to the circuit - their first national tour in four years. Both bands are available for interviews now through the final show.
"At a time when many U.S. punks were either a musical mess or fashion disaster, San Francisco's Avengers, led by Penelope Houston one of the true pioneering women in punk formed a perfect package raw, honest, gorgeous, and wild." SPIN Magazine Oct. 2007.
From their archetypal teenage beginnings in 1977 until their ragged split in 1979, THE AVENGERS played just over 100 shows, leaving behind only one artifact: 3-song 7" EP, released on Dangerhouse records. They pioneered West coast Punk, headlining shows with legendary early first-wave bands, X, The Germs, The Go Gos, The Dils, and the Dead Kennedys not to mention playing direct support to the Sex Pistols at their legendary last show at the Winterland Ballroom.
That performance earned them a recording session with Pistols' guitarist Steve Jones the results of which were released posthumously on a 4-song 12" EP on White Noise Records. In 1983, members of the band gathered further recordings and put out the self-titled full length LP now known as the "pink album." All three discs quickly went out of print and THE AVENGERS' recorded legacy remained enshrouded in mystery for almost two decades. That is, until subsequent generations of new fans increasingly demanded the old recordings, leading to a flood of AVENGERS bootlegs and finally The Avengers Died For Your Sins, an official collection of live and studio recordings (Lookout! Records, 1999) and The American in Me, featuring one of their final shows, as well as some stripped-down studio versions of classics that had recently resurfaced, (DBKWorks, 2004).
After THE AVENGERS breakup in 1979, Houston moved first to Los Angeles to work in film and video with The Screamers and director Rene Daalder, then to England where she collaborated with Howard Devoto on his post-Magazine projects. Eventually, she returned to San Francisco and helped originate the west coast psyche-folk movement. By 1996 she had toured Europe extensively, signed with WEA Germany (Warner Brothers) and earned numerous awards with the dozen albums, which blended influences of punk, folk, rock, blues and Americana into her darkly unique acoustic genius.
Avengers bassist, James Wilsey went on to greater recognition originating the haunting guitar sound that launched Chris Isaak's career. Drummer Danny [Furious] O'Brien worked with Joan Jett to form the earliest incarnation of the Blackhearts, played briefly with Social Distortion, before eventually moving to Sweden.
In 2004, Houston reformed the band with the original guitarist, Greg Ingraham and a dazzling new rhythm section featuring bassist Joel Reader (Mr. T Experience, Plus Ones, El Vez) and drummer Luis Illades (Pansy Division, Plus Ones). They've performed in select American markets, headlined two European tours and supporting The Damned in the UK, where they were met with adoring crowds and critical acclaim. THE AVENGERS have sold out shows from Los Angeles to Rome, including a sweat drenched performance in the last days of the legendary CBGB's. Now, 30 years from their inception there is no doubt of their place in Punk history.
"The Avengers were San Francisco's best punk band, in moments the best in the republic: fabulous songs, a snarling, confrontational presence, a primitive sound that could go anywhere.
And the Avengers were real punk. They had learned a language, where nearly everything that went into a song was broken down and made up again from as close to nothing as anyone could get, and for a long moment it seemed as if this new language could say everything - or anything worth saying.
Try to speak another language, and you may find you can't talk at all. "
Greil Marcus, Interview Magazine, May 1999.