Punk singer Honey Bane (real name Donna Tracy) grew up in a care home in the 1970s. It’s now well-established that physical and sexual abuse were a common feature of children’s care homes in that decade. Described in House of Lords as “the greatest scandal of the 20th century”, many of the culprits have died before their crimes came to light.
The story of Honey Bane’s life seems to go: care home, punk band, youth detention centre, punk singer, new wave singer, actress, nude model, actress, singer. Based on the things we’ve learned about the punk scene, Honey Bane’s early career probably features ill-treatment and exploitation of some sort, however ‘tough’ she may have been. At 14, she was the singer in the Fatal Microbes for the classic punk single ‘Violence Grows’. The objectionable review in Sounds was:
“Fatal Microbes are gawky, angular but intense. A bit like the Slits and seem to possess a rather tantalising nymphet as singer.”
Honey Bane was part of the Crass collective/commune; she recorded with them and released on their label. Still the offensive reviews piled up:
“Despite the unflattering jumble sale chic you can see she’s a looker. A little on the dumpy side perhaps but that’s just puppy fat. She’s still only sweet 16 after all.”
Gary Bushell, Sounds
Many of her fans were not impressed when Bane signed to EMI in 1981; the cry of ‘sell out’ was common because she’d supposedly turned her back on her punk roots for a career as a new wave sex symbol. Sham 69 vocalist Jimmy Pursey was involved in some way. When the singing career didn’t take off, Honey Bane took on the role of Molly in the film Scrubbers
There have been many other film and musical collaboration; Bane’s website doesn’t mention years spent as a pin-up model, but blogs written by male fans do seem to make a feature of it. She’s still recording and releasing music on her own label.
Here at punkgirldiaries, we reckon that Honey Bane must be a strong sassy person. We’re all products of our upbringing so we salute you, Honey Bane for surviving the system and still making music!