Back in April, we wrote a short profile piece on the sublime Holly Beth Vincent, which has since become one of our most popular posts. It’s evident that Holly Beth still has a solid fanbase, and we had a great response to the post, but there were still some things we needed to know, and what better way to find out than to ask her.
Here, in full, is our exclusive interview with the wonderful Holly Beth Vincent.
PGD – Did you find Punk, or did Punk find you?
HBV – A friend of mine was a publicist for CBS records and had a test pressing of The Ramones first album. She called me and said I needed to hear it. We were New York Dolls fans. I went to her apartment and listened and loved it. I also thought I could do that. Play a few chords and make songs out of it and sing. They (The Ramones) made playing music something anyone could do. Punk did this in general. You didn’t need a big skill set just ideas and creativity. And energy.
I also read Punk Magazine. It was really fun. That exposed me to NYC punk. I later was to become friends with some of the contributors.
I was playing in a girl band that rehearsed at the L.A. space called the Masque. There’s a great book called “Nightmare On Punk Alley” that is a photo book from that time, the L.A. punk scene. The girl band and others were first to rehearse there. The punk scene sprung up in and around that place, the Masque. It’s pretty well known to the West coast.
To answer your question I believe it was both. We found each other. Fate.
PGD – We read something somewhere, where you said that you were drawn to the UK partly because of the “humor and wit” of the Punk scene, can you expand on that?
HBV – I think I meant the L.A. punk scene. There was a lot that was humorous about it. And artistic and smart. Apart from just great loud punk rock. There was punk lounge jazz music. Etc. Multi genre.
I liked the U.K. bands like the Jam, the Sex Pistols, the Damned, Buzzcocks, The Undertones, The Vibrators, The Soft Boys (a bit different) and so on. The Banshees, and I’m leaving out a lot of them, just because they were all great.
Undertones, U.K. Subs. Pauline Murray. The Selector. Pauline Black. All great music. Ultravox… Japan… for techno. It’s British. It’s different.
PGD – Is it true that you once trashed a dressing room at the BBC? And what were the circumstances?
HBV – Yes it’s true. I just hadn’t slept for a few days, my leg was broken in Sheffield at a hotel, a blind staircase and carrying my guitar and not wanting it to break. My leg was instead.
Train ride back to London with said leg broken, ouch. Then a T.V. show to do.
Hair appointment. It was The Old Grey Whistle Test. Very serious show.
Seriously a great music performance show. A prestigious element I wasn’t aware of at that moment. Americans.
It was supposed to be live performance and I blanked out on lyrics from lack of sleep and injury. Had to stop playing. People were yelling at me. I smashed a dressing room mirror,
was surrounded by security and shown out. They said it wouldn’t air but it did. It was good. I was good.
I’m sorry about their mirror but I doubt it’s anything anymore. Life went on.
PGD – How has being around the whole punk/post-punk scene affected your outlook on life?
My life is richer for it. Punk is fantastic.
My coping skills are probably better for it. I made better friends. Had more interesting hair.
PGD – Are you still in LA, and what are you up to at the moment? Future plans?
HBV – No I’m in Minneapolis right now. I don’t have plans, am taking life day by day. It’s different here. I’m writing songs, starting to. But just living life. We’ll see.
– and of course anything else you’d like to add!!
HBV – I’m just going to add that despite what it says on Wikipedia, I’m not born in 1956, I don’t think age is relevant to anything much, but yes I was active in the punk scene, the original one.
In response to your original post, also don’t recall my manager calling the second blue album suicide music but if he did I’m sure he was being a bit ironic. There may be other things I’ve said, that are debatable factually. I recall reading some information and wondering. That was a hazy time.
But it’s not super important. I’m learning to edit myself. A little. I’m glad there’s the delete option.
Thanks for the article, writing about me. Allowing me to express some things.
I’m glad it has become common place for girls to play in bands. All points of view should be represented.
And it’s really fun, I know you know this.
Holly, it’s an absolute pleasure. Thank-you for taking the time to talk with us.