Rose McDowall

“When punk happened it just opened the gates for me to go into adulthood…It happened at just the right time, because I didn’t feel like anyone around me. I didn’t ever feel like I fitted into that, and it was like the gates of freedom had just been opened on the spot.”

Flamboyant dressers, Rose McDowall  and her friend Jill Bryson became well-known later as Scottish duo Strawberry Switchblade. But in the late 1970s, it was the influence of The Ramones which started it all off.



“The teenage Rose formed her first band the Poems with soon-to-be husband Drew McDowall after they saw the Ramones live. “I just turned round to Drew and said if they can do it, we can do it!” she laughs. “I love the Ramones, they’re amazing, but we were a bit more experimental than just punk; it wasn’t quite post-punk, it was punk time, but it was a wee bit more rowdy than punk, if you know what I mean. We experimented a bit with instruments and things like that, what we could afford to experiment with. But it was done in a very punky way I guess, because we were little punks.”

The Poems – with Rose on drums – recorded an album but the acetates were lost and it was never released. Rose does however still have a copy on cassette, and if the quality is good enough and everyone is in agreement it’s possible it could eventually come out on Night School Records, who are beginning an extensive reissue of her back catalogue beginning with her album of immediate post-Strawberry Switchblade recordings, Cut With The Cake Knife .”


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