Alice Bag is a legend. From starting the bags in the mid to late 70’s, and not even releasing an album, and people still know who she is. That is legend status to me. She came to Johnny Brenda’s, in Philadelphia, and blew us all away! She sang, she shouted, she danced, she jumped – as you can see from the photos this woman did not stop moving – and she had a great time. She was awesome. And her band are just as awesome. Fiona NGO may be my new favorite guitarist.
Alice Bag (born Alicia Armendariz on November 7, 1958, in Los Angeles, California) is a punk rock singer, musician, author, educator and feminist archivist. She is the lead singer and co-founder of the Bags, one of the first wave of punk bands to form in the mid-1970s in LA. Her first book Violence Girl, From East LA Rage to Hollywood Stage is the story of her upbringing in East Los Angeles, her eventual migration to Hollywood and the euphoria and aftermath of the first punk wave. This former bilingual elementary school teacher continues as an author, outspoken activist, feminist and a self-proclaimed troublemaker. Bag has remained active in music since the late 1970s.
A cause Alice Bag has been passionate about is education, especially bilingualism. In a home that chastised her for speaking anything other than Spanish with her family, Alice has first-hand experience to the difficulties of going to school without knowing English. Teachers ridiculed her for not knowing English, long stints with no friends followed by a brief foray into cheerleading, close calls with law enforcement and a firsthand view of police mistreatment of Chicano rights activists, its clear to the reader how each experience contributes to the evolution of a stage persona. Alice began working at inner-city LA schools, teaching English, after she received her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from California State University- Los Angeles.
Alice Bag defied all odds and became a creator of what would eventually become known as punk despite many setbacks and family and social pressures. The article “Vexed on the Eastside: Chicana Roots and Routes of L.A. Punk,” captures Alice Bag’s energy and enthusiasm by quoting Los Angeles Times which stated, “When Alice, lead singer for the Bags rock group, takes the stage in torn fishnet hose and micro mini leopard-skin tunic, she explodes into convulsive, unintelligible vocals.” Still today Alice shares her music with her followers. In addition to her musical talents she also inspires other women musicians and remains involved with her community through her biography titled “Violence Girl”.
Bag currently maintains part-time residency in Los Angeles, California and Phoenix, Arizona. She remains musically active and collaborates with artists including Teresa Covarrubias, Lysa Flores, Martin Sorrondeguy, Allison Wolfe and others. She has recently begun exhibiting her oil paintings in gallery showings.
The show was opened up by Full Bush, The Pretty Greens and Shell Shag.