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Posted in Punk - Post Punk

And now live from Toronto – The Last Pogo.

This is a 1978 Canadian punk compilation recorded live over two days at the famous Toronto venue The Horseshoe. I don’t know too much about the history of the Horshoe, I was there once last year, but clips from the bands talking seem to indicate that it was going to be closed down and that this recording was a farewell show.

I’m not a collector of punk music and I do not know much about the genre. I found this record in a bookstore and thought my friend, who is in ska band, would like it. When I got home and put the needle down I was totally floored. There are a wide range of styles on this compilation, which even included a reggae band. My favorites being the Drastic Measures’ proto-pogues-polka Flowers, The Secrets’ wicked cover of Shout, and the high-energy band The Ugly’s All Because Of You.

The record came with a sleeve that had some nice pictures from the venue. See below.

Artists on the compilation: The Everglades, The Ugly, Drastic Measures, The Mods, The Secrets, Ishan Band, Cardboard Brains, The Scenics.

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Sleeve

22 Comments

  • I am an ametuer radio host. one day when i was looking around the station music library and i found this record in i pile of 78’s that somebody left out. I listened to it and frankly, it rocked my face off. I loved pretty much every song i heard off it. this record strengthend my belief that smal time canadian punk bands rule. but alas, when i tried to find to find it the next time i was going on air it semingly vanished, leaving a whole in my heart on par with those left by some women. I declare this record a victory for science.

  • Cool man! This record shouldn’t be too hard to find, I think there are copies on Gemm.com for reasonable prices, go and solve your existential crisis!

    :)

  • Hi. I produced the short film THE LAST POGO in 1978, and I’m currently making a feature doc called THE RETURN OF THE LAST POGO, a kind of funky “where are they now” type thing. I’ll try and keep you posted.

  • Hi Colin,

    Please keep me updated, I’d love to see where these people ended up.

    Also, is there a way to get a hold of your film The Last Pogo? I work at a cinemateque in Edmonton, Alberta and I could probably request it to be played, but I’d need to know who has the print.

    Please give me an email or reply in here at

    vilevin [at] gmail [dot] com

    – Aaron Levin

  • for now, I’m keeping THE print of THE LAST POGO underwraps. I start shooting THE RETURN OF THE LAST POGO this summer…

  • Hi Colin,

    Glad to hear that you’re shooting “return of” soon, sounds interesting.

    I’m just a bit confused, though. When you say “underwraps” do you mean you’re not distributing it at all? Or that you are the owner of the print?

    In any case, let me know. Metro Cinema here in Edmonton would love to show it.

    http://www.metrocinema.org

    :)

    – Aaron Levin

  • I’m the 100% owner of the film — it’s just that getting my mitts on a print are legally tricky right now.

    If I CAN get a print eventually, it won’t be ’til the summer’s over. And I may just keep it unshown until I complete the doc, then add it as part of a snazzy DVD.

    I’ll get a ‘net network going, and make sure everyone’s informed…

  • Okay, my site is up, and now I start shooting as many people from The Last Pogo as possible.

    http://www.thelastpogo.net

  • Hey Canonical:
    Thanks for the mention. My band Drastic Measures played one of the two Last Pogo performances. Nite #1 featured all the pure punk bands. Nite #2 featured all the power-pop and other alternative types in the scene (there had always been a Jamaican population in Toronto – “The Ishan People” were the first reggae band that played within the alternative scene). Drastic Measures played 2nd last on Nite #2 (ALMOST headlining).Both nights were absolutely packed.
    The record should have been a double LP, had it included everyone who played on both nights, but not all the bands agreed to be on the LP. Teenage Head and Rough Trade and the Viletones and a few others didn’t want to be on the record because they had other deals happening that were more important.
    Our tracks are totally live (not all are).
    What an amazing document it would have been if everyone had been included!
    The whole scene had been built by The Garys with those of us who were there making music at the very beginning of Toronto’s alternative days (’75-’77). The Horseshoe, a famous country and western bar, was transformed by the Garys into Toronto’s newest cool place with its newest most experimental acts, and there was a small cluster of original bands playing odd, interesting music. The Horseshoe was our home for awhile and we built it from an empty bar to a place that was packed regularly and featured big alternative acts from elsewhere (we opened for The Stranglers there in 1978). The new punk movement settled there at that time. But the Horseshoe management made it miserable for the Garys, and so the Garys packed up and we all moved to a folk bar at Ryerson University Campus, called Egerton’s. The Garys transformed that place into a piece of great Toronto music history – rechristened “The Edge”. If you saw a list of everyone that played there you’d be shocked.
    The Horseshoe reopened as a country bar that would eventually include rock and alternative acts (as it does to this day). At that time they hoped that those of us who’d been popular there would still come back regularly, but the Garys told us that anyone who continued to work with those guys would not be welcome at the new place. This was fair. The Horseshoe didn’t develop the scene, the Garys did, so we all went to The Edge (long afterward, local FM radio station 102.1 took that name for themselves – in 1978 that station was the extremely alternative CFNY who were responsible for ALL radio exposure for the new Toronto and imported sounds). The Edge was the Garys’ greatest club, home to the whole punk and alternative scene that flourished for the next couple of years. After that, they got into promoting big rock concerts and small festivals. The scene spread out to other venues and cities that had connected to Toronto through the Garys.

    The Last Pogo was the culmination of a year’s work by all of us, the “we’re finished here” document. Colin’s film is specifically about the punk bands who played on Nite #1, so Drastic Measures will not figure into the story. If you go back and look at all the activity from that period you will see our name everywhere, but later as the Toronto punk scene came to be appreciated in retrospect, we were generally omitted from the history because we didn’t play punk music, but were a hybrid.
    No one knows what happened to the master sound recordings from the LP. None of the people who made it – the producer (Keith Elshaw), the engineer (Doug McClement), the record company (Bomb), or the Garys – knows where those tapes went or even who legally owns them (I’ve asked them all). A mystery record. Hold onto your copy.
    Thanks again for the kind mention. I’ve linked your review to my site.
    Tony Malone
    Drastic Measures (frontman-songwriter)

  • Hi Tony.
    I just read your comments. Thanks so much for that piece of history. And for the music.
    Aaron Levin / Canonical

  • Hi Aaron,
    I was trying to find your new website, the 25 to life link…and ended up here. I never knew how much text you had posted on the web ;-)
    Thinking of you!
    Love,
    Patrice aka Aaron’s mommy

  • This is one my all-time fave punk comps. I used to do a radio show on WVXU in Cincinnati that featured a 1/2-hour segment of obscure late ’70s/eary ’80s punk, and spun cuts from “The Last Pogo” and its seemingly defact follow-up, “No Pedestrians,” quite frequently.
    Where are the Cardboard Brains when we need them?

  • I purchased a copy of “The Last Pogo”, as a callow youth of 14.
    Was mentioning it today, at work to my partner, whose uncle was in the punk promotion business back then. He had not heard of it.
    Still have the LP, and spent some social time with two of “The Mods”. That is what brought up the topic. We had mutual friends.
    It has been a long time, but City-TV (Toronto), often showed “The Last Pogo” film late nights (usually om weekends).
    The bands involved always brought me great joy, and I can’t wait for “The Return Of..”

    One band that came along slightly later, and never got the respect deserved, was:”Stark Naked and the Fleshtones”
    Track them down some day. They were once featured on CFNY’s “Thursday Night Live” programme.

  • I would love – LOVE – if you could post the rest of the tracks from this much-missed record. Don’t know why I sold it, or who stole it.

  • Doug McClement

    Hi Rick:

    In 1978, I operated a mobile studio that recorded the soundtrack for the Last Pogo album (and parts of the film). Send me your address, and I’ll run a cd for you. The album was engineered by Jim Frank (former chief engineer at Master’s Workshop studios in Toronto) Jim passed away a few years ago. Producer Keith Elshaw was a hip dj from CFNY, and a real supporter of the new bands. He now lives in Montreal. The album was mixed at my studio, Comfort Sound. If you ever get to see the movie, I’m the sound tech onstage with the yellow Comfort Sound t shirt and the headset, adjusting the mics. It was a crazy remote, which ended up in a minor riot when the cops closed down the show after Teenage Head had only played one song. (number of people in the bar was WAY over the fire limit) I got to work with a lot of the bands later, doing independent albums at the studio. (the Mods, The Viletones, the Scenics, and the Drastic Measures, to name a few.) We are very fortunate that Colin Brunton was there to document it. Ironically, Gary Topp now teaches at the same music industry school that I teach at.(The Harris Institute for the Arts) so I see him occasionally. I’m also in touch with Tony Malone from Drastic Measures, and David Quinton from the Mods. I’m still in the live recording business, but the company is now called LiveWire Remote Recorders. We do the Juno Awards, the MuchMusic Awards, and lots of live dvd’s for bands.

    Doug McClement

  • I just saw the movie on the bigscreen last night for the NXNE music fest!!

    My father is the guitar player for the Ugly’s and my godfather(s) were both in the Viletones. It was like being back in my basement at 5 watching the guys jam, amazing!!!!

    great review!!! good to know REAL music is still loved and respected

    p.s. doug (comment above) if u are willing to send me an additional copy of the cd, i woudl LOVE to gift it to my dad

  • Headly Westerfield

    Geez, I found this site and it’s like old home week.

    Two of the bands I managed, Drastic Measures and Ishan People played at The Last Pogo. It was a magical 2 nights.

    Hi Tony!!! Still waiting for a reply from my last email.

    Headly Westerfield
    [Temporarily in] Sunrise, Florida

  • Was only 15 when the Tashern Last Pogo’d, but spent many a night at The Edge watching Drastic Measures, mostly… Dose were da daze. I’d mention that Mike Myers was a big DM fan, but, ya know… Love Guru and all ;-) Thanks for the MP3’s and blasts from the past!
    peace.

  • Noticed somebody mentioned Stark Naked and The Fleshtones…here’s a link to some tunes. No doubt, one of the most exciting live acts around the scene…not really part of the last pogo scene (we were all just fans at that point) but certainly a certified part of the the last wave of the first hierarchy of Toronto Punk bands…it’s a band that also certainly deserves more recognition as time rolls…

    http://www.eugeneripper.com/stark.htm

  • Does anyone know where I might be able to find the tracks from the No Pedestrian comp?

    I’m a Vancouver theatre producer doing research for a punk production I’m putting together. Its an adaptation of Hard Core Logo with Joe Shithead of DOA composing the music.

    Anyway, the Toronto scene is a new discovery for me and would love to have these tracks on my ipod. Can someone hook a brother up?

    Cheers,
    Michael

  • i remember this album when it came out. never got a copy then, but purchased it. I think that that Colin should put out the original film as a teaser for the follow-up film. It would go down a storm now, what with everyone reliving their youth.

  • Drastic Measures were a marginal band in the Toronto scene at best. They were included on the LP because the producer was producing a Drastic Measures record as well. They were never really part of the scene and their music sticks out like a sore thumb. When you watch the Last Pogo Jumps again Tony and his band are in the movie as a token gesture.

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