A few weeks ago, I was inside my 1989 camper van in a Hamilton parking lot with Mickey DeSadist of the Forgetten Rebels, trying to get a few questions asked before Teenage Head, now with new lead singer Pete MacAulay, hit the stage for their first hometown show since the passing of Frankie Venom. It was one of those strange, high-energy nights where it feels like a packed room full of 200-plus people have known each other for years. Probably because, in this case, they have. I met a lot of great folks that day – Chris Houston from the Rebels, Edgar Breau from Simply Saucer, and, after having only spoken on the phone or over e-mail in the past, Gord Lewis from Teenage Head. So why am I posting a Tyranna song here? Because Mickey and I wasted a significant chunk of our time together talking about how great this band was. I had been listening to their five song EP all day, and he professed to have a CD-R copy in his car that he had been trying to get Chris Houston to check out for weeks.
It wasn’t until 2008 that this release finally saw the light of day. A long-lost treasure of Toronto’s first wave, Tyranna were fantastically ferocious, as songs like “Back Off Baby” attest to. Fronted by Vera “Rabies” Syke, the band’s song have a real raw sonic power, while Syke’s snarling delivering belies some great pop songwriting underneath. One of the greatest lines in the sand between many first wave groups was musical ability; some had it, and other most definitely didn’t. Which isn’t to say that those who couldn’t play didn’t make some amazing contributions, since even the casual observer knows that this isn’t true. But sometimes, it’s great to get group of people who can play, write, and act the part. Tyranna were that group. I mean, look at the photo, right? That shit pops.
Tyranna: “Back Off Baby”