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Los Angeles punk pioneers the Bags formed in 1977. Singer Alice Armendariz and bassist Patricia Morrison first met while auditioning for Venus & the Razorblades, a group masterminded by producer/svengali Kim Fowley in the wake of his success with the Runaways. Adopting the aliases Alice Bag and Pat Bag, they recruited guitarists Craig Lee and Rob Ritter and drummer Terry Graham to round out the lineup. Per the band's name, the Bags wore grocery sacks atop their heads during their earliest gigs, although the practice ended when Germs frontman Darby Crash mounted the stage and ripped away Alice's. The Bags made their professional debut at the L.A. nightclub The Masque on September 10, 1977, emerging alongside the first wave of SoCal punk acts. The group's visceral live shows quickly became the stuff of legend, although their debut single, "Survive," did not appear on the Dangerhouse label until late 1978. After contributing "We Don't Need the English" to Dangerhouse's Yes L.A. compilation, Morrison resigned on the eve of the Bags' scheduled appearance in Penelope Spheeris' cult-classic documentary The Decline of Western Civilization, and while the remaining members still appear in the film, their contributions were credited to the Alice Bag Band to sidestep the growing animosity between Alice and Pat. By the time The Decline of Western Civilization hit theaters in 1981, the Bags were no more. Morrison, Ritter, and Graham later reunited in the Gun Club, with the former subsequently relocating to London and joining latter-day editions of the seminal British punk bands the Sisters of Mercy and the Damned. As Rob Graves, Ritter also fronted the goth rock band .45 Grave before succumbing to a fatal heroin overdose in 1991, while Lee tenured in Catholic Discipline before launching a career as a writer, publishing Hardcore California: A History of Punk and New Wave prior to his death from AIDS. Armendariz later served as a member of Castration Squad, Cholita!, and Stay at Home Bomb.
© Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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