THE ALLEY CATSAllyecats Germs Skulls Flyer

the zarkons


Formed: Los Angeles, California, USA

Beginning life in the early '70s as a surf band, by 1977 The Alley Cats - husband-and-wife Dianne Chai and Randy Stodola, plus drummer John McCarthy - had upped their obnoxiousness and obstreperousness considerably to fit in perfectly with the racketsome but somehow intellectual Dangerhouse roster of bands (Avengers, Weirdos etc).

Their debut 45, released March 78, Nothing Means Nothing Anymore features a Dead Kennedys-like surf guitar. but the irksome, theatrically wobbly vocals of Stodola make it a chore to sit through (for me anyway). Their second vinyl outing, a track on 1979's Yes L.A. compilation, 'Too Much Junk' is miles better, with great singing from Chai and a totally catchy chorus.

Never the most productive of outfits, they next released a single two years later: Night Along The Blvd b/w a re-recording of 'Too Much Junk' augured well for their first LP, and though Nightmare City was a little late in coming and includes both sides of both singles (all re-recorded), their new slicker, rockier sound was still good and sleazy.

Later that year, A&M Record put on a highly publicised tour featuring various punk/new wave bands of the period, including The Police, XTC, Devo, The Cramps, Dead Kennedys, and Gary Numan. The Alley Cats were there too, and contributed a live version of 'Nothing Means Nothing Anymore' to the resultant document, URGH! A Music War. This presumably lead to their major label debut Escape From The Planet Earth, but this proved to be their last recording as The Alley Cats. They changed their name to the Zarkons and released two more long-players: Riders In The Long Black Parade (1985) and Between The Idea & The Reality... Falls The Shadow (1988).

Their few recordings for Dangerhouse are, on the whole, easily good enough to qualify their creators in the punk hall of fame, albeit as a footnote.



Dianne Chai - vocals, bass
Randy Stodola - vocals, guitar
John McCarthy - drums



Subsequent studio albums: Between The Idea & The Reality... Falls The Shadow (by The Zarkons, 1988).

Singles & Albums / Extraneous Releases / Various Artists

The Alley Cats - Nothing Means Nothing AnymoreNothing Means Nothing Anymore (7", 1978)

The Alley Cats - Night Along The Blvd / Too Much JunkNight Along The Blvd / Too Much Junk (7", 1981)

The Alley Cats - Nightmare CityNightmare City (LP, 1981)

The Alley Cats - Escape From The Planet EarthEscape From The Planet Earth (LP, 1982)

The Zarkons - Riders In The Long Black ParadeRiders In The Long Black Parade (LP, as The Zarkons, 1985)

Extraneous Releases

The Alley Cats - 1979-19821979-1982 (CD+DVD, 2007)

Various Artists

Yes L.A. US LP 1979 (Dangerhouse): Too Much Junk

Sharp Cuts - New Music From American Bands US LP 1980 (Planet): Black Haired Girl

URGH! A Music War UK 2xLP 1981 (A&M): Nothing Means Nothing Anymore (Live)

Me Want Breakfast - The Dangerhouse Collection US LP 1987 (no label): Nothing Means Nothing Anymore

Dangerhouse Volume One US LP/CD 1991 (Frontier): Nothing Means Nothing Anymore

Dangerhouse Volume Two: Give Me A Little Pain! US LP/CD 1993 (Frontier): Give Me A Little Pain / Too Much Junk

We're Desperate - The L.A. Scene (1976-79) US CD 1993 (Rhino): Nothing Means Nothing Anymore

Live From The Masque US CD 2003 (Dionysus): One More Chance

N.Y. L.A. - The Voice Of America Australia LP (Picnic Rock): Too Much Junk

Dangerhouse: Complete Singles Collected 1977-1979 Spain 2xCD/14x7" 2013 (Munster/Frontier/Dangerhouse): Nothing Means Nothing Anymore / Gimme A Little Pain



Punk77 page

Read Trouser Press' panning of the band here


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