The Nuns, San Francisco, California, USA

Formed: San Francisco, California, USA

The Nuns - BandOne of California's very first punk bands, The Nuns formed in 1975 (at roughly the same time as Crime) and were one of the most popular bands on the circuit. Their major claim to international fame was that they supported the Sex Pistols at the Winterland in February 1978. Lead singer Jennifer Miro has claimed that Sid Vicious actually overdosed at one of their parties. Their other famous connection is that their original guitarist and songwriter, Alejandro Escovedo went on to become something of an alt,rock singer of some note. It's a pity then the band's recorded legacy is so small.

Escovedo and Jeff Olener were film students at College of Marin when they formed the band in 1975, swiftly enlisting the services of Miro, who had been singing in a Doobie Brothers covers act, of all things, and 'gravely-voiced gay New Yorker' Richie Detrick. Olener, Detrick and Miro all assumed lead vocal duties, and of the three Miro was the only one who played an instrument, which made them interesting to look at.

The new band played its first shows in January 1976 and played the opening night at the Mabuhay Gardens that December, They were so popular that they ended up playing 2 sold-out shows a week there. Al Ennis: "The Nuns had a really good, powerful punk rock show. They were huge. Jennifer would hit the first couple of notes of a song, and the crowd would just go apeshit. It was real exciting". [Source: Something Better Change by Jack Bouleware and Silke Tudor]

The group were managed by Edwin Heaven, who arranged for "big, gigantic billboards and posters", and also radio spots for the band, which swelled their popularity considerably, making them the best known punk band in the area. Bill Graham offered to manage the band but demanded they drop 'Decadent Jew' from their set. They didn't, so he wouldn't. A series of bass players – Nola, Leslie Q, Mike Varney (future founder and proprietor of Shrapnel Records) - played with the band until by 1979 the lineup had settled to look like this:

The Nuns - San Fraancisco Punk 1979 - Wild 7" (Spain)Jennifer Miro - vocals, keyboards
Richie Detrick - vocals
Jeff Olener - vocals
Alejandro Escavedo - guitar
Pat Ryan - bass
Jeffrey Raphael - drums

Despite offers from CBS and Sire to record them, the band's first three releases were all low budget singles. The first was The Nuns, one of SF's very first punk singles, whoch captures the band in concert in blazing, and I mean, blazing form, World War III is another live recording, as fast and furious as the debut, The Beat was actually credited to Los Nuns, probably because Miro wasn't on it, and while the A-Side is a slow burner that doesn't catch fire, 'Media Control' soars. And with this tiny legacy behind them, the band split during a New York tour in 1979.

Escovedo formed cowpunk band Rank and File with Tony and Chip Kinman of The Dils, and moved to Austin, Texas, while the other Nuns went back to San Francisco. Miro and Ryan formed The VIPs, and Olener moved once more, this time to Los Angeles where he formed 391.

However, it was either a sense of not wanting things being left unfinished - or a need for some quick cash - the group (sans Escavedo) reunited for a week in late April 1980 to record The Nuns. I used to like this record, but the more I hear it the worse it sounds, almost like a record company's idea of what a punk record sound like rather than a proper punk record.

The Nuns - The Nuns EP - US 7" 1979 (415 - 34037)The Nuns - The Nuns EP - US 7" 1979 (415 - 34037) Back Cover

Miro interrupted her solo career (she had recorded a single under the name Marlene in 1984) to reform The Nuns in the mid-80s with the 1980 lineup plus Don Ervin. Rumania (1986) came out on PVC Records just as the label went under, but its weak pop-rock-new wave wouldn't have done much anyway.

The Nuns - Band

ABOVE: The Nuns in 1986

Miro and Olener were the only members who made it to the end of the decade, at which time they released Desperate Children (1990), a stab at stadium rock of sorts that went nowhere. The duo emerged with a new lineup in time for 4 Days In A Motel Room - Their Greatest Sins (1993), which offered mildly engaging pop punk and thoughtfully included the whole of the debut LP as an incentive for the public to part with its cash.

The band went into hibernation again, but have reformed and recorded several records since 1997, all of which are closer to goth rock than punk rock, and none of them - unlike Miro - are worth a wank. Miro has also made a couple of pilot for a television show about vampires, which are available along with vintage Nuns footage on a DVD, called The Nuns. It's really trashy, but fun. In the 1990s, Miro - who had also become a fetish model - contributed to recordings by Narada Michael Walden.

Miro: "To me The Nuns were really a cool band. We never sold out, we never made it big, we never became a big commercial thing. But so what? A lot of people don't make it in showbiz. I've been basically in and around showbiz people since then, and none of them make it either, so it's not just us. Showbiz is very, very cutthroat, very competitive. The weird thing is, I keep thinking it's going to end. But I'm still doing The Nuns. I'm still doing it."

But not anymore, She died of cancer in 2012.

The Nuns - Nuns - Germany 7" 1999 (Musical Tragedies - MT-460)

The Nuns - Miro

LINEUP 1975-1979:

The Nuns - San Fraancisco Punk 1979

Jennifer Miro (real name Jennifer Anderson) RIP 2012 - vocals, keyboards
Richie Detrick - vocals
Jeff Olener - vocals
Alejandro Escavedo - guitar
Pat Ryan - guitar
Jeffrey Raphael - drums

LINEUP 1980:

Jennifer Miro - vocals, keyboards
Richie Detrick - vocals
Jeff Olener - vocals
Pat Ryan - guitar
Jeffrey Raphael - drums

LINEUP 1986:

The Nuns 1986

Jennifer Miro - vocals, keyboards
Jeff Olener - vocals
Pat Ryan - guitar
Jeffrey Rafael - drums
Don Ervin - ??

Michael Belfer (guitarist from The Sleepers and Tuxedomoon) also played with the band at some point during this time.

DISCOGRAPHY

Singles / Albums

The Nuns - The Nuns 7" The Nuns - The Beat The Nuns - World War III The Nuns - The Nuns LP The Nuns - Wild
The Nuns (7", 1979) The Beat (7", as Los Nuns, 1979) World War III
(7", 1980)
The Nuns (LP, 1980) Wild (7", 1981)
The Nuns - Rumania        
Rumania (LP, 1986)        

Extraneous Releases

The Nuns - Savage The Nuns - 4 Days In A Motel Room      
Savage (7", 1981) 4 Days In A Motel Room - Their Greatest Sins (CD, 1993)      

Bootlegs

The Nuns - Gimme Danger        
Gimme Danger
(LP, 1992)
       

Various Artists

Experiments In Destiny US 2xLP 1980 (Bomp!): Wild

Rodney On The Roq US LP 1980 (Posh Boy): Wild

Experiments In Destiny US 2xLP 1980 (Bomp!): Wild

Where Is J.R.? Germany Tape 1982 (Schrott): Decadent Jew

Blood On The ROQ UK LP 1983 (Quiet): Getting Straight

Posh Hits Vol. 1 US LP 1983 (Posh Boy): Suicide Child

The Best Of Rodney On The ROQ US CD 1989 (Posh Boy): Suicide Child

Killed By Death (Rare Punk 77-82) US LP 1989 (Redrum): Decadent Jew

The Posh Boy Story (More Or Less) UK CD 1993 (Damaged Goods): Suicide Child

Cupid's Revenge - The World's Most Romantic Punk Songs US CD 1994 (Continuum Records): Do You Want Me On My Knees

Punk Anderson's Favourites Germany 2xCD 1995 (Starving Missile): Decadent Jew

Live 105, Sf.Local.Bands US CD 1995 (Reel George Productions): Sex Dream

Killed By Dentistry Vol 1 US LP 2000 (Killed By Dentistry): World War III / Cock In My Pocket

Links

THE NUNS - Official website

WIKIPEDIA

MYSPACE PAGE

THE NUNS - Some photos

DANGEROUS MINDS - Jennifer Miro R.I.P.

S.F. WEEKLY - Jennifer Miro interview from 2012

 

 

 

 

You can add stuff and make comments/corrections by emailing me at:

jane@punkygibbon.co.uk

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