The Diodes, Canada’s legendary punk pioneers, are back for their first tour in over 30 years with their original 1977 line-up of Paul Robinson (vocals), John Catto (guitars), Ian Mackay (bass) and John Hamilton (drums). They are celebrating the release of a new vinyl-only album, Time/Damage: Live 1978, a live document of their historic show at the famous El Mocambo in Toronto. The Diodes were the first punk band to play the El Mocambo and their concert preceded the equally legendary Elvis Costello appearance there by a few days. The Diodes have announced a string of reunion tour dates in Italy and Ontario.
Joining the band on the Ontario tour dates is author Liz Worth – whose book Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk in Toronto 1977-1981 is in it’s third printing (available from BongoBeat Books). Treat Me Like Dirt… captures the personalities that drove the original Toronto punk scene. This is the first book to document histories of The Diodes, Viletones, and Teenage Head, along with other bands (B-Girls, Curse, Demics, Dishes, Forgotten Rebels, Johnny & The G-Rays, The Mods, The Poles, Simply Saucer, The Ugly, etc.) and fans that brought the punk scene to life in Toronto. Told in the voices of those who were there, this book is a punk rock road map, chalk full of chaos, betrayal, pain, disappointments, failure, success, and the pure rock n roll energy that frames this layered history of punk in Toronto and beyond. In a very special opening segment to the Ontario shows, Liz Worth will be in conversation with Ralph Alfonso (the book’s publisher and Diodes/Crash’n’Burn Club manager) and joined in a lively discussion with members of The Diodes, Johnny & The G-Rays and other special guests who feature in her book. Rare 1977 Toronto punk footage will also be shown and all participants will be available to sign books and memorabilia.
Also joining The Diodes and Liz Worth on the Ontario tour dates are Johnny & The G-Rays (featuring 3 original members) whose singer, John Macleod, is pictured building the Crash’n’Burn club stage in the book, Treat Me Like Dirt… Drummer Bent Rasmussen was in the original 1976 version of The Diodes and guitarist Harri Palm was in the pre-Diodes group, The Eels, with Diodes members Ian Mackay and John Catto. Johnny & The G-Rays took the punk ethos into their own plane of intricate high-energy guitar rock – now remastered in a deluxe reissue of their debut album previously released on the adventurous Attic Records (where Ralph Alfonso instigated their signing) The Diodes were part of the first wave of international Punk bands to surface in 1976. Their appearance supporting the Talking Heads, January 1977, at Ontario College of Art is legendary in the development of the alternative music scene in Toronto and in Canada. In their short career, the band went on to achieve many firsts, including; running Canada’s first Punk club, Crash ‘n’ Burn; the only Canadian Punk band to sign a major record deal (CBS/Epic), releasing an album in October 1977; ahead of The Sex Pistols and other spearheads of the Punk genre. The album was released domestically in many European countries achieving a cult status in Italy, Sweden, Holland and France. The Diodes toured extensively between 1977-1981 supporting The Ramones, The Dead Boys, The Runaways, The Cramps, Ultravox, Gary Numan and U2. They headlined New York’s CBGB’S, Max’s Kansas City, Peppermint Lounge and LA’s The Whiskey A Go Go to rave reviews in The Village Voice, New York Rocker, The Trouser press, Creem, NME, Sounds and Billboard. The Diodes were also the first Canadian Punk band to chart on the Canadian Top 100. High decibel, high energy with aggressive guitars and swirling melodic vocals after 30 years of silence, The Diodes will reassemble for a string of tour dates with the original 1977 line up. A new vinyl album, Time Damage, has just been released on Rave Up Records, Italy. Speaking of the punk energy that emerged out of Toronto and Hamilton, Diodes singer Paul Robinson was definitive in his afterword to Treat Me Like Dirt… “Every once in a while, maybe in every century, a city has its moment. And I think a lot of Toronto’s moment was between 1976 and 1980. There was just an incredible amount of energy in Toronto. I think it was a pretty boring place before all of us. We kind of were the instigators in terms of changing an awful lot of the direction of the city, artistically and musically and stylistically. People wanted Toronto to be more New York than New York, but keep its own identity. They wanted it to be important; they wanted it to matter. A lot of what I see in Toronto now is the product of what we created in a five-year period of time.”
May 21 @ Pop Corn Club, VENICE, ITALY
May 22 @ Road to Ruins Festival, ROME, ITALY
June 2 @ Starlight Lounge, WATERLOO, ON (w. Liz Worth, Johnny & the G-Rays)
June 3 @ Call the Office, LONDON, ON (w. Liz Worth, Johnny & the G-Rays)
June 4 @ Horseshoe Tavern, TORONTO, ON (w. Liz Worth, Johnny & the G-Rays)
June 5 @ This Ain’t Hollywood, HAMILTON, ON (w. Liz Worth, Johnny & the G-Rays)
June 19 @ Sound of Music Festival, BURLINGTON, ON (w. New York Dolls)