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The Avengers

For a short time in the late '70s, The Avengers were at the very center of a flourishing San Francisco punk scene that also included Crime, Chrome, The Nuns, and of course, the Dead Kennedys. They weren't really around long enough to get famous, but their abrasive dangerously fast textbook rock established a punk paradigm that had an effect on everyone from Black Flag to The Pretenders to Lookout Records to Sleater-Kinney. During their brief tenure (1977 through 1979), The Avengers were a train wreck in progress, an incendiary explosion of fearsome punk rock energy that careened up and down the West Coast, climaxing at the infamous 1978 Bill Graham-promoted Winterland concert at which the Sex Pistols performed for the last time. Singer Penelope Houston, only 19 when the band got started, was self-possessed and astoundingly charismatic, with an anthemic, angry vocal style that would influence punk rock frontwomen for years to come. The band which played behind her -- drummer Danny Furious, guitarist Greg Ingraham, and bassist Jimmy Wilsey -- assaulted the ears with a loose, blurry, full-throttle assault capable of shaking fillings loose.

All The Avengers left behind to document their brief furious existence was a handful of singles. In 1983, they released a self-titled retrospective album compiling those recordings, but that has become as difficult to find as the originals. But in 1998, Lookout! released The Avengers Died for Your Sins, a collection of rehearsal and live recordings compiled by Houston. The release also features three previously unrecorded Avengers songs played by a revamped version of the band dubbed the Scavengers, featuring Houston and Ingraham, as well as Joel Reader (formerly of the Mr T Experience, now of the Plus-Ones) and Danny "Panic" Sullivan (Screeching Weasel, The Riverdales, Groovie Ghoulies). The awesome youth solidarity anthem "Teenage Rebel" comes from a 1978 rehearsal session.

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