Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Anti-Scrunti Faction (A.S.F.) Part 2: A chat with Sarah

The meaning of “Scrunti” Scrun-ti = A young female, usually but not necessarily. A virgin. Usually considered good looking & accessible. Origin: Dean/Don Lipke and the Kenosha Punks. It’s stupid labeling, but not necessarily sexist (scrunt-guys too). Those who use “scrunti” to mean “slut” are entitled to their (mis)interpretations, but it is & never was slut in it’s original meaning in K-town. -Arche-Type Morality Issue 10, c. 1984     

Sarah Bibb was A.S.F.’s original drummer and Eric Van Leuven was essentially her stunt double. While Sarah appeared on some of the early recordings, Eric appeared on the LP and played most of the live shows. The running joke was that A.S.F. was an all girl band except for the drummer. The band even recruited Denver Skin, Dan B. for one of their last tours before they relocated to California.       

Below, Sarah recalls her years in A.S.F. and thoughts about the scene.   

Label from A Sure Fuck EP. Image courtesy of Roger Morgan.
How did you find your way into A.S.F.?
I met Leslie first...when I was 13 or 14. She and Kevin (Dead Silence) drove me to a Dead Kennedy's concert in Denver. A guy I knew from Trade-a-Tape hooked me up with the ride because I didn't know anyone with a car and was desperate to see the DK’s. Later that year I was hanging around Leslie and Tracie and heard them talking about wanting A.S.F. to be all girls and all they needed was a girl drummer. I shyly raised my hand and said, "I have a drum set".  That was pretty much it. I think within days we moved my drums and started practicing. Kathy probably found her way into the band much the same way around the same time. All of a sudden we were an all girl band and instant BFFs.  

I think Tracie coined the word SCRUNTI back in Kenosha. She had a lot of funny made up words for things. 
Notebook drawing. Image courtesy of Kat Parker. 
The band had a unique approach compared with other Denver area bands at the time in that it wasn’t simply reactionary to the mainstream politics of the day; i.e. pointing fingers at the Regan administration. The issues the band wrote and sang about came from a personal angle, issues of feminism. Did the band have an agenda or was A.S.F. simply commenting on what it was like to exist in the context of the college town of Boulder?
Leslie and Kathy seemed more interested in politics and thoughtful discourse about that stuff. I wasn't involved in any of the song writing unless we were drunk, riffing on things like farting and Loni Anderson. I was a kid and so happy to feel like I belonged somewhere that the rest was gravy.  But I think any female in Boulder at that time felt harassed constantly by frat boys. I had lots of uncomfortable times waiting for the bus near campus. It was relentless and I think they were pretty out of control. Big campus. Big jocks. Scary stuff. 

Constant Harassment?
Yes, constant harassment. Boulder was a very safe place except all girls pretty much expected to get raped or harassed by boys and the FRATS were relentless, entitled dicks. 

Damsels In Distress LP cover. Artwork by Leslie Mah. Collection of the author.
Big Women?
It was a reaction to the GBH song, as I recall. After the record came out they came to Denver to play and we were all so excited to see them and I think they told Tracie they liked our song. Pretty cool...they were huge. There was lots of sexism, but that was surely not unique to Denver or any scene. In the early days at Kennedy's Warehouse we were welcome to slam with the boys and it was all one great little happy family of punks. As the scene grew, it was harder to feel welcome as a girl.

I always thought A.S.F. embodied the punk spirit of just getting up on stage and belting out the tunes any which way. I recall people being critical of that approach. Some said that the band was sloppy and they didn’t play their instruments well. Did you ever face such criticisms? What was the band’s reaction?
Well...we did practice! If I had more than one sip of alcohol I lost what little ability to play drums I had, so Tracie would play drums and then Kat wanted to sing so I would "play" guitar. It was so fun but no one ever showed me a single chord! But I was drunk so it didn't matter. BUT THEN when we played our big show at Kennedys I was NOT drunk and when we switched instruments and I suddenly had a guitar in my hands I realized, OH SHIT, I have no idea how to play this!! I look absolutely terrified in those pictures...I just sawed on it. I'm sure it sounded terrible. 

How did you hook-up to do your first EP with Roger of Unclean Records?
I don't remember exactly, but I think Roger might have been a roomie of Leslie. Roger was around a lot and such a great guy.

Lyric sheet insert for Damsels In Distress LP. Collection of the author.
How was it when you first got into the scene and when you left?
It was a great little scene when I started going to shows. We had so much fun slamming with the boys. If I got knocked down someone would help me up. It was really fun and not scary. I remember my last show in ’85 or ‘86; it was in that weird room at the CU Stadium-a locker room or something. I watched a group of young skinheads swarm on a guy I knew and beat him on the dance floor. It was terrible and I just walked out. That was it for me. I never put myself in a crowd like that again. I still have crowd phobia and only go to shows where I know the venue and know I can watch safely from a distance.

Did you feel a difference between the Denver and Boulder scene?
Sarah: I always thought of it as one scene. There were so many great bands! We went to shows every weekend in Denver and sometimes in Boulder. Same bands... only the venue determined if it was a Boulder show or a Denver show.  I never felt there was any difference. 

When did you leave the band and why?
I think I left the band because I didn't want to play any more shows.  Eric played the shows even while I was still in the band. Also, I couldn't go on tour with the girls. I was in Jr. High! I did go into the studio with them for the 45. That was hilarious and fun.  

Did you play and music after A.S.F.? You moved to LA then to Portland? What have you been up to these days?
I was a pretty terrible drummer and sold my drums at some point in High School. I left Boulder in 1987 and moved to LA to become an actress and clothing designer. In 2007 I moved to Portland and opened a store and small factory to manufacture my clothing line. I love music and entertain myself in private with a guitar. I made my girlfriend, Donna, teach me Iron Man recently; that was fun. 

A.S.F. always played with their friends bands. Flier courtesy of Pete Flye.
I have nothing but great memories and think it makes my life on paper sound even cooler. I don't really talk about it to anyone so most of the people in my life have no idea that I was in a band, but when it comes out it's a super fun factoid. I loved those girls with all my heart and they truly saved me in my most difficult teenage years. Leslie and Tracie were the best moms I could have hoped for and I really don't know what I would have done without them. I met a lot of cool people and saw a lot of great music and made some great memories. 

 Special thanks to Ana Medina for proofreading.

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