Battered Wives, aka The Wives was a Canadian punk rock band from Toronto, Ontario, Canada[1] active during the late 1970s.[2][3]

Battered Wives
OriginToronto, Ontario, Canada
Genrespunk rock
Years active1976-1980
LabelsBomb Records, Epic Records, Ready Records
MembersToby Swann
Colin Fox
Robert Stewart
Larry Klassen
John Gibb
Cleave Anderson
Patrick Mooney

History edit

The group got together on Toronto's Queen Street West.[4] It originally consisted of Toby Swann (guitar, vocals), Colin Fox (drums), and Robert Stewart (bass, vocals). The group made a point of playing as loudly as possible. Fox was American; when he was arrested on drug charges, he was deported.[5] The band fell apart, but Swann reformed it with a new line-up.

The reformed Battered Wives, consisting of Toby Swann (guitar and vocals), Larry "Jasper" Klassen (bass and vocals), John Gibb (guitar) and Cleave Anderson (drums),[6][7][8] released their first album, Battered Wives in 1978.[9] This spawned the hit singles "Daredevil", "Suicide", "Lover's Balls", and "Uganda Stomp (Bomp Idi Bomp)", which poked fun at the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. Despite their name, and the fact that women's groups were picketing their concerts, the album sold 50,000 copies in Canada and was certified gold.[10]

Anderson was averse to the negative attention and left the band; he was replaced by drummer Patrick Mooney. In 1979, the band released their second album, Cigarettes,[11] as 'The Wives'.[12][13] By now, there was considerable heat surrounding their name—and their logo, which was a clenched fist with the lipstick impression of a bleeding mouth. The group Women Against Violence Against Women had already picketed a record store that was selling their albums; when the band's 13-city tour with Elvis Costello and The Attractions was announced, the group booked a demonstration at Toronto's O'Keefe Centre and the band's manager claimed that they had received death threats.[14] Under the adjusted name, the tour went ahead without incident. The most notable song from Cigarettes was "New Wave Robot". For his work on Cigarettes, the designer Rodney Bowes won a Juno for Best Album Graphics at the Juno Awards of 1980.

The band released Live On Mother's Day in 1980,[15] with the word 'Battered' inserted back into their name. This album was marred with lawsuits from various parties and did not really see the light of day. Then the group broke up.

Anderson became the drummer for Blue Rodeo. Swann went solo, releasing a cover of "Over the Rainbow" on his 1981 album Lullabies in Razorland.[16] Klassen was working as recording artist in Toronto; he died on Thursday, December 8, 2016, at the age of 63.[17]

Discography edit

  • Battered Wives (1978), Bomb Records
  • Cigarettes (1980), Bomb Records, Epic Records
  • Live On Mother's Day (1980), Ready Records

References edit

  1. ^ Worth, Liz; Pig Gold, Gary (1 October 2011). Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk in Toronto and Beyond, 1977-1981. ECW Press. pp. 375–. ISBN 978-1-77090-055-4.
  2. ^ Cary Darling (22 January 1983). "Rough Trade Rises from Canadian Underground". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 54–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  3. ^ David Farrell (14 January 1978). "Canada learns to Pogo". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 57–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  4. ^ "Queen West". Destination Toronto. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  5. ^ "Battered Wives". Canadian Bands. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  6. ^ Sam Sutherland (2012). Perfect Youth: The Birth of Canadian Punk. ECW Press. pp. 23–. ISBN 978-1-77041-065-7.
  7. ^ Saturday Night. Vol. 106, 1–6. Consolidated Press Limited. 1991. p. 54.
  8. ^ "Bands With Very Bad Names".FYI Music News, David Farrell 09/18/2015
  9. ^ "Battered Wives – Battered Wives". Discogs. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  10. ^ "Battered Wives". Canadian Bands. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  11. ^ "The Wives* – Cigarettes". Discogs. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  12. ^ "Bomb issues punk finale". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2 June 1979. pp. 89–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  13. ^ Ontario Library Review. Vol. 64. Provincial Library Service. 1980. p. 54.
  14. ^ Canadian, Press. "Wives band battered by women's lib, Nov 3, 1978". Elvis Costello Wiki, Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  15. ^ "Battered Wives – Live On Mother's Day". Discogs. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  16. ^ "Toby Swann". Discogs. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  17. ^ "Larry "Jasper" KLASSEN Obituary". Legacy, Toronto Star. Retrieved 4 March 2022.

External links edit