Wednesday, April 15, 2015

CRAYOLA [1977]

Text by Gypsy / FFanzeen, 1977
Introduction © Robert Barry Francos / FFanzeen, 2015
Images © Robert Barry Francos

This interview was originally published in FFanzeen, issue #3, dated Winter-Spring 1977-78. It was written by Gypsy.
Lolly Holly, Janek Five, Hayden Brasseur
The first time I saw Crayola was opening for the Fast at some club whose name I can’t recall right now that came and went, on MacDougal Street; it was the same night I saw Sid Vicious drunkenly kick some homeless guy sleeping on the corner of MacDougal and 8th as I walked to the subway. But I digress… Crayola were a decent, rockin’ all-female band who definitely didn’t get the recognition they deserved. I approached them at CBGB’s the next time about an article, and the drummer, Hayden Brasseur, who would later join the Student Teachers, suggested the anonymous Gypsy write it (I know who she is, but I was sworn to secrecy). Other than legend, Crayola didn’t really go anywhere. I’m not sure they even released more than a single; I certainly can’t find any info on them on the Internet, which is saying something. But they are a part of that period’s underground history, and I am also a champion of those bands that weren’t one of the usual dozen or so you always hear about (Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie, Heartbreakers, Dictators, Television, Patti Smith, Voidoids, etc.). So for posterity on the Internet, I present Crayola. – RBF, 2015

CBGB’s in New York City is normally a quiet, dignified, out-of-the-way little bistro frequented by middle-echelon bums after a hard day of windshield cleaning. The bands who occupy its stage are the descendants of such groups as the Kingston Trio, the Four Freshmen and the Ink Spots.

Its usual clientele, however, wouldn’t have recognized the place one recent Wednesday night when a quartet of fetching females called Crayola launched into a rattle, a whoosh of guitar power and a singer (with more energy than Con Edison) who asked, “What makes you think you’re soo cool, looking me up and down? Turn them eyes away before it’s too late.”

Even though they knew Janek Five meant what she was saying, the crowed couldn’t turn their eyes away. Janek exploded across the stage like Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn and people jumped in and out of their seats – and kept jumping – through songs like “Scream and Cry,” “At the Rumble,” “You’ll Be Destroyed,” and “Massage Parlor Junkie.” The set ended with Crayola pounding out a scathing version of “Love Potion Number 9,” complete with Janek bursting into an impromptu Hullabaloo-reminiscent Monkey. Then the stage lights went down and the house lights came up and Crayola was gone. But you knew they had arrived. Crayola: you’ve held them in your hands, now they’re melting in your heart.

I’ve already mentioned singer Janek Five, but she deserves as much mention as she can get. She’s like a stick of dynamite, with a voice bigger than she is. No matter what stage she lands on, you get the feeling it just isn’t big enough for her (Madison Square Garden take note). Blonde hair, shorn short, which is ideal because you don’t want to miss one single glance or stare or leer. She is the focal point of Crayola and rumor has it that J. Rotten was dismissed in hopes of getting Janek as a replacement.
Karen Krayon
But this probably isn’t true because the rumor was started by Lolly Holly, the carrot-topped guitarist of Crayola. Sexy, sultry and talented. A direct descendant of Buddy Holly, her ambition in life is to one day wear glasses and ride a defective airplane. She doesn’t move much on stage (possibly for fear of a fatal collision with dervish Janek) but, like the Statue of Liberty, she doesn’t have to move to be noticed. There’s intensity on her face: the intensity of a professional. It was once suggested that if she ever smiled, she’d break the hearts of teenage boys everywhere. She just doesn’t want the responsibility.

Occupying the other side of the stage is every-steady, affable, tall, thin and often green Karen Krayon. If there’s one person in all the hundreds of bands who hasn’t forgotten that rock and roll was supposed to be fun, it’s Karen. She bops and hops and, along with Lolly, occasionally steps up to her microphone to join Janek in harmonic lines like “Keep your hands off my man / Or the shit will hit the fan.” Offstage, fun-loving Karen can be found falling off barstools all over town.
Hayden Brasseur
Backing up Crayola with pow-pow-power is drummer Hayden Brasseur. She plays with such force that drumsticks have started to smoke in her hands and recently, she broke several of her sticks over a bartender’s head. Dark haired and green eyed, smiling, making faces and driving Crayola with innovative pulsating beats, Hayden is what parents everywhere hope their daughters won’t turn into.

Together, these four girls, all aged 20 (birth certificates supplied on request) from one of the most promising new bands to emerge from the new New York music scene. Only together six months, Crayola are already recognized for their uniqueness, their pervading sense of fun and their creative talent (they compose virtually all of their material). See them if you can. If you miss them, invest half a buck on their single in Max’s jukebox (#184). Either way, Crayola is coming after you. Have your coloring books ready.


  1. I saw them at max's back then. The red head was using equipment from Hall n oats. That's what the road cases were stensled. I was told she was related somehow. I look back now and perhaps someone from Sara Allen's family.

  2. In 1978 they moved on to:
    Were regulars at Max's etc.