“The thorn in the side of the L.A. music scene. One of L.A.’s leading proponents of a genre aptly dubbed the Gloom Boom .” - Kristina McKenna - Los Angeles Times
“Electronic baby combo for the most adventurous amongst you. Everyone sings in turn and everyone dabbles with knobs and switches and toy machinery.” - Slash magazine
“It’s not that I ever considered Nervous Gender outstanding musicians, it’s just that whenever I see Nervous Gender I expect an outstanding performance.” - Brad Lapin – Damage magazine
“I now see people attempting things that Nervous Gender has been exploiting for years.” - In Touch magazine
“Good noise…My favorite American band” - Richard Meltzer – Author, Critic, DJ- KPFK
Nervous Gender is indeed harsh for those ears that are accustomed to frivolous tunes and meaningless concepts. Nervous Gender’s voice is an often crass and sometimes overpowering experience. There is substance, however, in the words.
A punk band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1978 by Gerardo Velasquez, Edward Stapleton, Michael Ochoa and Phranc, Nervous Gender's purpose was to create totally synthetic punk music or, to use their own facetious language, to insert a backbone into electronic music’s much neglected testicles.
Shortly after their formation, Nervous Gender rejected The Guitar and everything it stood for, and turned their focus to synthesizers and electronic sound techniques, making them, along with The Screamers, the original innovators of what is today called "Synthpunk". NG always referred to themselves as techno-punks and had ties to the industrial and No-wave music styles.
Nervous Gender are often cited as an early influence in the queercore movement. Their lyrics were confrontational, covering such subjects as sex, religious guilt, and homosexuality that exuded menace. Their frequent use of obscene material and audience-provoking behavior guaranteed them no commercial acceptance.
Nervous Gender recorded two records -- 4 tracks for the compilation Live At Target, a seminal punk / industrial recording released as both an LP and video in 1980, and in 1981 they released their LP Music from Hell in which they split the album between the straightforward punk songs and the “Beelzebub Youth” side which featured their more experimental atonal works. Beelzebub Youth is often mistaken as another band.
After the departure of Phranc in early 1980, Nervous Gender went through many personnel changes and have included band members Don Bolles (Germs, 45 Grave, Vox Pop), Paul Roessler (The Screamers, Twisted Roots, Nina Hagen) and Dinah Cancer (Castration Squad, 45 Grave). From 1983 to 1986, Wall of Voodoo members Marc and Bruce Morland, Chas T. Gray and Ned Nuekhardt performed as the back-up instrumentalists for an aberrant guitar-driven incarnation of Nervous Gender.
In early 1990, original members Gerardo Velasquez and Michael Ochoa along with Joe Zinnato (a long time Ochoa collaborator) revived Nervous Gender as a trio. This formation (the leaner meaner Nervous Gender) performed while Gerardo was fighting AIDS. The final performance of Nervous Gender was on August 26, 1991 at Club A.S.S. in Silverlake, CA. Gerardo Velasquez died on March 28, 1992, at age 33. In typical Gerardo fashion, he did not go gently into that good night.
Though Nervous Gender only left us with only two records and memories, some probably best left suppressed, they are often cited as a major influence by today’s electronica bands.
In 2006, NG's remaining members Edward Stapleton, Michael Ochoa and Joe Zinnato started the thankless task of reviewing all of the Nervous Gender material, (studio, live, rehearsal recordings and performance videos) and are releasing a series of archival documents and an NG retrospective. In 2007, they performed live for the first time in 16 years. They are currently in their studio working on new material, much to the delight of Cutter girls everywhere.
- Join the people that joined the future.
Contributions of photos, reviews and sound recordings related to NG are welcome and appreciated.