< CONFLICT >
Tucson, Arizona, USA?
K. Nurse (aka Karen Allman): vocals
Bill C.: guitar
America's Right 5-song cassette (self-released)
Last Hour LP (Placebo)
three songs on This is Phoenix, Not the Circle Jerks compilation (Placebo)
...from Bill C., their guitarist:
"I've got an addition for you: a band called Conflict (usa). It was a band that I played guitar and wrote the music for. We were together from 1982-1984. It was a harcore outfit, we had one LP "last hour" on the Placebo label (JFA, Sun City Girls, etc) and also contributed to a Placebo compilation record called "this is phoenix not the circle jerks". KZSU doesnt have the record (come to think i havent checked for the comp) but KALX has both and plays conflict cuts off them about once every couple of years (at least that i hear, and it always gives me a jolt!). Anyway, we had a girl singer named K.Nurse aka Karen Allman (she was head psychiatric nurse at the public hospital in Tucson). She also wrote all the lyrics (I would bring music to practice and she would bring a book of poems and instantly put them to work). She was really amazing. Did I mention it was hardcore punk? Man she was a tough one too, she was half japanese. We used to play on bills with all the usual suspects at the time (black flag, circle jerks, husker, minor threat, social d., etc etc. Tucson had a great scene back then, and Phoenix did too and was just up the road. Not to mention the drive out to LA for shows at perkins palace and the vex... ahh but i'm reminiscing now. A sure sign of being washed up and old.). Anyway, Karen was also an outspoken feminist and we even started to garner a hardcore-feminist-punk following of sorts, some group of women called the Fester Girls, out here in california. Thats all I ever knew about them. Regardless, Karen definately deserves to be on your page as Karen was a groundbreaker of sorts. There werent a whole lot of women fronting hardcore bands in those days, Sin34 being about the only exception i can recall (legal weapon was considered kinda arty, and the avengers were not hardcore). Karen used to get a lot of shit and I remember some knarly guy slamming her pretty hard in Denver one night. Sucked. The punks paid a lot of lip service to equality but when it came down to it a lot of them were macho assholes who could not handle having a woman on stage singing to them their atrocities. I'd like to think that Karen inspired at least one young girl in the audience to pick up an instrument. Yes, I'm through.
Um, maybe not: we also had a tiny japanese girl named mariko playing bass."
Oh! And more story, from Karen:
"More info...(also, the zine Bamboo Girl printed a long interview with me a couple of issues ago). Bill doesn't mention that he's Ukranian and Mexican. (Nick's Russian). We were really racially mixed (as some other L.A. and S.F. bands were at the time) in a mostly white scene, and this made a difference, too.
We released a 5 song tape called "America's Right." Those were mostly sold through the mail. Our E.P., Last Hour, was distributed in Europe as well as in the U.S. The cover was done by a tattoo artist and was inspired by scenes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings. (We lived near a Cruise Missle training base during the years when Reagan was contemplating nuking the evil empire). Three songs on the "This is Phoenix, Not the Circle Jerks" comp.
One piece of trivia is that, as we were breaking up, I did an interview with Donna Dresch (later of Team Dresch and so much more). She really liked us and played us on the radio in Olympia, as did Calvin Johnson, later of Beat Happening and K Records. (I met him when he was 16 and I gave him a copy of "Last Hour.") Donna (and lots of other people, apparently!) noticed the ambiguous to lesbian content of some of my lyrics and has said that it encouraged her. I hope so! Some of my most infamous lyrics, written for the Fester girls, were a reaction to the asshole "rape is funny" mentality of some segments of the scene.
It was an incredibly sexist environment...I was really lonely for the company of other women at the time. Touring bands like The Alleycats (with bassist Diane Chai) and X had inspired me to try singing and playing music and then all of a sudden these kinds of bands got rarer. I hadn't ever had many close male friends, and then I was suddenly close to some amazing men...like Bill C. and Nick, and Bill Cornelius, of J.F.A., who produced "Last Hour.""