Thursday, January 5, 2012

R.I.P. Sean Bonniewell and Jennifer Miro

Saints and Sinners

I was sadden to hear recently about the passing of two little known musicians who have held a place in my juke box soul.

The first was Sean Bonniewell of the Music Machine (also known as the Bonniewell Music Machine) a 60s Garage Punk band that has been cited by some as one of thee bands that really inspired punk a decade later. Talk Talk, the bands big hit is a thundering pure rock tune that clocks in at a Ramones like 2:00 Minutes. It’s a powerful howl that is echoed in other Music Machine tunes like Double Yellow Line and The People in Me.  That said, Bonniewell was also an early chronicler of the damage of the drug culture (King Mixer), nuclear proliferation  (point of no Return) and the degradation of the Environment. After the Music Machine he became a DJ and found a career as well as becoming a Christian. Reports are that he was 71 when he passed.

Jennifer “Miro” Anderson was a fetish model, actress (having a small part in the sublime Dr. Caligari) but more importantly to me, she was a singer and keyboard player and songwriter in the great SF group The Nuns. The band was part of the first wave of punk groups in SF and opened for The Sex Pistols at their legendary final show at Winterland. Miro was a platinum Goddess who was one of the constant members of The Nuns, taking the band from punk to industrial. I like the original era of the band the best; their first LP is one of the great overlooked albums of the 1st wave of punk. Their early 90s records had great moments that seemed to have fallen though the cracks and are well worth checking out.  Her voice could reach from the lower reaches of folk singer breathiness to the, wild, savage urgency of the better punk howlers.  I wonder what she could have done if she had gone more country than industrial in the 90s? Original Nun Alejandro Escovedo has paid tribute to The Nuns in song over the last couple of years with Sacramento and Polk and more obviously with Nuns Song… during which he sang, “You got so much to live for…. It’s not too late!” Now the time has passed, Miro was 54 and died of cancer in NYC.

Saints, Sinners, few of us are completely one or the other and often times the clothes of one is worn by the other. I don’t know where Bonniewell or Miro really fell on that scale, only that they are gone and left something for future generations to discover and enjoy.

It seems that the last couple of years have started off with news of punk heroes passing, Bonniewell and Miro now join with Lux Interior and Ron Asheton as gone but not forgotten.  

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