(1977 – 1979)

Meaning Bandname: An abbreviation of French ‘loubardes’, motorcycle gang girls, feminine form of ‘loubards’

Bio: The Lou’s were one of the first punk bands in France, and the first all-women rock band in any genre in France. Dutch Sacha aka Syama aka Saskia de Jong on drums, French Raphaele Devins on rhythm guitar, Tollim Toto on bass and Pamela Popo, vocals and lead guitar, found each other in spring 1977. They were the only band playing on both days of the 1977 Mont de Marsan punk festival. Later in 1977 and 1978, they played with many British bands in Britain and Ireland: Sham 69, the Skids, Subway Sect, Penetration, the Mekons. On 14 November 1977, The Lou’s played with Neo, Richard Hell and the Voidoids and Siouxsie and the Banshees in the Music Machine in London. They were support band to the Clash during the 1977 Out of Control tour in the UK.

In 1978, they played with Public Image Limited, both in Paris, and in London. The Lou’s signed a contract with CBS France. However, the Lou´s did not like that contract, broke it, and went back to small label Skydog in France. In 1979, Sacha became drummer, and Raphaelle saxophone player, in London band Verdict. They played much for Rock against Racism. Meanwhile, Pamela and Tolim founded Les Rois Fainéants in France.

In 1981, Sacha was back in her native Leiden, the Netherlands. She founded the all-girl Miami Beach Girls. Raphaele came to Leiden as well, playing saxophone in Cheap ‘n’ Nasty. Later, Sacha was in LoveCramps. This Dutch all-girl band won the ‘Miss Rock Europe’ competition in Kyiv, then still Soviet Union. They played in the women’s prison in Kharkiv.

Saskia de Jong aka Sacha aka Syama – drums
Raphaele Devins † – rhythm guitar
Tollim Toto – bass
Pamela Popo † – vocals, lead guitar

Other bands:
Saskia de Jong – Verdict, Miami Beach Girls, LoveCramps
Raphaele Devins – Verdict, Cheap ‘n’ Nasty, What’s My Name, Perplex, R.A.F.
Tollim Toto – Les Rois Fainéants
Pamela Popo – Les Rois Fainéants

2021 – Wild Fire 12″ EP (Cameleon Records, FRA)
2022 – Macho Women 7″ single (Cameleon Records, FRA)
Comes with 68 pgs Revue Thesaurus 1 magazine, 800 made, 300 numbered

1978 – Le Rock D’Ici À L’Olympia LP (Pathé Marconi EMI, FRA)
1978 – Skydog – Commando LP (Skydog, FRA)
1987 – Les 30 Plus Grands Succès Du Punk 2x LP (Skydog International, FRA)
1990 – Les 30 Plus Grands Succès Du Punk CD (Skydog, FRA)
1992 – Les Plus Grands Succès Du Punk CD (Skydog, FRA)
1992 – Les Plus Grands Succès Du Punk II – “Le Retour” CD (Skydog, FRA)
1993 – Les Plus Grands Succès Du Punk Francais 2x CD (Skydog International, FRA)
1999 – Le Rock D’Ici À L’Olympia CD (Jurassic Punk, FRA  / Anthology’s, FRA)
199X – Les Rockeuses CDr (Get Baque Records, FRA)


1977.05.03 Campagne-Première, Paris (first concert)
1977.05.25 Campagne-Première, Paris
1977.05.26 Campagne-Première, Paris
1977.05.27 Campagne-Première, Paris
1977.05.28 Campagne-Première, Paris
1977.06.09 Gibus Club, Paris
1977.06.10 Golf Drouot, Paris
1977.06.11 Fête Anti-Radiale, Paris
1977.06.12 Fête Anti-Radiale, Paris
1977.06.14 Gibus Club, Paris
1977.06.15 Gibus Club, Paris
1977.06.16 Gibus Club, Paris
1977.06.17 Yerres
1977.06.18 Conflans-Ste. Honorine
1977.07.08 Deauville
1977.07.16 Virton BEL
1977.07.21 Maquette au Studio Ferber (pour A. de St Preux)
1977.07.29 Gibus, Paris
1977.07.30 Le Vigan
1977.08.05 Mont-de-Marsan Punk Festival (+ Strychnine, 1984, Asphalt Jungle, Maniacs, The Police, The Damned, The Clash, Rings)
1977.08.06 Mont-de-Marsan Punk Festival (+ Brakaman, Shakin’Street, Mary and the Boys, Tyla Gang, Little Bob Story, Jewel, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Dr. Feelgood)
1977.08.19 Gibus, Paris
1977.08.20 Gibus, Paris
1977.08.21-27 Nashville, Paris
1977.09.13-17 Gibus, Paris
1977.09.17 Centre Américain, Paris
1977.09.26 maquette pour CBS
1977.09.29 Bataclan, Paris FRA (+ The Clash)
1977.09.30 Reims (+ The Clash)
1977.10.08 Sarlat, Le Griot
1977.10.24 Kinema Ballroom, Dunfermine UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, Skids)
1977.10.25 Apollo, Glasgow UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.10.26 Clouds, Edinburgh UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.10.27 University, Leeds UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.10.28 Polytechnic, Newcastle UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.10.29 Apollo, Manchester UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, The Jam, New Hearts)
1977.10.30 Victoria, Stoke-On-Trent UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.11.01 Top Rank, Sheffield UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.11.03 King’s Hall, Derby UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.11.04 University, Cardiff UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.11.05 Bristol UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.11.06 Plymouth UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.11.07 Birmingham UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.11.08 Coventry UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.11.09 Winter Gardens, Bournemouth UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.11.11 Corn Exchange, Cambridge UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.11.12 Pier Pavilion, Hastings UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, The Slits)
1977.11.13 Top Rank, Southampton UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.11.14 Music Machine, London UK (+ Bethnal, Neo, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.11.17 Toulouse
1977.11.18 Le Pied, Montferan-Savès
1977.12.02 Nat 2000, Sète
1977.12.03 Théatre de la Mer, Sète
1977.12.04 Ste-Foy-la-Grande (+ Téléphone)
1977.12.10 La Boule Noire, Paris
1977.12.11 La Boule Noire, Paris
1977.12.14 Rainbow, London UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, Sham 69, Deaf School, Drunk & Disorderly)
1977.12.15 Rainbow, London UK (+ The Clash, Bernie Torme, Drunk & Disorderly, Sham 69, Penetration)
1977.12.17 Queen’s University, Belfast IRE (+ The Clash)
1977.12.21 Music Machine, London UK

1978.01.24 Birmingham UK
1978.01.25 Queenway Hall, Dunstable UK (+ The Clash)
1978.01.29 Latina ITA (+ Penetration)
1978.01.30 Piper’s Club, Roma ITA (+ Penetration)
1978.02.01 Modena ITA (+ Penetration)
1978.02.02 Ancona ITA (+ Penetration)
1978.02.17 Maquette, London UK
1978.02.18 Maquette, London UK
1978.03.01 Birmingham UK (+ Subway Sect)
1978.03.02 Mr. Digby’s, Birkenhead UK (+ Subway Sect, Gloria Mundi)
1978.03.04 Nashville, London UK (+ Subway Sect)
1978.03.06 Music Machine, London UK (+ Subway Sect)
1978.03.11 Mayflower, Manchester UK (+ Subway Sect)
1978.03.13 Theatre Square, Swindon UK (+ Subway Sect, Mean Street)
1978.03.14 University, Leicester UK (+ Subway Sect)
1978.04.08 Swing Hall, London UK (+ Subway Sect)
1978.04.11 Music Machine, London UK (+ Subway Sect)
1978.06.12 Rock’n’Roll Mops, Lyon
1978.06.25 Festival Antibrouille, Yerres
1978.06.29 Gibus, Paris
1978.06.30 Gibus, Paris
1978.07.01 Gibus, Paris
1978.07.08 La Rochelle
1978.07.10 Olympia, Paris (+ Marie Et Les Garçons, Les Divines, Stinky Toys, Diesel, Bijou, Electric Callas, Starshooter, Asphalt Jungle, Guilty Razors)
1978.08.26 La Bourboule
1978.09.16 Aix-en-Provence
1978.09.18 Bataclan, Paris (+ Ramones)
1978.09.20 Gibus, Paris
1978.09.21 Gibus, Paris
1978.09.22 Gibus, Paris
1978.09.23 Gibus, Paris
1978.10.16 Stadium, Paris (+ The Clash)
1978.11.09 Rose-Bonbon, Paris
1978.12.25 Rainbow, London (+ P.I.L., Basement 5, Linton Kwezi Johnson, Poet & The Root)
1978.12.26 Rainbow, London (+ P.I.L., Basement 5, Linton Kwezi Johnson, Innocents)

1979.01.24 Acklam Hall, London (+ Pack and Cuddly Toys)
1979.06.08 Arts Déco, Paris
1979.07.10 Bain Douuches, Paris
1979.07.13 Quai de la Gare, Paris

Source: Tolim Toto

From NME January 1979
From Best Magazine 109 (August 1977)
From Best 111 (October 1977). Translation by Herman de Tollenaere below.

Even though they seem so fragile, so delicate with big guitars against their bellies, the Lou’s had undoubtedly more to do with rock ‘n’ roll, being armed with monstrous cheekiness, they were, by very far, the best French band of the day. Undoubtedly, their name comes from the very familiar ‘louloute’ or ‘loubarde’ [motor cycle gang girl], so frequently used around the Place de la Bastille where our female street gang members are from. Yet, their music is in some respects so close to the Velvet Underground that I rapidly associate it with … Lou Reed. Their sound is as thin, as skinny as the hips of the bassist. Landed on her nest of black drums, the drummer (the French Mo Tucker, it seems), proud like an eagle, with her Eurasian face, whips her drumheads more than beating them. The front row is divided between a blonde guitarist and another guitarist, frail-faced, boyish hairstyle and a suave and deep voice. We cannot assert that these young ladies make themselves acceptable by conceding on their femininity. They don’t sell their sex appeal (rightly so) like the singer of Shakin’ Street tends to do too much. Though they really don’t have the attraction required to become sex symbols, they show on the contrary a sensuality faithfully reproducing the one of the Shangri-Las, these New York tigresses with leather belts and directed by Shadow Morton, the immortal creator of ‘Leader of the Pack’. Unmistakably, with the ‘Lou’s’, in their compositions ‘Wild Fire’, ‘Set Me Free’, or ‘Hey Stoned’, there is a scathing mood like a burning claw strike by a bristly pussy, a subtle mixture of finesse and of frank vulgarity. All very attractive to my liver.

From Best 116 (March 1978) Translation by Herman de Tollenaere below.

This article about the Lou’s, from March 1978, is mainly a self-written interview by their rhythm guitarist, the late Raphaëlle Devins (later: Cheap ‘n’ Nasty saxophonist).

It says, translated from French:
As part of our big inquiry into women in rock, we could not ignore the LOU’S, the only real all-women band in France (though, as you will see, they don’t appreciate that label). The Lou’s have well-developed ideas, the rage to overcome obstacles and consider themselves a category on their own. Though they had attracted lots of attention playing at Mont-de-Marsan and in Parisian clubs, they decided provisorily to self-exile themselves to England, more precisely: to London. And everything seems to go well for them there. Raphaelle, the rhythm guitarist, explained it to me in a self-interview which she sent to me.

I will describe to you loosely the curriculum vitae of the four animals. First, solo guitar and singing, Pamela Popo, who so far has written most of our songs. Seven years of guitar experience (laughs).

The bassist Tollim Toto has played for three or four years with Pamela Popo. Sacha, the drummer, has played drums for only one year. Before that, she sang. Last, there is me, Raphaelle, who plays rhythm guitar and tries to write songs.

We met each other very much by chance. The three of them already played together. We called ourselves the Lou’s. We rehearsed in cellars, imagine that! Like all bands, rough, hoping for a contract with a record label. And at last, that hope came true, we signed with CBS France. And then, they turned out to pressure us, mainly not about money, but about the idea they had how our music should sound on the record. After we had gone on tour with the Clash, we contacted their manager Bernard Rhodes about it. He is trying now to transfer our contract with CBS France to CBS London in a friendly way.

Anyway, we will not record in France. I don’t say that to criticize France, where there are certainly advantages, but there, people have only just begun to consider music as real work, not as a hobby. England has profited from the Beatles/Stones generation to establish structures and to find out that there are ways to make money with music, that is, to work.

So, at the moment, we are exiles in England. We rehearse a lot, because we have a space, that is really important. We prefer to work at night, we also prefer to rehearse at night. In France, that was almost impossible. We always had to stop at breakfeast time, when we heard the noise of forks. We have opened two times for the Clash in the Rainbow Theatre in London. It went well, though the venue was maybe a bit big for us. We have also played in the Music Machine. Not really nice, as one is five meters above the audience. The balcony is the best place there.

At the moment, we try new stuff. We will play lots of gigs between 24 February and 24 March [with Subway Sect]. We would also like to record a single at the end of February, as we hope that the transfer to CBS London will work.

Finally, we have self-exiled ourselves to England because it is the only place where one can make progress. Firstly, there is enormous competition, which is a big stimulus. In France, one might be content with being on tour regularly. Also, four girls, that always provokes very unwelcome libidinous ideas. If I play my guitar, then I don’t play with my sexual organ. I play guitar, and that’s all. My hands do the work, it’s my feeling, that’s it! Every time that we have to reply to questions related to feminism, we avoid them. And in France, one gets into that kind of issues very often. So, I would like the article not to focus on the fact of us being women, even though it is part of an article about women and rock. To put it exaggeratedly, I might deny being a woman. Also, I think that we have no sexual attraction at all on the audience, I don’t think that it works that way with them. Sometimes, sexuality may be an interesting aspect; but as far as we are concerned, it is more about quality, sincerity, violence, a punch in the face … ‘


From Rock & Folk / Béret Punk 132 (January 1978) (Thanx Luc)

Translation (by Herman de Tollenaere): Born to Lou’s [an allusion to the Johnny Thunders song Born to lose]. The Lou’s, do you know them? Yes. They are a rock group. A good band, but most of all a real girl band. At last, the first band proposing an active program. A macho approach, strongly male-like accents. I liked to get to know more. And I met them at the place of Raphaëlle (guitar), near the Place de la Bastille. An appartment without luxury. On the walls, posters of the Clash, Iggy Pop and Richard Hell. They are just back from a tour in England, as support band of the Clash. They have changed their soft T-shirts and jeans to clothes from London punk shops like Sex and Boy. Trousers with straps, extra large knit sweaters. The London look. ‘Our first concert was in the theatre-restaurant Campagne-Première [in Paris]. To get that concert, we passed an audition, to see whether they wanted us. It was advertised in Libération daily as a free concert. 450 people came. We play together since nine months. We had enormous problems getting somewhere to rehearse. At first, we went to a dance hall in the Marais neighbourhood. We had to get out because of noise. We landed in a sordid cellar where we froze. That did not last long as well. Then, we went here, Raphaëlle’s place. The amps and the drum kit in the apartment, that was terrible noise … the neighbours wanted to murder us. Then, in mid-December we left London again. We have good contacts and a manager there. We managed to find two rooms. We will be able to work, rehearse and improve for four months. It’s good but it also requires big sacrifices. It’s badly paid but the lack of money does not hold us back. There are so many other advantages. The relationships in the music scene are not the same as in France. There is no real rivalry between bands. They all play in their own way, there is space for everyone. There, bands have the right to be just ordinary bands, while here, you are stuck in a permanent quality contest. And then, in England the public is fantastic. The funniest thing is when they gob at you. That shows they love you. The band that has played best is the band most covered in spit. Over there, the guys are impossible. When you talk to them about their gobbing, they open their mouths! It is disgusting. The concerts have nothing to do with the ones over here. With French audiences, you have the impression of playing at a fridge. Over there, the audiences move, they dance up and down, they move , they move massively’.
And then the Lou’s have just landed a nice contract with CBS. It opens up horizons. The band consists of Sacha, drums; Raphaëlle, guitar; Toto, bass; and Popo, lead guitar. ‘Mainly Popo writes the songs. Then, we work together, insert special things. We sing in English. In French, it does not work. In a band like Bijou, the instruments sound excellently, but the lyrics don’t. Similarly with Téléphone. In French, it is difficult to avoid clichés. That starts either in the beginning or later. Only Higelin is an exception. Also, basically, only the chorus matters. It is the main thing which the people remember. What we want is music which connects people, which makes them jump into the air! We are just crazy girls. Crazy girls! And we tend to stay that. It is so boring to be intelligent. We are seen as a group of non-serious girls, it makes us laugh. Every time it happens, it makes us laugh. When it was announced that we were the support band of the Clash during their UK tour, some pretended to know why. CBS had supposedly imposed that on the Clash. Or, they said, we had given in to the sexual wishes of the CBS manager. Or, again, the Lou’s musicians, one by one, had gone to toilets with all Clash members. Only one Clash member at a time? No, three Clash members at a time. They never considered that we might have become support band because of our musical quality. All that because we are a band of girls, and girl bands supposedly should not be taken seriously.’

From Rock & Folk 143 (December 1978) (Thanx Luc)

Translation (by Herman de Tollenaere): The Lou’s, Pamela Pop[o] and her bandmates, watch out, they bite! And after that, they laugh, because deep in their hearts, they nevertheless love us. ‘No Escape’, the sugary/acidic taste of the Seeds and 1960s punk. No need to run away, it’s better to stay and have fun with them.

From Rock ‘n’ Roll Musique 8 (October 1977)

Translation (by Herman de Tollenaere): The first one has brown hair and is the drummer, The second one is dark blonde and plays bass, The third one is blonde and plays guitar, The fourth one is a redhead, plays guitar and sings. Together, they are THE LOU’S.
A French group, consisting of four female members, Yes! Why not! So, these four young ladies enter the realm of music, where you need to prove you are courageous, where you have to push to get a niche and to keep it (which is far from easy). The first contact with the LOU’S is rather disturbing: the first question I think of is asking whether they are real girls or ‘loulous’ (criminal young people) escaped from a prison. First of all, do not hurry, dear readers, in putting forever labels on them which they do not deserve.
The LOU’S are not punks, not rockers, least of all hippies. No, they are nothing of all these. Since their beginning (welcomed very warmly by audiences), they have aimed at a simple, unpretentious music, which, ever since the first chords, makes the audience move. Isn’t that a good starting point?
These four women are a good well-balanced group. Which, I am certain, after some touring and some well-organised concerts, will go far. I really wish them well. The road may be long, because, unfortunately, the LOU’S have major drawbacks. First, an unforgivable misstep by them. I mean their first poster, a poster in which they generously show us their buttocks (naked, of course), well aligned, in a loud apple green colour. No, no, I don’t scream What a scandal, but that poster is in very bad taste and won’t do any good for their publicity. One has trouble to imagine how audiences may take them seriously this way, especially since they are representatives of the so-called weaker sex. In short, all would have been different if the four girls would have been one person called Polnareff, remember? (Well-known French singer Michel Polnareff had made a poster showing his bare buttocks. Note by the translator.)
Second objection, also important: our redhead singer seems to be glued to her microphone. That is a pity, especially since her bandmates do the same (I can forgive the drummer for that, that is more or less normal). I have heard someone say that, if that girl would be a boy, with that rhythm and that voice, it would be a complete explosion on stage. Should we say that this singer is blocking herself, that she does not dare to go to the next level, to make a stage act all her own? I am convinced that she will get there soon. And even if she will not become a female Mick Jagger, she has more than one string to her bow to delight us and surprise us pleasantly.

From Rock En Stock 5 (September 1977)

Translation (by Herman de Tollenaere): Lou’s are a group of four girls, the only band playing on both days. On Saturday, they already felt more sure of themselves. However, these four young women really were not born yesterday. They are real tomboys, who probably also love to tinker with their Norton motorcycles. They are indifferent about their presentation not being really esthetical; just ‘natural’. But rocking is what they love, and their sincerity outweighs quite some technical errors.

Melody Maker 1977

That is, after Dutch Oor and French Sud Ouest [see comment under https://cheapnnastyband410118468.wordpress.com/2023/05/16/lous-mont-de-marsan-1977-review-in-dutch-paper/] the third stupid article on the 1977 Mont-de Marsan punk festival and especially the Lou’s. By Alan Jones, in British Melody Maker, 13 August 1977. Thank you, Tollim Toto, Lou’s bassist, and Hervé of the Monstres Sacrés blog! Alan Jones also cannot even spell Mont-de-Marsan correctly. Maybe these three sexist journalists inspired each other to their stupidity. ‘Boiler’ according to a dictionary means ‘a woman, usually an unattractive one’.

From Rock ‘n’ Roll Musique 7 (September 1977)
@ Mont-de-Marsan Punk Festival 08.1977  (© Thierry Le Moign)
@ Mont-de-Marsan Punk Festival 08.1977  (© Thierry Le Moign)
@ Mont-de-Marsan Punk Festival 08.1977  (© Thierry Le Moign)
@ Mont-de-Marsan Punk Festival 08.1977  (© Thierry Le Moign)
@ Mont-de-Marsan Punk Festival 08.1977  (© Thierry Le Moign)
@ Mont-de-Marsan Punk Festival 08.1977  (© Thierry Le Moign)
Take A Ride
Don’t You Want My Love