(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 Raphaelle Devins on rhythm guitar, Tolim 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 Clash helped them land a recording contract with CBS. 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. Raphaelle 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.

Lineup:
Saskia de Jong aka Sacha aka Syama – drums
Raphaelle Devins † – rhythm guitar
Tolim Toto – bass
Pamela Popo – vocals, lead guitar

Other bands:
Saskia de Jong – Verdict, Miami Beach Girls, LoveCramps
Raphaelle Devins – Verdict, Cheap ‘n’ Nasty
Tolim Toto – Les Rois Fainéants
Pamela Popo – Les Rois Fainéants

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

Concerts:
(assorted)
1977 Spring @ Campagne-Première, Paris FRA (first concert)
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)
1977.09.15 Rainbow, London UK (+ Sham 69)
1977.09.29 Bataclan, Paris FRA (+ The Clash)
1977.10.22 Eric’s, Liverpool UK (+ Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias, The Clash, Penetration, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, Shattered Doll, The Slits, Toilets)
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)
1977.10.31 University, Leicester UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.11.01 Top Rank, Sheffield UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.11.02 University, Bradford 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 Castaway, Plymouth UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.11.06 Market Hall, Carlisle 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 Macine, London UK (+ Bethnal, Neo, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Richard Hell & The Voidoids)
1977.12.11 Apollo, Glasgow UK (+ The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Drones, Model Mania, Zones)
1977.12.13 Rainbow, London UK (+ Sham 69, Drunk & Disorderly, The Clash, Zones)
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)
1977.12.19 Queen’s University, Belfast IRE (+ The Clash)
1977.12.20 Queen’s University, Belfast IRE (+ The Clash)

1978.02.23 Katie’s, Beeston UK (+ Subway Sect)
1978.02.24 City Tavern, Chelmsford UK (+ Subway Sect)
1978.03.03 Polytechnic, Leeds UK (+ Subway Sect, Whirlwind, Mekons)
1978.03.09 Mr. Digby’s, Birkenhead UK (+ Subway Sect, Gloria Mundi)
1978.03.10 Sandpiper, Nottingham 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)
1978.03.16 Maxim’s, Barrow-In-Furness UK (+ Subway Sect)
1978.03.17 University, Newcastle (+ Subway Sect)
1978.07.08-10 Olympia, Paris FRA (+ Marie Et Les Garçons, Les Divines, Stinky Toys, Diesel, Bijou, Electric Callas, Starshooter, Asphalt Jungle, Guilty Razors)
1978.11.04 Rose Bonbon, Paris FRA
1978.12.22 Stadion, Paris FRA (+ P.I.L.)
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)

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.

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
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