Anni di piombo, anni di paillettes.

Music from a country on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

[music:] Jo Squillo Eletrix, Girl senza paura (1981)

with 4 comments

If we ever had our own little rock’n’roll swindle in Italy, this could be it.

In 1979, Jo Squillo (Giovanna Coletti) was the lead singer of Kandeggina gang, a riot grrrl teen band based in Santa Marta, the squat/art school in Milan (Demetrio Stratos was a teacher there) where some of the first local punk acts used to rehearse. She was provocative, scary, unpleasant, sexy. And she had a boyfriend, too: Gianni Muciaccia, possibly the closest thing to an italian Malcolm McLaren.

Kandeggina gang gained some fame thanks to their brutal anti-male attitude, and performances such as throwing red painted Tampax tampons to the audience during concerts. They eventually released the single “Sono cattiva” (“i’m bad”) on Cramps in 1980. But Muciaccia had more ambitious plans for her girlfriend.

First, he founded the Partito Rock (“rock party”), which participated in the elections for Milan’s town council with Jo Squillo as the leading candidate. Then, he created his own label, 20th Secret, distributed by Polydor, to release her first solo effort, Girl senza paura (“ragazza without fear”): basically a collection of three-chords tracks in the early Ramones fashion, with synth lines and sax intermissions here and there which remind of Métal Urbain, X-Ray Spex, or Bow Wow Wow, celebrating Jo’s shrill, almost unbearable screaming. The music paired with the elementary, repetitive lyrics about (or should i say against) school, family, males, etc. Everything was put in the simplest possible way. The result was naive and rough, yet exciting.

Helped by the scandal about the song “Violentami” (“rape me”) and the brilliant music video for “Skizzo skizzo” co-starred by the popular melodic singer Christian, Squillo and Muciaccia managed to create a female outrageous pop/punk sensation suitable for mass media and the music mainstream. The next step, indeed, was a u-turn towards new pop and eventually italo disco, with singles such as “Avventurieri” (“adventurers”, 1983) and “I love muchacha” (1984). Unfortunately, the career of this former punk diva was not very successful until her 1991 first and last big hit: “Siamo donne” (“we are women”), a duet with pop pin-up Sabrina Salerno.

Jo Squillo is now a television presenter. She released her last album 2p LA-xy=(NOI) in 1994.

Here is the tracklist:

01, L’asta (“the auction”)
02, Muoversi (“hurry up”)
03, CX
04, Faccia da vipera (“viper’s face”)
05, Paranoia
06, Ma chi se ne frega (“who gives a fuck”)
07, Skizzo skizzo (“skuirt skuirt”, also released as a 7″ b/w “Energia interna”)
08, Orbita (“orbit”)
09, Cristina
10, Energia interna (“inner energy”)
11, Violentami (“rape me”)
12, China’s war
13, Voglio farlo con te (“i wanna do it with you”)
14, Orrore (“horror”)
15, Tuo Cesare (“yours Cesare”)
16, Fuggi fuggi (“run run”)

Get it: Jo Squillo Eletrix, Girl senza paura (1981)


Written by alteralter

April 20, 2008 at 9:25 pm

4 Responses

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  1. jo squillo è uno strano personaggio borderlaine, credo non abbia avuto successo perché è stata sempre percepita troppo mainstream dagli alternativi e troppo indie invece dalle masse, oltre che essere stata penalizzata per la voce non particolarmente memorabile e il talento compositivo molto debole. l’unica cosa decente x me è stata “avventurieri”. particolarissime le esibizioni televisive dall’epoca dove si faceva accompagnare sul palco dalla gemella (vedere x credere:

    complimenti x il blog, se lo arricchirai x bene rischia di diventare un must 🙂


    April 24, 2008 at 4:45 am

  2. grazie per i complimenti. purtroppo non riesco a vedere il video (youtube sembra pigro oggi…), ci riproverò. a presto.


    April 24, 2008 at 10:14 pm

  3. I love jo squillo, this album has been a staple of mine for a good while now. Now I know how lots of people with no knowledge of English seem to have a great knack at reciting lyrics – I know most of the words to the songs on this album but can’t say I know the translation itself.

    matt grundy

    April 27, 2008 at 11:37 am

  4. […] Death SS, Victrola, and others, before disappearing. As for Kandeggina Gang, you can check out my post about Jo Squillo Eletrix’s Girl senza paura, which featured a different version of their b-side […]

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