PENELOPE HOUSTON… The Queen of Neo-Folk.
Penelope Houston, is an American singer-songwriter… a legendary musician with Greek roots !.Best known as the singer for the San Francisco-based punk rock band the Avengers. She was raised in Seattle.
In the mid-1970s she attended Fairhaven College in Bellingham, Washington then on the eve of 1977, Penelope moved from her home in the Pacific Northwest to California to attend the San Francisco Art Institute. Within six months her career in visual arts was side-tracked by the formation of the critically acclaimed proto-punk band, the Avengers. That band released one album, their eponymous debut in the year 1983.
Since then she has performed over 1000 shows with the Avengers and her solo bands throughout the USA and Europe. Venues include CBGB’s, The Whiskey a Go Go, Winterland Ballroom, as well as LA MOCA and the De Young Museum in SF.
She has released 18 albums with independent and major labels. Her musical career is well-documented in publications from Newsweek to Slash. Her self portrait adorns the cover of her most recent album ON Market Street.
Despite this detour, visual art has always been anchored in her mind and her return to two dimensional imagery presents a seasoned world view.
You can see all and here is the link http://penelopehouston.com/
Penelope also known for her filmography :
Actress (1 credit): 1986 Population: 1.
Soundtrack(3 credits): 1998- Free Tibet (Documentary)(writer ¨Diggin΄ the Sound¨). 2010 ¨Happiness Runs¨( writer ¨We are the one¨ ) and in the year 2014 Skinheads in Love (Short- writer¨I want in¨).
Self (3 credits): 2007- King of Punk(Documentary). 2017- Turn It Around: The Story of East Bay Punk( Documentary) and in 2019- Punk(TV Series documentary).
About Penelope Houston’s and her seventh studio album ΄΄On Market Street ΄΄ we can say that was incubated for seven years and recorded in seven months at the San Francisco Bay Area’s prestigious Fantasy Studios. The award-winning singer/songwriter who cut her teeth in the legendary punk band The Avengers has turned to tales of revenge and forgiveness, of love both sanctified and illicit.
The album ΄΄ On Market Street ΄΄ it is a great album with great lyric’s and fantastic sound… and you have to listen to it carefully.
INTERVIEW WITH THE QUEEN OF NEO- FOLK…PENELOPE HOUSTON.
Athenscalling.gr: Hello Penelope and welcome in Athenscalling.gr. Nice to meet you… I believe that you are a Punk Legend and Queen of the New Folk.
PENELOPE HOUSTON: That is what I’ve been called.
Athenscalling.gr: Where are you now and how pass all these crazy Pandemic COVID-19 days?
PENELOPE HOUSTON: I’ve been home in my house in Oakland California for most of the pandemic, having not been able to tour. I have made a few trips to the East Coast and a road trip to the Southwest.
Athenscalling.gr: … And about the vaccine, what do you have to say ?
PENELOPE HOUSTON: I believe the vaccine is the only way we will be able to control the pandemic. I am vaxed and boosted.
Athenscalling.gr: … Let’s talk now about your music. Today in my office I was listening to your song ¨ Missouri Lounge¨ it is a great song with beautiful music and great lyrics. I love the lyrics of this song. How you created it and if you want, tell us please the story of the song.
PENELOPE HOUSTON: Missouri Lounge was written after I split up with my second husband and represents the feelings of someone who has experienced a romantic loss. But it is not a word for word entry in my diary. More of a story written around the heartache.
Athenscalling.gr: It is magic…9 years have passed since then, from your album ΄΄On Market Street ΄΄ and yet you always sound up to date! What do you say about that?
PENELOPE HOUSTON: I hope my songs can reach people through the years. Some of my most popular songs were ones I wrote in 1977 and 78.
Athenscalling.gr: I like also you’re self portrait of ΄΄On Market Street ΄΄ that adorns the cover. Tell us about it.
PENELOPE HOUSTON: A few years earlier I had gone to Los Angeles to do a photo session for Spin magazine. The photographer handed me a Polaroid from the session and I loved the image and decided I would paint it for the record cover.
Athenscalling.gr: I like to see your news from … http://penelopehouston.com/ (PENELOPE HOUSTON FINE ART) from it discovers the other side of Penelope.
PENELOPE HOUSTON: When I was a teenager going to art school I thought I would grow up to be a painter and then the Avengers were formed and I veered off in the direction of punk rock. Decades later I decided to return to University and finish my degree and fell back into visual art. The website was a product of one of my final classes and I have been painting in oils ever since.
Athenscalling.gr: About the music any news from AVENGERS?
PENELOPE HOUSTON: The Avengers will play again as soon as it’s safe to do shows. At the moment we are booked at the Rebellion festival in the UK in August. Hopefully we will be able to book some shows in Europe around that time as well.
Athenscalling.gr: …And about your solo career, any new album any concert?
PENELOPE HOUSTON: I do not for see a new album anytime soon but occasionally play solo shows in the Bay Area.
Athenscalling.gr: Making a trip to the past. Tell us, about your first teacher in music? Do you remember who was?
PENELOPE HOUSTON: That would probably be my mother, Penelope Vrachopoulos (yes, Greek) She was classically trained pianist, vocalist and choral conductor and had the three of her children playing violin and cello at a young age.
Athenscalling.gr: Really … Do You have a Greek mother? So, what you to have to tell us about Greece?
PENELOPE HOUSTON: My mother’s father was from Greece and came to the US in the early twentieth century. I think his mother’s name was Penelope, as well.
Athenscalling.gr: … Now something, also about the past…Do you remember your first album that you bought?
PENELOPE HOUSTON: Maybe Tea for the Tillerman by Cat Stevens.
Athenscalling.gr: What music are you listening today? I mean your favorite bands or singers?
PENELOPE HOUSTON: I enjoy many kinds of music but often listen to other singer-songwriters. Some of my favorites are Nick Cave, Chuck Prophet, Patti Smith, Leonard Cohen, Neko Case, and Tom Waits. Wordsmiths all.
Athenscalling.gr: After all, what kind of music do you love the most? Punk or Folk?
PENELOPE HOUSTON: folk is what I listen to the most.
Athenscalling.gr: Before the end of chatting, give your message to the people.
PENELOPE HOUSTON: Thank you for the opportunity to speak to the people of my ancestors. My message would be for everyone to find their own creative outlet and remember to be kind.
Athenscalling.gr: Thank you for all Penelope and all the best to you!