Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tru Fax and the Insaniacs -- "Washingtron" (1980)

I used to work as a waitron
in the lounge of the Hiltron
Now I work for my Senatron 
and I live in Arlingtron . . .
I'm just a Washingtron

I've written elsewhere on this blog about "The Mystic Eye," a bizarre Saturday-night radio show on the old WHFS in Washington, DC -- I taped about a hundred hours of this program in 1980, and still have those tapes. Recently, I discovered my handwritten lists of the songs on those tapes (or at least the songs that were identified on the tapes). At least half of the music on those tapes is stuff I never heard anywhere else, ranging from new wave to punk to power pop to truly bizarre novelty songs.

Let me digress briefly (sort of) to talk about two of the more memorable novelty songs. One was titled "My Girlfriend Is A Rock," by the Nervebreakers, a Texas garage band, and featured these lyrics:

My girlfriend is a rock
My girlfriend is a rock
She really likes to pogo to the beat
She dances pretty good for a piece of concrete
Yeah, my girlfriend is a rock . . .

Man, you oughta see her at the local pool
She swims pretty good as a general rule
But she doesn't swim quite as good
As a girlfriend made of wood

Unfortunately, the only video I could find of the Nervebreakers performing this song was shot in 2009, when the band was a bit past its prime:

The second novelty song I wanted to mention is "Fifi Goes Pop," a cautionary tale about a pet owner in a big hurry who puts his poodle in a microwave after bathing her -- obviously he had not read his owner's manual very carefully:

Fifi goes pop
At setting number two
Cooked from the inside out
In a Fifi barbecue

Here's the original "Fifi" 45:

Sucks to be Fifi, huh?

That brings us back to Tru Fax and the Insaniacs, a Washington punk band that made its first appearance at the infamous 9:30 Club (then located at 930 F St. NW in DC, only two blocks from my current office) in 1980, the year the club opened -- and the same year I was faithfully recording "The Mystic Eye" every Saturday night. (To read the Washington Post's recent article on the old 9:30 Club, just click here -- I've done all the work for you.)

The final concert at the original 9:30 Club took place on December 31, 1995. The bands who performed the last few days before the club moved to new digs included Tru Fax and many other "Mystic Eye" stalwarts -- like the Insect Surfers, Urban Verbs, Slickee Boys, and Tiny Desk Unit. Some of the performances from the club's last week have been released on two CDs titled 9:30 Live: A Time, A Place, A Scene.

"Washingtron" was the band's most popular song by far -- they didn't record that much. As someone who worked for the federal government back in those days, I can attest that it captured a certain aspect of the reality of life in Washington: for a lot of people, life in DC was a pretty mundane 9-to-5 kind of existence.

Tru Fax's lead singer, Diana Quinn, has a website with some information on the band's history if you're interested.  (By the way, I don't think "Tru Fax" has anything to do with facsimile machines -- which were not widely used when the band got started in 1978.  Think "true facts" instead.)

To buy "Washingtron" from Amazon or just hear a 30-second excerpt from the song, go here:

To buy the entire 9:30 Live compilation from Amazon, go here:


  1. I was lead here from a link in Facebook, via the True Fax FB page..too much fun to read, and I just oredered the 9:30 Live compilation from Amazon...
    If you are interested, my blog has tons of WHFS tapes and WGTB Mystic Eyes shows for download.
    Thanks for the great stuff!

  2. Thanks! Yeah, that was a great radio show. Was that on WGTB before it was closed down too?

  3. Diana Quinn was a reporter for a local TV station. Thus the satiric reference to herself as "Tru Fax".

  4. Hi guys!! I loved Steve Lorber's Mystic Eyes show, and I wish I could listen to some of those great shows. David Wells and I used to drive to Georgetown so we could tun it in and listen to it in Dave's car.... I have both Nerverbreakers' and Tina Peel's 45s, and Tru Fax even played with Tina Peel at the One Flight Up, way back when. BTW : I've been working on a Tru Fax kind of anthology and hope to put it out next year -- the 45, the album, lots of live stuff and some new songs done in studio! xxooo dq