The Geranium Cabbages

Accompanying piece to the Uranium Savages, in which author Margaret Moser founds her own parody band, the Geranium Cabbages.

The Geranium Cabbages
By Kerry Awn

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? I should know. I was a Geranium Cabbage.

Truth be known, the Savages have a rather tenuous relationship with women. Some of their own wives and girlfriends think they're misogynists; others wouldn't miss a show. The introduction of the Eddy Sisters wasn't so much to appease the longtime mutterings of chauvinism as it was to spice up the act, but onstage with the guys, those three girls embody the spirit of another band, the group that almost was 24 years ago.

We formed the Geranium Cabbages out of sheer love and adoration for the guys in the Uranium Savages. They were having so much fun that we wanted in on it. The six of us girls -- me, musician Natalie Zoe and her roommate Aurora Keith, artist Micael Priest's girlfriend Janet Burris, booking agent Cheryl Nelsen, and Kerry Awn's soon-to-be wife Michele Arth -- strong-armed ourselves a spot on their 1976 Halloween gig at Soap Creek through sex, sweet talk, and promises of beer. You could see how happy they were about it because on the lower left-hand corner of the poster it reads "Cabbage Stomp." We didn't care. We made our own incredibly collectible posters.

Armed with four ill-rehearsed songs, we barged onstage that night. Natalie was the only real musician, and she had a guitar and amp. I had borrowed a bass and amp from my ex-boyfriend, and Michele played it. Aurora used the piano onstage, and the rest of us played maracas and tambourines. We warbled our way through "Geranium Cabbage" (aka "Bony Moronie") and "Teenager in Heat" (to "Teenager in Love") before we were thrown offstage.

The Shrovinovers had made good on their "Cabbage Stomp" threat. In the tradition of the Armadillo's "Pumpkin Stomp," they dumped 112 pounds of cabbage on the dance floor, slathered with mayonnaise. It took weeks for the smell to go away. In fairness, some of the Savages welcomed six half-dressed young women onstage with open arms and happy hands, while others made their displeasure known by unplugging us after two songs. It didn't matter. We had done the gig.

But nine minutes of fame wasn't enough. The Cabbages performed another gig afterward, a benefit for Woody Hills Co-op out at the old Bull Creek Inn. It was more of a comedy act with some a cappella vocals, but the fun was gone for some of the girls. Cheryl moved and Aurora and Natalie left the band after the show, and Janet wasn't so sure she wanted to do it anymore, but Michele and I wanted to keep the band going. I wanted to play bass and she wanted to play guitar. Someone introduced us to two teenage girl musicians, a drummer named Marilyn Dean and a guitarist named Kathy Valentine. I still had access to the bass, and the ex let me borrow it a little longer. All of a sudden we could be a real group. Almost.

That version of the Geranium Cabbages never made it out of the garage, much less to a gig. The boyfriend decided he wanted the bass back, and the only thing we'd learned for the one rehearsal Michele hadn't shown up for was "Jumpin' Jack Flash." A few days after the lame rehearsal, I got mad at Kathy when she ran off with the 709 ballcap I had swiped from one of the Savages at a Rome Inn gig, so I didn't talk to her for a while. Michele married Kerry Awn and worked in the Savages for a while as the only female Shrovinover.

Kathy and I made up when she and Marilyn teamed up with a singer named Cindy in a trio called Lickety Split (guitarist Van Wilks suggested it after the porn flick of the same name). Cindy split Lickety, and Carla Olsen joined up with and Kathy and Marilyn as the trio became the Violators. They played the first punk show at Raul's with the Skunks, but Kathy really wanted to play, and the girls moved out to L.A. They split up out there when Kathy joined another all-girl group. The name of her new band was the Go-Go's.

  • More of the Story

  • Too Dumb to Die

    A profile of Austin's longest-running musical parody, the Uranium Savages.

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