The Screamers' cathartic blend of stark Brechtian psychodrama, Egon Schele attire, minimal melodies and grinding, relentless beat earned them popularity among the range of counter-culture communities - from rich Fiorucci clones to the poorest punks. They were the first "punk" band to play the Roxy, to sell out 10 shows at the Whisky, to abolish guiters. But in 1979, at the absolute peak of the alternative music scene, they abruptly stopped performing.

   The center of operations shifted to an abandoned Vag-o-Matic warehouse on the wrong end of Melrose, refurbished into a slate-of-the-art video studio, where Dutch cult-film director Rene Daalder (whose films include Massacre at Central High) planned a videodisc revolution with the Screamers as its biggest stars. With his concept of the constantly moving camera, of videos that could happily be watched hundreds of times, records would be superseded by a complete media experience. Over the next couple of years, half the hipsters in LA passed through the studio's green doers to lay down tracks on the 24-track tape machine, or to add atmosphere to ongoing filmings. Screamers drummer K.K.

built sets, composer/synthesist Tommy Gear wrote music, and singer Tomata du Plently - natch - was the star.
   Unfortunately, Duran Duran and happy-talk VJs beat Daalder to the punch - and the only product to issue from his collaboration with the Screamers was a disastrous multimedia Whisky show with Tomata and K.K. Now there's another. After a prolonged journey back to his drawing board, Daalder conceived Population: One, a postapocalyptic nightmare taken from the above-mentioned film sessions. Several years in the editing, the long-overdue Population: One will be screened January 29 only (there's still no distribution) at a benefit for PRO-Peace (See New Releases in Calendar.)
-Hubert Mensch