By Rachel May, Detroit Free Press –
DETROIT — In the late ’80s, a Detroit punk rock group emerged that spoke to a generation of young punks. But more important, it spoke to a generation of young women, myself included.
Inside Out was outspoken, outrageous and inspirational. “We were very angry young women,” says Karen Neal, bassist-singer of the all-female trio. “In general there’s always this expectation of being sexy and placating the male standard. We rejected that entire standard.”
The group formed in 1986 and blazed a trail of anti-sexism and potty-mouthed punk rock until disbanding in 1995. “I got to the point where I kind of gave up,” Neal says. “There was never a huge falling-out. We always remained friends, but we just kind of went our separate ways.”
The trio recently reunited for a concert near Detroit.
The band — which also features guitarist-vocalist Lynda Mandolyn and drummer Cathy Carrell — has toured the United Kingdom and Europe with bands such as Fugazi, Bad Religion, Tad and others.
“We were one of the first all-female bands from the States to play the Eastern Bloc after the Berlin Wall came down,” Neal says.
“One of my greatest memories is when we played Warsaw, Poland. That’s what I think of most. I remember driving through Poland, and there was a sign that the kids put on the highway overpass welcoming us to Warsaw. There were over 600 kids at the show. One kid was literally doing back flips off the stage. There was a whole row of kids standing in front of us, keeping us from getting hit in the face with our microphones. When I think of all the crazy stuff we did, that’s what it’s all about — that energy from those crazy kids. It’s just so cool.”
In April 1991, the women achieved another milestone when they were invited to be guests on the legendary English DJ John Peel’s radio show for one of his Peel Sessions, where the band recorded live in the BBC’s studios.
“Our last album never saw the light of day,” Neal says. “There’s a lot of material that no one has ever heard. By doing this show it’s giving me an opportunity to get all of that stuff released.”
Offered on CD are “7 Years Bad Luck,” which is the last album from the group, recorded in 1993 with Al Sutton at White Room Studios, but never released; “Singles and EP’s Collection,” which features 17 songs that appeared on previously issued compilations, singles and a rare unreleased EP that was recorded with Tim Pak in 1995; and a reissue of the band’s first album, “Take You Apart, Put You Back Together,” which was released on the Meantime/Profane label.
With all of that history, getting back together with the band has been emotional for Neal. “It’s been such a pleasure to get together with those girls and get crazy again,” she says. “I’m really looking forward to having all of our friends together and having a good time.”