Yana Chupenko's Story
I grew up in Ukraine, and came to the U.S. when I was ten years old. I wasn't really involved in music in Ukraine except for some opera lessons. In the U.S., I was introduced to this totally new aggressive and loud music – punk rock. It was a complete epiphany and changed my life completely. I started hanging out with punk rock bands, so I naturally decided to form my own.
We started our band from scratch, no previous experience. But that was the punk rock spirit – just get out there and do it. We jammed and it clicked. A band was born. We never did covers, only original material.
When I sang with the band, I discovered I had a voice and a knack for performance. Some liked it, others didn't. But I didn't care. It was my own style of singing. Being a musician in an all girl band was so liberating and powerful. The 80's were a magical time in NYC, brimming with energy, creativity and full of promise. It was electric.
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One day after a show, a scout for a Martin Scorcese's new film "After Hours" showed up and booked a bunch of us for a scene. It was an all night shoot in Tribeca.
We started around 8pm with endless takes of us doing the pogo (jumping up and down) to a hardcore punk band. By the time the shoot ended, we were drenched in sweat and giddy. As we stumbled out of the makeshift club that morning, the dawn greeted us with a downpour. We ran under the rain like crazy. It was the best time of our lives. That was the whole point of being punk rock. We were writing our own life story.
I didn't have to prove anything to anyone, just myself. My band and I were not very famous, but we did make our mark in punk history. I lived an exciting life.