Watch + Listen: Ronna Reason Revives a Punk Rallying Cry w/ New Single/Video ‘Panic Town’
Ronna Reason is only a household name if someone in your house cut their teeth in the Chicago punk scene of yore. Back in the day her post-punk proto-feminist band Joe For a Night opened for the likes of Faith No More and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and she later shared a bill with none other than Iggy Pop…after turning down an offer to join the Smashing Pumpkins.
But amazingly, she never actually recorded and released any music on her own. So for her debut single she decided to revive a very punkish slogan she conceived of all the way back in the ’80s – and thus the fierce, storming-the-barricades track ‘Panic Town’ (released this past Friday, February 12) was born.
She also assembled a cred-heavy circle of collaborators, with the illustrious DJ Z-Trip contributing vocals, and Bow Wow Wow’s Annabella Lwin doing the same, whilst also taking a starring role in the accompanying video.
Ronna recalls that, “‘Panic Town’ started as a fun catch phrase that my girlfriend Crown Victoria and I would shout while nightclubbing between Chicago and London.”
But as she was prepping tracks for her upcoming EP, the political and racial strife on the streets of American cities from Minneapolis to Portland to DC seemed to beg for that catch phrase to be employed within an entirely new context. And both the song and video explode with old school punk fervor and feminist fortitude – though it’s not at all done without a sense of fun and humor.
“Flash forward to recent times,” she explains, “and the catch phrase [has] resurfaced with a whole new meaning. I was preparing a group of songs for my EP and found an old cassette of an early version I demoed way back – and it just screamed out to me.”