Saturday, October 3, 2009

John Paul Young Uses His Carboard Brains

Vocals:  John Paul Young
Bass:   Patrick Gregory; John Thomas (Replaced Gregory, 1979)
Guitar:  Vincent Carlucci
Drums:  Mickel Keena; Dave Richardson (Replaced Keena, 1979)

Toronto's Cardboard Brains formed in September of 1976.  They played the same Queen Street clubs -- The Edge, The Horseshoe Tavern, etc. -- as the Viletones, Teenage Head, The Ugly and others, defining the strip as the epicenter of a New Music movement.  But unlike the aforementioned groups, Cardboard Brains' musical output was brainier, with a "unique, King Crimson-inspired art-punk" sound: intelligent lyrics, and decidedly Post-Punk before the term even came into being.    Throughout a series of lineup changes, the one constant has been singer and group leader, John Paul Young (and possibly Vince Carlucci). 

In 1977, the band released a four-song EP called simply, 'The White EP'. 

Naturally, when they followed it up in 1979 with another four-song EP of original songs, they called it, 'The Black EP'.    The group was also immortalized in the film and record, “The Last Pogo”, that year. 

However, John Paul Young  (not to be confused with the Scottish “Love Is In The Air” JPY) seemingly wasn't satisfied.  With the official death of Toronto punk, he decided to go solo so he could produce "a more stable and reliable format" for his musical yearnings.  In 1980 he released a new set of semi-autobiographical recordings, which he called “The Life of Ermie Scub”, on which he played all the instruments.  These are the dark tales of a presumably lonely boy, an errant genius who was clearly ahead of his time and lost in his own fantasies. 

The Cardboard Brains reunited on April 26, 1981 for The Edge's brief resurrection and anniversary celebration.  Recordings from this show were released as a live album before the band split up for good. 

Patrick Gregory went on to form Woods Are Full Of Cuckoos as well as The Lawn.  Vincent Carlucci would perform in Station Twang and John Paul Young worked as an actor and has contributed to movie soundtracks.  He has since resurrected the band to coincide with the release of a “Best of” compilation, which is no longer available.  

I once had the pleasure of meeting John Paul Young, in 1998.  I was working towards a documentary on the Canadian Punk Rock scene of 1976-1979 and was doing some research when I found out he was releasing the John Paul Young And Cardboard Brains compilation, which he dedicated to his brother.  I bought it off him for $20.  (In the interests of full disclosure, I've divided up the songs into the original releases, for archival and educational/informational purposes.)

      Interesting sidenote: John Paul Young is a decendant of Brigham Young as well as Dr. Robert Goddard, the father of American rocketry.  

Cardboard Brains - The White EP (1977):

 1. I Want To Be A Yank
2. Can Stress Kill
3. Stepping Stone
4. Living Inside My Head

Cardboard Brains - The Last Pogo (1979):

1. Babies Run My World
2. Jungles

Cardboard Brains - The Black EP (1979): 

1. Caesar Drives A Fast Car
2. Out, Out, Out
3. And So I Hide
4. The Rescue Crew


John Paul Young - The Life Of Ermie Scub (1980):

1. Ermie Has Feelers
2. All The Sad Goodbyes
3. Have You Seen The Boy In The Gutter With The Broken Mind?
4. Our Time Escapes
5. Summertime!
6. Is That Why?
7. The Monster In Ed
8. The Girl Spells Grief
9. Angels With Dirty Faces
10. Boulevards Of Hope
11. Surrender To The Void

(No Cover Available -- Click On The Link Below)

Cardboard Brains - Live At The Edge (1982):

1. Ermie Has Feelers
2. Have You Seen The Boy In The Gutter With The Broken Mind

John Paul Young and Cardboard Brains (1998):

1. World Within A Dream


Pogo said...

Hey, I'd love to chat with you. My email is

Some fact checking here:

-- John Paul sadly has been MIA for a couple of years now.
-- Vince Carlucci was always a Brain
-- the original drummer is now an off-shore banker in the West Indies
-- The Last Pogo movie was made in 1978,and released in 1979

Interesting to hear about the doc you were trying make. I made The Last Pogo, and for the past three and half years, putting together a feature called THE LAST POGO JUMPS AGAIN: A BIASED AND INCOMPLETE HISTORY OF TORONT/HAMILTON/LONDON ONTARIO PUNK ROCK FROM SEPTEMBER 24, 1976 TO DECEMBER 1, 1978.



Anonymous said...

Dear Friends:
I have kept my silence for nine years , However, I now announce that I am coming out of the shadows so to speak. I herebye formerly renounced anything and evrything associted with Colin Brunto AND Vincent Achilles Carlucci AND The Last Pogo Jumps Again AND I Was A Cardboard Brain.
"I Was A Cardboard Brain being the book Vincent Achilles Carlucci was planning to publish for profit after my conveniant "demise", If you know what I mean.
My friends and fans have noticed that for the past nine years my global internet presence disappeared. My web sites, and www.cardboard And related email addresses have been sut down for the past nine years.
Similarily, my corporate addresses including MEG Entertainment Group, Suite 606, 3044 Bloor Street West, Toronto Ontario CANADA... all down.
For nine years my friends and fans all over the world have not been able to communicate with me.
I know ask everyone to email using this new email address (which I will use until my new websites email addresses et al are back up) and further Dear friens and fans as well as writing John Paul Young at, circulate my email address to everyone )relevant you know regardles of language or country.
Finally, I ask everyone to write Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and let him know the obvious:
The Canadian Charter of Rights MUST apply to all citizens of Canada-without exception. For nine yeras JNohn Paul Young has been relentlessly denied those rights. If Harper does not give me my Charter Rights The Constitution is void and CANADA is void.
And tell Harper I do not believe I have to remind him what my Charter rights are. I don't think the Government has missed breaking one of mine and many times at that Thank you, John Paul Young.

Anonymous said...


What on earth gave you this idea?

""I Was A Cardboard Brain being the book Vincent Achilles Carlucci was planning to publish for profit after my conveniant "demise", If you know what I mean."


Anonymous said...

Dear Vince:
Goodbye, Dear Friend.

Anonymous said...

Well, nobody besides you guys knows what was going on. Just wanted to comment on the MUSIC: "The Life Of Ermie Scrub" is nothing but fantastic and unique. Everybody interested in that era, in new wave, DIY, minimal synth etc. should have a listen. Great songs and fun to listen to!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Just now listening to the Black EP. Awesome songwriting, fantastic singing, outstanding!!! Too bad that's all they recorded. A big compliment to all the musicians, may everyone find their peace with one another.

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends:
I agree with "OLDSCHOOL".
"May everyone find their peace with each other." And, "Too bad that's all they recorded."
I am in total agreement with both comments. I wish everone involved will find peace with each other. Further, I have always regretted not recording more material and intend in the future. Also, thanks oldschool for the comments on my "The Life of Ermie Scub".
Sincerely, John Paul Young

P.S. April Wine was right on when they said "Rock and Roll Is A Vicious Game."

Unknown said...

Hi, to anyone who is interested in some more obscure Cardboard Brains info...

Greetings from Paul O'Connell, the first bass player in the band. Richard Miller (the original drummer, now supposedly "an off-shore banker in the West Indies") and I were the rhythm section in 1977, and played on the white EP.

We got to play with the Ugly and the Viletones, at David's discotheque, on a few nights, including Halloween and New Years eve, 1977 - the night David's had it's fire and ended as a club. We also played at the short lived "Shock Theatre" and "The Chimney". Good times, especially for a 17 year old!

I thought I'd chime in here because many of the bios that I see online - I think ungenerously - omit Richard and I from the history of the band. I met Paul in the spring of 1977, when he planned to call the band "Media Accident". We briefly had a guitarist named Rick and a keyboardist named Reid, although they never made it to the gigging stage. The other members (including a long list of bass players and drummers) came along later!

slangeug said...

Is there anyway these links could be reupped, please? I would greatly appreciate it as this stuff is impossible to find. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

a re-up of the whole would be welcome witha massive hurrahs & thankies.

Anonymous said...

Ok boys , been a few decades, end times are near, it's time to get the band back together.


smytttie40 said...

I am a cousin JP. Need to contact you re family history pleez.

John Paul Young said...

Anonymous said...

John Paul Young gives a eulogy for his brother Rob on July 12, 1996.

William Robert Stuart "Rob" Young's funeral service and interment:

Anonymous said...

Only one of TORONTO POLICE SERVICE’S numerous premeditated murder victims - Rob Young - memorial page:

John Paul Young (Cardboard Brains) said...

Just thought I'd let everyone know that I am alive and well and have been living in Halifax Nova Scotia Canada since 2012. Things are going great. Atlantic Canada is a Kinder gentler place. Miss the action and music. Currently penning my Autobiography now that I'm a bit of a geezer. I'm at a good age to offer a retrospective on the past I have observed. All the best. JPY.

Joshua Ofori Williams said...

This is great JPY. I mean I can vouch for you any day and say that you're well.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever seen the 1979 horror movie "Cinofrenic" that features Cardboard Brains, together with some other T.O punk bands of the era?

There is a clip of the Secrets here: