Thin Lads X
Thin Lads X performing c.1983. Front man Barry Copeland sings and Kelly Miltier on bass. Later Barry would move to NYC and change his name to Barry Bliss.
I met Barry Bliss one day in high school when a friend brought him over to my house for a visit. She had told me he was singing in a band with Kelly Miltier and Jeff Maisey called the "Thin Lads" and I would enjoy his company. Later Barry added the "X" at the end and it just stayed there. According to Maisey, the "X" had no significance, it just looked cool so they kept it and were known from then on as "Thin Lads X."
Barry was very gentle and soft-spoken, with a little Leprechaun sparkle in his eye that let you know he was up to something. "Do you have a nightgown I can borrow?” he asked me, pretty much right off the bat. We were all experimenting with fashion a lot, so it wasn't that surprising of a question, especially in the circles we ran in. I responded that I was sorry, I didn't own one sexy nightgown, all I had was a stack of frumpy, thick, floral cotton Lanz of Switzerland grandma-style nightgowns that arrived under the Christmas Tree each year from my own grandmother in Florida. You know the ones with the big, white lace trimmed yokes that went down to the floor, not exactly what you want to wear walking around Virginia Beach in and not risk getting your ass kicked.
When Barry saw the stack of Lanz he beamed. He selected the biggest, frumpiest one of them all and promised to return it to me the next week. That Saturday night my friend said, "Hey, the Thin Lads X are playing in Norfolk, do you want to go?” We got there a little late and the band had already started playing and there was Barry, center stage, hopping around in my frumpy grandma nightie singing his head off like a crazed demon. Barry was rocking the frumpy house frau look over a decade before Kurt Cobain copped that look!
Local historian, photographer
I have been photo documenting the local punk scene since the early 1980's when I began shooting my friends’ bands and the scene around them when they played around the area. Decades later it's comforting to see many of the same faces still rocking out and inspiring new generations of artists to express themselves in a world that seems to have less tolerance for freedom of expression with each passing day. Check out my Facebook page Vintage North End Virginia Beach Illustrated History Archive if you are into local history!