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Martha and the Muffins

Martha and the Muffins - Insect Love / Suburban Dream - 7

Insect Love / Suburban Dream - 7"
Muffin - 1979

Michael Panontin
By the time of their debut single, the self-released Insect Love / Suburban Dream, Marthas Johnson and Ladley and company were busy elbowing their way onto the more punk-friendly Queen Street circuit in Toronto. They were formed a year earlier by Mark Gane, Martha Johnson and David Millar, whose schlocky cover band Oh Those Pants! had performed several times at the Ontario College of Art in 1976. The Muffins went about solidifying their line-up, with Millar stepping aside to work the sound, and Gane's brother Tim on drums, singer Ladley, saxophonist Andy Haas and bass player Carl Finkle coming in to round things out.

These hopelessly obscure sides show Martha and the Muffins at their DIY stage, with Ladley's tentative keyboards and Gane's quirky guitar in need of some studio clean-up. Still, the record provides a brainier alternative to the brawny Toronto punk scene at the time, clearing the way for countless new wave acts to follow. Both songs were re-recorded for the U.K. singles market, with Insect Love (b/w Cheesies and Gum) issued the following year as the band's first UK single, and Suburban Dream (b/w Girl Fat) showing up in the summer of 1980. Neither record troubled the charts, but it hardly mattered as the Muffins' massive-selling 'Echo Beach' in 1980 would carve them a place into the annals of pop history.


     Martha and the Muffins

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