The Panics formed after Yara began dating Dale Lawrence of The Gizmos who taught her how to play bass.
“There was a big age difference between the two of us so he was very, very influential on my music taste. I remember the first time he came over and all I had were the Beatles LPs and I remember feeling kind of embarrassed about that. And I had Brazilian music because my mother is from Brazil. But Dale started to introduce me to punk rock and rock and roll.” Yara said.
She met the other members, John, Mike, and Ian, in school and the Panics were born. The first time they played in public happened spontaneously during one of The Gizmo’s shows on the balconey at Dunkirk Square.
“In my diary I wrote ‘we asked if we could play a few songs and they said yes and then we played three songs and people were dancing. They seemed to like us!’” Yara said.
Although Yara’s involvment in The Panics only lasted 6 months, they played a handful of other shows in Bloomington and even one in Indy. Although most of the audiences reacted positively to their music, Yara recalled a show when the crowd got upset.
“We played for a party at the Kinsey Institute because Ian’s mom worked there but I guess people really hated us because they pulled the plug on our amps.” Yara said.
Being in The Panics gave Yara something to do after school and a network of friends.
“I never considered myself a musician, it was more about hanging out with my friends.”
“It was a time in my life that I feel deeply connected to but it was also a very problematic time in my life for a number of different reasons and I think mostly tied to disconnecting from family and this was like an alternate family thing where I could get away from my parents.” Yara said.
The band composed two original songs, made a movie, and recorded a 7” before Yara left The Panics behind to live in Brazil. After only a few months in Brazil, Yara moved back to Bloomington because she missed her community of friends. But by the time she got back, The Panics had gotten a new bassist. At that time, Yara started playing in an all female band called The Altered Boys.
“At that time a lot of women were proving that we can do it too in rock and roll, which is generally a pretty macho thing.” Yara said.
Unfortunately there are no recordings of them. After The Altered Boys split up, Yara moved to New York, stopped playing in bands, and began focusing more on art.
The Panics have played several reunion shows including two at Collins Living Learning Center where she works as the associate director. Since she works with young adults, we asked her what advice she has for them.
“Just do it now because you have the time and it’s so much easier to do stuff with friends while you’re young before you’re married, have a job, and responsibilities.” Yara said.
THE PANICS performing at Street Dance in Bloomington on July 12th, 1980.
Yara Cluver rocking a Bloomington South shirt, despite being a student of Bloomington North, while performing at Third Base on August 23, 1980.
YARA'S TOP TEN MOST INFLUENTIAL
ALBUMS FROM THE 80’s:
1. Bow Wow Wow – See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join
Your Gang Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy!
2. Jimmy Cliff – The Harder They Come
3. Elvis Costello – My Aim is True
4. The Pretenders – Pretenders
5. The Ramones – Rocket to Russia
6. The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers
7. The Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols
8. The Velvet Underground & Nico – The Velvet Underground & Nico
9. X-Ray Spex – Germ Free Adolescents
10. Red Snerts – The Sound of Gulcher (compilation album of Hoosier punk bands)
YARA’S TOP TEN MOST INFLUENTIAL SONGS FROM THE 80’s:
1. “Louis Quatorze”
(Bow Wow Wow)
2. “The Harder They Come” (Jimmy Cliff)
3. “Radio, Radio”
4. “Progressive Rock”
5. “Personality Crisis”
(New York Dolls)
6. “Brass in Pocket”
7. “Do You Wanna Dance?”
8. “Road Runner”
9. “God Save the Queen”
(The Sex Pistols)
10.“Oh Bondage Up Yours
In 1979 Yara Cluver found herself in one of the first Bloomington punk bands. She was 15 years old and had no musical background but that “wasn’t required”. Along with The Gizmos and The Dancing Cigarettes, Yara’s band, The Panics, brought the punk movement that was happening in New York and London to Bloomington.
Yara is now the associate director of Collins Living-Learning Center at Indiana University. Almost 40 years after the birth of The Panics, Yara still embraces her "punk" personality and DIY attitude.
YARA AND THE PANICS
THE PANICS MOVIE
YARA AND ART
Ever since she was a kid, Yara has been a visual artist. She discovered and fell in love with photography while studying at The Cooper Union in New York City. She left school there to pursue photography in Los Angeles and Brazil before returning to Bloomington where she got a masters degree at Indiana University.
Influenced by the 2016 political campaign, Yara and her friend Laurie have started a new collaborative series. They are inviting everyone to join them on instagram by creating art inspired by this quote:
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Yara is calling for artists to use this quote as inspiration for their work.
“This statement is an extract from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (FDR) inauguration speech when elected President of the United States in 1932, taking office in 1933. His presidency began during the Great Depression, tumultuous and difficult times in the U.S.A, and lasted to 1945. It included the years that notorious dictators ruling Europe and Russia (Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin) advanced leadership tactics based in creating an atmosphere of fear.
Today we are faced with a different set of circumstances, nationally and internationally, but where the newly elected president to the United States, Donald J. Trump (and the growing movements to the right in other countries) is giving rise to these same tactics (fear of immigrants, fear of Muslims, fear of gays, fear of the status quo, and so on). Trump creates an atmosphere of divisiveness and claims that he alone can fix “our” problems, problems he himself seems to craft. This is a dangerous paradigm and we must remember Roosevelt’s words of caution.
The No Fear Art Collective is calling upon artists to utilize these words: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” in their artwork and post their images to Instagram, #nofearart. Any form of visual art is welcome with the only limitation being that you must include these words in your work. Let’s not let fear rule our ability to act and engage with intelligence, conscience, and creativity.”