Carol Pope and Kevan Staples first started playing together in Yorkville in 1968, but it would be another six years before they officially became the New Wave group Rough Trade. They quickly developed a reputation for their sexual live shows at Grossman's Tavern (on Spadina south of College) and later at the Horseshoe (on Queen West). Pope made a habit of wearing bondage gear on stage and made no secret of her homosexuality."High School Confidential" became their biggest hit in 1981. It's hailed as a landmark in Canadian music history — it told the story of a lesbian high school crush at a time when that was still a ridiculously controversial thing to do. Plenty of radio stations banned the song or censored the lyrics, but it still climbed all the way up into the Top 20 on the Canadian charts.
You can buy Rough Trade's album Avoid Freud here.
Listen to more Toronto New Wave here.