06/13/2014 02:45 pm ET Updated Jun 13, 2014

'Orange Is The New Black' Actress Has Amazing Punk Rock Past

annie golden

The character histories in "Orange Is The New Black" have become something of a fan favorite in season two, but it's the unlikeliest lady in lockup whose real-life backstory is better than fiction.

Actress Annie Golden's character Norma Romano is known to "OITNB" fans as the dutiful and selectively mute sidekick to Galina "Red" Reznikov. It's unknown why her character is in prison, and Nina remained something of a blank slate until a surprise scene-stealing turn in the Christmas pageant during the Season 1 finale:

Rock critic and "Sound Opinions" co-host Jim DeRogatis wrote of a recent "ah-ha" moment in which he made the connection that the actress behind Norma was none other than the former frontwoman of '70s punk outfit The Shirts.

On his blog, DeRogatis described Golden's former group as "the other female-fronted band after Blondie during the original explosion of punk in the mid-’70s."

A favorite of C.B.G.B. owner Hilly Kristal, who, contrary to that awful recent movie, never really understood the best bands he showcased on the Bowery, the Shirts definitely were in the second tier of the groundbreaking bands in that era. Their best moment was their self-titled 1978 debut, released on Harvest in the U.K. after they were signed by Nick Mobbs (the same man who signed Wire) and produced by Mike Thorne (the same guy who produced those brilliant art-punks). The closest they got to a hit was “Hang Up the Phone” in 1984, which showcased a much poppier, more pandering New Wave sound. I prefer the early garage grit.

More than a few of the members of the ensemble cast have significant musical chops, and Golden's no different. Following her punk phase, she became an established Broadway actress prior to her turn as a fictional inmate of Litchfield Penitentiary.



Orange Is The New Black Cast, On And Off Screen