October 2008

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Did the CADS every play Scorgies? I think I remember seeing them there.


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PhotobucketRecently, Beth, Mitch & Pat of the band, Absolute Grey, agreed to withstand a volley of endless emails and multiple, marathon phone interviews to dredge up the memories of those heady Ab Grey days. To get to the heart of the matter, the recollections of some of their friends & peers (Bob Martin, Stan the Man, Jim Huie, Chaz Lockwood, Barbara Manning, Steve Wynn, Luke Wood, Russ Tolman & more) have been mixed into the proceedings.

read & listen here:  www.earcandyarchive.com

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Bill, Ed and Cliff

Bill, Ed and Cliff

By Ed Richter

Wow. A Scorgies Reunion. What can I say? After all these years?

Is it true? Sure Is. I am friends with Stan Merrell. He says it’s true.

I am friends with Tom Kohn. He says it’s true. OK, I’ll be there.

What do I remember? I remember getting dressed up. Doing my hair and getting together a couple of girls and heading down to Andrews street.

The stories are in hundreds. Don Scorgie always made the biggest hamburgers in Rochester. He also had a knack for picking national bands about a week before they hit it big. He also gave many local bands their first chance to appear on stage.For some strange reason Don liked me. I got free hamburgers.

But best of all I became Scorgies House Videographer. Yep. I still have all the videos I shot. I shot Personal Effects, New Math, and the Press Tones,  The Chesterfield Kings and of course the Tinglers. At the time I shot the Press Tones they were calling themselves The Pistoleros. The song they were doing at the time was called “Pistol On My Hip“. I also shot the Waitresses, the Comateens (they did the Munsters Theme) and other national acts that appeared in the Rochester area like the Divinyls, Billy Idol.

Cliff Owens on Guitar

Cliff Owens on Guitar

As far as local bands went, one of my favorites was the Tinglers: featuring Bill Curchin as Lead Singer and Cliff Owen as Lead Guitarist. They were the center of the band, and both of them touched me later in my life in a special way.

After Scorgies, Cliff went to law school and was a Assistant District Attorney under Howard Relin. Now he is part of the team at Fiandach & Fiandach. He represented me on a recent legal affair I was involved in, and he’s a nice guy.

As for Bill Curchin,  yeah,  he touched my life recently. Sadly, he died in 2006. Bill how could you do this to us??? Bill was the real essence of cool. He taught me a few things about being cool. “Just be cool and you stay cool”. Wacky statement I guess you had to know Bill. I miss the guy.

Bill Curchin on Vocals

Bill Curchin on Vocals

Anyway I have tons of Videos and photographs I took at the time and will try as hard as I can to get them together for all of you to enjoy. I will write more soon.

I leave you with a few photos of The Tinglers and Myself.

Ed Richter 10/08

Editor’s note: Ed Richter passed away September 22, 2022. If anyone has information on Ed’s archives, shoot us a message. RIP Edwin…

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When I first started hanging out at Scorgies, I enjoyed going downstairs and hanging out, especially when Luke Warm was in the DJ booth spinning records. No matter what we had at WRUR or in stock at the Record Archive Luke would always have something new and different to play. If I told him I had the 7″ single of the Dynamic Hepnotics “Hepno-Beat” he’d one up me with the 12″ remix.
However, I am ill qualified to properly memorialize Luke. His life was bigger than my memories, and so I asked Pat Lowery (ex Party Dogs, Family Love Probe, Five Star Buffalo, Bulus, Lotus STP, SLT, Big and Pretty, Hotheads, Rat Kings) to pen a fitting Tribute to Luke.
Here it is (with help from Chuck Irving):

Kuke Warm with Brian Goodman and Connie

Luke Warm with Brian Goodman and Connie

Turn Me Up-T-Rex

The first time I met Luke I was at Scorgies about to take the stage in a band named The Party Dogs. He was working as a dj or something but all I knew was that he was bugging us, asking a lot of questions and hangin around. I didn’t know at the time he would prove to be our only fan that night and a much needed confident. The Party Dogs were not for the weak of heart or for the weak of mind. We were not a local band playing dress up on the weekends, or like most bands able to run back to the suburbs at the end of the night to the comfort of their Blondie posters, and rice cakes. As we hit the stage the sparse crowd of local snobs moved away like scared rabbits. Even the owner the big bad Scorgie himself took refuge among his constituents. Only Luke stood alone in the middle of the room screaming at the top of his lungs as we ended ” I Politician,” with kwami Joseph slamming down on his talking drums and R.U. Sirius screaming; “fuck off,” to the posers in the back. That was my first introduction to the man that would later lift me off the back of my drum seat with a guitar style that both destroyed and created its own universe. He was the Zen madman Ginsberg wrote about and ” The Tyger” Blake burned onto the page. That was 1980, our paths would meet again off and on through the next decade.

I never knew Luke’s real name. I had heard people refer to him as obnoxious Andy, but to me he was always Luke. Luke loved old blues guitarists like John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, and Howlin’ Wolf. He also loved Marc Bolan and could easily bridge the gap between these different artists. It was in the showmanship and the bravado they had in common. For a little over three years Luke stayed in his room and practiced guitar and in his own way conjured up a synthesis of styles based on what I call the primordial howl, or as I have written about before-The Big Fuck. Most of us fear the big fuck. We prefer the safer small fuck. Hendrix embraced this feeling, as did Cobain and a few others.

In 1990 or soon after, Luke and Chuck Irving had an idea for a band. They needed a drummer to fill out the roster of Chuck on bass, Luke on guitar, and Mark Marianetti (aka Thing) on vocals. My first response was your kidding, funny idea guys but no thanks. I was forty years old, fat, bloated and out of shape and had been through the local rock band thing too many times already, plus I was suffering from alcoholism and a huge drug problem. I wasn’t worried about Chuck I knew he could play and Thing was already a local legend but the last time I had seen Luke play he was terrible. But fate has a mind of her own and eventually Luke’s relentless persistence paid off.

I would acquiesce for the time being. I would show these guys what punk rock was all about and get a laugh-throw down some beers and a few lines and that would be it. We were in Pat Moschiano’s basement and at first it was terrible. I explained to them that I was a songwriter and an artist and maybe we should try and play a song. Luke was like a caged animal. He was sober at the time and had been sober for three years. Man he was pacing around chain smoking and fiddling with his guitar. He was also mumbling to himself and the whole time his guitar was making this hellish racket. I was listening to Chuck tell me how the song went and then I counted it off. From that opening beat I was in trouble. Luke’s guitar coiled around my neck and was choking me, while Chuck’s bass line was mocking me to play harder while throbbing this current of Hades through my skull. Thing was singing through an amp, but was so loud he sounded as if he was channeling God into the room. Later I would find out he was channeling God. My heart was going to blow I knew it. This was it I thought; these fucks are going to kill me. I kept pounding and Luke’s guitar kept climbing higher and higher and when he began playing the lead to The Hunger everything faded out. I was then suspended above my set, above the laws of earth. I was free! When the song ended I slumped over and grabbed my chest. Luke was so concerned and kind to this beat up old fuck and I was grateful. He looked at me with those huge eyes covered in sweat and mascara and said, ” Pat are you OK, do you need anything, man you look terrible.” And that was the genesis of SLT.

Fourteen years after the band broke up there is a new cd in the works. The cd is being produced at Saxon Recordings and is nearing completion. The songs have been selected from various recording sessions. This will be the first time people will be able to listen and experience the explosive nature of this definitive punk band at the height of their powers. There is also a new CD of songs in the works that will follow. Yes folks SLT lives! Luke can be one persistent spirit. Take a listen and judge for yourself the strange plane his guitar playing was framed from.

I never knew Andy Ogrodowski. Andy died on St Patrick’s Day 1995. Most people didn’t know him. They only thought they had seen him, or had a conversation with him, but I know that isn’t true. I know that isn’t true because most people are small fucks and it isn’t anyone’s fault. There is no one to blame, there never is. Big Fucks, Tygers, Lost Boys, White Niggers, Shadows-the name doesn’t matter, they all seek the high wire. Their love is not easy, so let it go…you never knew Luke. The only thing I do know is when he played we laughed like we were getting away with murder, cause we were. He would look at me lift up his guitar and say, “Ready!”

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Ned Hoskin, Peggi Fournier, Paul Dodd and Martin Edic pictured on Hi-Techs postcard that came with Archive Records single, Boogaloo Rendezvous” b/w “Subscriptions”. Thanks to Stan for postcard image.

The Hi-Techs were different. Our lead instrument was a soprano sax. We loved the Contortions and James White, Bush Tetras, Kid Creole and James Brown. The Hi-Techs recorded “Pompeii” in 1979 in the basement of Robert Slide’s (Robert  played bass with me in New Math’s first line up) house. Duane Sherwood played synth swishes. Tom Kohn and Marty Duda released the song on their “From The City That Brought You Absolutely Nothing” compilation. Ned joined the band in 1980 and we played about twenty gigs at Scorgies before forming Personal Effects. Our first gig was opening for New Math. This was fitting as I had left New Math a few months before and we were all friends. Kevin Patrick called us at the last minute, as in the night of the show. Peggi and I were already in our pjs when he called. We used to practice a lot so we were ready. We wrote all of our material and our songs were fast. We could barely keep up with them. We had lots of songs and never did the same set twice.

Dick Storms asked us to record a single for his new Archive Records label. Dick had already put out Bahama Mama’s “Lonesome Cowboy” single. I played with New Math on “Die Trying” which Dwight Glodell recorded so we lined him up to produce the single. We did this at Craig Fennesy’s studio in the basement of his house in Hilton. We met Kevin Vicalvi there and he became our sound man and friend for life. “Boogaloo Rendezvous” b/w “Subscriptions (Are My Prescription)” became the second release on Archive Records. Bill Jones printed the cover at Asymmetrical Press on Smith Street. We started playing gigs in Buffalo with bands like the Stains, Paper Faces, The Vores, The Jumpers, and 10,000 Maniacs.

Peggi sang most songs and Ned Hoskin sang a few. Ned liked the Clash and the Boss so his songs had a sincere, working class hero vibe to them. Ned wrote the anthem, “Warren”, for Brian Horton and Blue Hand played it every time we saw them. Ned was a great rhythm guitar player and a big part of the Hi-Techs sound.

We recorded a second single for Archive called “Screamin’ You Head”. It was backed with “A Woman’s Revenge,” a funky number that was based on the Kiss and Darling photo novellas that we used to devour. You could buy them at Bertha’s on East Main near where we practiced. Bertha was too big to get up from behind the counter so she barked orders at another woman who just couldn’t move fast enough for Bertha. “Screamin’ You Head” got quite a bit of play in clubs in NYC. A Danceteria DJ named Iolo was instrumental in getting us club dates in New York and eventually our deal with Cachalot Records but by then we had morphed into Personal Effects.

One of the most interesting gigs Hi-Techs did was a live performance at Channel 31 in 1980 (before it went Fox) with Ozzy Osbourne. There was some other band on the bill too but I can’t remember who that might have been. It seems like Marty Duda had something to do with this date. They tried to record all three of us in one night and Ozzy went first. When we got there Ozzy’s roadies were all drunk. They had spent most of the night in the bar downstairs on the corner of Alexander and East. And they took forever to get their stuff taken down. We set up around three in the morning and played three songs – “Pompeii”, “Boogaloo Rendezvous” and “A Woman’s Revenge”. Here is a video of that performance. Channel 31 used the live audio in the first song and then they synced the footage of our second and third songs to the vinyl versions of those songs because they fucked up the sound. And they got Kathy Buckley to prance around as if she had anything to do with the band. That kind of bummed us out at the time.

Hi-Techs – “Pompeii,” “Screamin You Head” and “A Woman’s Revenge”

(From the Channel 31 show “After Hours,” recorded sometime in 1980-81)
To view this video in high quality, go to YouTube and select the “watch in high quality” link.

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Robert Slide, first bass player for New Math, sent this photo and note on White Riot, Rochester, New York’s first live punk rock band. Greg Prevost (from the Chesterfield Kings) got there first on record with his Distorted Levels single.

Paul Armstrong – guitar, Mark Schwartz – keyboards, Kevin Patrick – vocals, Paul Dodd – drums, Gary Trainer – bass rehearsing in a basement in 1977

Surprisingly, I was able to find these shots of White Riot practicing in the basement of a house shared by Gary and Mark. The story behind how I got these is as follows:

I went to high school with Dale (NM) and the person he moved to Rochester with, Joanne. Both Joanne and I went to RIT (I was a year ahead of her) – during my second year there, I lived on the same floor as Paul Armstrong. We did a lot of music and partying together so I really got to know Paul. When White Riot played at RIT, Joanne saw them and got Paul’s practice address (Gary’s house) and set up a time to see them play – which is how I got these shots. Imagine my surprise when a month or so later, Dale asked me to take him to an audition, and it was White Riot (now playing under the name Erector Set) – Paul was tired of the commute from Syracuse and hence, Dale joined what was to become New Math.

Note: Paul Armstrong went on to play in a number of Syracuse bands. He played Scorgies with the Flash Cubes and New Math played many gigs in Syracuse with Paul’s bands. As Robert says, Dale Mincey took Paul’s place when the group changed its name to New Math. Mark Schwartz quit but rejoined New Math a few years later and stayed on when the band changed their name to Jet Black Berries. Kevin and Gary became the core of New Math, Gary switched to guitar and Robert Slide played bass in New Math. Paul Dodd left New Math and formed the Hi-Techs and Personal Effects.

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New Math, Live on Channel 13’s Morning Break

At the height of their popularity, New Math were asked to play live on the WOKR-13 weekday show, Morning Break.  A  typical AM TV show for housewives, with some news, community calendar, maybe a cooking segment  & usually some kind of live remote from somewhere around town.  I have no clue who thought that the average housewife or retiree would want to see New Math, or how the appearance was even set up.  I just remember being told it was gonna be live from Scorgies, and I had to be there by 8AM to set up for a 10:15 broadcast.  I made arrangements to go into work late & had the guys in the AV club at Sutherland High set up the video machine to record it for me.

I remember internal chatter going back & forth on what 2 songs they should play, with one idea being to re-write the lyrics to “The Pipes of Pan”, changing it into “The Pots and Pans”.  They settled on “American Survival” first, and then “They Walk Among You” after the short interview.  

We decided to use a chemical fog machine without telling the shows producers, so I got that set up & hidden under the drum riser before the TV crew showed up.   As the drum & bass breakdown in the middle of the song arrived, I hit the fog switch & let it flow to the point of overload.  The cameraman had to retreat from his closeup of Roy, to a long shot from the middle of the dancefloor, as he couldnt see anything in the dense cloud.  This was a one camera shoot so he did all the moves live, & did a pretty good job. The fog gag turned out to be an even swap, deception-wise, as the TV crew didnt tell me that they were gonna process the video feed with the ‘strobing’ feature of their video time base corrector, back at the station, during the instrumental sections of the song. 

After American Survival ended the TV reporter introduced them as “New Wave”, and Kevin had to correct her “No, its New Math”.  This was followed by a lame interview, as she asked them why they wore such strange clothes (as the clip will show, they werent wearing anything strange).  Then after the band played “They Walk Among You”, they took phone calls from the housewives.  Equally lame.  I remember one housewife saying “I’d rather listen to a love song.” and Kevin saying “Well, then you should do that.”  I have that all on tape somewhere buried deep, but it’s probably better left buried.  I just kept a copy of the performance stuff accessible.

So here’s American Survival.  I thought it came off great, and the video recording of it stands the test of time. The bands soundman Pee-Wee did a mix with grit, that must have woken them up at the senior home. Worth turning up loud thru the stereo.  It showcases the band at their best, playing at the best place to see them, Scorgies.  To me, its a perfect snapshot of what it they were like back in the day. In addition, it shows how far ahead of its time Gary’s song was.  Take a listen to the lyrics and then apply them to todays headlines of economic collapse.  Even tho it was written about the Reagan 80s, its spot on 20+ years later. 


If you click on the link you can see the clip in Hi-Res. (I would let either version load fully before playing).
New Math: American Survival, Live

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From the Gary Trainer Archives comes this wry piece penned for the press kit of “Die Trying.” Link to .pdf of press kit here:

New Math CBS promo photo #1

New Math CBS promo photo #1

Kevin Patrick writes:
“New Math is a band from Rochester NY, formed in fall 76, At that time, even Newsweek hadn’t yet distorted new wave into the contagious disease it was to be tagged for almost two years following. Yet, local bands playing original songs thru minimal equipment were seldom tolerated in the major metropolis, not to mention the smaller “burgs’ of America, And as radio fought to preserve the past -believe it – so did the club owners. Unfortunately, they were the ones with paychecks that literally allowed bands to survive day to day. It was real rough in the beginning, but then times changed. And somehow, New Math survived it all, finding they’d built up a healthy following around the New York state area in the process.

Founding members Kevin Patrick,, Gary Trainer and Dale Smeadley were eventually solidified by Bob McCarthy and Mark Schways and were accepting gigs anywhere; the circus, shopping mails, weddings, church socials and even a car wash grand opening. The usual ploy was claiming they were whatever type music was required for the occasion, and thereby shocking bystanders. In addition people began learning about their spicy pasts,’ Dale for instance, played the part of a child from Saturn on an early Star Trek feature Kevin solicited rock stars autographs thru the mail and just recently scored the final signature of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, Gary lost his job in the purchasing dept. of St. John’s Nursing home by ordering $1700.00 worth of guitars and amplifiers thru his office, and ‘butch’ Bobby has been arrested more than once for hustling pool game wagers in gay bars to make ends meet. The resulting recognition got the band some opening slots for national acts passing thru the area. Response was more than favorable, and the confidence gained thru work with bands such as John Cale, Ultravox, 999,, Damned, Willie Alexander and Eddie and The Hot Rods, gave New Math the ultimate chance to move the forefront of their local territory.

Always thinking about their financial situation, the band began asking audiences for contributions. Its been a great gimmick, backfiring only once at a gig with the Ramones. They, were becoming extremely annoyed as the opening band (NM), filed past for a second encore, and so, instructed their road crew to scarf up the change that some 1200 people had showered the band with – and ultimately refused to give it back at the end of the night. Yet, with their odd earnings, the band managed to record “Die Trying” and “Angela” in a 5 hour session at Christmas ’78. After we did the recording we found we didn’t have any money to press it. Luckily, Reliable Records in London loved it, and put the thing out. The resulting press and radio play in the UK gamed attention from major labels, and the band has finally signed with CBS0 Sure we still think about money, but don’t worry as much8 We just finished some more songs – unrushed -in the studio and they are stellar.’ promises Dale.
The real thrust behind New Math is still the same guiding light that started them out in ’76 – to make people dance and watch them have fun. They do it everytime – so catch them as soon as you can. Oh yeah, chant “New Math adds up” to yourself in your spare time as well!

CBS 7916 “DIE TRYING”                12.10.79


New Math in Recoding Studio

New Math in Recording Studio

The scene in Rochester needed to be recorded, pressed to vinyl and then distributed to the masses. Today’s post is an article from Rochester’s City Magazine profiling local entrepreneur Richard Storms and his label, Archive Records.

New Math - "Older Women" b/w "Restless Kind"

New Math - Older Women b/w Restless Kind

There’s a growing movement among rock groups to perform their own works. And local recording facilities are helping that thrust.
by Gregory Lewis

HiTechs - Boogaloo Rendezvous" b/w "Subscriptions (are My Prescription)"

Hi-Techs - Boogaloo Rendezvous b/w Subscriptions (Are My Prescription)

One of the more fascinating aspects of the revival of creativity and energy in the rock music scene is the tremendous upsurge in recording activity that we are currently experiencing. In Rochester that activity centers on a newly formed record label, Archive Records, and on several local bands, including New Math, Bahama Mama, and the Hi-Techs.

Click here for article.

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Sifting through the voluminous scans from John Pusateri’s archives, I see that there were quite a few venues that “experimented” with Punk and New Wave. Ultimately it took a club like Scorgies to make it as viable venue for non-mainstream music. By the time I moved to Rochester in 1981, most of the other clubs had reverted to the tried and true “traditional” mainstream acts. It didn’t help that there was little, if any, radio support for music outside of the realm of “Corporate Rock.”

New Math poster for Orange Monkey and the Electric Circus

New Math poster for Orange Monkey and the Electric Circus

New Math Big Daddy's/Orange Monkey gig Poster

Big Daddy/Orange Monkey

Orange Monkey/Electric Circus

Orange Monkey/Electric Circus

My memories of the Orange Monkey are limited. It’s proximity to R.I.T made it a logical choice for a  venue. It also seemed to be the headquarters of the Little Trolls. The doors shut in the early eighties and then turned into the China Gate restaurant. The Electric Circus was located in the heart of the industrial part of Dewey Avenue and Big Daddy’s was at the corner of Lyell and Dewey,  near the old Tent City. That part of the city is still in decline after 30 years; the side streets are dotted with curbside memorials for the victims of street crime.

New Math and Hi-Techs at Gentlemen Jims

New Math and Hi-Techs at Gentlemen Jims

Another long-gone club… was this the club that later became Idols?

New Math at the Penny Arcade

New Math at the Penny Arcade

The Penny Arcade has had some great shows in the past and  continues to persevere into the new Millennium. My post-Scorgies band Lotus STP had one disasterous gig there with the Fertility Rite Brothers in the late eighties. Fittingly enough, Clayton was working there at the time and saw fit to heckle us. Made us REALLY nostalgic for Scorgies!

The Parilament Lounge Fleshtones/Raybeats with Press Tones/Pistoleros

The Parilament Lounge Fleshtones/Raybeats with Press Tones/Pistoleros

I found this flier for the Parliament Lounge in my collection… I believe Rock and Roll Joel and Jim Havalack tried to turn this Bowling Alley/Bar into a viable venue. Suffice to say the owner had other ideas in mind! More to come in a later post from Joel!

Cousin Al at Ruth and Irv's Astrological Fish and Steak

Cousin Al at Ruth and Irv's

Another one from my collection: Ruth and Irv’s Astrological Fish & Steak (everybody loved the name). unfortunately, they were destined to fail.  What was a plus for drinkers (all drink prices $1.50) was a minus for things like profits. This is the original paste-up for the gig flier. Cousin Al, Da Huh (feat. ex-Cappy Mike Houser) and the legendary Bulus. Note the reference to the Brian Bram Show. The Ruth and Irv’s site would later be the home for the original Idols.

Invisible Party @ Schatzees

Invisible Party @ Schatzees

Invisible Party w/ the Bulus at Schatzees

Invisible Party w/ Bulus at Schatzees

Of course, I have to throw a MAJOR shout out to Schatzees, the club whose claim to fame was that they featured the “best bands in the world that would play for the door.” Schatzees would later morph into Richmonds, which carried on much in the same fashion.  It was not uncommon to stumble into Schatzees on a lazy Sunday  & catch Ten Thousand Maniacs and see Natalie Merchant whirling like a dervish

New math/Targets paste-up article

New math/Targets paste-up article

Somebody’s got to teach a class: “Building a Buzz 101” (perhaps a night class at MCC) for aspiring Rock and Roll Stars. Note the recycling of clips from the Times Union, Freetime Magazine and the Democrat and Chronicle.

That’s it for today folks… I’ll add more to this post soon.

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