Die Trying

I grew up in Rochester but left for awhile. When I returned, I put a small ad on the wall of Record Archive which at the time was located in a small area next door to the Village Green on Monroe Avenue. I was looking for someone to play drums with and Gary Trainer and Kevin Patrick found my ad. The earliest version of New Math had Mark Schwartz on keys and Paul Armstrong on guitar. That lasted for a few gigs and the lineup changed. Gary and Kevin were always in charge.

New Math "Die Trying" cover - click for enlargement

New Math "Die Trying" cover - click photo for enlargement

The New Math single, “Die Trying”, got a lot of play on the Scorgie’s juke box. It was released on at least three labels and the photo above shows artwork for the 7 inch vinyl that was never used on any of the releases. If you click on the photo above you can can see a comp with the artwork pasted on a forty five. The double lines that arc over the hole created an optical illusion when it spun on the turntable. Without drugs you could see colors in the black and white label! I think you actually had to spin it faster than 78 to see the colors and maybe that’s why it was never used.

I was working as a graphic artist at Multigraphics (in the same block where KrudCo now is) so the artwork for the single fell into my lap. I think Kevin found the design that we used for the front cover in an old art book and I recreated it. In the photo you can see Robert Slide and someone else in one of the small photos on the desktop. I was thinking that Robert took this photo but it may have been Corrinne.

The back cover of the sleeve went through a few revisions and someone had the idea to have each person in the band contribute a two inch square piece of art. I seem to remember Dale never getting around to submitting his piece so Gary suggested that I put a zero in there. I could have that all wrong. Maybe someone else remembers.

The first release was on Reliable Records in England. Howard Thompson produced this single with Dwight Glodell engineering at PCI studios, across the street from East High. Howard went under the name “Howard le Canard” for the deed and he was instrumental in getting it released on this London label.

I had already decided to quit New Math before going into the studio but I waited until the recording was made before announcing my intentions. The same night we recorded these songs Peggi was at Max’s Kansas City for the Cramps and I really wanted to be there. Bryan Gregory was still in the band and we were crazy about them. All we had were two purple and green Vengeance singles (both produced by Alex Chilton) that we had picked up at the House of Guitars. The HOG kept the import and underground US singles in a locked cabinet upstairs in the hallway and you had to get Greg from the Chesterfield Kings to unlock it if you wanted to paw through the offerings. I remember picking up three early Pere Ubu singles and an early Devo version of Mongoloid and all sorts of great stuff .

I met Kevin for lunch and a Heineken at the old Manhattan restaurant near Midtown and told him I was jumping ship. I had a great time in this band but I wanted to do something different – like make music with my wife (you know what I mean). Peggi sings, plays sax and keys and we formed the Hi-Techs not long afterward but that is another story.

New Math Die Trying covers

New Math Die Trying covers

Die Trying was re-released on CBS in England with the same b side, “Angela”, and eventually Dick Storms released it in the US on Archive Records. This last sleeve was designed by Duane Sherwood and it had a different b side, a Dale Mincey song called “(I) Can’t Get Off The Ground”. New Math did a gig with Human Switchboard and Dale eventually married their keyboard player, Myrna.

New Math at the Orange Monkey 1978. Robert Slide - bass, Gary Trainer, guitar, Paul Dodd - drums, Kevin Patrick - vocals, Dale Mincey - lead guitar.

New Math at the Orange Monkey 1978. Robert Slide - bass, Gary Trainer, guitar, Paul Dodd - drums, Kevin Patrick - vocals, Dale Mincey - lead guitar.

A few weeks ago I was talking to Gary Trainer at the Village Gate Courtyard between Margaret Explosion sets and he was saying how lucky we were to have a place like Scorgies. We were trying to recall some of the places we played before Scorgies opened. The rock clubs mostly had commercial hard rock bands at the time and you needed a manager or booking agent to get you into the clubs. We worked with Jim Armstrong and even gave him credit on the single. He had some rock solid advice that stuck with me like “don’t let the crowd hear you tuning up (or playing anything for that matter) before you hit the stage because it spoils the performance”. NRBQ did this better than anyone by running on stage and starting as soon as they touched their instruments. Howie from Six String sales booked some club along the river and we did business with him too. Pelican booked bands at the time and Penny Arcade would book an original band but then have the bartenders wear t-shirts that said, “Punk Rock Sucks” or some such nonsense. Like they would know. They were in cahoots with the ultra conservative, formerly “underground” WCMF at the time and they did everything they could to hold back change eventually giving in to playing such “adventurous” new music as the Cars or the Pretenders.

New Math at the Electric Circus on Dewey Avenue in Rochester, NY

New Math at the Electric Circus on Dewey Avenue in Rochester, NY

We played the Orange Monkey out in Henrietta and the Electric Circus on Dewey and Big Daddy’s on Lyell and some place that Howie booked along the river. Scorgies was better than all these places by a mile. They had their own sound system and lights. All you need are these two things, an empty room and a bar and you have the perfect rock and roll club. I played with New Math for a year and a half and but had already left the band before they played Scorgies. The Hi-Tech and Personal Effects played there many times with New Math and we are all still friends today.

New Math got along fine without me. Bobby “Bam Bam” McCarthy played drums for a while and then Roy Stein joined. They released many more records and eventually changed their name to Jet Black Berries. When I saw Gary, he had a bunch of old New Math posters that he was giving Tom Kohn to scan for the Scorgies site. They should be up here soon.

Listen to Die Trying

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  1. Martin Edic’s avatar

    Is there someplace on this site where people can post MP3s of the songs mentioned? I can’t believe there would be any negative backlash and it would brings those days back in focus even more.
    Great post.


  2. Paul’s avatar

    You can send me mp3 files and I’ll post them.


  3. Martin Edic’s avatar

    You know I don’t have any of that old stuff- I lost it all in the fire of ’84 (not really). But I know you have it…


  4. punk rock girl’s avatar

    Thank God Myrna didn’t marry the lead member of http://HumanSwitchboard.com instead (who she used to date and inspired most of the songs) Just click on their link to read about what he did to the next gal he dated and he’s now being sentenced to prison and faces up to five years! Yikes guys! Scary dude!


  5. Terry Baldwin’s avatar

    Die Trying is my favorite song ever: thank you to whomever put it on MP3, and thanks to my brother Mike for finding it, and sending it to me, so I can have it on my ipod.


  6. Jlaben’s avatar

    Although I sold 98% of my vinyl collection before I moved to SC, I still have multiple copies of all of the New Math singles on Reliable, CBS and Archive labels and a couple of “live” cassette tapes, too. (The cassettes don’t work too well these days but my favorite New Math cassette was from the first line-up and inluded great cover tunes like Little Honda, Oh Boy, and Get Across to You and originals from the early days like London Holiday and From The Streets – I wonder if I can still find THAT one). I think Kevin P. may have given me the copy of that cassette.

    What I DON’T have anymore is a turntable to play them on.

    Even though I was selling my collection, I kept a bunch of local bands records, in addition to my Ramones vinyl, Eddie and The Hot Rods vinyl, Pistols (EMI and Virgin), Clash and probably the best Buzzcocks collection of vinyl around. Much of this stuff is autographed and it’s all first pressing- no re-issues.

    When I prepared to move down south, I figured it would be a huge pain in the ass to try and transport a couple of thousand albums and 500 singles with me so I sold virtually my entire record collection to one person- the guy who was running the back room at the time at Record Archive on Mt. Hope Avenue. He got a GREAT deal on this collection but this was in the “pre-Ebay” days back in 1999 (If I were to sell it these days piece-by-piece-, I could amass a small fortune).

    I wonder if he could give me back the first two Willie Alexander albums so I could transfer them to disc?

    If anyone wants an MP3 copy of Die Trying, you can find one here under “N”: http://punkmodpop.free.fr/mp3b.htm

    One last comment- Paul mentioned going to the House of Guitars and having to see Greg to “open the case” upstairs to get the latest import singles back in the late 70’s. Prior to THAT, before there WAS an “upstairs”, Greg used to have the singles stashed in the little office behind the counter and the cash register DOWNSTAIRS, and I used to drive out there once a week starting in around 1977 so Greg could show me what came in from “Gem” – the importer – and I bought up almost everything that he received. I felt so special knowing that most people didn’t know about these transactions…and I was working AT Record Theater at the time, but we didn’t get the records that Greg was getting.


  7. Brian Goodman’s avatar

    I have a bunch of New Math listed on the MySpace page:

    I have a bunch of stuff on MP3 that I rotate on the myspace page!
    (aka Cousin Brian)



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