Kevin Patrick

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Three of the Hi-Techs, Martin Edic, Peggi Fournier and Paul Dodd, before going on stage at Scorgies in 1980

Three of the Hi-Techs, Martin Edic, Peggi Fournier and Paul Dodd, before going on stage at Scorgies in 1980

Robert Slide, New Math’s original bass player, sent took these photos

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L-R, Gary Trainer, Dale Solo, Paul Dodd, Robert Slide, & Kevin Patrick in front.

This photo was shot in the hallway at the Cox bldg around the corner from their second rehearsal room. Dale plucked the inspection tag off the fire extinguisher & hung it on his shirt. Back then Gary played guitar, as did Dale. Paul played drums, Robert played bass & Kevin sang.

They played shows that were months apart in those early days. Clubs didnt want them, they wanted Foreigner cover bands. The early version of the band with Paul Armstrong and Mark Schwarz was called White Riot, after the Clash single that was just out. They played one show in the hall of a dorm at R.I.T. that I recall being great, raw & raucus.

The first real New Math show was played in their rehearsal room. They played all 35 mins of what they knew in front of about 40-50 people for a show recorded & then played on WITR. (Anyone out there got that?) I still remember during the show Kevin calling out “Dale… Solo Lead guitar” at the solo of one song, as a cue.  And thats when Dale Mincey became Solo. Patti Smith was into her boxing phase so she was always talking about her “Trainer”. Gary taught Robert how to play bass, so Kevin used to put on his Patti Smith voice & say “thats his trainer…” Thats how Gary Tomaselli got named Trainer. Don’t recall the story about Robert getting Slide.

Before Scorgies, with its house sound & lights, you had to hump your PA & lights in & out of these clubs. The tiny elevator at the Cox used to close early, and so that meant carrying it all down & then back up 4 or 5 flights of narrow stairs. I don’t miss that. For sound, we had started with an amp hooked up to someone’s Bose living-room speakers and a 6 channel Teac tape recorder mixer, but then upgraded to heavy bass cabinets with horns that sat on top. In fact, looking at the photo above, I realize that it was lit with the stage lighting rig that Paul & I made in his basement.  5 floodlight sockets, nailed to a long board, with 5 wires running 50 ft to a little switchboard.  The club owners used to laugh at it when we set it up. It looks like we laid that socket board down in the hall & turned it on, resulting in those multi shadows growing behind them on the wall.

Scorgies was the only place to play, once that all got going. Those other clubs were something to get away from as soon as we could. Orange Monkey, yeeech! Penny Arcade? Who needed that? Big Daddy’s was a sort of mob disco, not a rock club at all.  They had a few shows, the Human Switchboard played 2 great nites there, with New Math opening. Electric Circus tried for a bit, having New Math a few times & also bringing in an early Pere Ubu show that was incredible.


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Deep Sleep

Paul Szp of Paper Faces at Scorgies

Paul Szp of Paper Faces at Scorgies. Photos by Paul Dodd. (Click on photos for enlargements.)

One of my favorite bands from the Scorgies days was Paper Faces. They were technically from Kenmore, outside of Buffalo, but they seemed like they were from another world or Europe at least. The two main guys were brothers, Paul and Brian Szpakowski or Szp for short. Paul played keyboard and Brian guitar but the whole band seemed to always be switching instruments. Dave McCreery played a tight rhythmic guitar and George played a loose limbed bass or guitar. Bill Moore played drums like a drum machine, not a big muscular beat but a detached, mechano style that seemed very cool. There is a new band out there called Paper Faces but don’t be fooled. These guys own that name. We met Paper Faces at the Hi-Techs’ first gig in Buffalo. Debra Lary booked the show. We had met Debra when she brought The Vores to a show in WCMF’s back room. The Dictators played the back room and Robert Fripp did his Fripatronics thing there too. Both were outstanding shows. I don’t know why they don’t do that sort thing anymore.

Paul Szp and Dave McCreery of Paper Faces at Scorgies

Paul Szp and Dave McCreery of Paper Faces at Scorgies

The place we played in Buffalo was called the Masthead and it was tiny. It was us, Paper Faces and a handful of patrons. Late in their set George started making up lyrics about the spots on the floor of the bar. He had us all looking down as he described this overlooked universe. We were sold on these guys and booked a gig for them at Scorgie’s with the Hi-Techs. We must have played ten times with them at Scorgies (judging from the Posters section) and many more in Buffalo at the Continental, McVans and the Schuper House. Buffalo seemed so much tougher than Rochester. The bars were open til four so the night was long. Hookers roamed the streets outside the Continental and people said Bud, who managed the place, ran around in a Nazi uniform. All I know is, we had to ask him to shovel off the stage before we set up our equipment because the German Shepards he kept in there shit on it. They had a dj and a dance floor upstairs so the bands had to compete with that crap. It was all worth it. We went back to to Paper Faces’ rehearsal place one night and partied til the sun came up. We met Mark Freeland and Tony Biloni through the Faces and Toni took us to a party with Tony Conrad from the pre VU days.

George Scherer of Paper Faces at Scorgies

George Scherer of Paper Faces at Scorgies

Paper Faces released a killer 45 with a beautiful sleeve of their popular song, “Riding A Bomb”. “In the distance I see people praying. Give us what we need, carbonated liquids. We all need each other’s company.” and the refrain, “I’ll be hungry in the morning. I’ll be hungry in the morning.” David Kane produced it. Margaret Explosion did a gig with his “Them Jazzbeards” a few years back. I liked the b-side, “Deep Sleep”. We played it tonight. I wish I had one of those Crosley turntables so I could rip singles like Kevin Patrick does. Paper Faces have been in a deep sleep long enough. I wish they would come back.

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