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Never Mind The Cliches, Here’s The Bollocks

Hazy Memories From J. Laben

Cliches @ Scorgies

Cliches @ Scorgies

This might read like a bowl of Alpha-Bits as it’s really difficult, after all these years, to keep things in any kind of chronological order but here goes…Everyone deserves a “shout-out” and there are plenty in this one, plus, some observations from various “Scorgies regulars” and Cliches band mates.

I took a job with Record Theater in Gates in 1977. The guy who hired me was John Pusateri and I think he hired me because we had similar taste in music. We used to play Ramones, Pistols, Clash, etc. LPs in the store all the time, to scare the few customers that we had right out the front door. John was good friends with the guys in New Math and he convinced this sheltered suburban pseudo-punk (me) to go see this band that I had never heard of. It might have been at The Electric Circus…Big Daddy’s…The Orange Monkey… I’m not sure of the order but from the first time I went to see them, not only did I think this band was the greatest thing I had ever seen, I also liked the “scene” itself. I started going to see them every time they played a gig. These early gig locales were dumps but in actuality, PERFECT venues to see New Math in.

There may have only been 30-40 people at many of those early shows, but the people that went to see the band were also developing their own very tight community…and they were so friendly and willing to accept me into their little scene. I loved the first New Math lineup – Paul on drums, Robert on bass…Gary and Dale playing guitar and Kevin channeling Barrie Masters on vocals. This was my favorite incarnation of the band…I liked their originals and loved their cover tune choices. Over the next year or two, I started slowly convincing some of my OTHER suburban pals to come out to the shows and they also dug this scene. It seemed like something special, and it was ours- I think that’s what made it so cool to be a part of.

R.Hollands speaks: “Terry is exactly right from his description of the tape he has of New Math at the Penny Arcade. We did, every time we saw New Math and Pink Hat (Kevin Patrick) play, yell shit at the stage, constantly. I believe we derived more pleasure from yelling stuff than the actual music. But we were if nothing else, devoted. I didn’t see too many other people at these other venues voicing their drunkenness or their support for the band. Penny Arcade, Electric Circus. “You’re f—–g the dog!’ was indeed our exhortation! Funny stuff indeed.”

Meanwhile, they closed down the Gates Record Theater and offered me the chance to go work at the Midtown Plaza location. I was not yet the “downtown city animal” that I would evolve into but with some trepidation, I took the offer. I was going to college at St. John Fisher and Midtown was fairly close by so it made sense to me. It was here that I worked with Martin Edic – later of Hi-Techs and BlueHand “fame” – and we had a lot of fun at the store, too. Martin was also a part of the “new scene” that New Math was incubating so we all hung out together after work. The guys from New Math would come into the store on occasion and because I was regularly appearing at the gigs, I became pals with Kevin Patrick. It was he who convinced me that I could start a band, even though my guitar skills were limited. But I suspected that I did know how to incite bedlam, which was a requirement for fronting a band back then.

It was also around this time that I discovered Scorgies. I think we walked over from RT for lunch one day. It was close to Midtown…they had GREAT cheeseburgers and it was here that I had my first taste of chicken wings. Over time, I came to think that they were the best wings in the city. And I found out that bands could play downstairs. Now, they were not all “punk” or “new wave” bands. I recall seeing King Juke a number of times early on…Mose Allison…Lots of different stuff…But if  New Math wasn’t playing elsewhere, this became my hangout…Because of the jukebox – I had never seen a jukebox that had music like THIS on it – and because of Don Scorgie himself. I guess Danny Deutsch was the man who started putting the hip stuff on the juke box and he will be forever remembered as a visionary for that deed alone.

I think I had gotten in a fight in one of my early visits to Scorgies and instead of banning me for life, Don took a liking to me. I started spending so much time at the bar that I decided, in late 78 or early 79, that I might like to work there. I had zero bartending experience but Don hired me anyway. If your drinks at Scorgies all tasted like Gin and Tonics in the late 70’s, that’s probably because that’s the only mixed drink I knew how to make. But I could pour a $.55 Genny, Genny Light, or Genny Cream Ale just fine.

I started working 4 nights a week and it was awesome. I was making money instead of spending money and started meeting people at the bar who would become some of my best friends for life. D. Deutsch…The Shaffer brothers…Who could forget the “Fat Pack”? Many of the people that worked for Scorgie were also musicians…people like Vicki Crosta, who I’ve just recently re-connected with because of this website and reunion show. And I got to work with classic Scorgies characters like barkeeper and guitarist John Kralles…my buddy Clayton…The bouncers like Jimmy Houser who, in addition to working the door for The Cliches at Scorgies many times, saved me from a beating on more than one occasion. Too many people to mention, although they all DESERVE a mention because it wasn’t only the bands but the PEOPLE that made Scorgies into what it was. I even met my future wife after a gig at the bar. And all of my friends from Chili and from Fisher started hanging out at the bar, too, so we didn’t have to go anywhere else to get together and have fun.

Andi speaks: In fall of 1979 word got to me in the Mercy cafeteria that there was a bar I had to check out. Seems some of the Southwedge girls had heard my eulogy to Sid Vicious in the art room the previous spring and just knew I should be introduced to Scorgies. I blame them. Terri B and I made our way to Andrews St. in her Torino one Friday night, only to find a bland, Izod-covered crowd heading downstairs to see Duke Jupiter. So what’s the big deal? We might as well be at the Mason Jar. Peering into the windows of the main entrance revealed a far more interesting sight. There was Kim B, a junior at Mercy, draped over some short dude in a biker jacket who we would come to know as Jimmy Jazz. A girl who could pass for Nancy Spungeon had fallen on the floor. A guy who I later knew as Geoff Wilson sat alone and mysterious, staring back at us. Now THIS is more like it.”

Skip ahead to later in ’79 and with Kevin Patrick’s encouragement, Geoff Proud – another friend from Chili – and I started writing a few songs and attempting to put a band together. Proud had previously played in a “country rock” band in high school called “NLS”- it doesn’t matter what that stood for (No Longer Strangers) – and I was the sound man for his band, until I was fired for getting hammered one night behind the board and turning all the knobs up to “11” until we had feedback bouncing off the walls and ceiling of the bar they were jamming at. Originally, we called ourselves The Orfans and we were both going to play guitar so we needed a bass player and a drummer. We tried out at least one bass player – can’t recall who – but at the same time, I was going to college with John Perevich, who played and recorded with both “The Now” with “Larry Luxury” and “The Times” with Paul Dodd and the Fritsch brothers (See RIP page on this site). I asked and Johnny was in.

Except now we had three guitar players. That wasn’t going to work unless we wanted to be Foghat or something. So Proud kindly went and bought a bass, but now we needed a drummer. We tried out a few – Tim Roberts, who played in The Targets, was one of the candidates. We finally settled on the guy we should have asked in the first place – Tom Backus, whose drums we were using WHILE we were trying out prospective drummers, and who had played in NLS with Proud.

Cliches on stage

The Cliches on Stage

T.Backus speaks: “I didn’t really pay much attention to what was happening there, so I don’t have much in the way of crazy stories. I do remember us hanging up the sheets that we played behind until the crowd tore them down on Halloween, 1982. Johnny Thunder’s band using our gear and turning everything up to ten on all the amps, then watching him shoot up as soon as he got off the stage. A personal memory happened before Scorgies was popular, I would mix sound for the Tom Austin band and would have to literally push his P.A. From his practice space on St. Paul all the way to Scorgies for the gigs. That was when the stage was on the left as you walked in downstairs, and the pizza was some of the best around still. I remember Willie calling the fire marshal at the Ramones show because they wouldn’t let him due to too many people down there already.”

The band was complete. We came up with about 10 originals and filled in the rest with Ramones, NY Dolls, old 60’s band covers and we were ready to go. We opened for New Math in 1980 at Scorgies for our debut and they couldn’t have been nicer.

Cliches opening for New Math @ Scorgies in 1980

Cliches Debut Gig W/New Math

Within a year, we opened for anyone that came through town, and then started headlining Scorgies as Don was quick to figure out that a) We could draw people, and 2) that our fans drank. A lot. Scorgie was a happy guy when his cash register rang.

G.Proud speaks:“I remember one night at the bar Andi and Tracey (Kimono Girls) had taken some Valium or something and were being very silly and I went down to the other end of the bar to order some drinks (Don was bartending and he never moved from the front corner so you had to go to him). When I came back theywere both asleep. I wrote the song “Valium” when I got back to Culver Rd. that night. Actually, I think I had already a verse or two, but needed a chorus. I never did thank them for it.”

Cliches shows were a blast. It didn’t matter how we played, just that we played. We played with TV’s set up on stage so that people could watch “the game” while at the gig. From our audience, we had backup dancers (The Clichettes)…backup singers (The PAWS)…and would let anyone that wanted join us on stage for a song or two. John Kralles of the band Passenger (at the time), best known for bartending at Scorgies for years and for hating every band that hit the stage, including us, would join us onstage to play guitar for encores on a few occasions. Luke Warm would get up on stage and sing background vocals – OK, SCREAM background vocals. The shows were a friggin’ blast. The front of the stage, a veritable train wreck. We even played a weekend where The Hi-Techs opened for us one night, and The Chesterfield Kings opened up for us the next night. The Cliches didn’t host a party without the guys from The Press Tones in attendance. Everyone in the bands got along great. Sometimes, of course, we didn’t always get along with the people that came to the shows to HARASS the bands, but we’ll leave the “Famous Scorgies Fights” for another post.

C Laben speaks: “I guess one of my favorite Don Scorgie stories is that he saved my ass from getting kicked or killed more than once. There was the one time where Me and Angelo (or Rich) were playing doubles in shuffleboard against a couple of idiots and we won maybe $5.00 apiece – but before they paid us they tried skipping out. I saw them in a car out on Andrews St. and I ran out after them. The guy that owed me was in the passenger seat and he had the window down and he was taunting me as they were driving off. So being the smart lad that I was I dove head first into the window and started punching him as they were driving down the street. Scorgie saw this and ran out the front door and grabbed me and pulled me out of the window. He told me it wasn’t worth it – and brought me back inside and gave me a free beer.”

And the after-hour parties were even better. We ended up in the studio sometime in early 1981 – I THINK it was Jim Havalack’s Sandcastle Studio – recording an 8-track demo of “Television Addict” b/w “Disposable Music”. Kevin Patrick produced it for us and I can’t say this for sure, but I believe the only recording outside of New Math or Jet Black Berries with Kevin Patrick vocals would be THESE two recordings. Listen carefully…Kevin sings background vocals on “Disposable Music” and you can clearly hear him ask “Hey man, you got a dime for the bus?” at the beginning of the song.

[audio:|title=Disposable Music|artists=The Cliches]

We snuck into the second WCMF Homegrown album in late 1981 on the basis of this demo, but then crossed everyone up when we got to the studio and decided to record “Riverview Restaurant” instead with Todd Schaffer (sp?), who worked with Backseat Sally, producing. Called “Embarrassingly stupid” by Times-Union Music Critic Dave Stearns, it was the highlight of our band’s existence. The review, I mean. I don’t care about the record itself. But we ended up winning Dave Stearns over in the end.

Dave Steans - Tip Off (Times-Union)

Dave Stearns Tip-Off (Times-Union)

We graduated from college in 1982…Hung around playing until March of 1983 when we played a “Farewell Show” at Scorgies…and that was it. We had to move on with “real life”…jobs, careers, etc. I bartended on and off with Scotty Weichman, Pat and Tim Shaffer and Vicki at Scorgies until around 1988, even winning a Democrat & Chronicle Best Bartender in Rochester” poll. Obviously the ballot box was stuffed but it wasn’t stuffed by me. Undeserved, perhaps, but I’LL TAKE IT.  It’s still on my resume.

Anyway, I did get married to Linda in July of 1983 and the wedding guest list was basically made up of 70 people from Scorgies – customers, co-workers, band-members, cleaning crew, etc. – and I think we even snuck in a few relatives. The best part of the wedding reception? We had a “cover band” hired to provide entertainment. Well, at some point they took a break and Don Scorgie, after a few drinks (Can you believe it?), grabbed the microphone and started chanting Cliches, Cliches, amongst other incoherent ramblings. You don’t say no to Scorgie when he’s into the tequila. We hadn’t played together in about 4 months but with the bands permission, we used their equipment to play 2 or 3 final songs. In tuxedos. There are a few pictures floating around. What an affair!

If you’ve met him, you HAVE to love Don Scorgie. Some of the best times of my life. The early Scorgies days.

The End.

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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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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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I guess, in a sense, we all found fulfillment of a sorts in a New Wave band; either by watching our local heroes at Scorgies or actually finding the nerve to get up on stage and make noise of our own.  John Pusateri sent me this article, along with a TON of scans documenting the early scene in the late Seventies. I’m posting this article first because Gary’s story is, in essence, everybody’s story.


By Sarah Kortum

Gary Trainer of New Math

Gary Trainer of New Math

In 1970, Gary Trainer (now bass guitar player and song writer for the popular, local new wave band New Math) found himself standing on the Pacific Coast highway, guitar in hand, hitching a ride up to San Francisco. One month earlier, he had graduated from East High School, wearing a peace symbol on his graduation gown.

Click here for article.

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More from the Tom Kohn archives… today, I’m posting the “Scene” supplement to the “Music Wave of the Future” article. Note the picture of Geoff Wilson playing bass!

The authenticity of this article has been called into question by none other than Cheetah Chrome, who states that “the story is NOT true… the real news story that night was that Johnny Blitz was only able to play half the set (this was right after returning after his stabbing) and his drum tech finished for him. I remember the night clearly – and it wasn’t the way it’s written.”

This jibes with reports that Dave Sterns story had “mischievous” sources and that some of the interviewees were bent on pulling Dave’s leg and stretching the truth. See comments for more info.

Geoff Wilson, lead singer and bassist for The Bowery Boys.

Geoff Wilson, lead singer and bassist for The Bowery Boys.

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It was fun going to band practice while New Math developed their sound and songs. First at a house off Park Ave. where Gary and Mark lived. Then they moved to their first practice space in the Cox Building and later to another there. I remember the first one was huge and cavernous. The second was better sound-wise and had windows that overlooked St. Paul and the side street where the Adult Bookstore resided. An easy walk down the street to Scorgies for a beer after practice. Somewhere along the way Michelle Ford, Sue Metro, Tim Dodd (Paul’s brother) and I started jamming in the closet of their practice space. We had a really long gestation period and had trouble coming up with a name (Rhonda’s Radio?) and the music ambled all over the place but we had fun (they later formed Targets). Then Paul decided to leave New Math and we joined up to form Hi-Techs with Martin and Ned. During this time, everyone lived and breathed music, whatever they were doing, and our lives are forever intertwined. So many of us from that time still are friends and share some common history. Personal Effects evolved out of Hi-Techs when Ned left the band and Bob joined us. That was in 1981. The PE story is in itself a long, involved one like any band’s. I’ll just say that we played together through the 80’s and then after a hiatus, formed Margaret Explosion which continues to play today as an improvisational, instrumental jazz band.

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