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Paul Polaroids

Here’s a batch of polaroids here from the Scorgie’s days. They aren’t all from Scorgies but they are all polaroids. I wish I had taken more from the stage because they are my favorite.


Chuck Cuminale aka Colorblind James Experience at Scorgies on March 8, 1985
Colorblind James Experience at Scorgies in 1985

I went to high school with Chuck Cuminale. He was best friends with my brother then and they were college roommates at Geneseo later on. They both moved to Oswego where Chuck put together an early version of his band called “Colorblind James and the White Caps.” Scott Regan from WRUR’s Open Tunings took my brother’s place in the cold water flat there. Scott and Chuck played in Jug bands in Oswego. We caught the White Caps performing at the Red Creek in 1980 and fell in love with the band. We played their “America, America” 7 inch nonstop.

Chuck moved to San Francisco for a while and and started playing with his brother-in-law, guitarist, Phil Marshall. They moved back to Rochester and Chuck immediately put a band together. I remember recommending Bernie Heveron as a bass player and that seemed to work out. Bernie played with us in Personal Effects for a few years. Bernie wrote “She’s A Witch” from Colorblind James’ first lp. We asked Colorblind to play with Personal Effects at Scorgies on March 8th, 1985 and these photos were taken that night by Gary Brandt. We played together again at Scorgies in August of that year.

Gary Meixner from the “White Caps” rejoined the band in Rochester. That’s him on the left. He later went on to form the infamous “Widerness Family.” Dreamland Faces do a beautiful version of Gary’s “Crossing Lake Rielly.” Bernie Heveron is on bass. Jimmy Mac settled into the drum chair and occupied it until Chuck’s death. Chuck is shown above playing guitar and Phil Marshall is on the end on lead guitar. Phil went on to form La La Land and the Hot Heads. You can see here there is a vocal mic on all four players in the front. Each of these guys put their own stamp on this band but in the end the band was all Chuck’s. I loved this band and I miss Chuck.

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Notebook Issue 1 with Personal Effects cover

Notebook Issue 1 with Personal Effects cover

Wikipedia defines a fanzine as “a nonprofessional publication produced by fans of a particular cultural phenomenon (such as a literary or musical genre) for the pleasure of others who share their interest.” Over the years, there have been several publications of this type, including Greg Prevost’s Outasite and The Refrigerator.

The Notebook is a classic example of this type of self-published media. Created by Absolute Grey drummer and agent provocateur Pat Thomas, the Notebook enjoyed a 4 issue run before Pat pulled the plug. Pat was kind enough to reply to my email questions about the his fanzine days and the full interview (as well as scanned PDFs of the Notebook) are after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

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Folks, we’re getting into the busy season here at Scorgies Reunion Central. As the deadline for the November 21st  reunion at the German House approaches, our highly unpaid all-volunteer staff has been burning the candle at both ends sifting out the wheat from the chaff.  Expect to see more “over the transom” memorabilia sorted out and posted over the next few weeks.

Having said that,  here are some items to examine:

Scorgies Drink Chips - Simon

Scorgies Drink Chips - Simon

I guess Simon drank four less beers the night he was given these chips! Not sure if he’ll try to use these at the German House.

Gretchen and friend at PFX Record Release Party

Gretchen and friend at PFX Record Release Party

Reader Gretchen W. Cohen sent us this picture as PROOF that she was at the “It’s Different Out There” record release party… There was a photo booth at the event and I’m certain a bunch of pictures were taken that night. As soon as more pictures come in I’ll add them; it should be quite a rogues gallery!

Rock and Roll Joel with Sue

Rock and Roll Joel with Claire Bader

A nice photo of famed WRUR D. J. Rock and Roll Joel in his usual garb with Claire Bader at his side (thanks to Duane & Robert for the ID). Claire Bader worked with Gary Trainer at St. Johns (see comments for more information). I’ve heard from Joel, and he has also tracked down fellow WRUR D.J. Frank Spencer. Frank reports that he will be attending the reunion as well. if you haven’t already done so, join the Scorgies Reunion 2008 group on Clicking on the link will bring you to the sign up page.

Steve Dollar & friend

Steve Dollar & friend

I’ve had this photo for a while with no article to affix it to.  At first, I though I’d add it to photos of Dave Stearns and Marshall Fine to create a “rogues gallery” of Rochester music critics but, alas, i couldn’t dig any up. Apres TU, Steve has written for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and of late for the late New York Sun.

Multimedia Artist Russ Lunn and Jim Denault

Multimedia Artist Russ Lunn with Jim Denault

Russ Lunn is a multimedia artist and videographer who worked with Personal Effects, Absolute Grey and Invisible Party. He video taped several bands at Scorgies and worked with Steve Black on a music video for Personal Effects. Russ debuted his agit-prop video installation War/Music/Dance at Scorgies. Jim Denault left Rochester and is a highly acclaimed cinematographer whose work includes the films Boys Don’t Cry , Maria Full of Grace and was nominated for his work on HBO’s Carnivale.

Johnny Thunders at Scorgies - Photo by J. Laben

Johnny Thunders at Scorgies - Photo by J. Laben

So much has been written about Johnny Thunders (see Geoff’s and J. Laben’s posts for additional details).  Great image, and I’l sure it will stir up powerful memories for those who still have working grey matter.

Mark (Newj) Theobald and Sarah Todd

Mark (Newj) Theobald and Sarah Todd

Mark worked at TPI with Paul Klee (and Jim Havalack, albeit briefly). He would later go off on his own, and was the defacto house sound man for Scorgies. Always an exacting craftsman, he had an impressively low-octane approach to getting the job done. I’ve never worked with a sound man who got a better house sound than Mark (though I never, to my recollection, worked with Pee-Wee). In this picture, from the J. Laben collection, it looks like Mark is running the fog machine while Sarah Todd (who is now married to Mark McDermott) is running the momentary lights while attired in some sort of ball gown.

I’ll be back in a bit to post some more. Note: if you want to see your stuff up on line, register at the link and POST! Can’t wait to see it!

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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:

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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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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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This is a diagram of Duane Sherwood’s light set-up at Scorgies. Apparently he wasn’t going to be able to make a gig and he may have left these visual instructions for Jeanne Perri who often helped us behind the scenes. Unlike other clubs at the time, the sound system and lights were always at Scorgies. But it seemed only Duane knew what to do with the lights.

When Duane wasn’t behind the board, even when some relatively big name band was on the stage, the lights would not be focused on the players, not clustered in any logical order so that blue and red lights would both be on a subject at once cancelling each other out, or all the lights would be flashing all the time. Duane carefully orchestrated the back row of lights to work in tandem with the front spots and he was able to produce startling results. He paced himself too. The lighting produced a mood that fit the music and punctuated the highlights. And he always saved a big bang for the right moment.

Duane Sherwood and Jeanne Perri doing lights at Scorgies

Duane did lights for New Math as well as Personal Effects and the Majestics. We took him with us to New York, Boston, Cleveland and Washington. We could hardly play without him. And it wasn’t just lights, Duane’s theatrical flair was largely responsible for the direction of the multimedia shows that we did at the Community Playhouse, RIT, the Top of the Plaza and laser light show at the Planetarium.

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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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