If you’ve been paying attention, you might notice that I’ve discontinued a feature I started back in April of 2020. “United By” was the skeleton for a book featuring many of the concert/show images I had taken over the years. After a spirited start, reality set in, and the idea went into the “Maybe someday.” to do file; however, after finding a template where I could build my project at my own pace. Things picked up rapidly. After seeing the right person to pen the books foreward and an incredible editor, I began reaching out to band members and people involved in putting on shows, putting out records, and giving a voice to those who create. The responses and thoughts added much-needed yet previously void of life to both the images and my little project’s purpose. Work continues as I wait for the final images to be digitized and downloadable. Though things seem to be wrapping up on my side, I know there is still a lot of work to do before figuring out how to submit it to publishers. Here’s to a long wait.
If you read ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ you might recall that I digitized all of my photos and threw the pictures and albums out. Aside from creating a lot of room. Having all those pictures to play around with and put memory has been a lot of fun. Though there were certainly a few that saw new life with minor adjustments in Photoshop and Lightroom. It was the countless show photos I took at clubs, bars and halls that presented a very different challenge. That of remembering the bands names and methods of operation.
Funny, but I remember being at this show, taking this shot and standing on the side of that storied CBGB’s stage. I remember my friend Brendan working the door. while I can’t remember the band name or that of the guitarist. I remember they were the third band out of the five that played that day, I recall when the guitar string broke and how it led to the uncontrollable bleeding that followed. Undaunted, he finished the song and even the set before wrapping a rag around the cut and wiping down his guitar until all the blood was gone. It was the 90’s and CBGB’s was still the things of legend. Independent rock & roll was hanging on to its last threads of danger. Men were men. Sheep were scared and bands finished their sets, no matter what.
Below are a couple of closeups that focus on the bass and guitar of Holy City Zoo’s AJ Russo and Frank Joseph. HCZ were one of my favorite bands’ that populated the Tiny Giants collective. Having been a part of the collective, myself. I’d go out and see them live, every chance I got.
Over time, I began to include a few pictures of the crowds expressions, participation and overall reaction to particular acts, sets and song. For as long as I’ve attended shows and gone to concerts, every act with little to no exception, had a particular song that the audience knew every word, hook and breakdown. While it was always a great opportunity to capture the moment when a singer reaches his emotional halcyon or time the moment when the guitarist launches in the air. It might also be the perfect opportunity to catch the reaction to the crowd. The images to your right were captured about eight years apart. The above captures the crowd at a Revelation Records showcase at CBGB’s. While the one below shows the emotion of the crowd during a set by the band Thursday at Atlantic City’s House of Blues.
Having gone to so many shows in the ’90s and perhaps not having a way to file all the negatives and prints I had adequately. I would sometimes lose track of what band was featured in some of the images I had. And though I’m convinced the picture posted is of Christie Front Drive frontman Eric Richter. Though I exhausted numerous channels to confirm that, yes, it was indeed the band you mentioned, my inquiries were often answered with, “I don’t know. I never saw them live.” or “I don’t know. We never played a show with them.” Still, I always loved this image and the ones I had taken that day at ABC No Rio. So until someone says otherwise, denies or confirms, I will continue to believe this is none other than Christie Front Drive.
Bivouac were a band from Derby, England who had an excellent album called ‘Tuber’ on Elemental in 1993. On that album was an acoustic jam called ‘Dead End Friend’ which featured a verse “Daren’t go to the dentist…for fear of being (pause) fucked while you’re asleep.” It was a great song and I played the fuck out of it. When the time came for them to tour, they stopped in New York City to play CBGB’s. I was able to set up an interview with which was conducted outside the club guitarist, vocalist (pictured below) Paul Yeardon, in which we talked about touring, the bands reactions to being in New York City for the first time, and of course, our mutual fears of the dentist. I highly recommend checking out the band and learning more about their music.
I fondly remember listening to records while hanging out at my friend Tim’s House. Along with our love for our mutual love for the Descendants, All and others, we both reveled in the joy that was ‘Album Type Thing’ by California’s Big Drill Car. Along with the Doughboys, Big Drill Car was perhaps the two bands I listened at the time. Though I was immediately hooked on songs such as ’16 Lines’, “No Need,’ ‘In Green Fields,’ ‘Diamond Earrings’, and their cover of Cheap Trick’s ‘Surrender.’ In retrospect, I think it took me a while to remember the name Big Drill Car. For reasons unknown to me now, the name just seemed odd and even outlandish. Still, I was so psyched when they came out east and played Maxwells. Though I can’t recall who they played with. I remember the room being packed and the energy from both the band and the crowd being paramount. ‘Til this day, I still listen to the bands’ recorded output and have both compact disc and vinyl versions of everything the band released. Below is a link to Discogs to view all their releases.
My initial introduction to New York’s Turbo A.C’s came at a random New Jersey bar. On that particular night I was visiting a friend whose New Jersey thrash core band happened to be playing. With my hopes to get a bus back to the city dashed, I turned to the only band heading back to New York City that night. The alternative of sleeping on my friends bedroom floor was my only other option and to be honest, I’d hitch a ride with a serial killer before choosing to do so. Luckily, Mike and Kevin were more than happy to oblige with the caveate that we stop at local dinner before hitting the Lincoln Tunnel and escaping to Manhattan to secure our freedom.
After that night I stayed in touch with Kevin and Mike as I began to explore the punk revival happening in and around New York City’s the Continental. Of all the bands I went to see there, I found their music to be most relatable. Often reminding me of bands such as The Hellacopters, Supersuckers and Hard-Ons.
Formed in 1988 and existing until 1998, Yuppicide were the first band I can remember to appeal to both the punks and the hardcore kids. Their music merged punk and hardcore with tongue in cheek lyrics that were humorous, yet intelligent. I still break out my Yuppicide records discs and especially, my copy of ‘Look at all the Children Now…’ compilation more than twenty years after their disbanding and almost thirty years after this ABC- No-Rio picture was taken. I feel very lucky in that I got to see so many amazing band while the collective was still putting shows on in their basement. While there was always a sense of community and intimacy about the Rivington St. space., being in the basement next to all those pipes always felt special to me. If you’d like to find out more about Yuppicide. I suggest you visit their website linked below.
Though I was still very much into straightedge and hardcore music during the nineties, I only manged to see New Jersey’s Mouthpiece several times. The most memorable are pictured below at New York City’s Wetlands and the legendary CBGB’s when I tagged along with Wendy Eager of Guillotine to conduct an interview with the band’s singer Tim McMahon. I also did an interview with Tim in Princeton ten plus years later over by the Record Exchange. You can order the band’s discography Here Musically and lyrically, Mouthpiece were heavily influenced by bands like Minor Threat and Youth of Today. Ultimately, carrying the torch into the 90’s and beyond. I also did an interview with Tim in Princeton ten plus years later over by the Record Exchange.