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.
After years of not printing much of anything. I’ve taken on the task of printing some of my favorite music related images shot throughout that time frame. Each week I’ve picked four images to printed at my favorite lab Duggal Visual in Chelsea. For this weeks trip in I’ve focused on some of my favorites featuring bass players. From as far back as I can remember. The bass has always been an instrument for inspiration. Below are the four images I picked. Any feedback would be appreciated. Feel free to share your favorite Bass slayers.
On Sunday the 17th I l headed South on the NJ Turnpike to New Brunswick for brunch and an Punk show at the legendary Court Tavern, We swept into town super early and did a little (actually, very little) exploring before grabbing a bite around the corner. All ages matinees are a rarity at the Court Tavern but Shannon Perez more than made it work. Instead of having the show downstairs or even in the back where numerous minors would be passing the temptation of the bar she had it in a small room just off to the side of the front door. (No one would even get as far as the bar.) The show opened with a five piece from Maplewood called Polyphony (more on them in my next post) and followed with Shannon’s band Hope You Die before making way for Four Fingers.
Four Fingers is a band I interviewed a little over a year ago and have kept in contact with since. I can’t think of a better group of guys to throw your support to. Their style reminds me a lot of Adrenalin O.D. with some Blag Flag and Stooges thrown in for good measure. Tohm puts 125% of himself into every performance. Always making the crowd feel involved and injected into the music. I think a lot of that leads to his many performance injuries which again makes me think of the Stooges. This performance was the tightest I’ve seen them and to give Tohm proper credit, he didn’t injure himself or any one else for that matter. Chris reminds me a lot of Animal on the Muppet Show. Pounding away on the drums with wild abandon. I’ve never seen any one get so close the the skins while he was pounding them. Be sure to keep your fingers away from his mouth. Ryan, the newest member has fit in well and seems to be the glue they’ve needed all along. Then there’s Jeff. He seems like the calm within the storm but his guitar playing is a sickness there seems to be no vaccine for. Check them out if you get the chance.
As I was walking in to The Court Taverns side room where Sundays all ages matinee was being held I was asked “Are you straightedge?” by a complete stranger. The question so caught me off guard. It felt as if I was just ambushed by the prize patrol and only the correct answer would give me a chance to hold the ridiculously over sized check. My first thought was “Maybe he recognized me from a show or affiliation with some older straight edge bands.” But somehow the question and the fact that it came from this complete stranger set me off or at least put me on, for lack of a better word, edge. I dryly asked “That’s the way you address a complete stranger?” “What the hell kind of question is that?” The exchange quickly ended and I moved to the bar to have a screwdriver. Later, after the show he told me he was doing a paper and if I had any knowledge or experience on the subject he’s like to ask me some questions. When I found out he was also interviewing Tohm from Four Fingers I said “Why Not” As we waited outside after the show I kept thinking this dude was off. Not a bad guy at all but at the very least, squirrely. We stood outside and spoke for a few before heading to the local Dunkin’ Donuts for what turned out to be one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever sat in on. Everything about it from the pre-prepared questions to the robotic delivery and request that we each answer the questions individually without any one speaking at the same time. I found Tohms answers to be very intriguing and honest and I learned more about someone who is becoming more and more of a friend. His friend Dana who tagged along also answered the questions thoughtfully and honestly all while listening to everyone’s answers intently and making some of the most direct and intuitive eye contact I’ve ever seen. Excellent, considering she herself is a Journalism student. All in all the interviewer was very nervous and anxious. Never giving an ounce of his own experience to the process. It seemed as if he just spun a roulette wheel and picked whatever topic the dice landed on. It made me think of how awkward I must have seemed doing interviews for my first zine when I was fifteen. Regardless of the weirdness of those exchanges I got to meet some new people including Dana and had a story to tell when I got home.
Last night me and Brian headed to New Brunswick’s Court Tavern for what would be an awesome show. Brian had called me about a week earlier with the lineup and it seemed like a can’t miss show. So last night we headed South armed with my keen sense of direction and Brian’s 20/240 eyesight. Along the way I must have missed an exit ended up a bit lost. Earlier I had scribbled the directions to the club on a piece of paper. It was pretty dark out so I handed it to Brian and said “Hey Buddy, can you read this to me?” putting the paper directly to his eye “No, don’t you know I’m fucking blind?” Until last night I didn’t know how fucking bad. Finally with the help of some Corzine campaigners we were on our way. The bar itself isn’t as much of a hole as some of my friends had described. Pretty good bar with the performance space downstairs. The doorman who was collecting the cash on the other hand was a complete asshole. The Gerrunds featuring Peter Courtner formerly of Dag Nasty opened. Really good stuff musically. This was my first time hearing them and was pretty impressed. They played a good energetic set and even closed with a Dag Nasty tune. I’ve been around a while and had the opportunity to see a lot of great bands. I’m not much for idolizing of hero worship but seeing Pete perform considering the lasting effect Dag Nasty has had on me was pretty amazing. In between sets I met a few cool people and ran into some familiar faces. Vinny from Generation Records was there and though I only know him casually from shopping there, we recognized one another. I was already in a deep photography conversation with someone I had met when Vin came over and blew my mind with some of the pictures he showed me from his recent trips to Vietnam and Cambodia. I had no idea we shared such a love for photography. He invited me to stop by the store and talk shop anytime I wanted. Next up were the great Fire Still Burns. I had just seen Alf and Nate a few nights before here in Hoboken. This was a sort of combination reunion and last show for them. Kinda sad I missed the boat on these guys. Aside from getting their “Keeping Hope Alive” disc I had never seen them live. They were without a doubt my favorite band of the night. Great songs, great energy and a responsive crowd. I kind of regret not loading up on the merchandise they had at the table. It’s always a no brainer to help support the bands you go see. I was just low on funds on this particular night. Jeff Pezzati’s (Naked Raygun) new band The Bomb followed and played a short set that seemed to end abruptly. They were okay but a little disappointing. As I said in my prior blog about Naked Raygun, Jeff looks sick and seems to have contracted Parkinson’s. Headlining the show was a band I had not scene in twenty years. I remember hearing about Vision for the first time while hanging out at a CBGB’s matinee. Dave Franklin doesn’t look or sound a whole lot different than he did those twenty years ago. Great personality, charisma and interaction with the crowd. They tore through a set of old classics that everyone seemed to sing along and dance to. To quote the man “Not too bad for a Monday night.
The old man who was pumping gas at that Hess station was without a doubt the funniest/angriest person I’ve encountered in years.
Ran into that girl I kept elbowing at the Naked Raygun show. I owe her a beer.
I run into Ted Flatus wherever I go. I’ve known the guy forever and have not once had a memorable conversation with him or cared about his band.
I think the NJ/NY Punk/Hardcore scene needs to anti up and do a James Unite needs a GPS system for his car” Benefit. I think they owe me at least that much.