Friday, May 29, 2009

My Bouncing Baby Blog Turns 1 Year Old Today

(Image via:

ThisAintTheSummerOfLove turns 1 year old today! Happy birthday to us!

I'd like to thank all of you who have taken the time to read, comment and/or contribute over the past year. I'd especially like to thank several of the NYC area bloggers (you know who you are!) whom have accepted me into their "circle" and given support to a non-Gothamite stuck in the Mid-West. I may reside in Minneapolis, but my heart is truely in New York City and I love to read you guys EVERY DAY to stay in touch with what is happening in the city of my dreams. Here's looking forward to another great year of sharing, discovery, insight and laughs.

Cheers to you all and thanks again for reading!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

05/28/75: 34 Years Ago Today in New York City - Remembering Eric Emerson - The Life & Times of a Magic Tramp

Flyer for a November 1972 Magic Tramps engagement at the Mercer Arts Center. Eric Emerson is third from Left.

(Image via: Magic - Used with permision)

A note from NYCDreamin...

Warhol Superstar and Magic Tramps vocalist Eric Emerson passed away 34 years ago today in his beloved New York City. All these years later his death is still shrouded in a cloak of mystery and secrecy. My goal with this post is not to unravel the tale of his death, but instead to celebrate in rememberance of his life and all-too-short career, and to maybe expose the story to some of those who may have not read about it previously. It is a story of New York City and of Rock and Roll legend...two of my favorite things and for most of you who read this, two of yours as well.

Early & Personal Life
Eric Emerson was born in 1945 (exact date N/A) in New Jersey. Information concerning his childhood is scarce. He was born to John and Margaret Emerson, his father a construction worker by trade. He grew up in Hoboken, NJ and was trained in Ballet dance at an early age. It was through his love of dance that he came to frequent a small Lower East Side NYC club called The Dom, where he was spotted one night in April 1966 by the club's then-new owner, Andy Warhol, who was always keeping an eye out for interesting and beautiful people to put in his movies. Warhol essentially took the unknown long-haired kid from Jersey and made him a "Superstar" by casting him in several of his underground art-films.

Excerpt from:
"Black Jeans To Go Dancing At The Movies"
by Marilyn Bender
New York Times - 04/11/66
[Eric] Emerson, who identified himself as 22 years old, a dressmaker and a hairdresser, was in black Levi's, a gray and white shirt, no tie, but a black t-shirt underneath. His blonde hair tumbled to his shoulders in a pageboy coiffure. His wife, Chris, 18, was in a low-belted, pleated dress and had her blonde hair cut in a Dutch bob. "Someone has to have long hair in this family and he didn't want to cut his," she explained.

Early & Personal Life (Continued)
At the time, Eric was living at 436 East 9th Street with his young wife Chris with whom he had his first child, a daughter named Erica, who was born in 1967. Eric had met Chris in Los Angeles and it was love at first sight. The two of them drove to Las Vegas the same night they met and were immediately married.

Eric also fathered anothe child with Stillettoes founding member/vocalist Elda Gentile, naming their son, who was born in 1970, Branch Emerson.

His youngest child, born to Warhol movie actress Jane Forth sometime around 1970, was given the name Emerson Forth.

Jane Forth (Warhol Superstar/Actress/Model) on Eric Emerson
[Eric] knew everybody. There was not a day that you'd go out with him without meeting at least 20 people he knew.

Early (Film) Career
Eric began to frequent Andy Warhol's famed art gallery/movie studio, "The Factory", and soon made his film debut in Warhol's 1966 classic "Chelsea Girls," which debuted in New York City on 09/15/66. Also in September of 1966, Eric travelled with Warhol's "Exploding Plastic Inevitable" tour and caused a ruckus by stealing a painting from a museum in Provincetown, MA. He told someone that he did it, "just to see if I could get away with it." The painting was eventually returned to the museum through the efforts of Paul Morrissey, who intervened on Eric's behalf in order to keep the museum from pressing charges against Eric.

Eric was also featured in a few other Warhol films in subsequent years: 1968's "Lonesome Cowboys", "Andy Makes A Movie" and "San Diego Surf (more details on that movie HERE)", 1969's "The Mind Blowers" directed by Harlan Renvok, and his final film appearance in Warhol's "Heat", which premiered in New York City on 10/05/72.

Early & Personal Life (Continued)
Eric was an open bi-sexual and had relationships with many of the Warhol Factory regulars. He was quoted in one interview, saying this: "I got really attatched to my wife, and when she went out free-loving the way I did, I got crazy and went through a heavy gay-scene for a while." Once, when his father accused him of "being a little sweet," Eric responded that, "What [my father] don't understand is that my generation can swing both ways."

On July 21, 1969, Eric was supposed to "marry" another of the Warhol Stars, the famed drag-queen, playwright and actor/actress Jackie Curtis. When Eric didn't show up for the ceremony that was to take place at Max's Kansas City, Jackie quickly made other arrangements and "married" a guy named Stuart, the Maitre D' at Max's. The wedding was covered in the Village Voice and was attended by many of the Max's regulars. Trans-rocker Jayne County (in her book "Man Enough to be a Woman") remembers the afternoon this way: "Leee [Black Childers] was invited to Jackie's wedding...and he tried to talk me into going, but I didn't want to go for some reason. I don't know why, and I kicked myself for it afterwards. Leee was there with his camera and he came back with all these fabulous pictures of all the New York Underground, people like Larry Ray, the founder of the drag-ballet Trockadero, in his ballet outfit, Ruby Lynn Reyner, Penny Arcade, Andrea Whips Warhol...Leee described it to me as something totally beyond hippy and gay, something totally new. He was so excited. It was the same day the [first] astronauts landed on the moon."

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, CA...
While Eric was busy with his film-work and hanging out with all the other Warhol Superstars and other weirdos who made up the scene at Max's Kansas City in New York, a group of musicians known as "Messiah" were making a name for themselves at a place called "The Temple of the Rainbow" in Los Angeles, CA. Messiah were an experimental three-piece group comprised of members Lary Chaplan (violin), Young Blood X. (guitar), and Sesu Coleman (drums). They were basically the house-band at the Temple of the Rainbow, and after a few years doing this gig, they decided they needed to write actual songs and hire a vocalist if they ever wanted to score the ever-elusive record contract. Guitarist Young Blood mentioned to the others that he knew just the right guy for the position of vocalist with their group, a guy he had met from New York named Eric Emerson. The band flew Emerson out to Los Angeles. Sesu remembers, "Eric fit [the group] like a glove. Now we were complete - a band with a singer and songs - the ultimate theatre. We attimes played in funky blues bars as a blues band...we called ourselves "The Magic Tramps."

After a serious earthquake rocked Los Angeles in February of 1971, the group had a meeting and decided to pack their bags and head for the East Coast. They were soon on their way to New York, where they were to become one of the pioneering and most important but overlooked bands of the then-budding "Glam-Rock" scene that was about to develop in Fun City. The fun began immediately upon their arrival in New York. Sesu Coleman remembers the night they arrived in New York: "As we opened the van doors [on First Avenue] in the East Village, [we said,] 'We're home!' Sirens were ringing [up and down the block] due to a fire in the building we were going in to. We're taking armfulls of stuff [up the stairs] - firemen are running up and down and in and out. [We're] passing each other like, 'it's no big deal - it's cool - it's New York. Don't drop anything, keep moving."

Elda Gentile (Founding Member of Stillettos/Singer/Songwriter/Author)
It was ten at night. Fire engines wailed outside of the apartment house and [I] leaned out the window to make sure they had the fire in the bar below under control. That is when [I] saw the van pull up in front of the building. A short guy with bright red curly hair down hi back got out of the passenger seat and opened the rear doors to the van. Nothing happened for a minute or so and then [I] saw Eric emerge from the van. The firemen had pretty much completed their task and they stood looking into the van as the dog and another long-haired guy popped out of the back. [I] flew down the stairs [with Eric's child] in my arms. They made it. Eric Emerson and the Magic Tramps were home.

Jane Forth (Warhol Superstar/Actress/Model)
[The Magic Tramps were] the original glitter-rock group. But [Eric] never got credit for originating glitter-rock...the original ones never get the credit. He was over-creative, he couldn't be accepted in his time.

Eric Emerson and the Magic Tramps
"...And now, I'd like you to take a walk on the wild side with me, Eric Emerson, and my outlaw band - let's take a trip..." - Eric Emerson

Sesu Coleman (Drums - Magic Tramps)
Upon [our] arrival [in New York City], Mickey Ruskin (owner of the infamous Max's Kansas City) said we could showcase there and gave us the keys to the upstairs room. Max's was the first gig we played in NYC. The entire [Warhol Factory] entourage was there. I recall Paul Morrisey, Andy's film assistant told us, "Rock and Roll will never fly in New York City - Cabaret is the way!" So we created two shows - one rock and roll and one cabaret. Our first few gigs were played under the name Messiah, a few gigs under the name Star Theatre. We later returned as the house-band at Max's after upstairs [there] in which we lost some equipment. Keep in mind that there was not an established rock and roll scene in New York at this time. This was the era AFTER the Velvet Underground and BEFORE the New York Dolls, Kiss, Blondie, Ramones, etc.

We [also] helped open a revamped off-Broadway theatre [complex] called the Mercer Arts Center in the West Village. We soon became the house-band at the Mercer [as well] and the Dolls got their start there opening for the Tramps. Ironically, we helped open [the place], developed a huge music scene there, and were rehearsing there when it collapsed.

Note from NYCDreamin...
You can read MUCH MORE about the scene at the Mercer Arts Center and it's August 03, 1973 demise in the history I wrote on the place last fall. Click HERE to begin your history lesson.

Sesu Coleman (Continued)
Our shows were very colorful, theatrical, original conceptually and musically. I think we were a bit misunderstood as we actually played original music with different time signatures, melodic choruses, lyrics and stories. We always viewed our shows as an experience for one and all. Everyone was made-up and dressed-up - clothes pins on their nipples, goldfish in their platform boots, anything went. That glam period was about show-and-tell, with audience participation. We had visuals, lights, colors, sometimes dry-ice for effect. We also brought various performers up on the stage to add variety. We tried to make the stage an environment and the music interesting enough to have the audience relate to the message. It was a fun an positive experience.

*Read a 12/09/71 Village Voice review of a typical Magic Tramps concert performance at Max's Kansas City HERE.

Jackie Curtis' "Vain Victory - Vissicitude of the Damned"
On May 26, 1971, Jackie Curtis' off-off-Broadway theatrical production "Vain Victory - Vissicitudes of the Damned" made it's debut at LaMama Theatre in NYC. Featured in the cast was Tramps' vocalist Eric Emerson. The production featured music written by the Magic Tramps and Lou Reed. The play ran for a brief time at LaMama and then moved over to the W.P.A. at 333 Bowery where it ran throughout the summer of 1971.

*Video of Eric Performing a few musical selections (along with Tramps' bandmate Lary Chaplan on violin and drummer Sesu Coleman playing precussion behind the stage) in a production of Jackie Curtis' "Vain Victory" has just recently been posted on Youtube by author/Jackie Curtis Biographer (and nephew) Craig Highberger. You can view this historic video by clicking HERE.

Magic Tramps open "Hilly's On The Bowery" a.k.a. "CBGB"
The Magic Tramps were also the first ROCK act to ever play at a place known as "Hilly's On The Bowery." You may know the place by it's later name, the legendary C.B.G.B. They debuted at Hilly's on October 19th, 1972 (see a flyer for the show HERE) on a small stage which they themselves helped to construct. You can read more about this seminal night of rock history HERE. Prior to the Tramps, the only records I've been able to uncover of any music performed at Hilly's was by a group called the "Bowery Chamber Music Society."

An additional authors sidenote of interest on C.B.G.B./Hilly's: I asked Sesu if he'd ever seen Hilly Kristal perform as a solo artist when his club was still in it's infantcy as old concert listings in the New York Times from the July/August 1973 time-frame indicate. Sesu replied that he - "had not seen Hilly perform as an artist, but - I met Hilly with Eric."

*To hear audio recordings of Eric singing vocals with the Magic Tramps, please visit and order a copy of the Magic Tramps CD "Kickin' Up Moonlight Dust", released in 2005. The CD features some pre-Emerson recordings of the band when they were known as Messiah, a few live Tramps tracks featuring Eric on vocals, and a few post-Emerson tracks with their second vocalist Jay Mala. To date, these are the only officially released Magic Tramps recordings. They were recorded between the years 1970 and 1975. Tramps drummer Sesu Coleman is in posession of more recorded aterial which he plans to release at some point in the future.

Magic Tramps (Continued)
Mid 1973: Eric Emerson Leaves The Magic Tramps

Sesu Coleman: "Eric wanted to continue exploring theatre and show soncepts. He continued to work under a host of names - mostly solo efforts, working with other musicians and ocassionaly with Tramps roadie-and-sometimes member of the band Chris Stein, who would later go on to co-found Blondie. Eric also used a stage name we had performed under for a while called "Star Theatre", but he never played again under the name "Magic Tramps." Some people get confused because the Tramps [continued on with a new vocalist] and Eric went solo. [People who went to see Eric] thought they were seeing the Magic Tramps while in actual fact, by then, the Tramps were a totally different band with new members and new material. They were seeing Eric in various projects that unfortunately never took off. He was too much of an artist and individual. He never found that commercial musical groove that allowed him to be himself. After Eric left the Tramps, Lary, Young Blood and I did assist him on solo projects with other musicians, but never as the Magic Tramps. In August 1974, [we] got together with Eric at Barbara Winter's loft in New York City with a bass player named Walter ("Alter Ego") Greenberg to put together a theatrical show called "Star Theatre." It was our last effort together.

05/28/75 - Eric Emerson Dies In New York City
Early on the morning of Wednesday May 28th, 1975, Eric Emerson's body was found lying next to his bicycle on the West Side of New York City. He was 31 years old at the time of his death. The cause of his death is officially listed as a hit and run and no one was ever charged or arrested in connection with his death. NYPD said the time of the accident was around 3:00pm, shortly after Eric had returned home from a party at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

A weekend long wake was held in his memory and he was buried in Wharton, NJ.

You can see a few photos (taken by celebrated photographer Allan Tannenbaum) from the wake over at

Shortly after his death, rumors began to circulate that Eric had not been the victim of a hit-and-run driver, but had in fact died of a heroin overdose in the apartment of his then-lover Barbara Winter, ex-wife of guitar great Edgar Winter, and his body had been dumped with his bicycle in attempt to cover up the true facts and location of his death. These rumors have never been substantiated, nor have they been disproven. The NYPD's citing of a 3:00pm time of death and the fact that his body was not discovered until early the following morning certainly suggest some kind of discrepancy in the "official" story.

Andy Warhol on the Death of Eric Emerson
Some of those kids who were so special to us, who made our 60's scene what it was, died young in the 70's. They found Eric Emerson early one morning in the middle of Hudson Street. Officially, he was labled a hit-and-run victim but we heard rumors that he'd overdosed and just been dumped there - in any case, the bicycle he [supposedly] been riding was intact.

Gerard Malanga (Warhol Superstar/Associate)
It's been said somewhere that the good die young - and this is as true now as when looking back at Eric's sudden and unexpected demise, a void is left in the wake of his absence. We can only speculate at the artist he would [have] become. He was a mercurial free-spirit. For me, his enthusiasm was contagious - his encouragement sublime. He was almost selfless in this instance. Whatever the engagement, whether it was crafting leather goods, stitching fabric or writing a poem, he was in the moment of creation and of the moment as well. Eric's legacy remains a constant wonder. He was a friend for all time.

Bandmate Sesu Coleman Remembers Eric Emerson
Eric Emerson - a book unto himself. Eric was a kind and loving person - a party waiting to happen. He was sensitive, non-confrontational and not at all a negative person. Creative, fun, misunderstood. Colorful, magnetic and magical. Life was his stage. Mickey Ruskin - the owner of Max's Kansas City, thought the world of him as did Lou Reed and almost everone who knew him.

*The song "Tattoo Vampire", written by Albert Bouchard and Helen "Wheels" Robbins, which appears on Blue Oyster Cult's 1976 album "Agents of Fortune" was written about an experience "Wheels" had had at some point with the tattooed Eric Emerson.

*The song "Eric's Trip", written and recorded by Sonic Youth, which appears on their 1988 album "Daydream Nation" is another song about/in rememberance of Eric Emerson.


*Private Interviews (2007 - 2009) between the Author and Magic Tramps drummer and founding member Sesu Coleman.

"Elda Rose: Adventures in the New York Underground" by Elda Gentile (1994)
"Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties" by Steven Watson (2003)
"Forced Entries: The Downtown Diaries 1971 - 1973" by Jim Carroll (1987)
"Glam! Bowie, Bolan and the Glitter Rock Revolution" by Barney Hoskyns (1998)

"High On Rebellion: Inside the Underground at Max's Kansas City" by Yvonne Sewall-Ruskin (1998)

"Man Enough To Be a Woman" by Jayne County (1995)
New York Post - "He Brought Glitter to Rock Music" (06/04/75)
"Pretty Vacant: A History of U.K. Punk" by Philip Strongman
SoHo Weekly News - "In Memoriam: Eric Emerson" (06/05/75)


The by far best place to read more about Eric Emerson is at Sesu Coleman's amazing - the most complete source of information concerning Eric and his outlaw band in the entire universe...

ALSO: (Internet Movie Database - Eric Emerson) (search: Eric Emerson/Magic Tramps) Emerson

One From The Archives: 05/25/81 Rockin' the River Flats Festival @ East Riverflat Park at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

05/25/81 Rockin The RiverFlats Jam @ St. Paul, MN (Ad - Top Half) 05/25/81 Rockin The RiverFlats Jam @ St. Paul, MN(Ad - Bottom Half)
(Image via NYCDreamin Archives)

One From The Archives: 05/24/81 Iowa Jam '81 @ Iowa State Fairgrounds, Des Moines, IA

05/24/81 Iowa Jam 1981 (Ad)
(Image via NYCDreamin Archives)

One From The Archives: 05/23/9? Malevolent Creation/ Living Sacrifice/ Crimson Thorn/ Apostacy @ 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis, MN

(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

This was one of the first of only a few shows I ever attended in the 7th Street Entry part of the 1st Avenue club in Minneapolis. It was a great afternoon of secular & Christian Death Metal. The only bad part was people kept asking me if I was gonna go to see Gwar over in the Mainroom after this show was over. I was seriously disturbed by the thought of them even being in the same building I was in actually. Needless to say, I left just after Malevolent Creation finished up. I've been lucky so far in that I've never had to witness the absurdity that is Gwar.

One From The Archives: 05/14/81 Judas Priest/ Savoy Brown @ Met Center, Bloomington, MN

(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)

One From The Archives: 05/13/95 White Zombie/ Rev. Horton Heat/ Melvins @ Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

05/13/95 (or 96) White Zombie/Rev. Horton Heat/Melvins @ Minneapolis, MN
(Image via NYCDreamin Archives)

One From The Archives: 05/12/86 Eternity Express/ Ken Gaub @ Wadena Memorial Auditorium, Wadena, MN

Eternity Express Ticket Stub & Button
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)

This was one of the earliest shows I have any collectibles from. Went with Mom and the Church Youth Group. Don't remember much about this one - must not have made too much of an impression on me at the time.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Some Items From The ORIGINAL Minneapolis Disturbed - Not Those Chicago Wanna-Be's

An original flyer for "Midwest Metal Massacre 1991" featuring Disturbed and many other local, regional and national bands. (All images via: NYCDreamin Archives)

Artwork from Disturbed 1992 "Voice Of Insanity" Demo Cassette.

Artwork from Disturbed 1990 "Don't Expect Any Miracles" Cassette.


One From The Archives: 05/09/89 Cro-Mags/ Destruction/ Disturbed @ North Shore Theatre, Duluth, MN

Original Flyer for 05/09/89 Cro-Mags/Destruction/Disturbed @ Duluth, MN
(All images via: NYCDreamin Archives)

This is a story of how, despite some problems, on the night of May 9th, 1989, a friend and I got to see some great kick-ass hardcore-thrash. But none, unfortunately, from New York City or Germany.

Growing up in northern Minnesota in the late 1980's, my exposure to anything related to the New York Hardcore scene ammounted to the Anthrax side-project S.O.D. and the Cro-Mags. And Overkill and Nuclear Assault - a fucking awesome band. I know the first time I ever heard the Cro-Mags was on MTV's Headbangers Ball. I admit it - I was your average mid-west metal-head, I loved the Ball. To be fair, I also liked Blondie, even back then, and that got me alot of shit from my less open-minded headbanger buddies. Anyway, I saw this video, "We Gotta Know" by the Cro-Mags and I knew I had to get the album. I think I finally picked up "The Age of Quarrel" on a trip to Minneapolis.

Some time went by and a new Cro-Mags album was released, 1989's "Best Wishes," an album that features some seriously beautiful-but-brutal artwork on it's cover. I was lucky enough that, in the small town I lived in, I had one very cool place to buy my music at at the time. It was, oddly enough, a store located in the local mall. I've long since forgotten the name of the store as it was a place that mostly carried novelties and gag gifts. You know the kind of place...think fake dog crap, edible undies and t-shirts with such slogans as "It's Beer-Thirty!" But this place had a cool section in the back with the best selection of music our town had seen in quite some time, quite possibly ever. I remember it as the place where I picked up copies of albums and cassettes by bands like Zoetrope and Znowhite (both from Chicago), Exodus and Testament (San Francisco) and Crumbsuckers and Cro-Mags (NYC). I also at one time had a beautiful, full-color promo poster of the Cro-Mags "Best Wishes" LP cover art. I got it at this same store. The poster was later destroyed at a party-house I lived in just after graduating from High School. What a shame - it was so cool.

So it's spring 1989 and I'm driving around listening to my copy of "Best Wishes" in my snazzy green 1978 Ford Pinto hatch-back with the sun roof open and the cheap-ass stereo cranked up as loud as it can go, rocking the fuck out as I drive. And I don't really remember how we heard about the show - probably on one of recurrent road trips to Duluth to stock up on even more music, but a friend of mine (with tastes running from Venom to the Angry Samoans) and I decided we could think of nothing better than a road trip to see the Cro-Mags. We tried to scare up some others to go with us but found no takers - they were all too broke or busy. So on a beautiful (I remember it was very pleasant outside that day) May afternoon, said friend and I hopped into his car (some Toyota thing) and headed off to Duluth to see the show. We knew the Cro-Mags, had heard some Destruction, and knew absolutely nothing about the last band listed, Disturbed. This would change before the evening was through.

I'm sure that when we arrived in Duluth, as was our routine, we parked the car on this one street right next to the coolest record/head shop in the city. The best one until you got to Minneapolis. The store was called "The Last Place on Earth" and it was somewhere I could never spen enough time or money, neither of which I had very much of when I was in Duluth it seemed. But we probably got out of the car, went into the store and browsed. I don't think I bought anything that day, but I may have, who knows? The first thing I remember about that afternoon was another of our usual things to do in Duluth, we went to grab a cheap burger just down the street from the record shop at a place called "Coney Island." Yeah, a place called Coney Island in Duluth, MN - go figure. They served a mean dog and an even better burger.

So we go in there and order our food and we are eating and these rocker-looking dudes come walking in the place, leather jackets, long hair and all. And soon we find ourselves talking to them, they mention they are in this band called "Disturbed" that is playing down the block, they are from Minneapolis and are we coming to the show? We were probably dead giveaways in our (I'm guessing) Slayer and King Diamond t-shirts. The one dude asks if we wanna buy a button - "it's only a buck," he says, so we each pull out a dollar and help their cause before ever having heard a note of the music they play.

(My old $1.00 Disturbed Button)

We are soon finished eating, up and on our way down the street to this cool old book store that we knew, where I used to buy copies of "High Times" magazine and vinyl and all kinds of crap. We browse for a while and in comes this dude, another rocker-looking type and he looks at me and my friend and asks if we're going to the show at the theatre across the street. "Yes," we reply. We barely have the word out of our mouths when this dude gets all emotive: "The bands are back at the fucking hotel! The fucking show is cancelled, man!" We inquire further and he tells us that, "There is some fucking problem with fucking permits for the show not being in order or some other fucking legal crap!" And that upon hearing this news, the Cro-Mags and Destruction have both decided to skiop the gig. Word is, according to this dude, they went back to the hotel. But this other band, Disturbed, from Minneapolis, is kinda screwed. Seems they were counting on the money from the gig to get enough gas money to get back to Minneapolis. So we go across the street to the front of the North Shore Theatre where the gig is supposed to take place. There are several unhappy looking metal and punk kids milling about, grumbling about the circumstances of having come from their surrounding small-towns only to have the show be cancelled. "Fuckin' bummer Dude!"

We mill about for a while with the rest of the dejected headbangers and mohawked punks that had shown up, many of whom are pondering what to do as Mom or Dad had dropped them off and now there was no way to get ahold of them for hours, as these were the pre-cell phone days. They were stuck downtown. My friend and I didn't have this problem as we had his car. We were just hanging out, waiting to see what would happen, when suddenly the dudes from Coney Island appear on the sidewalk and announce that they, Disturbed, alone, would be playing the gig. But not here at the theatre. They had somehow managed to talk a nearby bar owner into having them for the evening, on very short notice. One of the guys asked if anyone wanted to help them load out their gear at this place a few blocks away and several people, myself and my friend included, volunteered.

So we were off to grab the car and were soon following the band in their van up the steep hills of Duluth to some bar that was, as promised, only a few blocks away. We all get out and everyone starts grabbing equipment out of the back of the band's trailer and we're moving stuff in for like maybe 20 minutes. More kids have walked over from the theatre, determined as were we, to hear some music. And suddenly there is some commotion and some yelling and then we are told to STOP unloading the gear. "If you guys don't mind, let's put it all back in the truck! the theatre people just called and we got it all straightened out and we can have the show there if we tear the stage out! Let's go!" I never wondered until recently what the bar owners thought about all this, I'm sure they were thrilled.

The story finally got around as to what had pissed the Cro-Mags and Destruction off, causing them to cancel. The promoter (a young guy from the Minneapolis area who is still around with his own band - a band so horrible I cannot bring myself to mention their name) had screwed up with permits or something to that effect, concerning the construction of a temporary stage inside the theatre. The bands had arrived and were told they could not play unless the stage that had been constructed for the show was taken down. The headliners balked at this development and had gone back to the hotel or had just left town. Disturbed and the promoter and the staff of the theatre had come to some sort of agreement and now the show was definately ON. Back down to the North Shore! With only one band! NO, make that two bands! A few of the kids who had been hanging out helping load and unload Disturbed's gear had mentioned to someone that they had a band. They said they could get their gear and be back in 20 minutes. The members of Disturbed agreed to let them open th show. And back down to the theatre we all went. Unload the gear (again) and then we went around front and paid the discounted ticket price of $3.00. We never thought we should get in free 'cause we'd helped the band, we were just glad to be helping these guys get some gas money together to get back home. Luckily, they had brought a few t-shirts to sell and I did my part and bought one, which I still have. It is quite faded, yellowed, shrunken and beat-up. The sleeves were removed at one point, but I still have it.
My vintage 1989 "Disturbed" T-shirt - Front (above) and reverse (below).

So then we are allowed into the theatre. It is a big, old, beautiful theatre with a balcony and intricate carved woodwork all over the inside. I seem to remember the color motif being mostly red and gold. The temporary stage had indeed been torn out. The first group, the afore mentioned group of kids from Duluth, was set up and as I can recall (this was 20 years ago remember) they did OK. It was totally spur-of-the-moment stuff. They might have played a Metallica song or two - I just don't remember. They played for maybe 20 minutes or so and then they were done - thrilled to have scored this gig, I'm sure.

A few short minutes passed and after all the delay and messing about, the main event of the evening was ready to go. I was hoping after my purchase of button and t-shirt that these Dusturbed guys would be good. They had seemd cool enough all afternoon. They come out...and it's just...fuckin' pure hardcore noise! Loud and agressive hardcore with a seriously demented screamer of a lead singer. "GREAT," I was thinking, "Great stuff!" I knew my friend agreed as he was thrashing away, totally oblivious. The band was KILLING the crowd that had stuck with them all afternoon, delivering a set of some of the most completely speedy and thrashin' deathly-speed-core you ever heard.

That's all I can tell you.It was loud and fast. There were mosh pits in the theatre as the band played right there on the floor. There was no barricade and no one fucked with the band. After all we had gone through to get this show to come off, all anyone wanted to do was to rock out. And we did. I remember hurting a bit all over the next day from slamming around, being "caught in a mosh" so to speak. My friend and I walked out of the theatre, agreeing that we'd just gotten our $3.00 worth and then some. I put my button on my jacket and we hit the road for the hour-and-twenty minute drive back home, new Disturbed fans. Still fans of Destruction and the Cro-Mags, but on that night I'm sure we thought, "Fuck' em!" I'm still a fan of both bands to this day actually. But I've never had the chance to see either of them again - sadly. And then there's Disturbed.

I saw Disturbed a few more times after I moved to the Minneapolis area a few years later. I saw them open for Overkill (NYC) at a favorite place to see shows, The Mirage, which closed several years ago. I think that show was in spring 1992 but I'm not sure. Those days are a haze. But Disturbed eventually quit doing gigs and the members went on to other various projects. Their guitarist, Earl, opened a record shop in St. Paul called "Root Cellar Records" that he ran for several years, becoming a respected figure on the Minneapolis and international metal scene. He also continued to play in several bands right up to the time of his death last May, as well as hosting his "Root Of All Evil" radio show for many, many years locally on KFAI radio. And I'd run into him at the record shows in Minneapolis every so often. I brought my old, yellowed Disturbed t-shirt one time and he was amazed to see it. It is NOT something you see every day. He autographed it for me, laughing, showing it to one of his friends who was there with him that day selling all the rarest of the rare metal to the Minneapolis vinyl junkies. We talked about that show in Duluth back in '89 and he told me he actually had a recording of it. In the time they had been together, Disturbed managed to release some material including a full-length 12", self-titled LP and two EP-style demo tapes, "Dont' Expect Any Miracles" (1988-89) and "Voice Of Insanity" (1992.) Thankfully, over the years I have managed to scare up copies of these recordings and I hold on to them and still give 'em a listen now and then. And they still kick my ass! There may have been a few more releases but I am not aware of them.

After they were off the scene for some years, something weird happend...

A few years after Disturbed (the band featured in this story - from Minneapolis) quit doing shows and being a band, this OTHER band called itself Disturbed. They are from Chicago and formed in 1996. They have managed to become one of the biggest metal bands around currently and have garnered world-wide support from their legions of fans. I'm no authority on their history, so all you "New" Disturbed fans just lay off! But when this happened, of course, any and all future releases by the ORIGINAL Minneapolis Disturbed were never going to be allowed to happen. Earl told me that there was some unreleased stuff he would loved to have released but he was legally barred from ever doing so by the "New" Disturbed's record company.

And when I remember that show in Duluth, so long ago now it seems, I smile. We were young, we had fun, we got our live music and got to run around in circles and smash into each other. It was another great day in the history of Minnesota Metal.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to Laura Kennedy

Please make sure you stop by and wish original Bush Tetras bassist Laura Kennedy a very Happy Birthday, today, May 20th.

Glad you're still with us Laura, and here's wishing you many, many more. Hope your day is amazing - filled with friends, family, and rock and roll...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

One From The Archives: 05/08/08 Ace Frehley @ First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN

The legendary 1st Avenue & 7th Street Entry - Minneapolis, MN
(Photos by: NYCDreamin - 2002)

Ace Frehley has a star just outside the doors of the club. This is from when his band Frehley's Comet played at 1st Avenue back in 1987 or maybe 1988. I did not make it to that show.

Print Ad and Ticket Stub from Ace's May 8th, 2008 Minneapolis appearance.

Another stellar show here in Minneapolis by the Spaceman and his kick-ass new band.

One From The Archives: 05/07/91 Queensryche/ Suicidal Tendencies @ Duluth Arena, Duluth, MN

05/07/91 Queensryche @ Duluth, MN (Ticket)
Ticket Stub - 05/07/91 (Duluth)
(Image via NYCDreamin Archives)
I was just about to make my move to Minneapolis when this show came to Duluth in May of 1991. It was the last rock concert I ever attended in that city. It seems that the number of big rock shows up there slowed to a crawl throughout the '90's and remains stagnant today. But back in May 1991, I was looking forward to this show very much. It was a chance to see Suicidal Tendencies again for a second time and to see Queensryche for the first time. And this was the FIRST time they played the "Operation Mindcrime" concept in it's entirety on a tour. They've done it to death over the past decade, but this first time was truly a mind-blower.
My buddy PriestFreakNo.1 and I picked up a friend of ours who we affectionately called "Psycho" and we were off to the show. I could write about how amazing the show was but it would be a 25 page post. Suffice it to say "Operation Mindcrime" live in it's entirety was one of the coolest things I'd ever seen up to that point and it still stands out as one of the most amazing shows I've ever seen. So visual - and how the movies they threw up on the big screens behind the stage helped illustrate the concept. And the crystal-clear sound at top volume, mixed very well, in an arena that I always thought had some of the best accoustics of any I'd ever heard in any venue. Just amazing. Physically and mentally draining. I can only imagine how the band felt after performing it every night.
As we were leaving the show, I commented to my friends how I hoped they filmed or recorded a live album or something on that tour. A few months later I had moved to Minneapolis and one day I saw some advertising for an upcoming Queensryche release. It was to be a live VHS/CS/CD titled "Operation LiveCrime". I waited a few weeks and it was released. I picked up my copy as soon as I could and was thrilled to see when I opened up the box that it had been recorded in Wisconsin just a few days prior to when I had seen the band.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Maple River Band

The Maple River Band - CD Front and back cover images
(Front cover illustration by: Billy Kettelson Kruse)
(Back Cover Photo by: Marilyn Bos)

In the course of some recent personal business dealings I have made the aquaintance of one Ralph Bailey. After we had concluded our first meeting, we began discussing music as I am apt to do with just about anyone I meet, and he was telling me about this band he had several years back called the Maple River Band. And yesterday when I went to meet with him for a second time, he surprised me with a nice gift - an autographed copy of a long out-of-print album (now available on CD) that the band had recorded back in 1980 titled "Go For It!" which was originally released on Eagle Records, a small indie label located in Good Thunder, MN.

Ralph worked with his son William in 2006 to digitally re-master the album so the could reissue it on CD so it could "get back out there." The album is an eclectic mix of old-school blue-grass-blues and country-folk-rock. It is quite an interesting listen and it features 10 tracks, 2 of which were written soley by Mr. Bailey. He also did the arrangement on the band's cover version of "C.C. Rider." The running time is just over 30 minutes. As it is not my usual listening material, I hesitate to review it further other than to say that it is quite good and a nice change in style and a great addition to my collection - very different from my usual assortment of punk and metal. As soon as I listened to it I was thinking it would be right up John & Eden's alley. Who knows - maybe they already own a copy of the original album. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if they did, being the avid vinyl collectors they are.

The CD is currently available through (where you can hear samples of the music on the CD as well) and I will soon be discussing with Mr. Bailey the possibility of distributing the CD via the website, which I feel would be an excellent distribution source for the disc.

Ralph is still out there making music with his friends ("Ralph Bailey with Strings Attatched") and he was telling me they have a semi-regular gig at the original Dunn Brothers Coffee Shop in St. Paul, MN. Their next gig is scheduled for June 1st. I'll have a graphic of the flyer for that show shortly.

The Maple River Band was:

Patti Selsvold Tryhus - Vocals/Piano/Fiddle
Steve Tryhus - Vocals/Accoustic Guitar
Ralph Bailey - Vocals/Electric Bass/Accoustic Guitar
Larry Cooper - Vocals/Harmonies

Additional musicians appearing on the album were:

Len Kalakian - Five String Banjo
Amy Bungum - Cello
Al Bjerke - Electric Guitars/Pedal-Steel Guitar
Dean "Bix" Bixenman - Mandolin


"The Good Thunder Barroom Brigade" - Chorus Vocals
Don Ziemann/Harry Petrowski/Herb Robinson/"Cubby" Giese/Ted Comnick

05/10/09 - Triple Band Billing of Testament/ Unearth/ Lazarus A.D. Destroys The Rock in Maplewood, MN

(Flyer image via:
(Ticket stub and guitar picks images via: NYCDReamin Archives)

After a seemingly endless day of waiting, the Gorgeous One and I headed out to Maplewood last Sunday (May 10th) for an evening of what promised to be some of the most skull-crushing metal ever heard on this or any other planet. We dropped in to Old Country Buffet for a nice dinner before we headed over to the venue, The Rock, which is located just across the street from O.C.B. As we stood outside the doors awaiting entry, I heard a few guys behind us discussing old concerts they had attended and they were talking about the Stryper/Hurricane show at the Roy Wilkens Auditorium in St. Paul, MN back in April of 1987. I turned and told them that I had just recently posted a story about that very show on my blog. (Read that review HERE.) We were all in agreement that it was an amazing show and that Oz Fox and Robert Sweet are both tremendous musicians. Soon the doors opened and we were let inside and we headed straight to the t-shirt booth to see what was available. The Gorgeous One settled on a nice "girlie" Testament shirt that she looks amazing in and I picked up a very cool zipper-hoodie with an all-over print and cool graphics and tour dates on the back. Now I can finally retire my old Testament hoodie that I picked up all the way back in 1997 - the thing has served me well and kept me warm through many cold Minnesota winters and is definately showing it's age. We walked over to the stage and found ourselves in the front row, right up against the barricade, on the left side of the stage and settled in to wait for the show to begin.

The show was scheduled to begin at 8:00pm and of course, in true rock and roll fashion, it was about 8:30pm when the first band, Lazarus A.D. finally took the stage. They came out and just a few minutes into their set I could tell these guys were really a great band. The mentioned they were from Wisconsin (Kenosha) and they liked to drink, smoke and rock. And rock they did - with an intensity that most bands would kill to possess. They produce a tight, sonic assault that clearly illustrates their love and mastery of the speed metal genre. The singer commented that it was a dream come true for them to be appearing on the same stage as the legendary Testament. After about 35 minutes or so they wrapped it up and the stage crew appeared and began the tear-down/set-up process. I was wishing Lazarus A.D. could have played a bit longer - which is a rare opinion for me to have about an opening band. The Gorgeous One and I both agreed that they were awesome and that we would definately go and see them again any time we get a chance.

About 20 minutes passed and soon the idiots from Unearth appeared on stage. (I will not provide a link to their website(s) and you will see why in a moment.) From the second they started playing I knew I was not gonna enjoy this band much at all. They seemed cocky, full of themselves and like they were the greatest thing since oxygen. They make alot of noise, that's for sure, but there was no discernable talent that I could see or hear. Just noise. One of the guitarists liked to sip his water/and/or/beer and spit it through his teeth at those in the front row - something I have always found disgusting. He continued to do this throughout the entire set and at one point he was over on our side of the stage and I thought to myself that if he spit his shit at us I was gonna toss my half-full water bottle at his ugly fuckin' face and teach him a lesson. Fortunately he was not as stupid as he looked. I think he saw the look of death that The Gorgeous One was giving him, so he smiled weakly and moved over a bit before spitting his liquids on some other poor suckers a few feet away from us. The continued making their noise for around 45 unbearable minutes and when they announced they only had time for one more number, I screamed "Thank God!" as loud as I could. A lot of people in the crowd behind us were moshing and thrashing away throughout their set and I thought "there is no accounting for taste I guess." Soon, but not soon enough, they were finished and The Gorgeous One and I discussed just how loathsome we both agreed they had been. Unearth - a shit band. Please do NOT support this crap. And no, I will NOT redact my opinion.

Tear-down and set-up for Testament took only about 20 minutes and the intro music was playing and a few Metallica tracks were included in the mix. I told The Gorgeous One how Testament and Metallica had once, long ago, been nearly equal in their musical awesomeness and that at some point Metallica had lost their edge and began to suck the MTV dick of mediocrity and how Testament continued to get better and heavier over the years. I was so excited for her to witness them for her first time. This was the 8th time I have seen the band and they have never disappointed - quite the contrary - they always completely destroy me. And tonight's show would be no exception.

For several days before the show I had been jamming the vote-box over at with my vote for "Setlist C". On this tour the band has a thing set up where you can vote on one of three setlists - A, B, or C. Setlist A would be the entire "Legacy" album plus other tracks. Setlist B would be the entire "New Order" album plus other tracks. Setlist C was just an ass-kicking selection of tracks spanning the band's entire 25 year career. I must have voted over a dozen times for setlist C and as soon as the band took the stage I was thrilled to hear the opening number "Persecuted" - the first song from setlist C. So my choice was the winner and I immediately began to get even more excited - I knew an amazing show was getting under way. The band looked great, looked to be enjoying themselves very much and were as tight and heavy as I'd ever seen them. The commenced to decimate the nearly sold-out crowd with a pulverizing setlist which was as follows:

Persecuted/Practice What You Preach/Into The Pit/Dog Faced Gods/Raging Waters/More Than Meets The Eye/Demonic/True Believer/Legacy/Over The Wall/The New Order/Souls Of Black/First Strike Is Deadly/Desciples Of The Watch/D.N.R./Three Days/Formation of the Damnation

Throughout the show I noticed several people videoing the show and I was hoping that some of those vids would turn up on YouTube within a few days. Click the links in the setlist above to view videos from the show. (The link to the one video I have found so far seems to be broken right now as the clip is currently un-viewable. I'll add more as they appear.) There were also a few photographers between the stage and the barricade with some seriously-pro looking camera equipment taking lots of photos.

At one point, vocalist Chuck Billy was grabbing a bunch of guitar picks and tossing them into the crowd. I noticed he was working his way over to our side of the stage and when he was directly in front of us he smiled a big toothy grin, reached out and placed one of the picks right in the outstretched hand of The Gorgeous One who was visibly thrilled to be handed such a cool momento from the rager himself - she had this huge smile on her face and I was thrilled for her. As the band thrashed on, I noticed a pick on the floor, over the barricade, just out of reach. I motioned one of the security guys to grab it for me which he did. I put it in my pocket without looking at it. As the show was nearing it's conclusion, we decided to move back a bit as it was getting might hot, sweaty and smelly down in front. I reached in my pocket to show her the pick I had got and much to our horror, it was NOT a Testament Pick but an Unearth pick. She snatched it out of my hand with a look of absoulute disgust on her face and threw it across the bar where it landed unnoticed by anyone. I would have done the same thing but she beat me to it. No way was I gonna add anything related to those morons to my collection.

As the show wound down, Chuck introduced the rest of the band and they played a few more numbers and then it was all over. As always happens when I see Testament, I was feeling like I had been run over by a Mack truck - they just stomp you into submission with sheer power and volume - and it's a beautiful thing. I always leave their shows feeling completely drained. We immediately headed for the door as the band was leaving the stage and hopped in the car for the long drive home, me thrilled again to have witnessed one of my favorites of all time, and The Gorgeous One, awestruck at what she had just witnessed for the first time. The drive home was rather quiet as we were both suffering from some serious ringing in the ears and neither one of us had much to say except "Awesome. Fucking awesome."

Can't wait till the next time, which can't come soon enough.

All Hail The Might Testament!!!

Read my previous Testament Reviews:
04/11/93 - Testament @ Mirage, Minneapolis, MN
07/31/08 - Testament @ Epic, Minneapolis, MN

Thursday, May 14, 2009

One From The Archives: 05/03/86 Stryper/ Armored Saint @ Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis, MN

(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

I consider this the first "Real" rock concert I went to. I had been to a few small shows by Christian groups put on at high school auditoriums and had seen Petra a few times at the Duluth Arena, but this was the big time - for me anyway. I was actually on Stryper's mailing list at the time so one day I get this flyer in the mail. (I long ago sold the flyer.) It says Stryper and Armored Saint will be playing in Minneapolis at the Orpheum Theatre on May 3rd. So I ask if I can go and it's "we'll see." So I ask a few friends if they would like to go and several say yes, they'd be interested. But we are all like 14, or 15. Who was gonna drive us? So I ask again and say how all these guys want to go - and Mom makes a phone call to one of her friends, a nice guy named Dick who helps run the local Teen Community Center. Like Mom, Dick is a big supporter of Christian music and is thrilled to hear that a bunch of kids (including his own son) would like to go to the Stryper show. So he agrees to drive. The weeks and days pass and I have to tell Mom and my step-dad a thousand times that, no, Armored Saint is NOT another Christian group. "You know, armour of Christ," they'd say. "Gotta be a Christian group." I think I finally had them convinced by the time the show rolled around that this was not the case. I told them the members of Armored Saint were good friends with Motley Crue. That seemed to erase any conflict over the matter.

Show day rolled around and we were off to Minneapolis. I think there must have been about a dozen of us all told, and we had a great trip down to the city. I remember listening to Judas Priest's newest album "Turbo" on the way. That is one album that has not aged well over the years. But anyway. I remember when we arrived downtown, Hennipen Avenue was all tore up, undergoing a massive re-building. There were still a few head-shops and porn-theatres on the blocks near the Orpheum, these wouls disappear over the next few years as the entire street was transformed, much like Times Square in New York, into a "Tourist/Shopper" area, safe for families and other "respectable" sorts.

We went inside the Orpheum and were soon crowded down near the barrier at the front of the stage. We could see off to the left side of the stage, and there was Armored Saint guitarist Dave Prichard (now deceased) tuning up his guitar. We all yelled "Hi Dave!" and he waved at us. We were all excited for the show to start and when Armored Saint came out, they were amazing. Heavy and loud, looking some "Road-Warrior" nightmare come to life. They played for about 45 minutes maybe and then after a brief set change, the lights went down and the curtain dropped and Stryper hit the stage.

The first thing I noticed, becides the Yellow & Black stage motif, was how amazingly loud they were. Incredibly loud. Almost painfully loud. I still think to this day it may have been one of the loudest shows I've ever been to. They rocked out, preached a little, rocked out some more and at some point during the show, as was their practice, they all came to the front of the stage with these little "New Testament" Bibles, each with a Stryper logo sticker stuck on the front cover, and began tossing them into the crowd. Several of them flew right over my head or flew by just out of reach to one side or the other. But I was determined to get one, and soon, in slow motion, one came sailing right at me. I reached up and snatched it out of the air, victorious. I kept it for many years and then sold it a few years ago to a huge Stryper fan/collector. I sold him most of my Stryper collection actually. Early vinyl, picture-discs, t-shirts, posters, and most sadly of all, all the old mailings from their fan club, including the flyer for this very show. I wish I still had it.

The show ended and we all piled in the van for the long ride home, ears ringing, thrilled at what we had just witnessed. Even Dick said he really enjoyed it. The rest of the weekend passed and back at school on Monday several of us were wearing our new t-shirts and almost immediately began to receive all sorts of grief from other metal-heads who didn't appreciate Stryper. The same dicks who fucked with me for wearing Petra t-shirts. But I wasn't worried about it - I liked Stryper and that's all that mattered. Screw those guys. I was already looking forward to seeing them again and I would only have to wait about a year. You can read about the next time I saw them HERE.

Monday, May 11, 2009

One From the Archives: 05/06/07 Heaven And Hell/ Megadeth/ Machine Head @ Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

05/06/07 Heaven And Hell @ Minneapolis, MN (Ad)
(Images via NYCDreamin Archives)

05/06/07 Heaven And Hell @ Minneapolis, MN (Ticket)

Heaven And Hell (a.k.a. Black Sabbath) with Ronnie James Dio on vocals (my favorite lineup) came to Minneapolis 2 years ago on this date (05/06/07). The band is now known as "Heaven And Hell" for some reason I'm still not quite sure of. I think Sharon Osbourne had something to do with it, but no matter, I was in line to get tickets to this show the day they went on sale. I had been lucky enough to witness the Sabbath with Dio lineup back on Halloween 1992 (I'll bust that stuff out on Halloween!) and I knew this show would be worth every dollar spent.
Machine Head was quite good, better than the previous times I had seen them. I had very low expectations for Megadeth as I had wrote them off many years ago, around the time of that "Symphony of Destruction" crap. They really surprised me as they sounded tight and the production was a thick, full sound that I did not think they were capable of producing live. They done good. Heaven And Hell was just amazing. The show was pretty much like listening to the "Live Evil" LP from 1982 except much louder and better sounding. There were also several tunes included in the set from 1992's "Dehumanizer" LP/tour as well. For a bunch of old British dudes and one "Geezer", they proved beyond a doubt that they remain one of the most powerful bands of the Metal Genere.
Heaven And Hell have just released (on April 28th) a new CD entitled "The Devil You Know". It's killer.

One From The Archives: 05/03/79 UFO/ Judas Priest @ Met Center, Bloomington, MN

05/03/79 UFO/Judas Priest @ Met Center, Bloomington, MN
(Image via NYCDreamin Archives)

Friday, May 8, 2009

One From The Archives: 04/29/88 Lita Ford/ Lillian Axe @ Duluth Arena, Dulth, MN

Lita Ford: Striking a sexy pose or trying to figure out where she left her keys?
(Originally published in Metal Edge Magazine)
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)
I remember this one pretty well. My buddy PriestFreakNo.1 and I made our plans to attend and the day soon arrived. I had made arrangements with my parents to take the day off from school. PriestFreak had not - he just assured his parents that he was going to go to school and then we would leave for the show. He showed up at my place around 7:45am on a beautiful, warm spring morning and we had to stop by his place again for some reason. I remember his mom telling us to "have a nice day at school" and we were saying"yea, we will," and we were out the door and were off to Duluth for a day of school-skipping and rock and roll.
When we arrived in Duluth a little later in the morning, we spent some time looking around at two of the great record shops downtown, "The Last Place on Earth", and "The Electric Fetus." I do not recall if I bought anything that day. I think we snuck into one or two of the dirty bookstores that used to be found along Superior Street as well and did some browsing. Those bookstores are all long gone now. Probably had a cheeseburger at "Coney Island" a block from The Last Place on Earth.
I know we hung around the Duluth Arena for most of the afternoon, hoping to catch a glimpse of the band, which we eventually did. We were walking around the back of the arena in the early afternoon and we spotted a tour bus, so we just kind of hung out and waited to see who would get off or get on, and about 20 minutes passed and all of a sudden the doors of the bus open and out comes Lita and a few members of her band. We were within view and waved and yelled "Hi, Lita!" - she waved and turned and was on her way into the building, probably for an afternoon soundcheck. But fuckin-a - she WAVED at us. How cool were WE? Yeeah!
All that excitement over, we went around the front of the building and waited for the doors to open. We soon learned that the scheduled opening act "Black 'N' Blue" would not be appearing. We were quite bummed out at this development as we were big fans of that group. Nobody seemed to know much about who was to replace them. By the time we got inside we found out they were called "Lillian Axe". I had never heard of them at that point. I bought a Lita Ford t-shirt (destroyed many years ago) and a poster (sold many years ago) and we went in and Lillian Axe came out and they were pretty good. Sorta like a "Cinderella" or something like that. I liked them enough to pick up one of their tapes a few days after the show.
By the time Lita took the stage there were probably only about 3,500 people in the arena, so it seemed kind of empty. But we were right up front and it was good and loud. Lita looked even hotter on stage that she did on MTV, where she could be seen with regularity in those days. She played about 15 different BC Rich guitars throughout her set and I remember she included Sammy hagar's "One Way To Rock" in the setlist that night. She played most of the material from her then-current "Lita" album and a slew of others from her previous solo albums as well. She played no Runaways material. I'm not really sure who the members of her touring band were at that time, but I think the drummer was Randy Castillo, now deceased.
The show was great and I hoped I'd get to see her again at some point. I would have to wait 20 years, but I finally got my chance again last summer (07/06/08) out on Long Island New York at the Crazy Donkey, where I saw her preform only her second show in over 15 years. You can read my review of that show HERE.

New York Dolls - Cause I Sez So: A Few Thoughts on the New CD

New York Dolls Circa 2009 (Photo from 'Cause I Sez So' CD Booklet)

So we've been waiting patiently for this CD since news leaked late last year that the band would be returning to the studio in January to beging recording with Todd Rundgren as producer. I have to admit I was a little apprehensive when I heard he was going to be the producer, but the CD sounds great - very full production, no complaints there, he did an excellent job recording the band.

I've been listening to it for a few days now and I have to say my overall opinion of the new material is that it is a little less "strong" than I was expecting. I was hoping for more songs like the title track, "Cause I Sez So", which features some pretty slick guitar work. But instead, we are treated to a rather mediocre, somewhat slowed down jazzier Dolls, much of the material seems to me to be something David might have released as a solo album. The songs are all catchy, they get in your head after only a few listens but there are just not enough guitars on this CD for my taste. Of the 12 tracks presented, my favorites are the title track, the 4th track "Lonely So Long" and number 5, "My World." Don't really care for "Temptation to Exist" at all and am quite displeased with the re-worked version of "Trash": The original is a classic and there was no need to butcher it like this.

I hate to say I'm disappointed in the overall feel of the CD but it's not quite as good as "One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This". Some may disagree, just my opinion. But I've always been a guitar whore and there just are not enough guitars here to keep me very interested.

I WAS quite pleased at the price tag, $9.99 at Best Buy. And as Best Buy has been doing for some time now, there was an exclusive bonus 5-track "Live" CD included. I find I'm enjoying the live material much more than the actual new disc.

I'm sure with some time and several more listens my opinion will change somewhat, but for now I'd only give this new disc about a 6 of 10. I just think they could have written some stronger, more rockin' material. Maybe next time...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

All The Pretty Horses Venus DeMars Recounts Glam Bands' History

Minneapolis Trans-Glam-Punk Legends All The Pretty Horses
(L. to R. - T-Rev, Venus DeMars, LeFreak)
(Image via:

This month All The Pretty Horses celebrates 15 years of rock and debaunchery.
Read the article on this legendary Twin Cities band at CityPages.Com

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Release Day: New York Dolls

(Image via:

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Be sure to step out to your favorite record store at some point today and pick up a copy of the New York Dolls' latest CD "'Cause I Sez So" (released today) to enjoy with your tacos, burritos and nachos. I'll be picking up my copy this afternoon and I will post my review on Saturday.