Did I mention I mixed the Tuff Darts at Max’s? That was a cool rock-a-billy type band.
There was so many really good bands and artist’s that had marginal success at best like the Robert Gordan & the Tuff Darts. Some of them had an album or 2 out, some of them got F’d up on drugs and other crutches and died at an early age and a lot of them never amounted to anything but a flash in time and some just faded into the upholstery never to be heard or seen again.
The John Collins band I was particular close to as I was a close friend with the Guitar player Mr. Gary Blankenburg or Blank as we called him. There was some other bands that in my opinion really sucked but for some reason was part of the underground punk music scene like the Ramones and the Dead Boys, in which one night when I mixed those idiots (the Dead Boys) part of the act was Stiv Bators the lead singer raped his girlfriend on stage. That was the shock appeal that that genre was looking for, now you have some looking back and immortalizing them as pioneers of the punk generation. To each there own!
There were some artist’s that was always pleasant and fun to be around and deal with, like David Johansen from the New York Dolls, later to have a decent solo career. Also another favorite was Mink DeVille, just cool sharp rock n roll with some ethnic flair.
Another gentlemen or let me rephrase that another gender bender was Wayne County who became Jayne County and the Back and Street Boys – Fun and interesting, always going out of his/her way to say hello! That was all part of the fabric that was Max’s Kansas City in the 70’s.
Note: I found all these pictures from the internet – as I have none of my own from that time period, as who the hell carried a camera around with them back in the late 70’s and 80’s and of course cell phones did not exist! So thanks to all who took these pictures and full credit is deserved.
This is were I got my first indoctrination to the underground music scene. I was 17 and was in awe of everything I saw and it was so cool and different to me, an Alice in wonderland rabbit hole of fantasy and stark reality. John Kessler introduced me to this Max’s scene as he was doing the production management there at the time and he needed someone to fill in some nights to set up the bands and shows. First I started just setting up the mic’s and rolling up the mic cords when the bands finished. Before you know it I was at the mixing board mixing bands during the weekdays when John was doing something else. I really took to mixing and working with the bands as I was starting my first band myself and it gave me some great exsposure to many different types and genres of music I really was not exsposed to before. As time progressed I started to fill in on the weekends mixing more headline name bands of that time frame. Didn’t really realize at that time when I mixed the Ramones that they would become an influence in the punk rock scene. I really thought they sucked, when I was trying to mix them at sound check and Johnny & Dee went over to their amps and ran their hands over all the volumes and tone knobs to 10. I was like, “what the fuck”, how are you suppose to mix this. I turned to John and he said to me, ” just put the vocals and drums up as loud as you can without feedback and sit back and that’s the mix”. I got to work with a bunch of name bands at that time that were all on the cusp of making some headway in the music business. As said, the Ramones, Blondie, The Dead Boys, Mink DeVille, David Johansen, John Collins Band among other bands that were great but didn’t make it, or should I say just did not get recognized at that time. What a blast for a 17 year old living the rock and roll life style to the fullest.