What a wild time in my life working and playing at the Mudd Club! My partner Bill and I through our sound system company Centour Sound became the production managers of the club after John Kessler was done doing his stint as the production manager. Just before John left we had the extreme pleasure of John, Bill and I working together to work with Frank Zappa who played the Mudd Club! We brought in extra equipment and a bigger mixing console to accommodate his band. Terry Bozzio was on the drums at that time. That was a thrill to work with a master in such a small venue. There is a sketchy bootleg, sounds to me like someone had a cassette tape recorder and taped it in the midst of the crowd. The recording is on you tube, I included the link – I remember that Frank had his own sound person do a recording right from the board, so that must be available somewhere in some Zappa archive.
We worked with a lot of different bands & artists from Samba to Punk, experimental to down right BAD–fashion shows and you name it everything in between. DJ’s Anita Sarko (who has passed away in 2015) and DJ David Azarch made the club hum, jump and jive into the wee hours of the morning. In which we usually ended up going to an after hours club and came out squinting as the sun was fully out and blaring while we were going home and watching the rest of the world just going to work. I will add more Mudd Club memories in my blog as time goes by – Keith Herring, Johnny Thunders, Question Mark and the Mysterians, Sam and Dave, John Belushi, wow and so many – so stay tuned in! –
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.
As for the release of the 45, that was the toughest job to do as I was the only one really trying to get exposure in every avenue I could find. I think that this is every independent artist’s and band’s lament. How in the world are you suppose to get any body to pick this up and play it and promote it, without having some major record deal behind it. Since I was working at the Mudd Club their was a DJ their that had some in’s with a distribution company that sends out new released singles to DJ’s around the country and world. It was sort of like this club thing for DJ’s that they sign up for to get free music and it was up to their desecration if it got play in the club or station they were working at. If you go to the link you can see the 45 is still being sold in 3 different countries, USA, Norway and the UK as it was distributed from that DJ club. I have to assume there is some old DJ’s out there that still have a copy and have decided to sell it.
We did get some play in clubs and I vaguely remember it got on the radio once. We played all the songs live in a lot of clubs that year, playing and promoting the 45. Although we did our best, it really never took off and got the play we were dreaming and hoping for. Oh well, that is the life of a musician never quit and never say die – – strive on and keep the music alive!
To my Fans – I have a Bunch of The Lampshades 45’s, if you are looking for one – I can arrange to send you one –
BUT!Here’s the Deal – Email and Follow my Blog and website, Like Aldo Buzzi of Facebook, Follow on Twitter and Re-tweet, follow on Instagram and forward to your all your friends And I will send you a Lampshade 45 for FREE!
As always while my supply last’s, first come first serve!
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.
It took us about 4 sessions between 2 weeks to complete the recording’s. Lot’s of fun, it really was an experience that I will never forget, if I can remember anything at all (lots of drugs and alcohol). There was also some instruments in the studio that was at our disposal, Piano, Vibes and some percussion items. We recorded the masters on 2″ tape reels – Do these exist anymore?
All said and done, “The Lampshades” recorded at Radio City Music Hall, that in itself was a moment in time that few get to do. As so many celebrities, famous artists, and the Rockettes (in which I really never understood the fascination) except they are all hot chic’s and their leg kicks are amazing, went through those doors of that famous iconic theatre.
We started playing the Long Island Bar circuit in the late 70’s. We did cover’s of just about everything and a few originals here and there. Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Car’s, Elvis Costello, Devo, Doors, The Knack and anything that was new and hot on the radio at the time. You know, what people were into at that moment in time to make us relevant playing to the Friday and Saturday bar folks having a night out and to a lot of drunks. As previously blogged, it paid the bar tab and we started to squirrel some cash aside as our goal was to produce our own 45 record to release and see where it would go. Some of the places on Long Island we played at were Wooden Ships, Good Times, Camelot Inn, The Belmont Inn, Uncle Bobs, The Little Club are just a few of the many bar/clubs I can remember playing – there was so many back in the late 70’s early 80’s.
The lampshades went through many band mates until it’s final 5 was established. The first true band set up was myself, John Donnelly, Pete Fagiola, Gary Citro and Robbie Nichole’s. We wrote a few original songs but the majority of the music was cover music. The covers that we played were very eclectic, from Pink Floyd to the B52’s, Devo and the Doors.
At 17 was starting to live and breath the moment
John left the band and new member Kenny Kern joined us. Kenny was an extremely versatile musician and is a really great guitar player among the other instruments he could play he also sang very well. We continued to dabble in some original music but embarked on doing 3 sets of cover music so we could play the Long Island Bar circuit and earn some cash. Not too long into playing at some Long Island hot spots like Wooden Ships, Uncle Bob’s Rocking Fun House, Camelot Inn and some place in Massapequa in which right now the name eludes me. Soon after we started playing the circuit we had to part ways with Robbie, as he was tough to get along with and really was not a good musician or should we say his musical taste’s didn’t taste very good. Now to find another guitar player in comes Jim Tucker. Jim was a good solid rhythm man and could also sing. This group of 5, Ken, Jim, Gary, Pete and me started writing a bunch of original tunes. Still playing covers in bars and a few colleges to get cash, we began to integrated some of the original pieces into the sets. Andy Blinx a good friend, fellow musician and artist had an in at Radio City Music hall with the engineer Don Hunnerburg. So we took some of the bar cash equity to record 4 songs at the Radio City studio’s shooting to do a 45 record on our own. We invited John Kessler along to help with the production on the mix.
Being that Andy got us the inside track to record at Radio City, the only caveat was that we had the studio from 12 midnight to 4am. Needless to say what we did to keep up – was something called sex, drugs and rock & roll! Thank-you Mr. Blinx!
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