From the lens of Dan Pusateri, enjoy!
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From the March 17th 1995 issue of City Magazine, we have Luke’s Obit. I don’t have a credit for the author of this piece (H.B. Ward?), perhaps Chuck or Pat could fill in the rest of the details.
Andrew L. Ogrodowski, a lifelong local rocker known mainly as Luke Warm to his friends (and a few enemies), died on Friday, March 17, in his bedroom in his mother’s home in Greece. It was a warm spring evening and he’d been listening to the radio. He was 35.
His sudden death forces us to press the details of his life into some sort of comprehensible whole. Two years ago, when he was he was 33, Luke laughed, saying, “I’m just a guy who was saved by glitter and glam rock in the ’70’s,” as he tended bar downtown at the Abyss. As Luke perceived his life and tried – as he often did, to understand what it meant – that was no exaggeration at all.
The guy just wasn’t made to be normal. He invented and adopted the name Luke Warm around 1972, as a 12-year-old boy, to complete the elaborate stage persona he had conceived for his first rock band. After an early introduction to NYC glam rockers like T Rex, Luke gradually became the premier collector of rare T Rex records and memorabilia in the US.
Early in life. Luke stopped trying to fit in. “I remember a Red Wings game in the ’70’s,” recalled Luke’s friend and fellow musician Pat Lowerey on the phone recently. “There’s Luke walking down the stairs of Silver Stadium in a cape and full New York Dolls makeup in broad daylight. To him it was normal.”
Luke’s sense of style gave his rebellious energy an outlet and helped him find an identity. But unlike so many fashion bags, he never confused style with basic human grace. Lowerey, once the drummer for Luke’s best-known band, SLT, recalls a defining moment in Luke’s life. At one of SLT’s club dates, a band of hard core, head-shaved punks had been slated to open for them. Listening to them as SLT waited to go on, Luke appreciated the opening band’s energy at first, but then noticed that their lyrics were full of Anti-Semitic, homophobic and racist slurs. “These guys are skinheads!” he said to Lowerey.
That made him mad. “You know how some bands are too cool, like, ‘Don’t approach me?'” said Lowery. “Well, Luke wasn’t like that at all. As soon as he got on stage he just ripped into that band: ‘I Love Jews! I love fags! I live with a black chick!’ He was pointing at the skinheads and yelling into the mike, ‘We got a bunch of fuckin’ Nazis opening our show?'”
Like no one else in Rochester, Luke loved and devoted himself to the local rock scene. In the ’80’s he worked as a DJ and bartender (notably at Scorgies). But a career at the perimeter of the slam pit just wasn’t involved enough for him. His consuming love of music led him to moonlight as the music editor of Downtown magazine. Luke’s prose was as inflamed and confrontational as the music he loved. In an excerpt from the opening of one of his concert reviews (of a local band called “The Bulus“) in 1983, Luke demonstrated his fierce allegiance to Rochester Rockers.
“In this day and age when words mean nothing and dance means everything, it’s nice to see there are bands around to confront this idiotic way of thinking with an iron fist and the Bulus are that type of band. There is nothing wrong with mindless pop, rather fun its dumb way, but there should always be an imaginative, agressive edge to rock and roll to keep it on its often wobbly feet.”
Luke played guitar back then, too, but not, as most remember it, very well. Then, sometime in the summer of ’90, Luke disappeared from Rochester’s nightclub world. For 18 months, he spent his free time practicing by playing along with his collection of blues records. When he re-emerged, in early ’92, he was ready to form SLT – a band whose combination of power, intelligence, and expertise came close to what Luke had been grasping at for most of his life.
The band lasted little more than a year. But SLT is now legendary among Rochester rockers and Luke’s vision, infectious energy, and confidence in the band (“We’re the best rock and roll band in the world,” he used to shout) had everything to do with the legacy SLT left in its wake. Lowerey put it simply: “He wanted to combine the passion of music with intelligent lyrics and play it with such force.”
Luke’s death on March 17 cast a sad and sentimental pall over a crowd of Rochesterians known for dispassionate cool. His wake packed the Miller Funeral Home on Monroe Avenue with hundreds of black-leather rock and roll rebels. The line of tattooed, pierced and crying mourners strung itself through four rooms, heads shaking.
Luke’s mother, Helen Ogrodowski, welcomed every downcast punk who’d knelt before his closed coffin with a warm, appreciative hug. The phrase “He was a sweet guy, wasn’t he” was repeated over and over.
“He was crazy,” said Lowerey. “You could just call him up and he would do anything. If I needed him to do cartwheels naked down Monroe Avenue because I didn’t feel good, he’d do it immediately.”
“He was a great friend.”
audio clip courtesy Simon Ribas of the Presstones, see comments for details
Flower City Jukebox Vol. 2: “Rochester Rock n Rollercoaster Ride”
Hi-Techs: Boogaloo Rendezvous
The Most: Rockerfeller
The Targets: White Corvette
The Times: Rock ‘n Roll Reds
Hit & Run: I Don’t Wanna (demo)
Hypermarket: Something You Can Do For Yourself (unreleased)
Lotus STP: Townie Clan
The Fugitives: Screaming
Mission Emission: Postcard
New Math: The Restless Kind
The Projectiles: I’m Alone
Lalaland: Nobody’s Help
The Chinchillas: Love & War
Colorblind James Experience: Purple & Gold (outtake)
Personal Effects: Porch (live at Jazzberrys ’85)
The Rumbles: Third Uncle (live at The Warehouse) (Brian Eno cover)
Invisible Party: Waking World (live)
Nod: Power Doesn’t Need It (unreleased)
The Squires Of The Subterrain: This Old Raggedy Town
jump over to www.earcandyarchive.com to take a listen or download.
mega thanks to Tom Kohn for tracks 2,3,4 and to Jim Huie who supplied the lion’s helping of everything else.
First off, let me just say thanks to everyone involved with the Scorgies Reunion. I am sure my fellow Press Tones feel the same way (although some have trouble typing). Peter had our set planned out pretty good, clocking in at around 42 minutes, which would have allowed us a brief encore. For whatever reason, we ran long, and got yanked off the stage (set times were pretty rigid, and I’m not complaining, just letting you know), before we got the chance to do another number. So for your listening pleasure, here’s a live cut from when we played Abilene over the summer. It’s a song we usually finished the night with, called “Go Insane.” Back in the old days, Peter would take the solos, and at the end of the song, just leave his guitar in front of his amp until it started feeding back and annoying people. And then he’d wait some more before unplugging it. Flash forward, and now I do the lead work, and on this occasion, I started bending the strings pretty far, and so Peter started doing whale noises through the mic. It was a hoot.
Anyway, you paid for it, so here’s the song. . .[audio:http://thepresstones.com/mp3/insane.mp3]
Somehow I wound up with a back stage pass for the Scorgie’s Reunion show at the German House in Rochester, NY. I took a few photos and had good time. It was really great to see everyone.
no images were found
From the J. Laben Archives. Enjoy:
What is with these weird hairstyles, this strange music? Are they serious? Are they poking fun? Or both?
The Ramones, a rock ‘n’ roll band of current popularity, have a song called “Teenage Lobotomy.” There are those who would suggest they sing from experience. Take, for example, the words to their song “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”:
“I don’t care about history,
Rock, rock, rock ‘n’ roll high school,
Cuz that’s not where I wanna be,
Rock, rock, rock ‘«’ roll high school,
I just wanna have some kicks,
I just wanna get some chicks,
Rock, rock, rock, rock, rock ‘n’ roll hi-igh school.”
Appearance is another strike against any claims to great mental stature on the part of the band. Tight jeans, sneakers and leather jackets, a real greasy-mean look, tell you these are the kind of guys who need permission from their parole officers to go on high school field trips.
But believe the image and you’re the fool. They’ve suckered you with rock ‘n’ roll’s favorite gimmick, theatrics, to sell you rockers’ favorite message, irrever¬ence. The Ramones’ lyrics and looks are mostly suitable trappings for their brand of music — high-speed, high-energy and high-volume rock ‘n’ roll.
Boy, they’ve got their nerve. But boy, they have their fun.
The Ramones pale in comparison with some of the other music going on these days within what is called the “New Wave.”
There is Fad Gadget, the band that uses a Black & Decker speed drill as an instrument. There is CRASH COURSE In Science, whose members make music with kitchen appliances and, in one song, become robots reading a cake mix: “Extract contents for cakes in the home.”
(more vintage theorizing after the jump!)
Personal Effects super fan Ed Richter shot some great footage from stage side during the Personal Effects set. Great Pics, Ed!
Ok, all right… I’ll admit it. Like every other damn guy at Scorgies I had a crush on Peggy Fournier. I had seen the Hi-Techs live many times and oh my god there was Peggy.
One of my best friends from the late 1970’s-1980’s was Bob Martin; we were Beatles collectors and then it happened. The Hi-Tech’s changed their name to PERSONAL EFFECTS. I thought I was in. I asked Bob what the deal was with Peggy. he said “forget it, MAN! Our drummer is her man!” OH, LOL!
Well anyway, Personal Effects went on to produce the greatest local music of all time. Yes, they were the tightest, they had the best instruments and yes! They were the best.! I guess this makes me a Personal Effects Fan Boy.
I love you Peggy, Paul, Bernie and of course my close friend Bob Martin.
More photos from the show after the jump:
Just like in the old days, the infamous Scorgies videographers were in full force at the reunion. While Russ Lunn was shooting hi-def in the balcony, Ed Richter was taping from the stage and from the floor. Ed sent me this yesterday but, alas, I was too tired to post it.
Here’s the best part we shot a multiple camera video of it all. With the grace of the gods it will be available soon. Special thanks to Russ Lunn for the master shots of the show. What Can I say? If you were alive and at Scorgies in 1982 and you were at the show last night you would understand my feelings.
ED RICHTER 11-22-08
(More photos after the jump)
Tonight we played the Scorgies Reunion, along with New Math and The Press Tones. And it was a blast. All three of us played our asses off. The Press Tones played first and just absolutely rocked the house. Jeff Laben of the Cliches got up and did Riverview Restaurant with them and it was just like being at Scorgies again. The Press Tones were in great form – tight, exciting and showcasing their songwriting prowess.
New Math was up next. They opened with We Walk Among You (at least that’s the way I remember it), and I was dumbstruck. The band sounded great musically, but when the vocals started I really had to look twice to see if it was Kevin Patrick singing. I mean, I knew it wasn’t, but the fellow that was up there REALLY channeled Kevin’s vocal sound, style, delivery and tenor. Scary, almost. But before New Math, The Targets, with Sue Metro, did a couple of songs. Lots of fun. I’ll confess that they were a time before I became part of the Scorgies scene, but is it ever too late to become a fan?
We (Personal Effects) hit the stage pretty close to 10. First of all, it felt just as relaxed and natural as it always did when we played. I don’t know what it is about this band, but I’ve never felt nervous playing with them – just excited and joyous. And tonight, that seemed to come through. We played one of the best sets we’ve ever played and it didn’t matter that it was 20 years later.
The one really cool thing is that, for me, it brought closure to a time that sort of never came to a proper end, but lets it remain timeless. Tonight, it was great to have the last gig we never had. Great to run into long-not-seen old friends. Great to still be able to rip it up and pull off a great set. Tonight it was clear – we are just a rock and roll band who really loves playing music together. Sure, we may play again as Personal Effects. But if we don’t, we just closed the perfect door.
Thanks to the entire community for the opportunity to do this – with special kudos to Tom Kohn, The Press Tones, New Math, the other members of Personal Effects (past and present), Duane Sherwood, Stan Merrill and everyone who came together to pull this off tonight.
PS: I just wanna give a special thanks to Ken Frank who is the bass player in Personal Effects (and Margaret Explosion). He REALLY brings great bottom to both bands and we could not have done it without Ken.
Photos by Nicholas Gerber
Long overdue! I asked Victor Tabinski who should write about Zenon, he referred me to Andy Tratch of the Urban Squirrels. Thanks, Victor!
Don’t know what to say about Zenon – how can one describe the man…
I knew him as a kid [we met being in Ukrainian Boy Scouts together back in ’68] but had drifted apart by high school until I ran into him – waiting in line to get into the Devo show [1st tour] at the Triangle Theater.
We caught upon things, compared musical tastes & next thing ya know we got our first apartment together on Wisconsin & Main St in the City…
The rest is history: we spent many years together rockin’ & rollin’, abusing ourselves, listening to great music, going to great shows, hanging out at great bars [Scorgie’s included] with great friends, working with the Chesterfield Kings all over the country, being ski bums in Vermont, and just enjoying life at it’s best…
Zenon was my brother that I never had, could be the biggest asshole in the world, was always was willing to let you buy him a drink, would steal your drugs when you weren’t looking, and could be hell to live with/be around…but would give you the shirt off his back & loved you to death…
I can [barely] remember helping each other many a time up/down the spiral staircase by the bathrooms at Scorgie’s…We used to ride to all the bars to catch shows on my Kawasaki KZ400 [with Zenon wearing his brain-bucket helmet & clutching his beer]…I can even remember when Zenon had a stint DJing on Monday nights at the Penny Arcade [go figure]…
But most of all I remember Zenon’s “Lust for Life” [yes, just like the Iggy song] and the fact that music was such a huge part of his life: I still have his albums & listen to them [even though they’re way scratched because we were always out of sorts when we played them back then]…
We lost Zenon on the 4th of July weekend over 20 years ago – fittingly he had gone down to NYC to visit friends & to see The Butthole Surfers: he never came back…
What a waste…what an asshole..what a Zenon move…
Long live the memory of Zenon Pavlovych: The Great High and Mighty Most Exalted Grand Mystical King Farouk!