NEW MATH, the pre-Scorgies Days

L-R, Gary Trainer, Dale Solo, Paul Dodd, Robert Slide, & Kevin Patrick in front.

This photo was shot in the hallway at the Cox bldg around the corner from their second rehearsal room. Dale plucked the inspection tag off the fire extinguisher & hung it on his shirt. Back then Gary played guitar, as did Dale. Paul played drums, Robert played bass & Kevin sang.

They played shows that were months apart in those early days. Clubs didnt want them, they wanted Foreigner cover bands. The early version of the band with Paul Armstrong and Mark Schwarz was called White Riot, after the Clash single that was just out. They played one show in the hall of a dorm at R.I.T. that I recall being great, raw & raucus.

The first real New Math show was played in their rehearsal room. They played all 35 mins of what they knew in front of about 40-50 people for a show recorded & then played on WITR. (Anyone out there got that?) I still remember during the show Kevin calling out “Dale… Solo Lead guitar” at the solo of one song, as a cue.  And thats when Dale Mincey became Solo. Patti Smith was into her boxing phase so she was always talking about her “Trainer”. Gary taught Robert how to play bass, so Kevin used to put on his Patti Smith voice & say “thats his trainer…” Thats how Gary Tomaselli got named Trainer. Don’t recall the story about Robert getting Slide.

Before Scorgies, with its house sound & lights, you had to hump your PA & lights in & out of these clubs. The tiny elevator at the Cox used to close early, and so that meant carrying it all down & then back up 4 or 5 flights of narrow stairs. I don’t miss that. For sound, we had started with an amp hooked up to someone’s Bose living-room speakers and a 6 channel Teac tape recorder mixer, but then upgraded to heavy bass cabinets with horns that sat on top. In fact, looking at the photo above, I realize that it was lit with the stage lighting rig that Paul & I made in his basement.  5 floodlight sockets, nailed to a long board, with 5 wires running 50 ft to a little switchboard.  The club owners used to laugh at it when we set it up. It looks like we laid that socket board down in the hall & turned it on, resulting in those multi shadows growing behind them on the wall.

Scorgies was the only place to play, once that all got going. Those other clubs were something to get away from as soon as we could. Orange Monkey, yeeech! Penny Arcade? Who needed that? Big Daddy’s was a sort of mob disco, not a rock club at all.  They had a few shows, the Human Switchboard played 2 great nites there, with New Math opening. Electric Circus tried for a bit, having New Math a few times & also bringing in an early Pere Ubu show that was incredible.

Duane

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  1. Martin Edic’s avatar

    I seem to remember The Pylons (one of my all-time fav band names) playing at the Electric Circus…not sure about it though…mind back then now blurry…

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  2. Robert (Slide)’s avatar

    Filling in the Blanks
    Before Scorgies, there were only Hair-Band and Biker clubs. I had recently come back from a trip to NYC, visiting friends who took me to the emerging punk scene in the Bowery. As soon as I returned to Rochester, I went to House of Guitars, bought a $99 Hondo bass and hooked up with my friend, Dale to play Stooges songs in his Bly Street basement. We stumbled on what would become New Math during an audition for “Guitarist ready to ride the New Wave”. At the time Kevin, who was just back from London (and calling himself New Math), Gary and Paul were playing under the name Erector Set. Dale tried out and was “hired”, Gary was switching between guitar and bass when Dale mentioned I had a bass; writing down Kevin and Gary’s phone numbers on a piece of paper from my car that had the lyrics to “Raw Power” sealed my position as bass player – which was really just an extension of Gary’s bass skills. Let me be clear about one thing – I am not a musician, I had only owed an instrument for about a month before playing our first gig as New Math in the basement of R.I.T. thanks, in part, to WCMF DJ, Suzanne King. The name Robert Slide came from my inability (without vocal prompting) to do a bass slide while trying to cover The Velvet Underground song “White Light – White Heat”. A lot of the rest has been addressed here on this blog and elsewhere. I never played with new math at Scorgies, but did play there with the band I was with after my stint with New Math: The Targets, but that, as they say, is another story…

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