Often Imitated, Never Duplicated

Sifting through the voluminous scans from John Pusateri’s archives, I see that there were quite a few venues that “experimented” with Punk and New Wave. Ultimately it took a club like Scorgies to make it as viable venue for non-mainstream music. By the time I moved to Rochester in 1981, most of the other clubs had reverted to the tried and true “traditional” mainstream acts. It didn’t help that there was little, if any, radio support for music outside of the realm of “Corporate Rock.”

New Math poster for Orange Monkey and the Electric Circus

New Math poster for Orange Monkey and the Electric Circus

New Math Big Daddy's/Orange Monkey gig Poster

Big Daddy/Orange Monkey

Orange Monkey/Electric Circus

Orange Monkey/Electric Circus

My memories of the Orange Monkey are limited. It’s proximity to R.I.T made it a logical choice for a  venue. It also seemed to be the headquarters of the Little Trolls. The doors shut in the early eighties and then turned into the China Gate restaurant. The Electric Circus was located in the heart of the industrial part of Dewey Avenue and Big Daddy’s was at the corner of Lyell and Dewey,  near the old Tent City. That part of the city is still in decline after 30 years; the side streets are dotted with curbside memorials for the victims of street crime.

New Math and Hi-Techs at Gentlemen Jims

New Math and Hi-Techs at Gentlemen Jims

Another long-gone club… was this the club that later became Idols?

New Math at the Penny Arcade

New Math at the Penny Arcade

The Penny Arcade has had some great shows in the past and  continues to persevere into the new Millennium. My post-Scorgies band Lotus STP had one disasterous gig there with the Fertility Rite Brothers in the late eighties. Fittingly enough, Clayton was working there at the time and saw fit to heckle us. Made us REALLY nostalgic for Scorgies!

The Parilament Lounge Fleshtones/Raybeats with Press Tones/Pistoleros

The Parilament Lounge Fleshtones/Raybeats with Press Tones/Pistoleros

I found this flier for the Parliament Lounge in my collection… I believe Rock and Roll Joel and Jim Havalack tried to turn this Bowling Alley/Bar into a viable venue. Suffice to say the owner had other ideas in mind! More to come in a later post from Joel!

Cousin Al at Ruth and Irv's Astrological Fish and Steak

Cousin Al at Ruth and Irv's

Another one from my collection: Ruth and Irv’s Astrological Fish & Steak (everybody loved the name). unfortunately, they were destined to fail.  What was a plus for drinkers (all drink prices $1.50) was a minus for things like profits. This is the original paste-up for the gig flier. Cousin Al, Da Huh (feat. ex-Cappy Mike Houser) and the legendary Bulus. Note the reference to the Brian Bram Show. The Ruth and Irv’s site would later be the home for the original Idols.

Invisible Party @ Schatzees

Invisible Party @ Schatzees

Invisible Party w/ the Bulus at Schatzees

Invisible Party w/ Bulus at Schatzees

Of course, I have to throw a MAJOR shout out to Schatzees, the club whose claim to fame was that they featured the “best bands in the world that would play for the door.” Schatzees would later morph into Richmonds, which carried on much in the same fashion.  It was not uncommon to stumble into Schatzees on a lazy Sunday  & catch Ten Thousand Maniacs and see Natalie Merchant whirling like a dervish

New math/Targets paste-up article

New math/Targets paste-up article

Somebody’s got to teach a class: “Building a Buzz 101” (perhaps a night class at MCC) for aspiring Rock and Roll Stars. Note the recycling of clips from the Times Union, Freetime Magazine and the Democrat and Chronicle.

That’s it for today folks… I’ll add more to this post soon.

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  1. Simon Ribas’s avatar

    I played the Orange Monkey when I was with Hit & Run once. I remember as soon as we walked in it felt wrong, which is weird, since we must have booked it ourselves, but it was like that scene in Animal House when the guys on the road trip walk into the soul bar. The night was freezing cold, and it took two trips to get all of our stuff home (I think someone helped us deliver the PA and all, but couldn’t at the end of the night). The owner, Pierre, was Canadian, and reminded me of the goalie in Slapshot – “eh, you only get one fuking eer, eh?” I believe on that glamourus night weh had PA problems, like a crossover blew or something, and I think also Beth’s voice was shot by the second set. I know we did three sets, and also had to stretch by playing some songs over again, or maybe we playted songs over again because of Beth’s voice. Sometimes I still get chills when I drive by it on Jefferson in Henrietta.

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  2. Jlaben’s avatar

    You think THAT was bad, Simon, The Cliches spent a summer playing every other Sunday night at Art Stock’s Playpen (Remember THAT place?) as part of their “New York City Night” misguided summer bar promotion.

    We were so out of place – but getting paid $600 a night for 3 sets, despite having enough material for only 2 – that we did it for 2 1/2 months.

    I can’t decide which was more exciting…the fights with the Disco dorks who would come over from the Dance Club side to harass us onstage, or the fights with the bouncers AFTER the show.

    We really tore the place up a few times though.

    I played one night wearing some chicks dress that she wore while working as a waitress at Howard Johnson’s in Henrietta.

    Also, when we were trying to stretch a third set out, I recall playing Sweet Jane for 20+ minutes…and a few Ramones and Eddie and the Hot Rods covers, so we could get paid.

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  3. Jason L. Brown’s avatar

    Another venue that dabbled in the “New Wave” was the Parliament Lounge, a bar attached to (I think) a bowling alley (anyone is welcome to straighten me out on this or any other point – clearly, my RAM is somewhat jammed) on West Henrietta Road. I seem to remember the Press Tones playing there a few times; some of the other bands from the local scene had gigs there too. I also recall this odd little combo from New Zealand called The Drongos.

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  4. Stan the Man’s avatar

    Thanks for the reminder! I scanned my Parliament Lounge flier and posted it.

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  5. Jason L. Brown’s avatar

    Ah, yes, Leisure Lanes. It’s nice to know they’ve lowered their drink prices.

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  6. Simon Ribas’s avatar

    I think Rock & Roll Joel was booking bands at the Parliament, if I remember correctly.

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  7. Jlaben’s avatar

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe that The Cliches and The Chesterfield Kings were the first two bands to play The “New” Parliament Lounge…maybe opening for The Insect Surfers…whoever they were.

    Or maybe it was just the two bands.

    Does that seem right?

    Sometime this weekend, I plan on going through my boxes full of crap from back in the day. I must have every Freetime Magazine issue from 1979-1983 so we can figure out who played when and where…and literally stacks of band posters/fliers, set lists, black & white photos of New Math…etc.

    There was also a pretty funny multi-page color photo layout of what amounted to Scorgies regulars and band members that was in the Sunday Democrat & Chronicle weekend supplement, that I have a few copies of.

    I will enlist Simon or Tom or someone to give me instructions on how to scan all or some of this stuff and get it on to this website.

    I KNEW there was a reason that I saved all of this stuff.

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  8. Brian Goodman’s avatar

    The Kings did play with the insect surfers at the Parliament Lounge!
    It may have been the Kings 1st 45 release party. I kinda remember paying and getting a 45 at the door.
    People were throwing bagels at the Kings!

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  9. Paul Cataldo’s avatar

    I can remember calling the Orange monkey to ask who was playing there that night and Pierre would answer and say “Traxx” TWO FOR 1 in his greek accent

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