Mark's Story

Scorgies was a place for music and community. I wasn’t allowed. Luke Warm hated me and I could see why. No one in that joint gave me the time of day. And none of my buddies ever wanted to venture into downtown at the notorious “Scorgies”. I remember driving my buds around town to every lame ass dance place in the burbs until I got fed up and got the complaining pricks out of my car and into mommies bed just before midnight. Not getting laid at 19 will get a kid a little ornery I guess.

Once in awhile I’d go downtown to Andrews Street and just hang out till last call. Later I hooked up with some WITR guys and eventually did a show at the station. I remember the John Cale show since we drove him to the gig in either an AMC Pacer or a Pinto after an on air interview. Saw the Press Tones a lot and Colorblind James and The Ramones and so many Personal Effects Shows. Caught a few of the earlier gigs like The Cramps and New Math. Was a semi-regular in 84-85 for awhile but most of the crew I hung with wasn’t interested in the downtown scene. Eventually I lost a few friends suffering through pitchers and Donkey Kong one night at The Vineyard at Pittsford Plaza.

I remember lusting after Andi and getting hammered with my WITR partner Mike Baldwin. Later I spent some years working with Uncle Roger at WCMF and watching a high school classmate play drums with bands like The Projectiles (Brian Goodman).

But like I said I wasn’t a regular. I watched bands all over town in all sorts of different venues, often with an eye towards getting laid. Scorgies wasn’t about scoring, although I probably stumbled out of the place taking a girl home a few times. For a time I lived pretty close to the place. Often I’d find a place to park (very hard at times) go in for last call and walk the couple of blocks home.

You’d always find a friend in that place and very often some good music. And you’d also find someone in there who’d like to cut you or spit in your drink. I loved it.

From Pee Wee’s notes: “Kevin has moved to New York. He came back to finish off some stuff and do this job. Everyone took their equipment home. Looks like this is really the last one. The last two songs they played were “Whiter Shade of Pale” and “Taking Care of Business”.

Not sure if that last statement is completely true; the tape cuts off 3/4 of the way through a cover of the Cramp’s “Garbage Man.” Kevin always honored his influences…

However, they did do another old cover that night that was especially appropriate, considering Kevin’s exodus to Manhattan… a cover of Del Shannon’s “Runaway”

[audio:http://www.rockinrochester.com/mp3/runaway.mp3]
New Math's Last Gig - 12-28-1984

New Math's last gig

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This next tape was recorded by noted Scorgies soundman Pee wee  on a Maxell XLI-S normal bias cassette tape on a hot summer’s night in July, 1983 (anyone have the exact date for this show?). No other details about this tape, just a note from Pee Wee that right channel was a feed from the sound board and the left channel was from a well-placed room microphone. The song I’m posting is from the close of the set: “Invocation,” from the EP “They Walk Among You”. I’ve mixed the tracks for your (Mono) listening pleasure.

New Math – Invocation: [audio:http://www.rockinrochester.com/mp3/invocation.mp3]

New Math at Scorgies from 7-83

New Math at Scorgies from 7-83

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Don Scorgie was fortunate to have to have a great sound system in the club, and one of the best guys at the mixing board was Alan Paprocki, AKA the legendary Pee Wee (an oxymoronic nickname ‘cuz he was sooo tall). Pee Wee mixed for Personal Effects, Delroy Rebop, the Press Tones, New Math and other national acts. . Fortunately for us, he also ran a line out to a tape deck and made some killer tapes. I’ve been tasked with digitizing the Delroy Rebop & New Math tapes. So, without further delay, here’s a smidgen of New Math live on 3-25-1983:

New Math, Die Trying: [audio:http://www.rockinrochester.com/mp3/dietrying.mp3]

New Math 3-25-83 Scorgies

New Math 3-25-83 Scorgies

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Ever so slightly off-topic, but who besides me fondly remembers WSAY? 1370AM? It was the radio-station that was so bad it was good; so awful it was great? If there ever was such a thing as “underground” radio in Rochester, this was it! You’d be rocking out to, say, anything from Talking Heads to Van Halen, and suddenly a priest and two nuns would start reciting Rosary! Good times!

WSAY: By the 1970s, WSAY had become, in effect, a free-form radio station. Brown had little input into the music played on the station, leaving the choices in the hands of the DJs, who played everything from blues to country to heavy metal, interrupted promptly every night at six for the daily reading of the rosary (one of several paid blocks of time on WSAY).

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Here’s a brief but good Scorgies story.

First just a bit o’ history:  In the late ’70s and early ’80s I was a regular at Scorgies and saw many great shows there. (Good thing the drinking age was 18). It was the center of my friends and my music universe, to be sure. Myself and my college crowd considered ourselves “New Wavers” or at least aficionados of the latest music. We shopped at Record Archive and listened to WUWU, the great Buffalo alternative station, and wore CBGB T-shirts that we bought at House of Guitars.   We saw all the bands; Press tones, New Math (freakin’ trancendental!), Personal Effects (Peggy Fornier had been my high-school Spanish teacher), Chesterfield Kings, etc. I remember a number of times trading insults with the Country Music Rednecks that were going to the Country Warehouse (which shared the same parking area). Oh how they hated us leather-clad kids with mod haircuts and cigs hanging from our lips.

I was even in a very short-lived band with Beth Brown before she was in Absolute Grey. We were called “Seizure Salad”!

As always, I digress. On to the story…

So, one night in early ’82 I was hanging at Scorgies with my friend Lisa Button, and as often happened we were there until they pushed us out the door at two-ish. The bands were finished, and as we were guzzling last-call, a track came on the sound system. It was this mesmerizing, driving song with this great, drony guitar riff. It immediately caught my ear. I said “Wow! Who is this band?”

Lisa replied, “Oh, it’s this new band from England called… (wait for it)…..U2.”

That’s right, she said England.

The song was “I Will Follow.”

I went to Record Archive to find their LP the very next day. That was a lucky twist in-and-of-itself because Island Records US distribution was on strike, and I had to buy “Boy” as an import. $20!!! The import version had completely different cover-art  and was a much nicer package than the US version. It even had one different song. I still have it, and I think it’s worth a few bucks now.

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In the spirit of the Little Rascals, as in, “Hey, let’s put on a show!” now comes your chance to turn that frown upside down, and start cashing in on the baby boomer nostalgia. Instead of just moping to your friends that, “hey, I used to play there,” you can now say, “Hey, I own it!” That’s right, the original temple of it all is up for sale. Anyone want to go in halves?

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I saw the Rochester music review in a recent issue of the City newspaper. It brought back many fond and painful memories and lessons of Rochester music legacy and lore. I was looking for somebody to fill me in on Luke Warm.

I remember him as a delightful character on the scene (during my original duration in it). I was in the Commercials and we played Scorgie’s, usually as an opening act, from 1982 until about 1984 or so. Obviously, I encountered Luke on every occasion. I gotta hand it to this guy. If he was in a band or had any musical ability – HE NEVER TALKED ABOUT IT IN FRONT OF ME – he never said “come check out my band” or anything of the sort. When I read the review on his musical efforts I was really shocked! Maybe I’m stupid, but I was NOT out of the loop in the old days at Scorgie’s…I was there almost every week for about two years straight. How did I miss him? Nobody spoke up, especially not Luke.

The really sad part is, not only was I denied a chance to hear him do his musical bit, but also the other guys in the bands I opened for (especially the members of the group Passenger), just sort of wrote him off as the club’s resident idiot/lush/foolish jester behind his back. So, being very young at the time, just wrote Luke off as a “happy drunk.” I scared him once by acting like he was interfering on my date with the young lady I  was with. The girl and I were there as “friends-only” (as she was probably under-age at the time), but I did kind of a “hey man, step off” gag, and he vanished in the crowd, tail between his legs.  Now, back then,  I could probably beat my way out of a paper bag…if it was wet. Anyway, a couple of the guys from the Clichés or something got a big laugh out of it.

So, I knew that he was very ill by the late 1980’s (when all us new wavers were hard up for gigs and had to settle on playing Schatzie’s) and I learned that he passed away several years ago when it happened. Tragic thing. It made me think real hard and thank God I’m still here. Thanks for bringing the info home to me.

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Closing Time….

The last poster was kind enough to post a couple pics.  In the post, it was mentioned that they weren’t sure when Scorgies closed.  For the record, it was July 9th, 1994.  Technically it was about 4:30AM July 10th.

I Was, sadly, the last person to exit the place and lock the doors for the last time.  I was the last Manager of the vaunted Rochester social landmark known as Scorgies.  Don walked out ahead of me, and I turned the key for the very last time.  It was an extremely sad day for me, and this is really tough.  I don’t really feel like getting in to it right now, but sometime soon when I am in better spirits, and have more time…I’ll return and post some thoughts and stories.

I was deeply saddened, when on November 21st at a dinner for my current job… that old Rochester bars came up.  It started with a Wayne County fellow mentioning the old Dolphin out in Sodus Point.  When I mentioned the good-old days of Scorgies, I was told of the big article in the paper and the upcoming reunion.  That was Friday Nov. 21st at 9pm.  That weekend I went online, and much to my chagrin…I found this site.

This pained me beyond words.  My wife and some close friends witnessed me moping for days.  You see, every 6 months for the past decade, I do a Google search for “Scorgies”.  And you rarely find anything of substance related to our old haunt.  I do it b/c there is one period of my life I reallllly wish I had more connection to.  More old pics, old memoribilia, etc.  For some reason, I collected little, and took even fewer pics.  A lesson I learned that following year in 95.  And from 95 on, I am a total picture nut.  You usually won’t find me far away from at the very least, a disposable camera or my cell camera.

Anyways, somehow, in between the last time I had searched, and the weekend of NOV 21st….ALL OF THIS HAPPENED!!!  And it pains me tremendously, that I missed this reunion.  Was Tommy there?  Did Don and Eileen attend?  Did Shaff or Big Pat come out of the woodwork?  How bout Charlie?  Last I heard, he was in Atlanta.  UGGGGGGGGGGGGH!!

Anyway, I’ll be back.  Just typing this much has made me terribly melancholy.  I miss Luke like you wouldn’t believe, it was hard seeing his pic and reading your rememberances.  I’ll share a bunch of Luke memories, some Don stories, etc…at a later date.

How bout the infamous Elvis Costello story?!?!  Has that made it’s way on to the site anywhere?  How about a copy of the famous Rolling Stone Article, from what, 1983?  As part of my Google searches over the years I have attempted on multiple occasions to contact Rolling Stone to find the article, with no response.  Hell, I’ve even contacted Freetime about 3 times in the hopes of getting copies of Old Scorgies ads…and no one ever gets back to me.

Anyway, please comment, and I will return!

Ox

I was up there for a holiday visit & went by Scorgies to take a photo for posterity.  I don’t know how long it’s been since it closed for the last time, but the 2nd floor windows are broken out.  I shot a couple of panoramic photos & decided to post them as a bookend to the reunion show.  Sort of a reality check.  I’m sure everyone will recall that the further door on the left was the original entrance to the upstairs bar, and the nearer door on the right led to the restaurant side as well as the stairs down to the live room.  Those who were in bands will also recognize the alleyway side entrance where they would load in. 

panoramic view of Scorgies, December 2008

Panoramic views of Scorgies, December 2008 (click to view full size)

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