Tom Kohn from the Bop Shop asked 4D Advertising to develop a site for Scorgies, the old rock and roll club on Andrews Street. He is planning a reunion for November 21 at the German House and he wanted people to be able to share their memories of the place and the many bands that played there. I wrote this short little piece to to kick off the blog on that site and I’m throwing it up here to encourage people to contribute to the site.
Don Scorgie is obviously the key figure in this whole story but probably not in the way you might think. I don’t think he was much of a music fan at least not like I am or most of you are. When I first met him he was behind the bar at street level on Andrews Street. And that fact that he was on that side of the bar had nothing to do with who was doing the drinking.
I was playing drums with New Math at the time and we rehearsed around the corner in the Cox Building on Saint Paul. Geoff Wilson from the Bowery Boys was the elevator operator in this building in later years but it was pretty much deserted when we moved in. We got in the habit of stopping in Don’s place after practice for beer. I never drank too many because I had to ride my bike back home.
Don was sort of an old salt like Popeye the Sailor man. Being next to the river he had nautical theme going with rope railings and a fish net hanging from the ceiling that was just beginning to collect the Spanish moss style dust clusters that became such a fixture here. The guy who rented him the juke box when he opened this place was probably the one who picked out the 45s. It was just generic mid seventies crap. I think Kevin Patrick, who was working as record promo guy at the time, talked Don into stocking the juke box with the good stuff. In later years, it seems Danny Deutsch, who now runs Abilene, was in charge of the tunes and at some point it seemed like every time you walked into that place you heard Bobby Darin’s “Mack The Knife”. But it wasn’t Don calling the musical shots.
One night after rehearsal Don took us down to the basement at Scorgies where he had just installed the first section of green indoor outdoor carpeting on the step up section next to the bar. It was the first time we had set foot in what people think of as Scorgies. He had a few picnic benches down there and he told us he was planning on setting up an indoor putting green. This was going to get people down in the basement of a century old building? We laughed at the idea.
I remember us, and it was probably Kevin doing most of the talking, trying to convince Don that what he had here, an empty room with no chairs or tables, was the perfect rock and roll club. All he needed was a stage and a sound system. So Don built the plywood stage and he eventually rented a sound system from Mark Theobald. Mark mixed the bands if they didn’t have their own guy. New Math was the first band to play here but I had already left the band at that point and was playing with the Hi-Techs.
This is just the way I remember it. That doesn’t mean this is really the way it went down.
I feel like the the guy at the hotel in tropical vacation spots who is out there first thing in the morning drying off the outdoor furniture for the day’s guests. We have had at least one shower a day lately and then it gets nice. We like to start the day on the deck with the newspaper and coffee so I dry off the table and chairs each day. We have managed to slow things down and it feels like summer.
We made a racket in our neighborhood today by running the electric drill in the backyard all afternoon. I put a wire brush attachment in it and sanded off the old ivy that was growing on our concrete block house when we moved in. We pulled the ivy down a couple of years ago but the woody vine are tenacious.
It sounded like our neighbor down the hill was downing some work too but every time we think that we find out later that it is just their kid practicing his skateboard moves.
Duane Sherwood sent this shot of our neighborhood poolup today. He has a lot of his Rorschach photography on Click2vu.
Steve Hoy asked to see some photos of the tile house that I mentioned in yesterday’s post so I found a few in emails from Bill Jones. One is the back of the house from last summer and the other shows the recent work on the front of the house. We saw the project in person last last night but it was after dark before we got there so we turned the car’s headlights on to check it out.
Peggi was driving on the way home and we went through a sobriety checkpoint on 590 South. The Irondequiot police are big on these things and we have been through them before. We pulled up to the checkpoint and rolled down the windows. One guy in a uniform shined a flashlight in our eyes and said, “This is a sobriety checkpoint. Pull up ahead.” We drove slowly up to the next group of police. The blue and red lights on the tops of the police cars were all flashing. They had pulled someone off the road to our right and the driver was standing on one foot with his arms out to his side.
We head been sitting around Bill and Geri’s table for a few hours talking about the art shows Geri had seen in NYC and the java scripts that we had been wrestling with for the last few days. Peggi and I each had two solar power beers. The cop at the next position said, “Where have you been tonight?” It can’t possibly be any of his business. Is this even legal to just start interrogating someone out of the blue? Peggi answered, “Brighton”. “Have you had anything to drink?” Peggi said no and I echoed. The guy wasn’t done though. Next question, “Where are you headed?” It is none of your god damned business. Peggi said, “to our home around the corner.” “OK. Have a good night.”
There’s a Press Tones show tonight at Abilene. I don’t think we will make it but you never know. We are headed over to Bill and Geri’s to see the progress they have made on their tiled house. I see a lot of people cover their original wood siding with aluminum but not Bill and Geri. They have been slowly applying all shapes and sizes of colorful tile to the side of their house.
We worked on the Scorgie’s site for Tom Kohn today. Tom is planning a Scorgies Reunion show at the German House in November with some of the bands that used to play there. New Math, Personal Effects, Absolute Grey and The Press Tones are on the bill. We have been setting up a site for Tom that will hopefully run itself. People should be able to post stories, pictures, posters, mp3 files and videos to the site without 4D Advertising wrestling with all the little pieces.
Today we spent a good bit of the day getting this slideshow script to automatically size and post thumbnails without distorting them and also size and post larger files that can viewed in a Lightbox slide show. The Press Tones sent in a poster from one of their gigs that was actually a poster that I made for our band, The Hi-Techs. We played this date with them opening. I hadn’t seen ithe poster in a while.
Dodd, Williams, Schneider, Williams, McClellan, Minor and Finch playing for Holy Trinity basketball team.
I made a birthday card for my mom today and I went rummaging through a bunch of old photos to find one to use on her card. I found one of her working as a cashier in my uncle’s (her brother) grocery store and I scanned it for her card. I did a painting a long time ago of my uncle in his store. I worked there too although never on the cash register. I was a stock boy. I used to take cream pies into the cooler and eat them when he left the store. He came back one time and caught me sitting on top the milk crates holding a whole banana cream pie up to mouth.
I also came across this old photo of the Holy Trinity basketball team from about that same time period. I looked as geeky as these basketball players. I had to do some rumaging to find both of the painting links in this entry. They are old paintings and there is no logical internet route to them anymore other than typing the url. I’ve gotten in the habit of breaking the links to old stuff but leaving it out there, online for times like this.
I installed the Lightbox software on Julia Nune’s site and then on this blog last night. It shows the photos in a pop up box on top of the existing page. I’m happy with this elegant solution. I also put 1pixelout’s audio player on Julia’s site and I like that too so I installed the WordPress plugin here. (updated since)
Twenty years ago today we were preparing to head up to the mountains for Pete and Shelley’s 8.8.88 party. Pete spray painted signs that greeted us on the way in to their summer home in the woods. At the time it was still a summer home because by Fall they were headed back to New Orleans to spend the winter in down home style. I listened to few Pete LaBonne tracks and picked one from that period to post here.
Bill Jones has set up a Pete LaBonne shopping cart that will allow you to purchase twenty years of Pete LaBonne tracks for 50 cents a piece. Peggi and I still have a little work to do to engage the store. In the meantime, here is “Who Dropped That Pin” from the cd entitled “High Time”. In most cases, Pete plays all the instruments and recorded everything in a small small shack on their property called the “Hodge Podge Lodge”.
In this case there are no instruments, just voice.
How does Abilene get to have bands outside every night of the week in downtown Rochester? I’m not complaining, I’m just wondering. When New Math rehearsed in the Cox building on Saint Paul, we would get complaints from people all over downtown. Maybe it was our music. Anyway I’m happy to listen to bands out back at Abilene’s and I can only guess that there is just nobody around in this part of town to complain.
Nobody that is, except the NV clubgoers and the over the top securtity team from the hip hop club around the corner. These guys look like the Guardia Civil in Franco’s day. White chunky skinheads with pirate style hats, radios and handcuffs hanging off their belts. There were about fifteen of them out in front of Abilene the other night. I didn’t know whether to feel safe or be afraid.
I didn’t come up with that word but I am living the concept. Today we did a little bit of 4D work, and then a few home repairs, took a walk in the woods and a swim at the pool. We’re watching our neighbor’s cat while they are on a real vacation so we just raided their movie collection to top it all off.
It has rained a lot up near Lake Ontario. We have had some rain everyday for the last few weeks. The frogs are digging this weather, the mushrooms too. We have a bright red mushroom in our backyard and some funky things out front. We took a walk in the woods and found all these exotic formations.
We were going to go down to New York and then we decided to go up to the mountains but we didn’t leave on Saturday so we talked about leaving on Sunday and then we decided to stay right here instead. Peggi suggested pitching a tent in the back yard. We might do that. There’s too much rigmarole involved with trying to get out of town. It’s much easier to stay right here.
Last night was First Friday again and Dick Storms had an art opening at his store, Record Archive. The whole store has always been like a funky art piece but for this occasion he set aside some wall space on the ramp that leads to the vinyl pit to show his rock artwork for bands in the late sixties and early seventies. Dick did the lightshow for Quicksilver Messenger Service back in the day. The photo above shows Dick’s album cover art for the Rochester band, Rain. It is a three color silkscreen sticker that the band stuck on the lp and on surfaces all over town. Hermie from the Bug Jar was at the opening and he said his sister had one of these records. Dick’s art work is is comfortable like Robert Crumb or late Philip Guston. His daughter, Margaret, helped hang the show. It should be be up for a month or so.
Over at RoCo we fell for the the three guys from Syracuse, Avalanche Collective, who set up camp in empty urban lots and videotape their adventures. The photo above, of the three of them, was lit by the car batteries in their wagon.
It has been total Julia immersion for us working on Julia Nunes’s web site. She’s had thousands of hits while we set the thing. People were signing her guest book as we were installing it. We worked until six or so and then we headed down to the pool. It was beautiful there and relaxing. We watched for John Gilmore to drive by and when he did we went home to meet him for dinner. We ate on the deck and headed off to see Julia at Alilene. She was great. She did this song about breaking up with her boyfriend that had the line, “I’m going out to get my mind off you”. It was like an Irish drinking song.
I couldn’t hear her talking between songs (and that’s my favorite part) so I said, “louder”. I was standing next to Dick Storms and he seconded my suggestion, “This is an older crowd. We’re all deaf in here.”
I went up to Julia on her break and waited for an opening to say hi. She was surrounded by admirers. I said, “Hi Julia. I just thought I would say hi. I’m Paul” and she looked at me and smiled sarcastically sweet and went on talking to her friends. I had to interrupt her again to say, “Paul from the website.” And she asked if Debbie was around but she meant Peggi. So we met. We love Julia.
I managed to ride my bike home from Wegmans this morning with a pretty big watermelon under my arm. I made a fruit salad and we slugged it out in 4D’s office. Skipped the pool today and tried to make some progress on a few web sites. We talked about driving down to NYC this weekend and then we considered heading up to the mountains but we didn’t make any big decisions. Peggi made pesto for dinner and we got back to work.
We were planning on hearing Frank De Blase’s talk at the George Eastman House tonight. “Peel and Squeal Appeal” Va va voom! Beach bunnies, bathing beauties, hotrod honeys—Frank De Blase goes beyond the norm to photograph the female form but work comes first.
Margaret Explosion had a gig tonight at the Little Theatre Cafe and Peggi and I were running late, I should say later than usual. We should have been playing by the time we got there but no big deal. Peggi’s sister left LA yesterday, just before the earthquake, to spend some time with her mom so they both showed up for the gig and we started talking. I went up to sit down and play and I realized that I had forgotten my sticks. That’s pretty bad. The band started without me and I went home to pick them up. I took my espresso along for the ride.
Peggi and I had been playing in the basement the night before and I found the sticks in a dark spot. I headed back to the Little and ran into Mike Allen at the door. He was in my class at RL and we chatted for a bit while the band played without a drummer. They sounded pretty good.
The really weird thing is I had the first page of a pdf of scans of our yearbook open on my computer at home and Mike was one of the people on that first page. He was reminding me that his brother was the drummer in the “Root of All Evil”, a band that I used to see all the time at Panorama Bowl. And they played our high school as well but it was always more fun over at Panorama Bowl. They covered the bowling lanes with plywood and about every twenty minutes a fight would break out on the dance floor. Most of the bands of that day covered the Rascals and Smokey, Mitch Ryder and even Barbara Lewis’s “Hello Stranger”.
I volunteered to make the little badges that people wear at the reunion. That’s my favorite part, looking at the old photos. Here’s a photo of Frank Paolo, who was also in my class, in a post he sent out to our class.
It seemed everybody was making a big deal about the New Yorker cartoon with the Obamas burning the flag. They could just have easily been disposing of the sacred flag in the proper manner. When Jeff Munson and I were leaving the VFW (beersRcheap) last night we spotted this odd deposit box for flags. We had never seen one before. It looks like someone has defaced a US Mailbox and then written this note on the side reminding people to not put their brand new flags in here.
How did they get away with both of these things? And thirdly, according to usa-flag-site.org “The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning”. I will have to add this photo to my “Funky Signs” section.
When I was in the country band, “The On-Fours’, we played the Elks Clubs, Moose Lodges, Eagle’s Clubs, American Legions and VFWs in all those southern Indiana towns. The VFWs were the darkest and the smokiest and there was the least amout of dancing in there. I did drum duty in this band for a couple of years. Dave Mahoney took my place when we moved to Rochester.
4D Advertising is surly the only design company still doing sheet music in Rochester, New York. Tony Stortini brought two new songs over this morning for us to do cover illustrations for. The first, is an old world, romantic number for violin and piano is called “Hearts of Gold” and the other, a lively number for piano and horns, is called “Tippy Tap Joe”. That one is dedicated to Tony’s brother Nunzio who loved to dance the Jitterbug. Tony wrote the music and had someone from the Eastman School of Music transcribe it on his computer. Once it was transcribed this guy had his computer play it back like only a machine can and then he burned these two songs to a cd. The sound is something like the carousal at Sea Breeze.
I had a meeting tonight with the committee that is working on our high school reunion. We met at the VFW in Fairport where we will be having the event. Someone from our class is a member here. The place is comfortable and funky. We’ll rock this place.
We read the paper on the deck, worked in the yard, swam at the pool, played horseshoes and had dinner across the street at Rick and Monica’s. Rick cooked salmon on cedar planks and he made rice with cilantro and lime. We brought the salad. Monica made a blueberry pie. I told Rick that I had lost my jackknife. (I think it was at the theater during Hellboy) He went upstairs and came down with a black Swiss Army knife with the Kodak logo on it that he bought at the garage sale they had at our house after the previous owner died. He gave it to me so it is back where it belongs. We played with Rick’s new iPod Touch. I previewed some of our recent web pages. It was a perfect Sunday. Now I ‘m boning up on best web practices at Apple’s site. Gotta make sure our pages work on all of Apple’s hot new devices.
We started last evening at the Village Gate with extreme entertainment from Watkins and the Rapiers who were playing outdoors on the patio. We had planned to meet Rick and Monica there for a bite to eat but we got there too late for that and they didn’t seem to mind. Rick had already celebrated his last day at work with his fellow employees and then met Monica there. He asked if I could drive his car home so he could keep celebrating.
After their set Peggi and I headed over to the Public Market for Latin Night. They had a great turnout, mostly Puerto Ricans and us. Unless I’m missing something, Puerto Ricans do a lot better job of mixing the races than we do.
Our final stop of the evening was Abilene where a band with a lot of horns and no vocalist was playing on the back deck. Peggi and I both ordered a Scottish style ale in a can called “Old Chub” and talked to a Ron Stackman who had just returned from Stockholm. He told us he had seen Patti Smith perform there and she played the worst clarinet he had ever heard. We headed back to the Village Gate to pick up Ricks car. It is a stick shift Subaru and it was a lot of fun to drive. I followed Peggi home down Culver. It took me about half the trip to find the volume control for the stereo so I could turn it down. Rick likes Americana singer songwriter stuff. I this one lyric stuck with me. She went to school while I hung around. I ain’t never gonna leave my home town”. I was thinking of me and Peggi.
We did a little yard work today, mostly cleaning up after ourselves, and opened the windows so we could hear our stereo in the back yard. It rained for bit so I cme in to work on some web pages. I called Bill Jones for tech support. I’ve been doing this since the day I met him back at Publisher’s Workshop. I will never catch up to Bill.
Party Shuffle in iTunes was cookin’. The eighteen minute “Little House I Used To Live In’ from 1969’s Burnt Weenie Sandwich came up with Sugercane Harris’s violin solo. I remember learning the Art Tripp drum parts with Brad Fox. And then I remembered that someone broke in to the house Dave Mahoney and I lived in while we were out tripping somewhere in Bloomington. When we got back the stereo was gone along with our copy of “Burnt Weenie” which we left on the turntable. Th empty album jacket was still there. And then I put it all together that that was “the little house I used to live in”. This place was tiny. It was the size of single car garage. The bed was in the living room. There was tiny kitchen, just big enough to make peanut butter sandwiches and Progresso Minestrone soup, and a shower.
“American Gangster”, from Netflix, is waiting for us in the living room.
The whole time we were working on the stone wall out back I kept looking at the other end of our yard where, according to the neighbors, some Bosnians rebuilt the stone wall before we moved in. I can’t imagine how they did this but it puts our efforts to shame.
Rich and Andrea gave me a green, long sleeve t-shirt that had “Treehugger” written on the front. I wore it to Abeline on Olga’s birthday. Bobby Henrie & The Goners were playing. I was talking to Hermie from the Bug Jar and some guy came up to me and said, “You don’t have to wear that shirt. I could have spotted you a mile away”. He laughed and I laughed but it seemed kind of odd. And then a woman standing nearby said, “I am a treehugger. Have you ever hugged a tree?” I said no but I actually have. It was in jest but I remember the feeling.
When we were at Peggi’s high school reunion a few weeks ago two people told us we looked organic. This seemed sort of odd to us. We had never heard anyone refer to people as “organic”. Peggi wondered if it was the lack of hair dye or make-up and I thought maybe it was my shirt not being tucked in. But we really have no idea.
We finished our stone wall this evening. We started this project back in May. A few weeks went by when we were unable to get out there but it was a bigger project than we realized. Fitting the stones so they don’t wobble, keeping the two over one and one over two rule in mind, checking the level from time to time and just lifting these things only to find one in every five or so fit was a lot. It kind of looks like a mad man did it. But hey, it’s organic.
We’ve had over four inches of rain this week and that’s about all anyone around here can talk about. At least that is case with our neighbors. We haven’t left the hood in a while. We took a walk down Hoffman to see how “the fool on the hill” made out with all the rain. He was out in the road at the bottom of his driveway shoveling mud. Why the town ever gave that guy the green light to build on that steep slope is still a mystery.
It’s not not like it has been raining all the time, it has all come in these incredible tropical like downpours accompanied with thunder and lightning. We’ve lost power twice. We woke up to thunder this morning around three and shut the computers down ourselves before they got spiked.