Record Archive has been celebrating their 40th anniversary all year. As well they should be. Just how could a record store stay in business that long? There was some sort of shindig going on there this weekend and we made a point to stop by. Bands were playing in the back room and everything in the store was forty-percent off.
We don’t really buy records anymore but we had a short stack of albums and a bag of CDs left over from our summer garage sale so we traded them in and wound up with forty-five dollars in store credit.
We wandered around for an hour or so looking at the new vinyl and CDs and t-shirts and the mind-numbing amount of tchotchkes. We ran into acquaintances in every isle. Someone was buying every cd in Rolling Stones’ Top 100 of All Time and a woman shopping next to him was asking him why he didn’t just download the music? The checkout lines were a city block long.
Former employees Karen and Doug and Lenay and Chris and Stan were all there. Bands, made up current employees, took turns on the stage. Jason Smay, JD McPherson’s drummer, was playing with his son on guitar. Deb Jones blew everyone away with her stellar version of “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”
We had a beer in the back room and we tried to buy a used designer floor lamp. It was $125 but we couldn’t figure out how to turn it on. We asked the owners, Dick and Alayna, and they couldn’t figure it out either. We shouldn’t have bothered them, it was way too busy.
So we turned our attention to turntables and books and box sets. We picked up some incense and some small pocket pads and cd of Jack Kerouac reading. I ran into my niece, looking at the used clothing, and I told her to pick something out and let us buy it with our credit but we never saw her again.
Somewhere at front end of that forty years Record Archive had a record label as well. Here’s a 1982 45 rpm single from the Archive Records label by the Hi-Techs.
Buffalo, like Detroit, knows how to decay. There are so many beautiful old buildings in downtown Buffalo it is sort of unfair to single out this image but there is no denying the city has seen better days. The restored buildings, like the beautiful art deco Hotel Lafayette, defiantly offer hope that the city may someday return to its glory days.
We were reminded that the restaurant we ate at on Chippewa was only blocks form the Continental, a club we played monthly gig at in the early eighties. Back then hookers walked the street and the club got so down the owner, Bud, had some German Shepards living in the building. One of the last times we played there he had someone shovel the shit off the stage with a snow shovel before we setup our equipment.
I’d like to link to the Bootlickers’ “Bus To Buffalo” but I couldn’t find it online.
Brian Williams was talking about all the gigs he’s done over the years with John Mooney and Bob Henrie. He was saying how he wished he had taken the time to jot down the the specifics of each gig. Tom Whitmore from Watkins and the Rapiers was there. He lives in Geneseo and Brian asked him if he remembered a place called Gentleman Jim’s. I said I had played there with New Math and someone stole Gary Trainer’s guitar after the gig. Brian said he was on that same bill playing with the John Mooney band. It seems like I have always know Brian but I guess not.
Let’s see, I played in a working C&W band in Bloomington, Indiana and then a New Wave band in Rochester called “New Math”. Both of those lasted a couple of years and then I started playing in a band called the Hi Techs which sort of morphed into Personal Effects. Those bands lasted for most of the eighties and somewhere in the nineties we started playing as Margaret Explosion. Time flies. Tonight we play at the Little Theater Café.
The surge of rush hour traffic is still outbound when the work day ends in Rochester. Empty lofts are being converted and empty nesters are coming back but most of downtown is still pretty much a ghost town at night. Less a ghost town than it was in the Scorgie’s days but still pretty hostile. State Street near the old four corners is particularly forlorn so the new Tala Vera California style Mexican restaurant/bar/nightclub is almost like a mirage.
We were there kind of late on Saturday night and there was only one other couple in the dining room. The place looks beautiful and the empty stage looked inviting. There is a sound system in place, a piano and oriental rug on the stage and a drum set in the corner. The new restaurant lets you bring in your own wine with no corkage fee until January one so we brought a bottle of Spanish red and our jalapeño appetizer was so hot we drank it fast. Their tortilla soup was delicious as were the dishes we split.
A laptop on the other side of the room was playing the kind of guitar driven, tight snare jazz that drives us crazy so when the other couple left we asked the the owner if we could plug our ipod in. We had just been listening to a Margaret Explosion gig from a few weeks ago and we picked up right where we left off in the car. It was just like being at home in a five star restaurant. We had two Christmas shows to go to and I wished the owner good luck on the way out. I do hope he can bring people downtown to his cool spot.
Watkins & the Rapiers were in full Xmas drag when we showed up at the Tango Café and the place was packed. The band took a break while Scott, accompanied by Steve Piper on guitar, did a beautiful song of his called “Stars at Christmas”. His lyric, “Walk down each street as if it’s yours,” is one hell of an image.
The Christmas season wouldn’t be right without Bob Henrie and Goners take on the season. So we packed up and squeezed in to Abilene for their rockin’ last set. Bob Cooper was sitting in with the band on piano. Peggi bought her red Farfisa from him about thirty years ago.
Peggi plays Farfisa organ on this Hi-Techs chestnut, “Screamin’ You Head.”
Amy Kawabata, a fourth year animation student at RIT, asked Margaret Explosion to put some music to her newest film. She’s planning on entering the project in the Ottawa Film Fest and possibly the Brooklyn Film Fest where Duane Sherwood’s video to one of our songs, 4AM, caused a sensation a few years ago.
Peggi stopped out to see her mom last night and they were talking about her mom’s wedding which was very small, just the groom’s parents (Peggi’s paternal grandparents). Peggi’s mom expressed some displeasure that her father was attending to another woman and wasn’t able to make his daughter’s wedding. Then Peggi’s mom jumped the rails and said “Of course, you and Paul weren’t there either because you were to busy”. Peggi said, “Mom, I wasn’t even born”. And then they both had a good laugh.
Steve Lippincott, who lives in Portland and is working on a story about Personal Effects and the Rochester scene, knew that we knew the guys in MX-80 so he sent us some stuff he found on a bit torrent site. One cd was MX-80 Live in the back room at Record Archive when it was over on Mount Hope. The show was broadcast live on WRUR in 1980. It sounded amazing. Dick Storms interviews the band at the end.
The other MX-80 cd that Steve sent was from the night after at Scorgies. The Hi-Techs opened the show and MX tore up the place. It sounds great too and it also sounds pretty familiar. It was made from my cassette tape recording of the night. In fact between the “Theme From Sisters” and MX-80’s classic, “I Walk Among Them” you can hear Bill Jones talking to me as I manned the tape machine. He was having a problem with one of his presses. Bill printed the cover to the Hi-Techs first single on Dick Storm’s “Archive Records” label. You can also hear Martin Edic exclaim, “I’m going up front!”
Jeff Spevak from the Democrat & Chronicle, Michelle from Freetime and Frank DeBlase from City newspaper all called today wanting to talk about the November 21st’ Scorgie’s Reunion. When I say “talk” I really mean they were looking for usable quotes. Jeff wanted a funny story because everyone else had one. I kind of didn’t answer that one even though I could think of a few. I did put put about fifty Polaroids from Scorgies days from those days up on the Scorgies site this afternoon.
Robert Slide sent this photo to us this morning. He played bass in New Math when I was in that band. I think he took this photo when the Hi-Techs played with New Math at Scorgie’s. There’s only about ten days left before the show. We had a rehearsal yesterday afternoon but we still haven’t been able to get throught the forty five minute set we have planned. We have two Margaret Explosion gigs between now and then. Ken Frank was suggestting that we try a few of the Personal Effects songs at those gigs.
I obsessed over the leak in our skylight for the last three days. It took me that long to pinpoint where the water is getting in. It’s a Velux window and it came with the house. They wrapped the wood frame with metal and had to bend it around the corners. They cut the top part to make the corner and stuck a tiny rubber gasket in there. Water rolls down the edge of the window, on top of the frame and when it hits that corner it builds up and finds its way through the rubber gasket into the window frame. And then rolls down the rafters out on to the ceiling where it turns the plaster mushy. It was a half-assed design held for a while and then gave out. If we get a warm spell I plan to take the window out and re-frame the opening. I’m hoping to find a better solution for the metal cladding than the one Velux came up with.
The deer around here are on a high protein diet gobbling up the acorns that are all over our lawn.
I wrote a piece this afternoon on the Hi-Techs and posted it on the Scorgies site. And I talked to Martin Edic on the phone about doing a song with us at the reunion. That conversation will be our rehearsal.
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.
Someone asked if we had seen Kevin Patrick’s “So Many Records, So Little Time” entry on the Hi-Techs. We hadn’t. That’s because Kevin is still experimenting with two sites (Blogspot and Tumbir) so if you want to stay up to date on all he has posted you will have to check two links for the time being. I like his Tumbir layout better because the play button for the songs is right next to the copy so you can play it while you read the entry. I’m sure he will figure this all out. I put links to both of his locations in the right hand column for the time being.
I really love this site and have been checking it out everyday but was only going to one link so I missed his entry on Screamin’ You Head. We hadn’t got around to digitizing this single ourselves so it was good to see and hear it in its digital shoes.
Those are Peggi’s eyes on the cover and she sang and played Farfisa organ, Ned Hoskin played guitar, Martin Edic played bass and I played drums. Dwight Glodell produced this.