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FUZZ FEST '84

FuzzFest84.jpg
Poster courtesy Elan Portnoy

On June 30, 1984 at an uptown NYC nightclub named 240 West, five of Manhattan's best garage/psych bands and one more from Long Island got together for a legendary evening which was billed as FuzzFest '84. You are listening to a radio spot which aired on WNYU in the weeks leading up to the show. In order of appearance the line-up was:
 
                                        The Tryfles
                                    The Cheepskates
                                   The Outta' Place
                                        The Vipers
                                      The Fuzztones
                                     The Mosquitos
 
The following videos from that evening have been posted on Youtube. Bandmember, audience accounts, and photos will be posted below as they are submitted.
 

To hear the entire set of The Cheepskates performing at Fuzz Fest '84 click on any of the tracks below.....

Cheepskates @ Fuzzfest tracks 1 & 2

Cheepskates @ Fuzzfest track 3

Cheepskates@ Fuzzfest trks 4, 5 & 6

Cheepskates @ Fuzzfest tracks 7 & 8

Cheepskates@ Fuzzfest trk 9 Encore

John Fay - Tryfles:
     Of the evening I remember how crowded and how much fun it was. What I really remember though, was being upset with my amp; it was an old Tremolux that would at times lose output power and it chose that night to sound flat.
I think that was the night Bruce Planty proudly spun his newly acquired, insanely rare Ugly Ducklings LP. What a kickoff to the summer of '84!
 
David John Herrera - Cheepskates:
      About a week before the show I bought a US Marine dress coat from a second hand shop on 2nd Ave. So a few days before I asked the others to wear something similar and we all ended up wearing differing types of military coats. I think that was the only time we had a theme to our outfits. We nailed our set and I must have lost five pounds sweating under that jacket.
I also remember some guy jumping onstage during our last song "I'm Crying". He joined in the chorus and on the tape you can hear him caterwauling right to the end.
 
   
Jordan Tarlow - Outta' Place:
     That was the only Outta' Place show which I played a Gibson ES something or other guitar. I had hurled my Vox Starstream VI Teardrop across the room at a previous Dive show at the end of our "Batman" encore. Carlo Robelli of 48th Street fame eventually pieced it all together, although it weighed a ton after that. The next year I found a replacement and still use it to this day. Don't remember much else about the evening other than that the Portnoys had planned and promoted the whole thing.

Shari Mirojnick - Outta' Place:
     I recognize Orin's voice on that recording (on this page.) We used to sit in his bedroom and make these "ads" for our shows that had music in the background. That's how we got to advertise on WFMU. Orin was a genius (I'm sure he still is). As for that night, I remember a few things important to me. I had been really sick with a throat infection for days before, so sick that I ended up quitting smoking cigarettes. The dress I'm wearing, which I still have, was made by Wendy Wild. And it was our last show. Michael (Chandler) had already left the band, but we convinced him to do this last show. If you notice (in the clip) he was pretty subdued that night...relatively speaking, I suppose.
 
Paul Martin - Vipers:
     I contacted Pat (Vipers drummer) about memories of the night. He just remembers wanting to get the fuck out of there after the show. As for me, one look as the camera pans toward me and you might be able to tell I was stoned out of my mind. The only recollection I have is drinking seltzer with lime due to previous consumption of Quaaludes. Boy, I really miss Quaaludes!
  
Ognir - Master of Ceremonies & "Caveman Host:"
   When I think about that night I think "what talent" and how primitive it was. It was strictly Tribal. When I sit here and think about that night the hairs on my arms stand up.
     One thing that sticks out was how hot it was man. I was hanging out in the kitchen with the musicians because there was no food that night and it was cool in there. It was also where the thermostat was and the cheap owner kept coming in and turning the air conditioner off. And as soon as he would leave someone would turn it back on.

Dino Sorbello - Mad Violets:
    The Mad Violets weren't asked to be in FuzzFest even though we were one of the original bands on that scene (1981.) I clearly remember SOMEONE making some sort of comment to the effect that we weren't "good enough." Being a very young person at the time that hurt and I felt left out. Besides, bands that were actually worse than us were included. So FUCK FuzzFest! I should mention that I still had fun that night.

Bill Kelly - WFMU Radio DJ:
    I must be getting f*ckin' old.  I simply don't remember.  Maybe that means I was there and had a GREAT time getting wicked drunk.  Not blind drunk, but still drunk.

Blair Buscareno - Editor of "Teen Scene:"
     Being part of the Long Island crew, I got there quite late.  We'd gone
to see The Mosquitos play an early set at Sparks in Huntington, then 6
of us jumped into my friend Tony's flourescent yellow Bug.  This worked
out quite well, as three of the car's occupants were lovely young ladies
I'd never met before.  Two were in the back with my friend Chris and me
and one had to sit on my lap for the entire ride into the city.
     We got there in time to catch some of The Fuzztones and then see The
Mosquitos again.  I think that might well have been the first time I saw
The Fuzztones, although I wouldn't swear to it.  I can say that I was
pretty blown away by them...And the music in between bands and
afterward.  For that matter, it was incredibly cool seeing all those
people so into it all.  I'd only been to a few garage shows in the city
at that point, but this was the truly WILD one that really baptized me
in the spirit.  For me, this was the true beginning of what I've been
referring to as The Summer of Fuzz ever since.
     If my first experience seeing The Mosquitos in early '83 was a tentative
step towards a life of rock'n'roll rapture, this - even if I didn't
truly know it myself yet...this was the deciding moment.

Tom Miller - Audience member:
    I was there, though I don't think I have much more to say than it was a great show. I'd been to a few garage shows and had seen most of the groups playing there, but it was a kick to have so many garage groups on one bill, especially since this was back before it was normal to have half a dozen bands playing in one night.
   Oh yeah, and I'm still kicking myself for losing the single the Cheepskates were giving away at the door. I had left it at a table where I was sitting with some friends. They didn't realize I left it there and they also left the table. Oh well.

Lach - Legendary NYC antifolk artist:
     I was there and it's true, it was one of the coolest nights in NYC ever (and I've been to over ten thousand music nights in this town!)

Ira Elliot - drummer of the Fuzztones as well as the Bohemian Bedrocks/ Optic Nerve, Lords of the New Surf, and The Headless Horsemen:
      My memories of this show are few and I can't even blame it on any kind of drug use - I was 21 and stone cold sober. Though now, after reading Paul Martin's comment, I kinda wish I'd been in on that Quaalude action. *sigh*
      So anyway what do I actually remember? Let's see, Rudy (Fuzztones singer) was kind of a jerk but that was a merely par for the course. That cool mod orange Ludwig drum set belonged to Andrea from the Outta' Place. They were the drums we used at the band's shared rehearsal space in the music building on 38th and 8th. 
      Oh, and at the end of the night I ran off with the girlfriend of one of the Mosquitos. That I do remember. She was really hot named Jill, bass player from the Cheetah Beats. What a great summer!
      Did I mention that Rudy was kind of a jerk?
 
Mike Sin - Audience member:
Quite nice to see all of the clips from this event. I remember a hot night both in and out of the club. A big deal in my young little life at the time. First time I attended any of those NYC garage-rock "showcase" multi-band bills, and it preceded any visit to The Dive (I'm pretty sure I didn't even know about The Dive at this point.) In addition I met the sweaty Blair Buscareno here, so there's a whole bro-mance angle added to this memory now.

POSTER COURTESY TONY LOW OF THE CHEEPSKATES
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