Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Ritz - NYC!

Growing up in Jersey in the 80's was a great time!  Every weekend my buddies and I would hop a train (or drive when we could) to NYC and catch a show at the legendary RITZ!

The Ritz was locaed at 119 E 11th Street between 4th and 3rd Ave in the East Village.  It was a weird residential street, with this big, loud club stuck right in the middle of the block!

The Ritz would always books the new wave/underground bands that we heard on WLIR radio.  It felt like we lived there between 85-87!

I am starting to compile a list of shows that I saw here (I still have some stubs!).  So far, I can only list a few:

5-11-85  -  Einstuerzende Neubauten
6/21/86  -  Replacements
7/11/86  -  Modern English
7/31/86   -  Cramps
10/23/86  -  Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
11/22/86  -  Billy Bragg
12/26/86  -  Beastie Boys
3/21/87  -  Hoodoo Gurus
4/24/87  -  Mission UK

I went to college out of state in the fall of 1987, so my trips back were very infrequent.  The Ritz as I knew it, had it's last show on Saturday April 1st, 1989 and closed it's doors at that location.

It then renamed itself the "New Ritz" and moved to the old Studio 54 (yes, the epic disco club) location at 254 W 54th Street and had the first show (the Radiators) on Thursday, April 6th.   Although this was a very cool building/location, the 119 E 11th location was by far the best.

I remember just hanging out before the bands would come on watching the huge video screen over the stage.  They would always play cartoons, strange organic, and computer generated content to the music of The The, Big Audio Dynamite and other "alt" bands from the mid 80's.  And who could forget the huge nuclear bomb hanging from the ceiling!  Such a great venue.

I don't have any pics of the Ritz (outside or inside).  So, if there are any other Ritz fans, please post them here or send them to me and I will post them.

Advert for the U2 show at the Ritz - March 17/18, 1982

Need a walk down memory lane?  I have compiled the best list of known shows at the original Ritz.  Have a ticket stub to a show I don't have listed?  Please let me know!

5/1/80 RITZ OPENS!!!
6/14/80 Plasmatics
11/25/80 Rockpile
11/30/80 XTC
12/6/80 U2 First US date
3/8/81 Kraftwerk
3/26/81 The Jam
4/8/81 Kraftwerk
5/5/81 Splitz Enz
5/15/81 PIL
5/26/81 The Jam
6/28/81 Squeeze
6/29/81 Squeeze
7/23/81 The Cure
7/24/81 The Cure
8/2/81 Iggy Pop
8/3/81 Kraftwerk
9/25/81 Birthday Party
10/8/81 Tom Velarire (Television)
10/30/81 Siouxsie & the Banshees
10/31/81 Siouxsie & the Banshees
11/17/81 Frank Zappa
11/18/81 New Order
11/18/81 New Order
11/20/81 U2
11/21/81 U2
11/22/81 U2
12/17/81 Misfits
1/22/82 Depeche Mode First US Date
1/23/82 Depeche Mode
3/17/82 U2
3/18/82 U2
4/13/82 Ted Nugent
4/18/82 Mike Oldfield
5/3/82 Graham Parker
5/7/82 Depeche Mode
6/10/82 Marianne Faithful
6/15/82 Pointer Sisters
6/18/82 Bauhaus
6/19/82 Bauhaus
7/1/82 Average White Band
8/27/82 Cheap Trick
9/1/82 Black Flag
9/26/82 Ozzy Osbourne
10/25/82 Vaity 6
10/26/82 Gary Numan
11/25/82 Peter Gabriel
11/28/82 Stray Cats
12/7/82 Phil Collins
12/9/82 Iggy Pop
3/24/83 Depeche Mode
4/6/83 Nick Lowe & Paul Carrick
4/8/83 The Cure
4/30/83 REM
5/8/83 The Cure
5/18/83 REM
5/27/83 Fixx
5/28/83 Fixx
7/9/83 UB40
8/4/83 The Cure
8/5/83 The Cure
10/3/83 Michael Stanley
10/14/83 Graham Parker
11/23/83 Eric Clapton
12/28/83 Manowar
4/17/84 Utopia   /Visitor
4/26/84 Gang of Four
6/26/84 Marillion
6/30/84 Steel Pulse
8/9/84 Sisters of Mercy
9/2/84 Urban Blight
9/9/84 The Sisters of Mercy
9/9/84 Black Flag
9/10/84 Jane Siberry
10/3/84 Husker Du
10/12/84 Ministry
10/26/84 Beastie Boys
11/21/84 Hanoi Rocks
12/8/84 Red Hot Chili Peppers
12/27/84 Ramones
1/17/85 Chuck Berry
2/8/85 Berastie Boys
2/25/85 Sting         SOLO FIRST SHOW
2/26/85 Sting
2/27/85 Sting
4/13/85 Nik Kershaw
4/19/85 Scandal
5/11/85 Eubstyrzende Neubauten
6/7/85 Sisters of Mercy
6/17/85 Gregg Allman
7/1/85 the Power Station
7/5/85 Redds and the Boys
9/17/85 Mountain
9/21/85 Cocteau Twins
9/23/85 Cocteau Twins
9/27/85 Slayer
9/29/85 Shriekback 
10/2/85 Love & Rockets
10/3/85 Midnight Oil
10/11/85 The Neats
10/12/85 Saga Shy Talk
10/14/85 The Tomboys
10/17/85 Duane Eddy and the Ray Beats
10/17/85 Duane Eddy with the Raybeats
10/18/85 Fats Domino
10/19/85 Nick Lowe
10/31/85 Fishbone
10/31/85 Red Hot Chili Peppers
11/7/85 The Damned
11/14/85 Nils Lofgren

11/15/85 Nils Lofgren
11/22/85 Adrian Bellew
11/29/85 Til Tuesday
12/6/85 Cult
12/21/85 Motorhead
12/26/85 They Might Be Giants
1/16/86 The Residends
1/24/86 The Dictators
1/26/86 Dickies
1/27/86 Jerry Garcia
1/28/86 Jerry Garcia
2/28/86 The Damned
4/4/86 Venom
4/5/86 Voiviod
4/23/86 The Allman Brothers
4/26/86 Lords of the New Church
5/3/86 Fishbone
5/16/86 The Del Lords
5/23/86 Swans
5/24/86 Wendy O Williams
5/27/86 Samhain
6/14/86 Anthrax
6/14/86 Exodus
6/21/86 Replacements
7/10/86 Fixx
7/11/86 Modern English
7/14/86 Samhain
7/14/86 Celtic Frost
7/17/86 Lou Reed
7/18/86 Let's Active
7/19/86 The Church 
7/31/86 Cramps
8/1/86 Cramps
8/8/86 Southside Johnny &  the Asbury Jukes
8/15/86 Psychic TV
8/22/86 Feelies
8/28/86 Blow Monkeys
8/29/86 Chris Spedding
9/5/86 Weather Update and Mahavishnu Orchestra with John McLaughlin
9/18/86 Sly & Robbie & the Taxi Gang featuring Yellowman
9/19/86 Bodeans Ten-Ten
9/20/86 Circle Jerks
10/3/86 Robert Gordon
10/23/86 Nick Cave & Bad Seeds
10/31/86 Dead Boys
11/1/86 Robyn Hitchcokc & The Egyptians/ Beat Rodeo
11/2/86 Nick Cave & Bad Seeds
11/7/86 Ramones
11/13/86 Iggy Pop
11/14/86 Richard Lloyd
11/14/86 Iggy Pop
11/15/86 Gene Love Jezebel
11/22/86 Billy Bragg
11/28/86 Fishbone
12/3/86 Charlie Watts
12/7/86 Slayer
12/12/86 Red Hot Chili Peppers
12/13/86 Lone Justice
12/19/86 Jason & The Scorchers
12/26/86 Beastie Boys
12/27/86 Bad Brains
12/29/86 Cramps
12/30/86 Cramps
12/31/86 Cramps
1/7/87 Lou Reed
1/17/87 Bad Brains
1/23/87 Wasp Saxon
1/30/87 Dave Edmunds
1/31/87 Dave Edmunds
2/5/87 Human League
2/7/87 Human League
2/14/87 Peter Murphy
2/22/87 Slayer
2/26/87 Julian Cope
2/28/87 Mightly Lemondrops
2/28/87 The Chameleons UK with the Mighty Lemon Drops
3/21/87 Hoodoo Gurus
4/18/87 The Dead Boys
4/24/87 Mission UK
4/25/87 Oingo Boingo
5/1/87 Buthole Surfers
5/3/87 Wiseblood
5/14/87 World Party
5/22/87 The Godfathers
5/30/87 Fuzzbox

6/2/87 The Cult
6/20/87 He Bear
6/26/87 The Saints with Faith No More
7/14/87 Voivoid
7/15/87 New Model Army
7/17/87 Andy Summers
7/25/87 Fishbone
8/11/87 Cure
9/10/87 Ramones
9/11/87 Ramones
9/19/87 Hoodoo Gurus
9/25/87 Hooters
10/3/87 Marillion
10/4/87 Warren Zevon / X
10/17/87 Husker Du
10/23/87 Guns n' Roses
11/6/87 Jesus & Mary Chain
11/8/87 The Cure
11/21/87 The Neville Brothers
12/27/87 Fishbone
12/29/87 Cramps
1/2/88 Ramones
1/16/88 Ministry
2/2/88 Guns n' Roses
2/28/88 White Lion
3/6/88 Motorhead
4/1/88 Blondie
4/9/88 Gaye Bykers on Acid
4/22/88 Peter Murphy
4/29/88 They Might Be Giants
5/5/88 The Alarm
5/7/88 Gwar
5/7/88 Danzig
5/12/88 Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush
6/30/88 Gwar
7/20/88 Iggy Pop
7/23/88 John Mayall
7/29/88 Divinyls
7/29/88 Jeffrey Osborne
7/30/88 Bonnie Raitt
8/3/88 Kiss
8/10/88 Overkill
8/12/88 Kiss
8/13/88 Kiss
8/18/88 Megadeth
8/19/88 Ramones
8/20/88 Ramones
9/11/88 Sugarcubes
9/20/88 Robyn Hitchcokc & The Egyptians/ Peter Buck
9/30/88 The Damned
10/1/88 The Godfathers
10/20/88 Fishbone
10/21/88 Fishbone
10/28/88 Sonic Youth
11/4/88 King Diamond
11/13/88 Jimmy Page
11/20/88 Devo
11/25/88 The Feelies
12/10/88 Hot Tuna
12/16/88 Ministry
12/23/88 Vovoid
12/30/88 The Dead Boys
12/31/88 The Dead Boys
1/3/89 Cramps
1/6/89 Blue Oyster Cult
1/17/89 Living Colour
1/25/89 Restless Heart Rodney Crowell
1/27/89 Ramones
1/28/89 Ramones
2/10/89 Nick Cave & Bad Seeds
2/18/89 Dinosaur Jr
3/11/89 Paul Stanley
3/18/89 Blue Murder
4/1/89 ??????????? Last show at original RITZ!!!

The Radiators First show at "NEW RITZ"

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Guns N' Roses - They still got it!

As an early Christmas present to myself, I bought tickets to the GnR concert in Seattle last Friday, December 16th.  I have to admit, I had pretty low expectations.  I mean, really, it has been over 20 years since Use Your Illusion 1&2 was released.

Besides the time lag, none of the original band members (except Axl) are even in the band anymore.  They haven't played together since the early 90s.  Combine that with all the rumors of Alx spend millions in the studio and never releasing "Chinese Democracy" for over 10 years - and you set your bar pretty low.  But come on!  Its Guns N' Roses!  I never got to see them back in the day.  Even though the LP (that would be the debut "Appetite for Destruction") was released in July of 1987, my first listen to this album wasn't until winter break from college in December of 87.  My buddy from high school, Ed Fox, was still working at our old record store, Sound-A-Rama.

Every brake from college, I would go home and help out in the stores (we had 3 of them) as the Christmas season was always packed with shoppers (ah, the good old days!).  Anyway, while at the store I used to work at in Chester, Ed said."dude, these guys rock!" and threw on side 1, song 1 from Appetite:  "Welcome to the Jungle"....   What else had to be said, I was hooked!

Back to the show.  Well, the first hint at a great night was the opening act.  A bank called Loaded.  In case you don't know who Loaded is, it is the new band from ex-GnR bassist Duff McKagen!  Yes, Duff was going to open for Axl!  This was going to be great!

In addition, the week before, the Rock & Roll Museum had just announced that GnR had been inducted for 2012, so the timing was great!  Axl had to be still jazzed, right?

The anser is YES!  The show was awesome!  Axl played for over 3 hours, Duff played with the new GnR band on a song, Axl let the new band solo and show their chops (they really are excellent musicians and performers!), they worked in some classic Pink Floyd, The Stones, Elton John, Frank Sinatra and Baba O'Riley!

There were pyrotechnics!

But, best of all, Alx was totally into it!  He sounded great, he had tons of energy and he was really gracious with the croud, the band and Duff!  Congrats Axl.  You made me proud.

Happy Birthday Billy Bragg

December 20th, 2011 - Billy Bragg turns 54 years today!

I was first introduced to Billy by my good friend Dave Bennett back in high school.  Dave was a huge fan of Billy and was always singing his songs in Billy's cock British accent.  After awhile, I just learned the songs to sing along at the parties or on road trips.  Dave made a tape for me of "Talking with the Taxman about Poetry" (which is a great album by the way!).

So, naturally we had to go see Billy when he came stateside.  My first show was with my two pals, Dave and Larry, at the Ritz in New York (more on this venue in another post).  The show was on a Saturday night, November 22nd, 1986.  Even though Natalie Merchant opened the show (I can't stand her), the show was awesome!  Just Billy on state with his guitar and his song!  Billy's songs are so powerful, they don't need any accompaniment.   My favorites of the night were "Love Gets Dangerous", "The Milkman of Human Kindness" and of corse one of my all time favorite song, "A New England".

Cheers Billy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Monkees!

My first LP that I ever bought was through TV mail order.  Yes, growing up in a small town, we didn't have a record store anywhere near.  Especially for a 7 year old to get access.  When the Monkees went into syndication in the fall of 1975, I was hooked!  I LOVED the Monkees!  Mickey was my favorite, but they were all so cool.  And how could you not love the Monkeemobile?!

Anyway, in the summer of 1976, Laurie House (a cheap-o record mail order house) advertised a double LP of the Monkees for sale from a TV commercial!  At this time (mid-70's) all the Monkees albums had been out of print, so this was the ONLY available Monkees product at the time.

I called up, and ordered the LP (with help from my folks), then waited.  And waited....

I still remember receiving this in the mail.  I was sooo excited.  The cover had a penciled drawing of all the member's faces.  I aways remember thinking Davy Jones looked really chubby in his picture.

Laurie House was really cheap.  The cover was so thin that it was already creased from the outline of the record from shipping.  They used the same picture for both the front and the back of the album - and no track listing or any other info except the catalog numbers (Laurie House LH-8009 and RCA Special Products DPL 2-0188).  The track listing was available on the inside record labels.  Even now, I think this is the best compilation of the Monkees ever released.

Ah, memory lane.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Apple, please fix this...

Don't get me wrong. I think Apple, in general, does a fantastic job on their products (both hardware and software). However, I'm not a fan-boy, and when they do something wrong, or omit a crucial feature, I'll be the first to raise my hand.

Here is a list of my Top 10 request to the Apple engineers to please fix at their earliest convenience.

1) Cut and Paste from Finder. Really, how hard is this? This was available for my convenience since Win95....Why do I have to put my fingers through a Twister session just to CUT (which means remove, not copy), and PASTE to another folder or desktop?

2) Fit Window To Screen. Sometimes you just want to hide all the clutter and focus on the task at hand. Can't there be an easy way to provide an OPTION in Preferences that will make the selected window "Fit To Screen" by clicking the little green button on the top left?

3) iPhone Volume (this means make it louder!). OK, so they did a much better job from my original iPhone (1st generation phone, using the 2.5G network), but even my iPhone 3GS (3rd generation phone, using the 3G network) has a ringer that pales in comparison to any other phone I've used in the past. Really, this is first and foremost a phone...allow me to crank it up!

4) iPhone (iOS) Remote App. I love this sucker. But, it hasn't been updated in nearly a year. Apple just announced the migration from "AirTunes" to "AirPlay". They even said I would be able to "switch" video content from my iOS device to my new AppleTV. So here is what I want: Allow me to "AirPlay" content from my iMac TO my iOS device. This will eliminate my biggest gripe (and Steve Jobs main point for REMOVING the hard drive from the AppleTV), I don't want to have to manage disc space! Let me stream to my iPhone or iPad, any content from my iTunes library. OK, I'm sure it will have to be over WiFi at first, fine. I don't always want to watch something in front of my TV while at home. One more. Make it truly Multi-Tasking so if I run in the background, it doesn't have to 're-find' my iTunes library and loose my song hierarchy. Thanks!

5) Allow QT to Record App A/V. All I want to do is record the Audio, as well as video of something I'm playing (whether that be in a browser, or in Quicktime). But, my only Audio capture options are, Line-in from an external mic, or using the built in mic in my iMac. I want to record right off the sound card. If I can hear it from the speakers, I should be able to record it directly off the board.

6) Back To My Mac. Either fix this, or remove it from your literature. Seriously. This has GREAT potential, but I can NEVER get it to work more than 'rarely'. I have a Mac on both ends, and Apple Extreme routers on both ends. What else do I need for this to work as advertised?? I've read the forums. I'm not the only one.

7) iCal: Birthdays and Anniversaries. Simple request. Birthdays are set up and boom, they are on my calendar as a repeat event. But, I can't set a reminder on a birthday (10 days ahead to buy and send a gift....5 days away to be cheap and send a card). Should be easy, right? OK, now for another. How about adding this same functionality to Anniversaries. OK, now the really neat one! Make BOTH of these sync (via MobileMe) to my iPhone (or other iOS) device! This drives me crazy. I've read all kinds of hacks to get this in, but this should be automatic. Really, are there two more important items to be reminded of in iCal?

8) Email Contact from Address Book. Yes, I know you can 'drag' a contact from address book to the Mail icon in the dock. But can't you just allow me to right-click and "Mail Contact" right from Address book? You already have this functionality in iOS, so please update Address Book for us. Thanks!

9) Make iTunes Smart(er) on Compilations. If I rip a compilation CD into iTunes, and it sees that all tracks have the same title, but every artist is different, can it ask me if this is a compilation and automatically mark it as such? Right now, this a totally manual process. After ripping, I have to find the album, select all the songs, go into the info-pane options and check the YES to this is part of a compilation. Why is this a big deal? When you use stream your library to AppleTV (either directly or from the iOS Remote App), you can't play a compilation album in its entirety. You have to select each song individually UNLES you have pre-configured the option for that album to be a compilation...

10) HDMI Output for iOS devices.  I know you love to make (sell) why can't you give us a single, HDMI to 30-pin dock connector cable?  I loath the component and composite options (5 cables, yuck!) when I can do it all with one cable from my iPhone to any HDTV device or monitor near me (parents house, friends house...) to watch that movie, slideshow or video.

So Apple, as soon as you get these scheduled, please let me know. I'll be a happy camper!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Early Adopter

Yes, I am an early adopter. One of those folks that loves technology, and will spend a years worth of allowance, paper-boy money, (or whatever job at the time) to be first to use the product of the future! I'm pretty good at spotting trends and what is real.

Here's my track record:

CD Player - January 1985 (my birthday). Top 0.05% of CD player adopters. By the end of 1984 there were 340,000 players sold in the US. By the end of 1985, they had sold a total of 1 million. By 2000, there were over 150 million.
The CD Player was introduced to the US in March of 1983. the Sony CDP-101 (it cost about a grand. They sold very few). I bought a Technics SLP-3 for $599 (very expensive back in 1985!) in the beginning of 1985.

DVD Player - June 1998. I purchased Blade Runner - Directors Cut same day. Top 1.1%. By the end of 1998, there were 1.4 million DVD players sold. In December of 2007, there were nearly 132 million.

eBay - May 28, 1999. Top 1.4%. By the end of 1999, there were 3.8 million registered users. By the end of 2007, there were over 276 million registered users.

Netflix - October 10th, 2000. Top 1.6%. By the end of 2000, Netflix had 239,000 subscribers. In 2010 they have over 15 million.

Apple iPod - July 2004. Top 3.6%. By the end of 2004, Apple had sold a total of 10 million iPods. By September 2010, they are over 275 million.
I bought the first HP+iPod offering. 40Gig hard drive. It was actually the 4th generation iPod (I know, slacker!), but to be fair, this was the first iPod that had access to a Windows version of iTunes software and store. So, really, I'm giving myself a first gen pat on the back!

Apple iPhone - June 27, 2007. Top 0.45%. I bought the iPhone the first day it came out. June 27th. 2007. Apple sold 270,000 that day! By the end of September 2010, Apple had sold over 60 million iPhones.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Renegade Soundwave & Age Of Chance!

OK, after posting about the new OMD cover by Peter Seville, I decided to highlight my other two favorite album cover artists. Both of these are late 80, but they rock none-the-less!

First up is Dave Little. Dave has a very cool distinctive look that he created for one of my favorite club/bud band, Renegade Soundwave. My favorite cover he did was for their single "Cocaine Sex"

I also had the RSW logo he designed painted onto my leather jacket in college. Bad ass!

Next up, Ian Anderson, founder of The Designers Republic. They did all the covers for the band "Age Of Chance" from 1986- 1987. Wicked cool stuff (pre-desktop publishing, no less), like the cover of "Don't Get Mad...Get Even!" and the 12" of the Price cover "Kiss", and my favorite, the artwork for the cover and inner sleeve of their 1987 debut LP,"1000 Years Of Trouble"

Rock On!