The musical evolution from the 1980s until today.
Once Upon A Time New York City Was A Music Capitol Of The World
It went from a thriving economy & live music scenes with many opportunities, collaborations and D.I.Y.
and a beer is $15 in 2018.
Original Demo Cassettes On Soundcloud
Wolfgang Busch, New York New Rock TV
best known for his interview with GWAR.
Today We Are
During the 80s and 90s, we were going out to clubs and parties 7 days a week and you were always meeting people in the scene who were involved in a cool project or they worked for a record company, magazine, publisher or something creative. It was a very unique environment they created together organically that made the live music scene so exciting that you wanted to go out every night to be a part of it.
The local heroes and headliners Sunshine Blind, Adam Bomb, Broomhellda
Some bands were blessed and signed that first time $250,000 recording contract such as Gods Child. Carboy got booked for those special private record company VIP events and they should be household names.
They were the industry’s sweethearts for a moment and they experienced what it is like to be a rock star for a moment. The stretch Limo was picking them up and they were given free airline tickets to meet the record company executives’ and music industry icons on the west coast, living the ROCK STAR DREAM.
After a local band was rising to the top and became a local favorite, you became a local celebrity at the Cat Club, Limelight and China Club. You never paid for admission, drinks and drugs and you had access to the VIP section.
The Limelight was a place were you could live your Rock & Roll dreams and fantasies, from having sex and doing drugs in the bathroom and back-rooms, to meeting your favorite rock star in the Library VIP room. When a local band was selling out the Limelight and was a headliner, you received the full VIP rock star and red carpet treatment. Competition was tough though.
For a band to receive the red carpet rock star treatment at the Limelight, you had to be very special to get the free drink tickets and VIP access to the Library. To receive this status, you had to work hard for it and you had to earn it.
In a man's dominated entertainment industry environment, the stereotypes against female musicians during the mid 80s was that they don’t know how to play an instrument and how to carry a tune. If they didn't sing in the perfect pitch such as Sally from the band Smashed Gladys, they had to do a retake, while it was more acceptable for the male singer to get away with it.
Having to face those realities in
As a result of it, during the mid 80's and early 90's, it gave birth to music organizations such as the Staten Island Rock Coalition co-founder Tom Taaffe, Christian Musicians United founder Sal Baldino, the Rock R&B Committee founded by the Local 802 the Musicians Union and the Women in Music co-founder Anita Daly and the Black Rock Coalition co-founder Vernon Reid, which celebrated its 30th anniversary.
There are many reasons. For example the Goth band Sunshine Blind had everything going for them and everybody said you are going to be the next big star. They had a record, publishing and management deal and a “You Can’t Stop Me“ …. attitude … BUT… as we all know “Shit Happens”… 9/11 happened when they were just about to hit the road to promote the record… After such a set back, Lisa Hammer and the band Sunshine Blind got back up and started all over again and how life can be, again they were ready to hit the road again…. Than the financial crisis happened…. Hearts were broken, friendships dissolved, the band broke up and the marriage with the guitarist and husband Eric ended in a divorce.
Others got involved in mixing live sound at clubs and became also producers and engineers like Freddie Katz from the band The Gift and Craig Randall from the band Buzzby. Steve Bondy was building the sound system for the Limelight and hired Sonny Waysack to run the sound board. Steve Remote started out doing live recordings at Max’s
Some are now playing in a cover or tribute band for fun or teach music like Bruce Mack the executive director for 10 years for the Black Rock Coalition and Arty Blaurock from the band Sweet Revenge and Dorian Grey.
As the scenes and the music evolved over the past three decades, the New York City live music scenes has evolved for many musicians from only playing original music back in the day to cover music today. From playing large venues at Limelight, Cat Club, Danceteris, China Club, The Bank and Batcave to much smaller clubs like Berlin and Bowery Electric. Gigs today are more like a one stop concert, where you play in front of your own fans, because the clubs don’t have their own scene anymore like it used to be in the 80s and 90s.
The purpose of this project is to record our oral and performance history and build an archive of the people who created and were part of the New York City underground live music scene during the 80's and 90s. They experienced the music evolution first hand and are sharing their stories and highlight moments about a time and place in music history, that will never happen again in this shape or form as we knew it.
is dedicated to
Hilly Kristal from CBGB's, Don Hill, Steve Mach from Skin n Bones, Drew Bernstein, Joey & Dee Dee Ramone, Dean Johnson, Claire O'Conner from Limelight, Klaus Nomi, Genghis, Jamey Heath, Johnny Thunder, Bobby Chouinard,Jack Pavlik from East Coast Rocker & Sweet Convulsions, Stiv Bators, Arthur Kane, Linda Lust, DJ Reese,Marco aka Cha Cha Fernandez & The Slumlords, F.L. Lombardo, Theri Kennedy from Sanctuary
Hilly Kristal from CBGB's
Mobile Video Link
Please submit the names of the loved ones we lost along the way.
They will always be remembered.
About the Director:
Wolfgang Busch was at the center of that
history since 1985. He started out as an organizer, seminar and showcase
producer at the largest Musician’s
Union in the United States, the
Local 802, which was funding the Rock R&B Committee with a membership of
1200 musicians. For 15 years, Wolfgang contributed to the NYC live music scene
as a night club promoter, host and booking agent for the legendary Limelight,
Palladium, Danceteria and China Club. He is a community activist and the founder,
producer & director of New York New Rock TV, producing over 300 television
shows for Manhattan Neighborhood Network, featuring interviews and performances
by Nina Hagen, Gwar, Hilly Kristal (CBGB), Phoebe Legere, Larry Mitchell,
Darryl Hell, the Black Rock Coalition, Women in Music and many others.
His video archive of local bands includes about 700 bands performing live at
various clubs in Manhattan, original demo cassettes with art work, CD's,
records, band T-shirts, band photo’s, gig flyer's, fanzines and newsletters are
a treasure trove of historical records from that era.
Wolfgang Busch has previously produced documentary films on
York City and nightlife culture, dance culture and gay
rights, including How Do I Look (2006) about the Harlem Ballroom
community, which received best documentary and humanitarian award; A True
Lesson in Humanity (2007) about people with disabilities in the performing
arts and Flow Affair (2011) about the flagging and fanning LGBT flow
arts community. He received 40 awards, certificates and honors, including the "Keeping
The Dream Alive" Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award for "How Do I
Look" for his community activism. His company, Art From The Heart Films,
received Best LGBT Company in 2015 for making a difference in the community.
Mr. Busch is published in the “Award Winning Men” book and was inducted into
the LGBT Hall of Fame. Today he is one of the most honored and recognized
individual in the LGBT community for his dedication and achievements.
About the Director:
His video archive of local bands includes about 700 bands performing live at various clubs in Manhattan, original demo cassettes with art work, CD's, records, band T-shirts, band photo’s, gig flyer's, fanzines and newsletters are a treasure trove of historical records from that era.
Juan A. Fonseca, Michelle & Dorothy Burrus, Kayhan Irani,
Phoebe Legere, vocals on the Limelight animation and Mick Oakleaf for audio engineering
Gaye Carleton, publicity
please contact us
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