Max's Kansas City and CBGB during the 70s and 80s?
Who just wanted to express themselves musically and artistically without the fame, glitter and glitz?
in the New York City Underground Rock Live Music scene during the 80s and 90s and who were the individuals who created it and made it happen.
The New York City Rock Live Music Scene was once a music capitol of the world and went from a thriving economy with many opportunities, collaborations and D.I.Y. and a bottle of Heineken at the Limelight was $4 during the 80s
Clubs closed down because of city agencies were rating the clubs handing out $1000 fines, greedy Landlords and a cup of beer was $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
NYC was a cultural melting pot where they can meet, network, record their music and they had the total freedom to express themselves musically, sexually and through fashion. Together as a band they wanted to reach their goals or as an individuals and sometimes they worked together as an artistic collective, just like a real community and family.
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, management, Public Access TV, DJ's, College or Community Radio or something creative.
Together they created an organic and very flourishing live music scene that was so exciting that you wanted to go out every night to be a part of it.
The local heroes and headliners Sunshine Blind, Smashed Gladys, Broomhellda
to be household names.
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 but they didn't get the touring support or they got shelved by the record company because the A&R person who signed them to the label was either fired or left the company. A very common reality at the time.
They were the industry’s sweethearts for a "moment" and they actually got to experience what it is like to be a rock star for a moment when the stretch Limo picked 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, but at the end they paid for it.
When a local band was rising to the top and became a local favorite, they became local celebrities at the Cat Club, Limelight and China Club and the "not so clean red carpet" was laid out for them. They never paid for admission including their 15 friends, got the drinks and drugs for free and they hang out at the VIP rooms with the superstars.
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, and they were ready to hit the road again…. Than the financial crisis happened in 2008…. Hearts were broken, friendships dissolved, the band broke up and the marriage with the guitarist and husband Eric ended in a divorce. This also happened to the band Carboy after MCA records shelved their CD.
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, Dorian Grey and Needulhead.
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 with very little interest and opportunities to play original music. From playing large venues like Limelight, Cat Club, Danceteris, China Club, The Bank and Batcave it evolved back to what it used to be 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.
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
Everybody contributing and appearing in the rockumentary feels very passionate and supportive about this project. They are looking forward to give back to the community what was once taught to them and they are ready to pass on the Rock ‘n Roll torch to the next generation.
The purpose of this project is to record our oral and performance history and build an archive of the people who created the scenes 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.
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, CBGB's
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 a grass-root 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, Don Hill, Larry Mitchell,
Darryl Hell, the Black Rock Coalition and Women in Music.
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 historic art films on
York City and LGBT nightlife culture, dance culture and gay
rights, including How Do I Look (2006) about the Harlem Ballroom
community, which received "Best" documentary and two "Humanitarian" awards; 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 in 2018 the "Keeping
The Dream Alive" Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award for his underground cult film "How Do I
Look" and for his community activism, his company Art From The Heart Films was inducted in the Queens Hall Of Fame for "Best Of Queens" Gay & Lesbian Organization. In 2015 Wolfgang was inducted into the LGBT Hall Of Fame for his contributions to the LGBT music community and his company Art From The Heart Films,
received "Best Of Queens" Gay & Lesbian Organization award for making a difference in the LGBT community.
Mr. Busch is published in the “Award Winning Men” book by Ed Karvoski, he was selected in the LGBTQ+ Celebrities "List Of Gay Men Throughout History" and in his hometown of Heppenheim he was selected in the "List of Personalities Of The City Of Heppenheim" as one of the sons of the city. Wolfgang Busch 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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