I’ve mentioned in a few of my narratives how I was once a little more active musically than I find myself able to be today and just this past weekend while cleaning around some of my packed away gear I discovered this unexpected surprise. The first and second set list of tunes that was performed by my Ramones tribute band “The Ramoniacs” during one of our gigs. I just had to share it with you and I hope you like it.
The Ramoniacs was a three-piece unit that featured Scott Koblish on guitar and vocals, John Conroy on bass and vocals and myself on drums and backing vocals. The initial premise was to do a lot of Ramones for people and as you can see by the pair of nineteen song per set lists that is exactly what we did. To my knowledge there are not any photos of the group in action, but be aware we were not a tribute in the sense where we dressed like them anyway. Scott did bring a wig to one show and we took turns wearing it and for one set at a show I attempted to wear a motorcycle jacket. That was not too easy.
We only did about a handful of gigs before parting ways but our set was an interesting one to say the least. It was about 90% Ramones covers from across their entire catalog (with a heavy emphasis on the classics) and the other 10% was used for a few originals and songs we liked and did as if The Ramones had offered them up. We had no official logo or band photograph for gigs and that actually kind of surprises me when I think about it. Like all bands there were some fun times and there were also some harrowing ones. That’s music life for you. I’m still in touch with Scott today thanks to the likes of Facebook and he is currently drawing “O.M.A.C.” for DC Comics. Be sure to check it out. If I find any other stuff about the band in my archeological digs I will be sure to share it with you here.
Many thanks to SkeletonPete for taking these two photos and putting them together. The set list was a double sided card. Maybe I should laminate this.
And now for something completely different…. OK, I guess by now you realize that this is pretty much par for the course when it comes to how I do things over on the PiercingKen Blog and believe me I would not have it any other way. So my plans for this particular evening was to catch the long awaited return of the band Armored Saint. I was going to be reviewing their show for my PiercingMetal site in my role as Maestro of the Metal Republic. Before the gig one of my friends from the scene was discussing finding a place for dinner and that his friends who were joining were bringing along their telescopes. Clearly he was joking I thought. Right? I mean he had to be….
He wasn’t and indeed his friends Tom Hoffelder and Joe Alcott came to the Metal meanderings bearing two whopping telescopes (that’s a technical term in case you were wondering). Tom is the chap looking into the lens on the scope in the next shot. Check this baby out. According to Tom, this is a Newtonian reflector with an 8 inch f/6. He stated how he was also using a 7mm eyepiece which gives 175 power on Jupiter.
Yep. The team was training the scope on Jupiter. It was rather visible this evening and of course easier to spot by the trained astronomatic eye. You folks do know Jupiter right? Fifth planet from the Sun, biggest one there is in the Milky Way galaxy. Here is a photo I snared from Wikipedia.
Tom briefly told us what they were doing and I snared this recording with the Panasonic Lumix for the sake of the posting. Sorry for this being so short, there was quite a crowd assembling and he had moderate the scopes usage.
Since its over 500 million miles away, its clear that Jupiter is never a place that I can possibly visit for the purposes of photography or anything else and I guess that is a good thing when one considers how this guy runs around the place if you can believe your old Outer Space Men collection 🙂 – That’s Colossus Rex if you didn’t know and he was a part of an amazing set of plastic figures that I had when I was a child. They have long since been gone from my day. Oh well.
Here is another shot of the telescope that Tom was manning. I had to keep going back and forth to the concert and was making visits to the viewing base on the corner between each bands set. It was a lot of running around but who cares, this was amounting to a very fun night.
The next telescope was Joe’s and while a little smaller, they were training its lenses on the Moon. According to Joe this was also a Newtonian reflector and was an f/8 with a 17mm lens, a 2x Barlow (which doubles the magnification) and a blue UV filter. I’ll never remember that so I decided to ask Joe a little more.
Here is Joe explaining a little bit more about this for your edification.
Here’s a cool shot of the Moon which I got while surfing. Believe me I had all my real deal cameras with me and was not able to get a decent shot of Earth’s only satellite. I guess that is not really easy to do. Anyone?? Please fill me in.
Of course since this was a Metal show hang we had lovely ladies in our company as well and here is our official spokesmodel for the evening Miss Lindsay Abken (she’s also an artist and musician so talented). Hi Lindsay 🙂
Here’s Chief Observatory Office Tom Hoffelder with Miss Lindsay. This was becoming a very Metal “Big Bang Theory” episode because it was calling up all the interest in Science and the great beyond. I did not mind at all.
Next up our Lieutenant of Lunar Matters, Mr. Joe Alcott. Oh yes, and Lindsay.
I decided to be in this particular posting and hey why not, its my website after all. How could I resist such a charming lass anyway.
Here’s another shot of Tom checking out the settings on the scope. I was not able to get a photo of the hundreds and hundreds of people that were lining up for this experience. These guys were doing this for free and a few times I acted as Carnival Barker with their friend Mark. “Hey NYC, do you want to see Jupiter?” we shouted. You would be surprised at how many people stopped and got right on line. Pretty cool.
Just before leaving I said goodbye to the massive telescope and mentioned I looked forward to his return to our fair metropolis. The said they will be back sometime in middle January to do this again. Thanks for picking these coming cold weeks. I suggest you watch my @piercingken Twitter to see when I mention this stuff happening again.
To coin a popular super hero refernce I will leave you all with “Look up in the sky” and change it around to “because there is some really cool stuff going on up there that amazes and inspires. We are all just a really tiny piece of the puzzle at the end of the day. Thanks so much to the Sidewalk Astronomers for this interesting time. You should know that these stalwart celestial explorers all missed the Armored Saint concert but I don’t think that this bothered them at all. Their Facebook page is below. Be sure to “Like” it.
One thing I want to share more of whenever possible are the music adventures that fall outside of the stuff I normally do with the PiercingMetal.com site, and this seemed like the perfect place to do it since the blog’s overall premise was to be more in tune with my actual life. That being said, many years ago I was the drummer for a New York City based Heavy Metal band called Machine. The four of us were active on the local scene in the late 80’s and at the start of the 90’s and played numerous gigs including the famous L’Amour in Brooklyn. The band consisted of Jeff Mackey (bass guitar/vocals), Rob Rizzo (lead guitar/vocals), Anthony Trzesinski III (lead guitar) and I (drums) and we managed to do some Metal good while we did this. Perhaps I will reflect upon just how different being in a band was at that time in a future blog post but now the reasoning for this particular one. Even though the band had ended many years ago, we all stayed in touch when it was possible to do so and sadly without going into any personal detail, our guitarist Anthony Trzesinski III would pass away in early January of 2011. It was terrible to lose a former band brother and any musician will tell you that you live a lot of life in the times that you work together in this fashion. Thanks to the planning by one Anthony’s closest friends (Joe Affe of the band Maximum Penalty), a benefit to honor his memory was organized and musicians who he knew were all called upon to help raise a glass in true Rock and Roll fashion. One of the group’s that was tapped for the memorial event would be Machine, a band that had not worked together since 1991. It was going to be interesting to see if this worked at all.
Rehearsal studios in Brooklyn are not so common a thing nowadays and I remember when there were at least three in my own neighborhood but that was a long time ago in a music scene far, far away. Joe would secure time at the popular Fastlane Studios which is out in Kings Highway. Everybody would gather there and have a lot to work out in a short time. Behold the entrance to the studio.
This was a view that I hadn’t seen in quite some time. The DW 5000 bass drum pedals you see are mine as is the bag of sticks but everything else was property of the studio which was great. Less lugging things around and more time to focus on the task at hand. The carpet was a bit of a mess so the drummer in the space before me definitely spilled something or they just haven’t cleaned it in a forever. Back in Machine times I used a sizable drumkit but for the reunion/benefit event the drummers would be keeping it more compact and I think I was the only one who needed a double kick drum so this pedal would be my resolution. I was nervous of course since it was not something I had kept the chops up on. Here we go.
The videos below are from the second session of rehearsals that were done at the Fastlane Studios out in Flatbush. We all hit the space together with the folks in the All-Star Band and we closed out the rehearsal time by giving our Machine material a run through. It was a little choppy at the first session the week before but it seemed that it was workable at the second session we did. The first tune we opted to do from our repertoire was the song “Mechanikill” which was one of our more popular numbers and one largely an ATIII composition. Since we had friends hanging around these sessions, I asked our buddy Ewok to film the Metal blasting with my Sony Cybershot camera.
Next up was our signature tune “Misery (Loves Company)”, both songs were sung by Jeff. This was one of our oldest of the creations which I think we had about a dozen of before it all ended. The guys in the studio were all seeming to have a good time as well. Never a bad thing. United once more in Metal for a good reason.
Machine’s “Misery (Loves Company)”
As a band Machine loved a lot of the classic players, and one of the bands we enjoyed most was Motorhead and while Jeff might disagree with me, I don’t think that “Iron Fist” was the first tune we played together as a band. I could have sworn it was Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”. Oh well. Here is our go at “Iron Fist” just the same with guitarist Tommy Falanga who once worked with Jeff in the band Tempest. Tommy and I are actually colleagues on the Heavy Metal Mayhem radio show these days. He’s the co-host and I am the weekly concert calendar reporter and scene guy. Love it.
Motorhead’s “Iron Fist”
Jeff said that he and Anthony had Motorhead’s “No Class” as their theme song, and I never knew this until these rehearsals. Oh well, we cannot know everything but they were indeed close so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Personally I had never played this song before these rehearsals and was nervous for this one. I felt it was the longest 2.5 minutes of the sessions. In the end it worked out.
Motorhead’s “No Class”
Last but not least here is a silly photo of Jeff, Rizz and I from the rehearsal that preceded the one in these videos. It was a very spontaneous shot and I guess it worked for what it was.
I’ll try to blog about the overall benefit affair when time allows me to do so. I hope you enjoy these videos. It was surely interesting to be doing this kind of stuff again that is for sure. I had to say that I missed it just a little bit more than I had expected to. Keep it Metal my friends.
When I posted my lengthy photo presentation about the Highline Elevated Park, I neglected to mention that this was not the only adventure that I undertook that day with Skeleton Pete. You see, it was a superb day and while it was Fall, it had more of a late Spring feel to it so we wandered down to see a mutual friend Shukmei and grab some late lunch. We settled on Karavas which is a Greek Restaurant. Shukmei is an independent publicist who runs her We Roqq company while Skeleton Pete has a blog that bears that same name. I don’t think I have to tell you about PiercingMetal at this point right? So once we settled into some food and got to brainstorming about our respective enterprises a few beers were ordered and the shot below is the perfect representation of our gathering.
I couldn’t find my own shot of this, so I used Shukmei’s. She knows I would never fail to mention it her visual. So the beverages of choice in yon pictured pints glasses were a Bud Lite, a Bass and a Guinness. Can you guess who had what? No? Okay, well, Shuky had the Bud, I had the Bass and Pete the Guinness. The food was pretty good in terms of what we had. Pete and I had some kind of Souvlaki plate while Shuky had the hamburger. I recommend trying Karavas if you’re down near West Sixth street off Sixth Avenue. Alright, its now time to get back to the normal tasks at hand.
Can you believe it? I know that I can’t because I didn’t expect to use this blog site as much as I ended up doing but that is okay because I love the freedom that it offers me as a provider of written and visual entertainment. When I launched PiercingKen.com you might remember that it originally had a Blogger account for a few posts. If you don’t recall this, that is okay because every post was imported into the new WordPress medium we moved to only a few months after beginning. Looking back on the creative year that it’s been I found a little surprise that I didn’t manage to start off the blog with an introductory post about its premise, but I guess I was just too eager to start delivering different content to a different audience from my PiercingMetal.com readership.
Since launching the site, its been fortunate enough to develop its own fan base and readership and I was happy to find this being the case. I’ve really strove to do a lot of postings that reflect my interests and passions and to do so in a manner that brings you readers into the mix and leaves you hopefully wanting more. I have no master plans for the second years posts but I can say expect a little bit of the same, a little silliness and perhaps even something to inspire. I don’t think too deeply on this and I suggest that you just sit back and enjoy the offerings. I’ve gotten our Facebook page up and running so please be sure to “Like” us over there or even Following us on Twitter.
Closing up, thank you so very much for the time that you spend on this site. I truly appreciate it.