Monday, March 2, 2015

6 degrees of Separation for Saratoga Springs area bands (I'm sure there's some I missed)

THE Saratoga band to me has always been the Figgs. Back in the late 80's, they were crankin' out rock and roll in Saratoga, all the way from the high school Teacher's Auditorium to the local bars on Broadway (namely the Bijou). They had a buncha drummers, including Scott Underwood who went on to play in a huge radio hit-making band called Train. Guy Lyons, former band member, has a band called the Blockhouses, and they rock. Figgs used to be called the Sonic Undertones and had a tape demo called Put Me Up, and it rules. I remember when they changed their name, I thought it was a horrible idea, just a few years earlier, when I was living in Cohoes, NY, I remember when local band Cranial Abuse changed their name to Stigmata, and I also then, thought that was a terrible idea. What do I know, really....
Anyway we'll start here, this video is shot in and around early 90's Saratoga Springs, including E. O'Dwyer's, Re-Runs when it was on Caroline St., and the basement shots are of the oldest house in Saratoga Springs, 36 Franklin St! (photo from Google Earth)
So, the Figgs lived and filmed at this house, and then it sorta morphed from the 
"Figgs House" to the "Dryer House"
Also filmed at 36 Franklin St., (upstairs this time), here's Dryer's tribute to Desperate Annie's,
the best bar on Caroline St. in Saratoga Springs. Also filmed at this bar was a video by Silver Tongue  Devil, fronted by current bartender Izzy, who also had a (believe it or not) Skidmore metal band. They held packed shows where we moshed in Scribner dorm living rooms, jumping off furniture and shit. They were called Izzy and the Vermin, and they existed in the early 90's. I remember a Skidmore college house party on Circular St., where they opened the set with a long ass intro, then pallbearers in cloaks parted the party crowd like the Red Sea, carrying a black wooden coffin, dropped it on the "stage" and out popped Izzy with a mic, he started singing, and we went apeshit. Here's his band Silver Tongue Devil from the 2000 era.

 Now, Ross the drummer of Silver Tongue Devil plays in a band currently, called Jesus Christ and the Hallucinogenic All-Stars, here's their latest....

They are the current hot shit as of 2015 for Saratoga Springs rock and roll, and it features the bass player from former hot shit Saratoga band Skeletons in the Piano. Skeletons in the Piano's drummer Eric also rocked a pop punk band called Sugareater, check both these guys out....

Skeletons in the Piano used to be a metal band called Lore, with a few member changes, and they are all still the best of friends. This has been a sort of nucleus for Saratoga Springs rockers of the 2000 era. Eli, of both Lore and Skeletons in the Piano, is the nephew of my vocalist in our now defunct band Buzzard. We put out an album produced by Don Fury, and through the strength of the Silly Pink Bunny skate posse, we were able to play across the US. I've been playing punk/hardcore since I had a band called Filth in '89-92 we played at the high school to Fast Eddies pool hall, (now where the public library is), Jim and Paul managed the joint, all the local bands practiced off the back loading dock, Jim and Paul went on to open up Backstreet Billiards, Izzy owned a piece toward the end, and Paul opened Needlewurks.....

Anyway, here is Buzzard, filmed at our practice spot in a trailer on the Hudson River....

I also played in a band called the Let Downs, we met at Fast Eddie's in the early 90's when our drummer of Filth had left, Paul at fast Eddie's introduced us to Mark, the drummer. Mark and my bass player of Filth went on to play together, then 10 years later, I joined the crazy train that was the Let Downs.

Kasey Dorr of Section 8 used to live with The Let Downs vocalist/bassist Nikki, and her sister Dara (RIP) 
These guys Section 8 are truly one of the most legendary bands from upstate NY.

Kasey currently has a band with Skinless bassist Joe, called Gunther Weezul, here's their latest jams... 

 I seem connected to all these bands one way or another, starting with Section 8, I jammed with Kasey well before Section 8, when we were around 16-17 years old, in a band he was forming/joining called "Catch 22" hahahaha. I bar back at Desperate Annie's on occasion for former Lore guitar player Brandon, along side Izzy the bartender. Not only do I work at Skidmore College, where Bob from Dryer works, we are both half Vietnamese/half American, born just before the fall of Saigon, parents are both from same areas respectively, and we both play punk rock guitar right handed, tho' we are left handed. Bob is a swell dude, and Dryer just got back together, check 'em out. I also work at Skidmore College with Simon Gezus, a local rapper, here is his video filmed in the science lab at Skidmore

 Sime did some beats with Josh from Phantogram, and they should do some more, because Sime is a great MC, anyway, here is Phantogram, formally Charlie Everywhere playing at Circus Cafe, now they're headlining Lolapalooza n shit! Get 'em! 

I also used to work with Pete Hayes from the Figgs, at a Mexican joint on Broadway called Margarita's that is now the Circus Cafe (that's why they have that frozen margarita machine!). Then I worked on Caroline St. at D'Andrea's pizza, I worked there with my middle school friend Nate, we both played in high school bands, when I was in Filth, we always played with his band Fubar/Phases of the Mind, he went on to replace Doug Beans in Mearth, then, later in the early 2000's, he was in a band called the Empire State Troopers, who were members of a band called Small Axe, who ruled. Here's EST....

D'andrea's Pizza is also where I met Noah, from Skinless. Noah and bass player Adam shared a house with Figgs Drummer Pete. Skinless got pretty huge, I got to roadie for Noah and Skinless on 3 US tours, and it was some of the best times I ever's Skinless, with John from Origin on drums, filmed at the old Saratoga Winners, a staple club in our scene. From the sky, the property Saratoga Winners sits on what looks like a peninsula, due to the snake like Mohawk River. My father told me he got devirginized in that swamp out back. A long standing legacy to us in upstate NY, only to get burned down for what later turned out to be a fraudulent insurance claim.

Skinless made several albums on Relapse Records over the years and have a new album due this year. One of their earlier releases was a local compilation featuring bands End Of Line and Straight Jacket. Here is Straight Jacket playing at Backstreet Billiards, now the Putnam Den. Tiny the vocalist of Straight Jacket, like Kasey of Section 8, spawned several other bands respected in the local Upstate NY metal/hardcore scene.

That's all for now, please comment, in the comment section anything, especially what I missed, thanks!!!


  1. Yo, where the fuck is Taco Fever?!!? Phil Donnelly, go smack this DeMers kid! Just kidding, man. Good work, nice to see the chains. Donnelly legacy rules! Steve D out.

  2. For accuracy, I didn't help open the pool hall. I only bought in for a small piece of it towards the end of it's run.
    Isaiah (Izzy) Rees

  3. Oh, I forgot, a Figg Donnelly brother once played a flying V in his underwear for an Amy Fisher musical, for his fellow Skidmore classmates, and, uh, I can't unsee that.

  4. Benj beat me to it!

    Low Budget Goat probably doesn't merit inclusion, but I also enjoyed Identity Crisis and Dress Riot. What was Matt Pirog's band? He was my favorite guitar shredder for sure.

  5. Oh yeah, IC, or Youreanation, or Bad Vision or Jos'e and the Pussycats