The Fast and 5 bands: Flyers from the Paul Zone collection

Backstage photo of The Fast.
Joe Poliseno, Louis Bova, Miki Zone, and Paul Zone backstage in 1979.

With a performance history that stretched from 1973 to about 1984, The Fast were among the most enduring of the first wave of New York punk bands — seminal but largely overlooked by mainstream rock history.

The band, built on the efforts of brothers Mandy, Miki and Paul Zone, made a mark at locations like Max’s Kansas City and Coventry and arrived early to the party at CBGB, playing with bands such as The RamonesBlondie, The New York DollsJohnny Thunders‘ Heartbreakers, Suicide and The Misfits. The Fast is also a testimonial to the LGBT roots of New York’s musical underground in the 1970s, playing an assortment of gay clubs in the city and beyond and eventually trading the Fast name for Man 2 Man.

As Gus Bernadicou writes in Punk Globe, “Paul Zone, with his brothers, created a brand of power pop and dance music that is instantly recognizable and addicting, yet catchy.”

Continue reading “The Fast and 5 bands: Flyers from the Paul Zone collection”

Fox Pass and the Modern Lovers connection: On the record with Jon Macey

Fox Pass' Michael Roy and Jon Macey in the studio
Michael Roy (left) and Jon Macey. (Courtesy Jon Macey)

I’m not just the author of FiveBands — I’m also a fan. Working on this project has given me the chance to discover groups I never heard of but would have loved from Day One. And of that growing list, Boston’s Fox Pass is one of my favorites.

Fox Pass started in 1972 as a high-school collaboration between guitarists/vocalists Jon Macey and Michael Roy. Early adherents of the New York sound of the Velvet Underground as well as Boston’s own Modern Lovers, Macey and Roy led Fox Pass through a succession of rhythm sections and hundreds of gigs until the band’s farewell performance at The Club in Cambridge on Dec. 27, 1978.

The duo moved to New York, where they joined their friend Tom Dickie to form Tom Dickie and the Desires (managed by the legendary Tommy Mottola). That band dissolved in 1982, and Macey and Roy parted ways until the late ‘90s. A reformed Fox Pass finally released its debut album in 2005 and a second in 2010.

While Fox Pass released just one single during the ‘70s, Jon Macey has generously shared some unreleased Fox Pass tracks from the era, which I’m honored to present here:

Let’s flip the FiveBands formula this time. Check out bands you know that crossed paths with Fox Pass:

Continue reading “Fox Pass and the Modern Lovers connection: On the record with Jon Macey”

I was a teenage Street Punk: Peter Rossi, NY’s glitter-punk underground and 5 bands you should know about

Peter Rossi in hat.
Peter Rossi.

Peter Rossi is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker — but in the early ‘70s, under the name Peter Ashley, he played guitar in Street Punk, one of the forgotten stalwarts of the New York music scene that rose alongside the New York Dolls and presaged the Ramones.

Now Rossi is combining his professional passions with a film project aimed at documenting and celebrating the bands, street artists and poets of New York’s protopunk scene. (The working title is You’re In or You’re Out/Urine or UR Out.) Rossi describes the style — which is in pre-production through his company Tantamount Productions — as “cinéma vérité meets ‘The Last Waltz,’ and he’s networking with his contemporaries and other fans to raise the money to bring the project to a screen near you. (As actor and veteran New York musician Fenton Lawless remarked in a Facebook discussion, the project is “what Vinyl promised but failed sooo miserably. … It needed a Peter Rossi.”)

While many bands that powered the scene have expressed excitement about gathering for a live event 40 years later, Rossi emphasizes that he’s not looking to document a reunion that simply retreads the participants’ back catalogs. “This is about catching up with the artists who still have the fire in their souls,” he says.

Rossi is rallying some of the top acts of the era to top the bill again and demonstrate the chemistry that made New York a catalyst for a new generation of music.

In addition the chart-toppers, the event will provide an opportunity to hear other, worthy bands that played Coventry, Mercer Arts Center and Max’s Kansas City, including the Magic Tramps, the Harlots of 42nd Street and Teenage Lust (all of whom we’ve profiled here).

And the list goes on. Without further ado, here are five more bands that were essential to Peter Rossi’s scene:  Continue reading “I was a teenage Street Punk: Peter Rossi, NY’s glitter-punk underground and 5 bands you should know about”