anyone know of any shows. or any place to play shows. or fucking anything in westchester? please fucking call. we're tearing.
By Bob Ruggiero
By Hilary Hughes
By Peter Gerstenzang
By David R. Adler
By Devon Maloney
By Brian McManus
By Jessica Hopper
By Harley Oliver Brown
For the past couple of years, if you've wanted to learn about Westchester punk, you've had to travel to the Bronx. There, at the now-defunct Paul Shaffer's House, crowds from both the county and the city would meet close to the border to hear basement shows booked by the House's tenants, the messy but always respectful Genuine Imitations and No One and the Somebodies.
Fifteen years earlier, however, Brian Manning was living in Yonkers, taking the Metro-North to Regis High School five days a week, and playing drums for a band called the Walters in his spare time. When they were younger, the group would frequent Rockin' Rex, the local hangout that Manning calls "the one place where you could actually get punk and independent records." But by the time they formed, in 1995, the Rex had closed, and the area's DIY scene was mostly dormant. Soon, Manning's younger brothers, Tom and Bill—the former in high school, the latter still in seventh or eighth grade—would form a group of their own, the Banned, and recruit Brian to play bass.
Inspired, like so many other aspiring punks, by Ian MacKaye's Dischord Records and its bands like Minor Threat and the Teen Idles, Tom and Brian's next move was to start a record label. Never ones to resist a good pun, they called it Fourth Demention and began pressing seven inches from local groups like the Walters as well as New Yorkers like First Class and Magro Kuso. For their own debut, the Banned released a soundboard recording from a show at CBGB, one of their most frequented venues. "We probably didn't play too many shows in Westchester, just because there wasn't much going on outside of the Rye Rec Center and the occasional house show," Manning recalls.
Although Fourth Demention went inactive at some point in late '98 or early '99, the Banned continued playing shows, touring the country, and releasing records like 2003's independent Imitating Art, which became influential enough to have a one-off zine named after it. New bands like Morgan Storm and Steve Yankou's aforementioned No One and the Somebodies began to become increasingly good and popular, drawing large crowds to venues like the Scarsdale Teen Center and the Lower East Side's ABC No Rio.
Enter B.C. Records. Even in middle school, Mount Vernon–born, Yonkers-raised Matt Peterson had heard rumors of a local punk scene, and shortly thereafter, he became inspired by, as he puts it, "this cultural activity that would let young people participate." He formed the band Blue Velvet and entered the fray. Quickly, Peterson realized the need for a label not only to release his records but also to release the records his friends were making as well. Before releasing anything by Blue Velvet, B.C. released EPs from the Vibration and Morgan Storm, as well as a compilation tying together the county's disparate bands.
"We felt like there was very little documentation for this music," Peterson says. "When a lot of bands self-release, after the bands break up, there's no institutional infrastructure to keep the releases active." The comp was supposed to change that—arranged chronologically, it would both serve as a "living document" of Westchester punk and cement the idea of the county having a scene.
Forming her band in 1999 and searching AOL member profiles to find her then-16-year-old guitar player, Kathi, Morgan Storm's Allison Gray saw this community develop firsthand: "When we first started our band, there was nowhere to play, but by the end, all these kids were having house shows or renting out spaces, and shows were just a very common thing in Westchester." As Gray remembers it, these audiences not only grew, but they also changed in makeup. "After we were doing our thing for a couple of years, these other girl bands from around here started popping up, and it was never a competitive thing because all the bands were so different," she says in complete modesty.
Meanwhile, a few towns over, Dave Haack was playing a different circuit of clubs and community spaces, another teenager trying to make good music and figure out what rebellion actually looks like. Although he formed the Genuine Imitations in late 2001 (while still a junior at the prep school from which he would soon be expelled), the core lineup didn't come together until Harry Katz of Motel and the Six booked GI at the Rye Teen Center. "I remember saying that we were bombing Afghanistan, and instead, we should be bombing Rye. I thought that's what punk was at the time, though I guess I wasn't wholly wrong," Haack tells me. "People really hated us, and they probably should have." Katz, apparently, did not, and the band soon had a second member.
Even though he was an outsider to the B.C. Records scene, playing instead with the "druggy, high-school-garage-misfit people" at bars like the Low Down, Haack was taken aback by the release of the B.C. compilation, as well the subsequent release of NOATS's debut, Pretend You're Out of Control. "That's the first time I realized you could make a record that's as good as a Pixies record or something, and you can do it in Westchester," he says. Soon, the Genuine Imitations were writing actual songs and attracting actual fans; a show at the rec center or the bowling alley could draw 100 to 200 kids.
In 2006, Haack became involved with White Plains's WESPAC Foundation and was offered a room in its office building as a new place to host shows. This offer made the need to charge at the door, which could be prohibitive for jobless teenagers, less of an issue. "Since I was never really part of B.C. Records, I kind of wanted to feel like I was a part of something," he recalls, and almost immediately, a new slate of bands, groups like the Imitations, the Men Who Lunch, Whack, and the Penny Dreadfuls were drawing younger yet overlapping, equally large crowds to the new space.
For Dave, this always fragmented lineage of bands and audiences began to really fall apart sometime around 2008. "That year, things in Westchester really ended. I kept carrying [WESPAC] on, and there were street-punky kids who wanted to play a lot, but they really weren't as good as the ones who came before them." Two years later, he and his bandmates joined No One and the Somebodies (among others) and left the suburbs for the Bronx and Paul Shaffer's House, while exposing a new group of city kids (this author included) to music that had been coming from upstate for much of the past 10 years.
Reflecting on the new possibilities the city opened up for him, Haack expresses a sentiment common among members of this now-dormant scene, noting that because of the move, they've gone "from being the suburban punk band to a group that's trying to do something really different." Of course, living alongside their heroes had a similarly progressive effect. "That's always the way I measured the success of Genuine Imitations, that our music might not be better than No One and the Somebodies—I don't know if you could do that—but that it could hold a candle to them."
Gray, now living in Brooklyn and crafting jewelry for a living, remains more optimistic about the possibility of Westchester punk in the present day. "I definitely think that wave has dissipated because people have left their homes and moved wherever and either started new bands or stopped playing music. In a way, I think that's true—but for all I know, there could be a show happening right now."
anyone know of any shows. or any place to play shows. or fucking anything in westchester? please fucking call. we're tearing.
I was in the band Rat Attack and we are not in here and that sucks.
Genuine Imitations are fucking great though I like No one and the Sombodies too but Gi is better.
Where the hell are the Cleavagents ! they where way bigger then these bands. I gotta say thought Genuine Imitations where great and did play a lot. Cleavages where even bigger though
o well I guess cuz Genuine Imitations and No one and the sombodies where around a lot longer
Wasn't in a band myself but always knew Dave. He's a great dude that carried a lot about foresting people he thought we're creative and Gi and Noats were phenomenal bands much deserving of this.
I've always loved Genuine Imitations and No One and the Somebodies. The Yankou brothers and Dave are some of the nicest people I have met. As someone not from Westchester I have never heard of the other bands so it was cool to learn about them. Dave booked me at Wes Pac and even helped us carry stuff out of the van. Nice people, good music .
This Article was great. My exprence at least was pretty close to this, I understand why they focused on Genuine Imitations I feel like they are a pretty intresting band. Dave gave my band a chance and a place to play when no one ealse would. His band had a chance to play NYC the same night and he gave that up so he could run a show for me and my friends saying " I wound't want you to miss your first show" I don't understand why people are so mad but perhaps its just the tiltle of the article. If any one knows the westchester sceen its the person who ran Wes Pac for 4 years. All of the people Bashing BC records Matt Peterson the Vibration or Dave should be really ashmed of themselves for acting like babies. Be glad Gi and Noats who have been around for 10 years (gi just broke up) are finally getting some attation.
They Deserve it
This article clearly paints a great portrait of a Westchester punk scene, and for those of us who know Dave, and paints an equally realistic portion of his narcissism. Since I'm assuming the history of GI came from interviews with Dave himself, not only did he completely fabricate the nature of how the band formed in order to give more attention to it's current lineup, but he completely failed to mention GI Sky, a founding member, but more importantly, the band's main lyricist as well Dave's songwriting collaborator. Harry Katz joined the band as a fill in after Sky left years after the band had already been established, and the two of them grew in popularity based heavily on the songs written by the Sky, and conceptually crafted by Derick, the band's other founding member (also not mentioned).
Careful @centralavebum , threatening violence (even online) is a misdemeanor and it isn't hard for us to dig up your IP address. Wow, you are stupid.
im on a stolen wifi you fuckin idiot like i said ill meet you at the mannings house bitch @yrnotsmart
@centralavebumI find it hard to believe that someone who is too much of a coward to sign their name will "meet us at the Manning's house." Also, get a clue, the Mannings have grown up and moved out... Maybe you should stop stealing WIFI from your parents' and get out of their basement too. Pathetic.
This is a really bad article about bands that had hardly anything to do with the Westchester scene and ignores the many other bands that left a mark. It makes it sound like the scene revolved around a bunch of rich kids at the Rye Center. I had never been to that place ever and I was in that scene. The only person from The Banned that was really a part of it was the original Singer Mike. The rest were a bunch of stuck up t%@!$.
I never heard of any of these guys and there's no mention of any of the Oi!/street punk bands or hardcore bands to come out of Westchester. There was a larger scene before we came around not sure when though. Rockin Rex was a great place to get music though unless you went to tower on central to steal...it was so easy . Anyway the article? not good not accurate.
I was playing right alongside these bands the whole time, my band didn't get mentioned, I don't care because I know GI Dave and the Yankou brothers WERE the scene, they worked their asses off booking shows and invested a shitload of time into this beautiful culture known as DIY Punk. Anyone who says they don't deserve to be recognized either doesn't know what they're talking about or is a sore loser!
It's just a little article guys, chill out! It's not very punk to get all butthurt because the villiage voice didn't mention you. Write a friggin zine about it!
well, if anyone's complaining that the article didn't do enough to paint an accurate picture of life in the Westchester punk/music scene during this time period... I'd say the comments took care of that pretty quick.
So here it is, the official addendum to the article showing what it was like at the time, if you took away all of the good music and fun shows:
This Artcile starts way to late ! they should have coverd the Rag time sceen in westchester from 1920 to 1922
How dare they not know about the bands from that time ! and place !
I met these people (NOATS/Genuine Imitations etc.) around 2008 running shows in Philadelphia and immediately fell in love with their music, their positivity, and their sincerity. The people complaining about their bands or their friend's bands not getting mentioned are bad mouthing a nice, short, poorly titled article shedding some light on people who introduced me and many others to this scene in the first place. The first time NOATS played at my house, Steve was handing out his Imitating Art zine. Genuine Imitations and NOATS did nothing but name drop these bands and glorify Westchester punk. If I were Dave Haak or Steve "One of The Nicest and Best People I Know" Yankou, I probably wouldn't have given a ton of credence to all of the people shit talking in these comments, but when I met them they did. These folks ooze respect and love for their scene and are still going strong. Congratulations on some much deserved attention given to some dear friends of mine. Love you guys.
@Barrett Way to try and shame everyone for having a different experience.
It's reasonable for people to take lack of mention seriously. The whole experience of being a punk in Westchester is about being excluded from things because of cliquey bullshit. To a lot of people, an article like this just feels like more of the same.
it's also totally crazy that there was no mention of Dock 73, that was a really important venue!
Everyone sure is taking the lack of themselves/their friends being mentioned awfully seriously. I grew up in northern westchester and all my shows were at Dock 73 and the church in Croton and I admittedly never had any contact with the lower westchester scene. Westchester is just too big to be clumped into one scene, that's just how it is.
I think it's really telling that the people defending this article are the people who are included in its scope.
It's not that I would expect an article like this to be totally comprehensive, like a book might be, it's that it's very clear that the article wasn't very well researched. It's clear that the writer only talked to maybe a handful of people who all knew each other and were friends.
So even if we're only talking about stuff that was going on in the BC Recs scene between 2002 and 2005, the article still just memorializes the people who were part of the 'cool kids' clique.
Even an article with such a narrow scope is lacking if it doesn't mention Eric Katz and all of the shows he booked that these BC Recs bands played? What about house shows at Emma Covello's house? or WestchesterRocks.com?
A part of me is just glad a lot of people think it's still worth arguing. It was super fun getting to know the ropes I grew up around so many dedicated and freaky people. I'm stilll really close with a lot of them, and closer to some Now than ever, which I'm thankful for. What's a scene anyway, it's just a punk show where all my friends have fun and getting werid. Most I remember that we watched each others bands We danced to everyone's band. Glad to be a part of it, hilarious it's in the village voice. Peace love and respect Harry Katz
These are just the EMOcore kids from upper
and some hardcore kids that BC WEs PAC sceen din't know from lower
its a Shame the vibration wasn't in here he told me he talked about them and cleaves but this is what made it
I commend this article for trying to give a fair shake to the scene that I call home. The comments thus far have all pointed to the fact that any sort of documentation of the scene is going to leave someone feeling like their band/township/punk house was omitted, but that's inevitable and I only wish we all could be in a basement somewhere to gripe over what was good or bad about it. As younger brother to a certain commenter and best friend to the youngest of the Manning brothers (yes! a fourth one!), I grew up playing wiffle ball and video games to the sound of The Banned playing in their basement. I was fortunate enough to not only grow up thinking that a genuine DIY punk scene was the norm, I was surrounded by family and friends that I can objectively say did it with the utmost sincerity and passion. I would not have grown up listening to the music I did, start a band, survive high school, etc. without Fourth Dimension and, eventually, BC Records. The scene certainly has not fallen; that would be equivalent to saying that kids in Westchester have stopped forming bands and putting on shows, and I don't think that can be said for any town, city, or county across the country. I am grateful that I came up at a time where there was a collective effort to put on shows in the form of Fourth Dimension and BC Records, but there's no way I exclude the possibility that someone in Westchester isn't working hard at putting that together. I appreciate that this article relies on Brian and Allison for quotes, as they are two individuals that worked tirelessly to make the scene possible. And it goes on. NOATS is on tour this summer and headed west, and from where I sit in Portland, Ore. I am thrilled to spend the better part of a week in the beginning of August with old friends and celebrate them continuing to make it happen as a band. I think one of Brian's comments is central to this history: in the beginning, The Walters and The Banned were more consistently playing in the city than they were in Westchester, and the reason for that is the lack of venues. When I was in high school there were enough venues to play in Westchester like Out of Bounds in Scarsdale and other youth centers, but playing in the city was always exciting and playing house shows was always more fun. I think the Westchester "scene" will always exist on that thin line between building their own scene and thriving off its immediate access to greater New York, and I like to think that makes it somewhat unique. There are countless other factor that made and make it unique, and if it's purportedly dormant at the moment, I only hope that some high school kid is putting together a demo, zine, or compilation right now.
What about the time the Shit Goblets busted out all the windows at that Lutheran Church in Tuckahoe? When XForestXFireX set all the tarantulas at the Greenburgh Nature Center loose? When the Brutal Dudes and Dusted Sluts were beefing and Brutal Bruce knocked out Tony Slut's front teeth with a piece of rebar at the Mamaroneck Train Station? But I guess this was all "pre-internet." For real, bro. Do your research next time. My feelings are hurt.
And you can't write about Westchester punk if you don't mention the sick basement shows they used to do at Crepe Lake in Chappaqua. I saw Debbie Bosoms from Bosom Buddiez fuck up like, fifteen Tooth Crew straight edge dudes cause one of them called her friend a bitch and she was all "I stand in opposition to the invisible scaffolding of patriarchal violence!" and just totally laid them all out. Fucking, how could you leave that part out? Are you a sexist, bro?
And really, if you want to go back to the roots of Westchester punk you definitely gotta take it back to 1771 when the French Huguenot's had a thriving Cottage Punk scene, pre-Revolutionary War. I mean, seriously, who fact checked this.
This comment has been deleted
I am a Westchester native who has since relocated to Montreal and become active the punk scene there. Having since left the 914 for the 514, I really feel the Scene in Westchester was always sorta lackluster. and It was something we did because we were young and we didnt know the city was 30 minutes south of us (that or our parents wouldnt let us go there) so we made do with what we had. although we certianly had some great times and great bands, It wasnt really that great, we never really thought it was. It was what we had so we ran with it and all moved to the City when we could. or in my case, left my former life completley behind and escaped to Canada. Westchester is where I cut my teeth and came of age, and it was where I was an awkward and oblivious teenager, we all were. I think I can speak for more than just myself when I say that there is nothing to go back to or to miss. the good times were had, the people were great but really Westchester is just any other vapid suburb. nothing counter-cultural is sustainable there.
in any case, I would rather be chiling in Notre Dame de Grace than in White Plains anyway....
-you know who who Actually did move to Canada
I've often said that every single person in "the scene" made their own documentary about "the scene" they would all be different. After all, if there were a "scene" simple enough to be irrefutably completely summarized in a 2 page article, it wouldn't be worth writing about. That said, this certainly COULD have included a lot more bands, venues, perspectives etc. Someone could write a book on this topic, but this isn't a book. Maybe the title, which unfortunately implies a sort of comprehensive overview, might be what's really bothering some people. Considering the inevitability of omission, I find this to be pretty darn well written and historically accurate. But that's easy for me to say, because this article speaks very highly of Steve Yankou's No One and the Somebodies. :) (the band name itself implies no leadership, but it's ok.)
I must admit, if an article of this title was all about The Rot and Loser 44, which it very well could have, I'd be calling it bullshit.
Also, Dave Haack is the man. Just sayin. Like my friend Micah has said many times about Dave, "AT LEAST [HE'S] FUCKIN' TRYIIIIING! WHAT THE FUCK HAVE YOU DONE!?"
@zteve obviously it should have been about fakeman, 12 ton bridge, and the secret slopes. the real bands of the westchester scene!
And, if anyone gets anything out of this article at all, it shoud be "Listen to No One And The Somebodies!"
A better title for the article might have been "The Rise and Fall of BC Records" considering it only really covers that specific scene. Everyone commenting is obviously way more familiar with the Westchester Scene and much more opinionated about it. We were all a part of it in our own way, but someone who really needed to be mentioned in this article was CJ Bellacero, former guitarist of The Banned, founding member of Blue Velvet, and partner, i believe, in BC records.
As the drummer of The Vibration, I got a kick out of seeing so many of my talented friends mentioned in this article. Of course, there are tons of bands that were not mentioned, but the piece wasn't meant to be exhaustive.
However the title is misleading. If we were to really chart the rise of the Westchester scene, we would see a steady rise, of bands like Dementia 13, The Banned and Jiker influencing (As Allegra has pointed out) the 'younger' generation. We certainly were.
It would also be interesting to document the true 'rise'- for example: how far Westchester bands have extended reach. And there were many of them. Although we all loved (and miss) Paul Shaffer House, that wasn't the pinnacle of success for many bands from 914. We toured the UK and across the US and were signed to a British label after our days with BC ended. Many other bands toured and gained quite large followings in different areas of the country (way further than just UPSTATE, ha)
NOATS continues to make great music and is leaving for another summer tour across the country as well.
And as was pointed out, many of these bands are still kicking. And there are so many new, good bands that continue to pop up. I don't believe this scene was frozen in time, or that it's over, but it's been fun to read the conversation that this has spurred, so thank you for covering it, Nick.
I'm a former promoter, photographer, recording studio assistant and fan in Westchester. There was so much more to the Westchester scene than was mentioned by Dave. I personally booked a lot of shows in Westchester and never once booked at Wildside in Rye or Scarsdale Teen Center or the Fairview Golf Course. There were so many bands and still are in Westchester but there's so much more to it. How about bands like Maniacal Youth, Northshot, at legs.starobin mentioned, General Miggs, NOATS, Twofold Truth, THE CLEAVAGENTS, COBC, Left Out, Loser 44/Longspur and even Dr. Hourai. I'm surprised there was absolutely no mention of La Cuna in Cortlandt Manor or Angry Penguin shows. Angry Penguin Noun Fest was one of the largest shows to happen in the local scene.
There was a lot more to the Westchester Scene than BC Records and I mean no disrespect to them, they were a great thing for the scene. There was a myspace page on behalf of the page where all their shows and events would get posted as well as a place for them to network with one another. There was also a website that was designed by Doug from The Cleavagents where news and shows and banners would get posted.
The Westchester music scene as a whole helped me develop a business sense and shaped my musical influences. I think a lot more research should have been conducted prior to writing this story and more people should have been interviewed. Most of the bands he mentioned came later in the scene. There was/is a whole separate scene at SUNY Purchase that's LOADED with talented bands.
No offense to the writer or Dave Haack but he's the last person who should have been interviewed. The guy knew absolutely nothing about the scene, never once booked a successful show, wasn't very well liked as a person and his band was hands down the worst in both Westchester and Bronx scenes. To this day Genuine Imitations is by far the worst band I've ever heard.
I've been supporting the local scene since the late 90's. I wasn't part of the scene prior to some others who have commented on it. There was and is a lot more to the Westchester scene besides punk. Plenty of solid hardcore and alternative/rock bands who are still doing their thing today. A few have even gotten signed.
@Westchester_Scene Lol its Jimmy NEvins ! dude who cares it was so long ago
are you upset that dave ran a sucessful venue for 4 years ?
dude this article isn't about Emocore sorry
Antifolk, Cakeshop, Brassland/National....There is a much more interesting story to unfold, as mentioned, from the music community in the 90s around Westchester, record stores of the area, SUNY Purchase that influences independent music right now. The roots were in the Westchester kids of the 90s at that time. More to tell
My main qualm with this article, and a few people have mentioned it already, is that it is dealing with a very small part of the what made up the Westchester scene. I think it is great to write an article about BC Records and the people that made the scene what it is, but it's important to recognize that a lot of other kids were (and still are) making music in Westchester. If an article is titled "The Rise and Fall of Westchester Punk" and excludes dozens of other bands, it's safe to assume that those bands might get offended.
That being said, I wish that the author had made more of a note about the different generations within the BC scene. Personally, part what made it so special for me was a literal sense of family. The Walters, The Banned, Blue Velvet, General Miggs, No One and the Somebodies all had older siblings who influenced their younger siblings in bands like Those Opposed/Twofold Truth, and No One and the Somebodies. This carried on to their friends, too. I don't think it'd be unreasonable to say that myself and my close friends were heavily influenced by how accepting and welcoming the older kids were. I probably wouldn't know half of the bands I listen to today if they hadn't filled me in on it.
also no mentions of, stress boy, weird harold, t.v.ec magnus, jobbed out junebug. ect ect the low down, the smokey tooth and countless other who busted there ass sue's mad platters, the vinyl solution ect ect.. judging by this it was written about a click of people who came in the "scene" too little too late. west pac is booked by the soup nazi's of punk. if you say the wrong thing at the wrong time you get banned.
the writer of this piece is ill informed.. thats not a knock on them its more of a knock on the people giving the ill information.. this article proves yet again that dave haack knows as much about punk as mitt romney knows about job creation.. and he's a lying smart ass! i'll gladly tell him to his face if i ever see him!! ever hear of awkward thought???? shell shock??? dealin' with it?? carnage krew, the maladjusted, sub zero, and on and on.. i'll even give patient 957 credit! and on that note, dave, why didnt you give your pal ellis any credit??? you let him book at wes pac whenever the fuck he wanted and lied to everyone else, who tried to book there.. on the subject of venues, you shit on the low down in its brief mention.. but what about the smokey tooth in yonkers??? youre so punk, you mustve heard of that?? you know, yonkers?? the place that bronxville nerds like others mentioned in this article claim to be from so they dont seem as preppie and lame as they actually are.. ive been part of the scene and still am to this day, since 1995. ive been booking shows all over the tri state area since 2000, playing in bands since 01 and you thought i wasnt punk enough to book a show at the wespac space that you monopolized?? .. who do think you are?!?! you overpriveledged little shit!! others who posted replies got it right.. one mentioned stressboy. the only thing about this article that didnt piss me off is the fact that rockin rex is mentioned.. who ever wrote this article, you want a real lesson on westchester punk?, contact tony pradlik. he owned rex.. i'll be glad to arrange this. email me at email@example.com
Dave told me he sent you a message saying sorry he never booked you at Wes Pac ?
and that he just got a lot of requestes
shound't you not be mad any more after 6 years ?
Dave and Tony are friends and he has so much respect for Tony