Bryan of Patell & Waterman's History of New York blog extended a nice invitation to me yesterday. To mark the release of their volumes in Continuum's 33 1/3 series, they've asked a gaggle of "friends, critics and fellow music lovers" to submit playlists of "their favorite NYC records." Sensing that this type of activity was right up my proverbial street, Bryan gamely asked me to contribute.
He asked for my top five which, of course, is something of a maddening task -- I can think of volumes and volumes of selections that I'd consider all equally ripe for inclusion for any number of trainspotterly reasons. In any case, in thinking of possible contenders, I started randomly entering appropriate song titles into YouTube to see if there were clips suitable for inclusion. I was amazed to find that not only was "My Kinda Town" by the Undead available, but that they actually shot a proper video for it.
For those unfamiliar with The Undead, they are/were former Misfits guitarist/East Village mainstay Bobby Steele's band. After his storied stint with the Misfits, Bobby had a falling out with the boys and was ousted from their frowny ranks, prompting him to form the somewhat similarly-inclined Undead with drummer Pat Blanck and bassist Chris Nantz. The clip below, "My Kinda Town" is from their 1981 debut vinyl, Nine Toes Later (the album title is a reference to a foot injury Steele sustained that left him to rely on his signature cane.)
All these years later, one can still encounter Bobby Steele walking the streets of the East Village. I accosted him on Avenue A back in 2000 (see pic above, with slice in hand, fresh from since-shuttered Sal's ) and he turned out to be the nicest, chattiest guy. Years later, I found him on Facebook and was somewhat surprised to find that he's a raging Republican of the conspiracy-theory-obsessed/Tea Party variety. A very nice, cool guy all the same, but who knew?
The line-up of The Undead captured below didn't last. They went on to have about 24 different rhythm sections. Bassist Chris Nantz morphed into Jack Natz and went on to play with Virus before forming The Black Snakes and later my beloved Cop Shoot Cop. Last I heard, he was lending his bass-bashing skills to the likes of Lubricated Goat and The Unsane. No idea whatever became of Pat Blanck.
For folks who aren't all that versed in NYC punk, the video below is still captivating as it depicts a few shots of a long-since vanished NYC, featuring scenes of Steele in Times Square, juping the fence at Bellevue Hospital (which, I guess, is shorthand for "I'm insane") and stalking the now-unrecognizable streets of the East Village.