The list of New York City bands that clawed their way to success is long and storied. From KISS to Blondie to the Beastie Boys to the Strokes to LCD Soundsystem and beyond, hundreds of notable bands have proven that -- despite the hardship, the competition and a relentless tide of indifference, rejection and urbane negativity -- sheer tenacity can win the prize. Longer still is the list of New York City artists -- from the Fugs to SWANS to the Cro-Mags to Cop Shoot Cop -- who, despite never really making any substantial amounts of money, somehow managed to carve their names into the tree of critical acclaim ... or, at the very least, notoriety.
Then, of course, there are those star-crossed bands who, despite their talent, energy, chops, style and savvy, never end up making the cut.
Sadly, the Metromen were one of those bands.
Who were they? Well, the Metromen were a versatile four-piece who started making the New York circuit in the late 70's and early 80's, riding the rising tide of New Wave in a similar vein to artists like Joe Jackson and The Police. For all intents and purposes, they were a fun, capable and promising outfit. They became, as I understand it (being that I was in grade school at the time, not loitering around NYC rock clubs like I would in later years) a regular fixture on the scene. Then, for some reason, it all went kaput. The band broke up, for whatever reason, and that was that.
They're not entirely gone, mind you. The band boasts a MySpace page, a Facebook page and even Wikipedia notes of their fleeting tenure. According to the latter, the band even recorded an album, but it never saw the light of day. There was even a brief Metromen reunion at Maxwell's back in 2007.
So why am I bothering to talk about this regrettably obscure band? Well, I stumbled upon a video on YouTube of theirs with which they used to open their show at the then-newly opened Ritz on 11th Street (now Webster Hall) and it blew a new part in my hair. Look beyond the low budget and the slapstick shenanigans of the young, enthusiastic band and soak in the sights and sounds of 1980 NYC. Look for the adjunct location of Bleecker Bob's (!!!) on MacDougal Street, and take a look back at 11th Street years before the massive AMC Loews Village 7 movie complex was constructed. It's truly a trip back through time as THE METROMEN TAKE THE RITZ....
And for the sake of posterity, here's a quick taste of what the Metromen sounded like. Enjoy...