I’m always on the search for such things, so you can imagine my excited gasp when I read this headline in AMNY: Rare Images of NYC Nightclubs From The 80s and 90s, Including the Limelight and the Roxy. Well, don’t get too excited. It’s not exactly a treasure trove of images, but … to be fair, there were a couple that I was pleased to discover.
Ironically, the one I’m choosing to highlight from the mix is of CBGB, a club that can hardly be accused of not being well documented. The only reason I’m citing the above photo – snapped by one V. Richard Haro for Newsday, originally – is because it features my friend Dave Ouimet, then lead singer of Motherhead Bug and erstwhile early member of both Cop Shoot Cop and, later, the first incarnation of Firewater. That’s him in the middle, exhorting with microphone aloft. There’s no year on it, but it would have been around 1993 or so, if I had to guess.
Neither industrial guerillas nor flannel-swaddled grunge merchants, Motherhead Bug made music that was arguably out of step with the prevailing “alternative” tastes of the early 90’s. A large ensemble, sometime counting upwards of 11 members in its ranks (including former SWANS roadie and future Cop Shoot Cop guitarist Steve McMillen), Motherhead Bug might be best described as listing circus music. I always thought of Ray Bradbury’s short story, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” when I listened to Zambodia.
Motherhead Bug only released a couple of 7” singles and one full album, that being Zambodia, which was recorded in Martin Bisi’s storied studio in Gowanus, Brooklyn (which I spoke about here). The album was oddly released on what I remember Dave would later characterize as “a reggae label.” Dave also played with Foetus and his wife’s band, Sulfur. These days, he’s still a New Yorker, has worked in publishing, and is currently illustrating children’s books, rife with singularly haunting images. Check out his work here, and enjoy this teaser..
Here, meanwhile, is a taste of Motherhead Bug….