(left) The Last Conspirators, (right) Charlie Smith (photo by Stanley Johnson)
Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Stanley Johnson and Gene Sennes
“I have actually been invited,” I thought to myself, echoing the astonishment of Nick Carraway when he arrives at Gatsby’s West Egg mansion party in Fitzgerald’s novel. My magnanimous friend, Alison, had given me an advance ticket to the J.B. Scott’s Reunion Party. Pulling into the already crowded parking lot shortly after 7pm, I couldn’t help but realize that I would be likely one of the few revelers too young to have ever attended a show at the legendary venue that had closed 30 years ago, having drawn everybody from Count Basie and John Lee Hooker to the Cramps and Iggy Pop.
I had missed the Penny Knight Band, and the Last Conspirators were already playing full throttle as I entered the ballroom of Michael’s Banquet House, where a large crowd of people danced like it was 1979. The late Joe Strummer would have been proud; I imagined the punk rock warlord raising a Guinness to the band as they tore into originals like “Who Wants a Revolution Anyway” and “History,” the latter beginning with Tim Livingston’s declaration of “Drink to all our futures! Long live J.B. Scott’s!” and then closing out with his microphone stand getting bent in half.
NAME: Steve Cohen
BAND AFFILIATION: The Units/Fear of Strangers
INSTRUMENT: Bass and vocals
1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … “Something New” by the Beatles. Their third US release circa 1964, when Capitol Records for some reason thought that the US record buying public couldn’t accept the records as they were configured in the UK. I saw it in Alexander’s in the Bronx and threw a bit of a fit until my parents agreed to buy it. They put their foot down at the collarless, iridescent green Beatle suit, however.
2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … A weird collection of mid-’60s pop bands, again in the Bronx (of course), headlined by the 1910 Fruit Gum Company playing their big hit “Yummy Yummy Yummy, I’ve Got Love In My Tummy.” Only later would I realize the true implication of those lyrics. I believe the Blues Image was on the bill as well, although this was long before “Ride, Captain, Ride” came out.
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