Five Firsts: Joe Putrock of the Charlie Watts Riots

September 20th, 2013, 10:00 am by Greg

Joe Putrock

Joe Putrock

NAME: Joe Putrock
BAND AFFILIATION: The Charlie Watts Riots

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … I actually bought three cassettes simultaneously from Columbia House Record Club. J. Geils Band’s Freeze Frame, the Rolling Stones’ Tattoo You and Abacab by Genesis. I got three new records for a penny, and my mother was stuck paying full price for 12 more records over the following two years!

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … The Steve Miller Band at the Palace Theatre. I went with a couple of girls that I went to high school with; we thought it was the best to be out that late on a school night. Unfortunately, it was his Born 2B Blue tour, and half the show he was playing covers of old jazz standards!

Read the rest of this entry »


Culture Vulture: Crank It Up – “The Great Rock n’ Roll Picture Show” @ Clement Art Gallery

February 7th, 2012, 4:00 pm by Greg
Martin Benjamin: Tom -Petty 1980 and 2010

Martin Benjamin's Tom Petty, 1980 and 2010

By J Hunter
Photograph by Martin Benjamin

The Troy PD cruiser sat in the middle of Broadway, its light bar blinking with metronome-like regularity, as it blocked traffic from accessing River Street. I looked out at it from the currently-cozy confines of Clement Art Gallery and resisted the urge to shout at them, “It’s a Rock and Roll PICTURE Show, you goons! They’re not blowing out eardrums in here!” As it turned out, the cops were assisting Troy Fire Department on an entirely different matter – although their overall blockage forced some opening-nighters to drive the wrong way down a one-way street in order to escape a River St. parking lot. But hey, driving the wrong way down a one-way street? “That’s rock and roll,” as Bowtie Blotto would say… and did say as he assessed the photographic works of Joe Putrock, Martin Benjamin and John Whipple along with the rest of people who packed the exhibit’s opening reception on Friday, January 27.

This wasn’t the first exhibition of concert photography to flash before our eyes: “Impasse & Motion” set the standard firmly in gold last June at Saratoga Arts Gallery; Putrock was part of the 10 photographers on display at Saratoga, and we saw some of the shots from that exhibition here (including my personal favorite, a blown-up contact sheet of Sara MacLachlan). Both this show and “Impasse” displayed solid examples of the art of concert photography, which I previously described as “catching lightning in a bottle while handcuffed and blindfolded.” There is, however, one BIG difference between “Impasse” and “The Great Rock n’ Roll Picture Show”: Volume.

Read the rest of this entry »

Making Music Into Art: Martin Benjamin, Joe Putrock, John Whipple, Michael Eck

January 25th, 2012, 1:00 pm by Greg
Photographs by Martin Benjamin, Joe Putrock and John Whipple @ Clement Art Gallery

Last summer’s art exhibition at the Saratoga Arts Center, “Impasse & Motion: Ten Photographers’ Journeys through Instants in Music” (currated by Nippertown’s own chief photographer Andrzej Pilarczyk) was a near perfect melding of sound and vision.

Now the Clement Art Gallery in Troy is preparing to mount its own music photography exhibit. “The Great Rock N’ Roll Picture Show” features the eagle-eyed camera work of three fine Nippertown photographers – Martin Benjamin, Joe Putrock (who was also represented in “Impasse & Motion”) and John Whipple. The exhibition kicks off on Friday (January 27) with a reception from 6-9pm and runs through Wednesday, February 22.

Read the rest of this entry »

LIVE: Super 400 & the Charlie Watts Riots @ Valentine’s Music Hall, 9/17/11

September 27th, 2011, 2:00 pm by Greg
Super 400

Super 400

Yes, it was the official LarkFest after party, but it was more than that. It was a celebration of a coming together, as well as a departure.

Super 400 and the Charlie Watts Riots teamed up for a dynamite double bill over at Valentine’s Music Hall that kept the rockin’ going on well past dark.

Read the rest of this entry »

Workshop on Photographing Musicians

July 6th, 2011, 12:30 pm by Greg
Heidi Talbot

Cherish The Ladies frontwoman Heidi Talbot waiting to start in Schenectady's Central Park (mid-2000s) (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

You’ve seen the fabulous concert photos of Andrzej Pilarczyk right here on, where he serves as chief photographer.

Now you can find out how he gets those great shots… and how you can, too.

In conjunction with the current exhibition at the Saratoga Arts Center Gallery, “Impasse & Motion: Ten Photographers’ Journey Through Instants in Music,” Pilarczyk and musician-photographer Joe Putrock (Metroland, The Times Union, Nippertown) are offering a hands-on workshop, “Photographing Musicians & Musical Events.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Live: The Gaslight Anthem @ Northern Lights, 9/26/10

October 5th, 2010, 4:25 pm by Greg

Gaslight Anthem (photo by Joe Putrock)

Somewhere around the time when the Gaslight Anthem was plowing through the title track from their new album, “American Slang,” a friend leaned over to me and said, “I guess every generation needs its own Bruce Springsteen.”

Well, why not?

After all, the Boss has just celebrated his 61st birthday, and we all know that rock ‘n’ roll is a young man’s game.

Not that New Jersey’s Gaslight Anthem is a Springsteen clone or anything, but there’s no doubt that he’s been a huge influence on their sound.

And the word about Gaslight Anthem is spreading fast. Just a couple of years ago, they were playing at Valentine’s Music Hall. Last week they drew a large crowd of more than 700 to Northern Lights in Clifton Park on a Sunday night. And a few days later, they were headlining at Radio City Music Hall.

Not bad for a blue collar, meat ‘n’ potatoes rock ‘n’ roll band that’s only been together for five years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Live: Devo @ Northern Lights, 7/31/10

August 6th, 2010, 4:01 pm by Greg

Devo (photo by Joe Putrock)

Perhaps it’s because they’ve gotten older – haven’t we all? – and over the years they’ve gotten rounder and a bit mellower…

Or maybe it’s because the rest of the music world has finally caught up with their sound, and they no longer sound so utterly unique…

On Saturday night at Northern Lights, Devo just didn’t seem to have the old snap, crackle ‘n’ zing that they doled out in the early days of their devolutionary process.

Read the rest of this entry »

Joe Putrock, the Mayor of Warren Street

September 3rd, 2009, 11:35 am by Greg

You’ve seen his photographs in Metroland.
You’ve seen his photographs in the Times Union.
You’ve seen his photographs on gallery walls.
Yes, Joe Putrock‘s photographs sometimes seem to be everywhere.

Joe Putrock

Joe Putrock

And now you can also see them at Carrie Haddad Photographs in Hudson. The exhibit – which also features the work of Melinda McDaniel and Arnold Kastenbaum – opens today and will remain on view through Sunday, October 11.

The opening reception for the show takes place from 6-8pm Saturday, September 5, and Putrock has decided to make a whole night of it.

Following the reception at the gallery, Putrock will dash across Warren Street to Jason’s Upstairs Bar, where he’ll slip behind the drums to play with his band, the Charlie Watts Riots.

That’s right, a little bit of intimate, small-scale photography and a little bit of crank-it-up, blast-it-out rock & roll. Joe Putrock, you’re the Mayor of Warren Street – at least for a night.

Caffe LenaJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysHolly & EvanCartoonist John CaldwellThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantAdvertise on Nippertown!Artist Charles HaymesMohawk Hudson Humane Society