RIP: Jennifer Anderson of The Dialtones

Jennifer Anderson
Jennifer Anderson

Jenni and I met at an art opening at Russell Sage College late in 1978. We had an hours-long, wine-soaked conversation about music and art, and by February, 1979 were fronting our very own band, The Dialtones. Raw, raucous, drunk and snotty, for one magical summer we were the reigning punksters of the Albany music scene.

We opened for The Ramones at JB Scotts and for David Johansen at The Chance. We almost got pummeled after a gig at Thompsons Lake Hotel. There were a lot of other gigs, most of which I don’t remember.

The band imploded later that same year, and I never saw her again. She moved to New York and then later to a quiet life out on Long Island, focusing on writing. She died on April 2, 2011 after a long illness.

I remember her as incredibly bright, with a boundless love of rock and roll and an inimitable fashion sense.

She was a much better punk than I was; I viewed punk mostly as an occasion to dress up and have fun, but there was definitely an undercurrent of anger in her very funny, very sardonic sense of humor, and on stage she was an arresting figure, a snarling six-foot tall blonde amazon who tended to scare people.

Here’s Jenni singing two songs from one of the very last dates the Dialtones played at Hulla-Baloo in Rensselaer.

The Dialtones: Too Bad

The Dialtones: Red Car

Masters of the promotional photo: The Dialtones
Masters of the promotional photo: The Dialtones
The Dialtones @ 17 Maple Ave, Saratoga, 1979
The Dialtones @ 17 Maple Ave, Saratoga, 1979 (photo by Ed Atkeson)
Jenni Anderson
Jenni Anderson
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  1. jim sande says

    Rest in peace Jenni.

  2. jim furlong says

    I met you both that year. I recall when you were forming Dialtones, you both strolled into Just A Song one afternoon to ask me what were some good punk songs to buy. I spun the “Homicide” single by 999 for you, and some others. Next time I saw you gigging, that song was in the repirtoire…and done righteously! Jennifer was truly an “art punk” chic; Cool, aloof, fashion adventurous. A strong stage presence. Last time I saw her was at the 8 Balls disco in ’80? She told me she was moving out of Smallbany soon, and to ditch the girl I was dancing with (which I did) and we drank, danced and partied all night. Those were great, creative times. Nobody could tell any of us what we couldn’t do. I hope she passed with close friends and family around her.

  3. Sara says

    I remember. We would have had a much shorter set list if you hadn’t been working at Just A Song!

  4. jim says

    Once again, on ahead into the night.
    I was sitting outside a couple of weeks ago looking up at all those tiny shining other suns and thought It’s a sunny day somewhere.
    Sing on sister.

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