We were peaking, but it didn't last long. After shows at the Silver Dollar Saloon in Harrison, NJ with Adrenaline O.D., and A7 with Reagan Youth, we played our biggest and final gig. A sold out concert with The Misfits(!) and Kraut at Irving Plaza, March 27, 1982 - billed as "Tim Sommer and Jack Rabid's 20th birthday bash" (we made $850, at a time when my rent was $80). I remember looking out, stunned, at the sea of faces cheering from the floor and balconies as we took the stage. Not two years out of high school... to see this little dream of punk grow from 50 people at TR3 shows to this, was overwhelming! I remember turning to Bobby and saying, "I can't believe this is happening!" Even today, after having played several similar theater shows with Springhouse, I still think of that night as breathtaking. Sumishta Brahm, my new girlfriend at the time, flew in from L.A. just for the show, making it even more of a landmark in my recollection
And that was it. Poof! It became clear from third parties (it had gotten that bad) after that pinnacle show that the rest of the group had fired me. The fissure was now complete; we simply couldn't solve our petty differences. So even though we were now really clicking as a band, had just finished our LP, and just played our biggest, crowning gig, we succumbed to an internal tumor. The casualties of divorce are always the children, so these tracks gathered cobwebs for 20 years - until now. "Emptying the Madhouse" and "Illusion Won Again" appeared on NY Thrash that '82 summer, which sold tens of thousands of copies. "Contaminated Waste" and this Live at Max's "We Suck" showed up on L.A.'s Mystic Records compilation You Can't Argue With Sucksess (named after our song - and late Circle Jerk Roger Rogerson released that LP without us even signing the contract. Oh well!). "We Suck" also was included on The Best of Mystic, Vol. 1.
Why had no band from our scene made an LP? New York punk bands had to use the money made working to pay for rent, food, sundries, equipment, and rehearsal time. Unlike D.C. bands, for example, we weren't living at home or practicing in our parents' basements anymore. That's why New York never had a Dischord, X-Claim, Ruthless, BYO, or Touch and Go. Not to say it wasn't discussed - it was, at length, everyone was just too skint. This was two decades ago, indie labels were still scarce, and no label had any interest in our scene outside of the late Neil Cooper at ROIR (then cassette-only); and very few underground bands released LPs - not even Stimulators, The Mad, or Bad Brains had. Compounding matters, the hardest older CBGB bands were considered "commercial failures" for Sire, Arista, Chrysalis, and Elektra. After 20 + years, this "Lost LP" shows what we were about outside of NY Thrash. It was supposed to come out in the spring of '82, but we imploded brilliantly instead. R.B., Bobby and Eric left, while I continued on steadfastly with a new line-up as fairly well preordained On this CD we hoped to capture the positive spirit, enthusiasm and zeal of the time, the City, our live shows, and the good fun we had playing (and living) together.
Let this recording then serve as a reminder of the great times we all shared: raw excitement is what shines through on this CD, the hormones, beer, sex, laughter, wild imaginations and endless possibilities. As Eric says now, "As miserable as we all were back in the olden days, we laughed and played a lot." Besides, for all the grudges of an untimely implosion, there were ultimately no hard feelings. I remember visiting Eric and R.B.'s apartment near 171A shortly after, playing them new Even Worse recordings with Dave Stein, and wishing them well. We've all kept in touch a little since, myself using the fine excuse of intermittent NY Thrash royalty disbursements to catch up.
Bobby and I shared some bills in the later 1980s with later bands. I loved watching him play again. Likewise, I've seen R.B. in two of her bands; a stint on bass for Big Stick (I DJ'd one of their shows at the Ritz in front of 1600 people!), and guitar/vocals in her own group, Hellvis. She's been in several - King Missile, Missing Foundation, Pussy Galore, Sloth, and the Wharton Tiers Ensemble, to name a few. After leaving NY in early '98, she's lived in San Francisco, L.A. and is now residing in Boston. After a stretch as a broadcast graphics designer she's still playing guitar, and writing novels and screenplays; one script loosely based on the trials and tribulations of Even Worse - opening with the day we crammed into Bobby's little Austin Healey to Summit for Dingle's party. She even designed the sleeve for this CD, commenting on the cover; "I have taken a ton of weird Coney Island pix... I really like the whole Urban Decay theme. I think it goes well with our music!"
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