November 16, 2011

The Blame ... Who Gets It? ..................(Lancaster 1979)

-->So, who really brought punk rock to little Lancaster, PA?  A couple of years before The Bodies sparked the local scene, there was a band in town that seemed to be playing a mix of punk, new wave, and whitey reggae at Tom Paine's Back Room and even CBGB(!).  The Blame had a lone B-side called Little Girls (in Hollywood) that hints at that punk influence, so they just might deserve the name!

Guitarist Jeff Coleman tells the whole story:
The late 1970's was an exciting time. In Lancaster, we were just hearing the music that had been coming out of NYC and London for the past several years- what they called punk and New Wave. The basic idea was- do what you wanna do, make the music you wanna make, anything is possible.

Glenn Redcay had been playing some terrific guitar in Big Red, but it was time for something new. Glenn gave up the guitar and picked up a cheesy red bass- time to start over.

 Steve Patton [drums] heard London calling too. He was more involved in the politics than the rest of us- for Steve it was a revolution, man! Guy Debris had been playing blues guitar, but some of the guitar players in the New Wave scene really impressed him and the nastyness of punk was fun. I was excited by the different ways to write and the new sounds to play and the idea that we could do this ourselves. We all got together to change the world.
 And maybe we did.
We did covers of the Clash, the Police, the B-52's, the Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, the Ramones, the Cars, Gang of Four and even the A's "Parasite". By the end we were doing around 16 original songs a night.
The single was recorded by the original lineup early in 1980 at Atlantic Sound Productions in Marietta. It was one of those "500 records for $595" deals, which included 8 hours for recording and mixing both sides — generous!
One highlight of our career was playing CBGB twice — on Sundays, when they would have a dozen bands or so file through. Still, it was a thrill, even though we drove home that night in sub-zero weather in my panel truck without any heat (Kept warm for a while with blintzes).
Late in 1980 Steve bailed and was replaced by Blair King on drums and vocals.  Normally we played a place in Lancaster called the Back Room, which we "owned" for a couple of years. We did play the Village once or twice, one time following a "male review" show, which was about the strangest gig ever. Played the Silo in Reading, which was a disaster — it was too early there for new wave/punk. We shared the bill with the Sharks once or twice. There was friendly competition between us in Lancaster, but of course, the Sharks went on to rule central Pa. for a while. They had a hit with a song I wrote called "You Make Me." It earned me about $50 from airplay around here. The Blame never made the jump into the club circuit due to lack of a PA and lack of management skills. But we did sell all our records, and were the punks in town for a while.
Jeff was later in The Fender Twinns, and has recorded hundreds of local musicians in his homegrown Steam Powered Studio. Steve went on to play rockabilly with The Red Roosters. And Blair continued to book original bands at Tom Paine's Back Room and formed the new wave band Color Code.

You can hear The Blame doing Bob Marley's Kaya and a live new wave track called World of Our Own on the Steam Powered Studio website.

Thanks to Reesa Rooter Marchetti and her Relive the 80s site for the audio track and quotes.

No comments:

Post a Comment