Rockin' Rochester: 1980's

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Rockin' Rochester: The 1980's:


"Die Trying" b/w "Can't Get Off The Ground" New Math (Archive 13011)

"From The City That Brought You Absolutely Nothing" Out Of Print Records LP (compilation of Rochester, Geneva & Syracuse, NY New Wave bands)

"French Cuts" EP:"Bullet In Harlem/Red Lightening/Mungo Jack/There's A Thing" Cappy & the Frenchmen (Moulin Rouge EP)

WUHF-TV (Channel 31) , Rochester's 5th TV station, signs on the air.

"Older Women" b/w "The Restless Kind" New Math (Archive 1302) (August 1980)

"I Ain't No Miracle Worker" b/w "Exit 9" Chesterfield Kings (Living Eye LSD-1)

"WCMF 96 -Rochester's Homegrown Bands" WCMF Radio compilation of Rochester  rock bands. Includes New Math "Hot Sounds" and Hit And Run "Scoping"-drummer Todd Bradley would go on to the Essentials/Salamanders/Hi-Risers )


"Are You Gonna Be There (at the Love-In) Chesterfield Kings ("Battle Of The Garages" Voxx compilation LP, ; The 'Kings won the contest with the most write-in votes. Also available on "Be A Caveman" Voxx compilation CD, released in 2000; First two "Battle Of The Garages" re-issued on one CD on Voxx)

"Homegrown 2" WCMF Radio compilation of Rochester  rock bands. Includes The Insiders "Leave Me Alone" and The Cliches "Riverview Restaurant")

"Boogaloo Rendezvous" b/w "Subscriptions (are my prescription)" Hi-Techs (Archive 1304) (Winter 1981)

"Screamin' You Head" b/w "A Woman's Revenge" Hi-Techs (Archive 1305)

WITR-FM increases it's power from 10 wats to 910 watts, and enables it to be heard throughout Monroe and adjoining counties-Begins the "Modern Music & More" format.

Scott Bakula ("Quantum Leap", "Enterprise") is a member of Rochester's Geva Theatre group.


The Ginna Nuclear Power plant releases radioactive steam into the atmosphere for two minutes. It is Ted Coppel's feature story that night on "Nightline".

WBBF-AM (950) changes from top 40 to all news.

"They Walk Among You" 5-song EP New Math (415 Records)

"Hey Little Bird" b/w "I Can Only Give You Everything" Chesterfield Kings (Living Eye LSD-3)

"Bongo Party"  b/w "Walking With A Stranger" Delroy Rebop (Archive 1306)

"Passion Or The Pain" b/w "Treat It Like A Scar" Presstones (Archive 1307)

"Here Are The Chesterfield Kings" Mirror LP (December 1982)

"I'm Goin' Home" b/w "A Dark Corner" Chesterfield Kings (Mirror VRP-2061) (December 1982)

The Rochester Drive-In on Scottsville Rd. (across from the airport) closes after 40 years.

The Central Drive-In on Long Pond Rd. (near the canal) closes after 36 years.

The Empire Drive-In closes after 33 years. A Loew's Theatre now occupies the spot.


"I Saw Bobby Sobbing In The Lobby"  b/w "Frontal Lobotomy" Degrads (Ronto BAR-730)

The Rochester Americans win the American Hockey League's Calder Cup.

Friday April 22nd: Cousin Al & the Relatives appear on Channel 31's 'All Night Diner with Brian Bram'. They perform 'Surfin' On The Barge Canal' and 'Surf Down At Charlotte'.

"Can't" b/w "You're My Baby" Insiders (No Label 45)

The Starlite Drive-In closes after 34 years.


March: The "Psychedelic Sundae" airs on WITR-FM. Hosts Mick & Mike play Psychedlic and Garage rock from the 1960's and 1980's acts like the Chestefield Kings, Lyres & Insiders. The show eventually evolves into "Whole Lotta Shakin"

 "She Told Me Lies" b/w "I 've Got A Way With Girls" Chesterfield Kings (Mirror VPA-852)

"Wahini" b/w "Taking Liberties" The Observers (GFI TO-8412)

"Gardens" LP New Math (Braineater Ltd. Records)

"Brother Wease" starts his on-air career at WCMF-FM on Sundays.


"Surfin' On The Barge Canal" b/w "Zombie Twist" Cousin Al & the New Generation (Half-Life 45)

"You That I Want" b/w "Trying To Get You Out Of My Mind " Swing Set (Peppermint 45)

WITR's "Psychedelic Sundae" changes it's name to the "Boss Beat". It's format changes slightly to include Surf, Instrumental, and early sixties music along with garage rock & psychedelia.

"A Hundred" b/w "Big Man's Daughter Invisible Party (Jargon 503039X) (November 1985)

"All Under Heaven" Projectiles (The Exploding Underground Compilation-Direct Hit LP)

Penfield High School's WBER-FM (90.5) signs on the air, playing alternative & new wave music.

"Scorgies" (150 Andrews Street) changes from a music to a comedy club.

"Idols" (123 Liberty Pole Way) opens up as a New Music club.


"You're Making Me Cry" b/w "Turn My Head" Luther & the BBB's (Jargon-JAR 2121) (August 1986)

"Some Things Never Change" b/w "I Need Somebody" Projectiles (Jargon-JAR 1285006)

"No Man's Land" Absolute Grey ("Hangin Out At Midnight" compilation, Midnight LP)


The Rochester Americans win the American Hockey League's Calder Cup.

"Baby Doll" b/w "I Cannot Find Her" (acoustic version) Chesterfield Kings (Mirror 45-12)

"Little Girl" Projectiles ("Garunge" What Wave cassette tape compilation)

"I'm Alone" Projectiles ("Wave From The Grave # 2" What Wave cassette tape compilation)

WITR's "Boss Beat" changes to 'Whole Lotta Shakin' and opens up it's format to rock 'n' roll 1950's-present

"Bone In Rochester" Jargon LP JAR 12-101C. Contains the following tracks:

Side 1:                                                

"Union" Lotus STP                              

"Record Man" The Ferrets                  

"I'm Alone" Projectiles                        

"Trust" Fadeaways                            

"My Baby's In Love" The Young Idea    

"White Mercedes Benz" Lotus STP        

Side 2:   

"Brady Bunch" Static Cling               

"Getting Me Down" Absolute Grey

"Dictator" The Rumbles

"You're Making Me Cry-Luther & the BBB's

"Girls In The Garage" Raunchettes

"Postcard" Mission Emission

"Love & War "Chinchillas


"Ain't Got No Car" EP "I Get Dangerous/Ain't Got No Car Blues/Dreamin' 'Bout NY" Stevie Boy (Burnin' Merkin' A-200)

"The Raunchettes" BOMP! LP BLP-4026

"No Good Woman" and "Nothin'" b/w "I Wanna Come Back" Projectiles (Jargon-JAR 7S-112) (November 1987)

"Are You Ready For Christmas" b/w "What'd You Get" Luther & the BBB's (Jargon-JAR 7S-211) (November 1987) ("Are You Ready For Christmas" also on "Midnight X-Mess Part III" Midnight Records compilation LP (November 1987)


"The Echo" Luther & the BBB's ("Fresh Rockabilly: The Rockin' Roots" Moon Records Compilation LP) (February  1988)

"Tell Me Truly Now" and "I'll Keep Searchin'" b/w "Anything You Feel" The Group Image featuring Mike Pappert (Teenage Blue Records 45)

"What? Scuze Me!?" Raunchettes ("The Secret Team" Bomp! compilation LP)

The Rochester Red Wings defeat Tidewater  to win the AAA Governor's Cup.

"Bull Durham" is released. Much of it is based on Director Ron Shelton's experience playing for the 1970 & 1971 Rochester Red Wings.

The Washington Drive-In closes after 32 years. It stood at North Washington Street near Linden Ave.


The Driving Park Bridge is torn down.


The Artists:

  • Absolute Grey (Psychedelic)

  • The Antoinettes (New Wave Girl Group)

  • The Bird Dogs (Yers truly and friends trying to cash-in on the Roots Rock-Boom)

  • Bowery Boys/The Fugitives (In the spirit of  The Heartbreakers....)

  • The Checkers (Geneva,NY) (Early New Wave sounds)

  • The Chesterfield Kings ("Down by the river...Down by the banks of the Genesee....")

  • The Cliche's (Early 80's buzz-saw punk with a great sense of humor)

  • Cousin Al (Surf's up! on the Genessee (not to mention the Barge Canal!)

  • The Degrads (One of the last 'New Wave' bands; put out one single in 1983: "I Saw Bobbie Sobbing In The Lobby" b/w "Frontal Lobotomy" on Ronto Records.

  • Delroy Rebop (Put out one great single on the legendary Archive label back in 1982)

  • The Essentials (Rochester's version of NRBQ! would become the Salamanders, and spawn the Hi-Risers and the Squires Of The Subterrain)

  • The Fade-A-Ways (Star Club-era Beatles meet Dylan)

  • The Fertility Rite Brothers (1987-1989 R.I.P.; You can order FRB stuff from Garage-Pop records. Also, an FRB cut is availbale on the 'Garage-Pop rock 'n' roll compilation" CD)

  • Jim Havalack (Jim was the scene; Just ask him....he'll tell you)

  • The Hidden Charms (Yers truly and friends trying to cash-in on the R&B-Boom in 1984)

  • The Hi-Techs/Personal Effects (New Wave as led by Peggi Fournier and Paul Dodd)

  • The Insiders (British Invasion Rock 'n' Roll)

  • Invisible Party (Post New Wave Rock 'n' Roll on the Jargon Label)

  • Lotus STP ("Indie" Rockin' Rochester)

  • Luther & the BBB's (Mersey-beat madman)

  • The Mods (Early British Invasion with an emphasis on Mersey-Beat

  • Nod (Picture a funky Jack Starr......)

  • The Observers (Cut one great single (that I know of, at least): The surf inspired 'Wahini" b/w "Taking Liberties" on GFI Records.)

  • Personal Effects (Danceable New Music)

  • The Presstones (Famed New Wave from Peter Presstone & the boys)

  • The Projectiles (Screamin' 60's style punk)

  • The Raunchettes (Trashy Girl Group Rock 'n' Roll way before it became fashionable)

  • The Reactions (Yers truly and friends trying to cash-in on the Garage-Boom in 1983-84)

  • The Swing Set (1960's Brit-Pop sound)

  • The Tension (Power Pop Trio. Two members would go on to join the Swing Set)

  • Uncle Sam (Rochester's answer to the early Alice Cooper Group)

  • Whyte Ravens (Beatles influenced harmony and style)


Judd Williams

(Swing Set, Mission Emission, Hidden Charms) moved to Boston. appeared in following bands: Lyres, Speed Devils, Amazing Crowns, Real Kids, and currently (Autumn '02) back in the Speed Devils; make up yer mind, Judd!

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