Bashing out garage rock years before it was fashionable and rockabilly-influenced sounds as if the Stray Cats had never happened, the A-Bones were a Brooklyn-based five-piece that approached the sloppy greatness of rock & roll's past with a beer-addled enthusiasm that had nothing to do with "oldies" or "nostalgia" and everything to do with the primal impulse to play music that's fast, loud, and wild. Named for a tune by the Trashmen, the A-Bones were led by vocalist Billy Miller and drummer Miriam Linna, who previously bashed it out in the Zanteesand were also the brains behind wild-assed pop culture journal Kicks and label Norton Records, both of which reflected the same frantic attitude as their band. (Filling out the lineup were Bruce Bennett on guitar, Mike Lewis and later Marcus "The Carcass" Natale on bass, and Lars Espensen on sax.) the A-Bones kicked off their career in 1984, and two years later they released their first record, a 10" EP called Tempo Tantrum, with the album Free Beer for Life! following in 1988. They lent their services as a backing band to such unsung rock & roll legends as Rudy Grayzell, Hasil Adkins, Johnny Powers, Ronnie Dawson, Roy Loney, and Cordell Jackson, released a fistful of singles on various hyper-cool labels, and released five full-length LPs for Norton before finally calling it a day in 1994. The group played occasional reunion shows over the next decade, though, and in 2004 recorded a new tune (with backing vocals from the 188.8.131.52's) for a 20th anniversary retrospective, Daddy Wants a Cold Beer and Other Million Sellers. In 2009, the A-Bonesreunited again and released the full-length studio effort Not Now!
The Swingin' Neckbreakers
The Swingin’ Neckbreakers only seemed to burst out of nowhere (although Trenton, New Jersey may be pretty damn close to Trentonnowhere). Brothers Tom and John Jorgensen had been champing at the bit to go out and do some rock ‘n’ roll damage for years. However, the odds on finding like-minded rabble rousers in their neck of the woods were against them. The duo recorded some home demos, and played a couple of obscure gigs here and there with different names and band members, until they adopted Don “Shaggy” Snook.
John Jorgensen moved from guitar to drums, handing the six-string seat to Shaggy, while Tom continued to play bass and scream. In the spring of 1992 the trio recorded some demos, which they passed on to Maxwell’s booking impressario and Telstar Records chief Todd Abramson at a Lyres/A-Bones gig at the Hoboken, New Jersey, club in the hopes of securing a gig there. Abramson liked what he heard so much that they not only got a gig, but an offer to go into the studio and record for Telstar.
Diggin’ A GraveThese sessions resulted in the band’s first release, “Diggin’ A Grave” (Telstar 008). The three song 7” offered a promising glimpse of the future. The Neckbreakers began doing local gigs, starting with a Lyres/Rising Storm show at Maxwell’s that brought the band to the attention of many local hipsters. Based on the strength of these gigs — and impressive sales of the debut single — the Neckbreakers headed into Coyote Studios to record their first album in January of 1993.
The Piggies are a local group of some renown, featuring Andy Maltz of Lil' Killers sort-of-fame and Matt Fiveash (who's also been DJ'ing r'n'b 45 gigs around town). This group definitely has a bit of classic Stones mid-tempo swagger about them. They SOUND classic, let's put it that way.