Doug Ryan drums Paul Henshaw bass Eric Hubel slide guitar Pete Cenedella guitar & vocals
Doug Ryan drums Paul Henshaw bass Eric Hubel slide guitar Pete Cenedella guitar & vocals
Just before moving from 38th St to 14th St, Sean Taggart made the classic poster of Giant. (See the cover picture above) What’s amazing is that the original art was done on a 3 X 5 inch card stock. When I got the artwork I took it to Giant Photo (yes there was such a place on the corner of 45th and 5th which was the building where I had my first job at Roto-Copy in 1979; but that’s another story.) I had Sean’s art blown up to 3 X 5 feet and mounted on 1/4″ foam board. That poster hung in the lobby of the 14th St Giant for 6 years. No detail was lost in the enlarged version. On the back of a Xeroxed copy of that 3 X 5 card made to legal size I wrote down all the bands and musicians who had rehearsed at Giant 38th St from 1980-86. To advertise the move I made a bunch of copies and put them up all over the East Village.
Here are the bands listed above:
After The Beep
Battalion Of Saints
Beer For Breakfast
Better Than Death
Big Fat Love
Black Light Chameleons
Boys Pocket Urinal
Center for Opera Performance
Charred Dolphin Remains
Circus Of Power
Cliff & Garth
Dad Bought A Gun
Dance Hall Road
Dean & The Weenies
Death Before Dishonor
Dickheads On Parade
Foob and the Grasshoppers
Friends of the Family
Gary Korb & The Wreaks
Hit By A Truck
I. Q. Richter
in The Vines
Jerry Lewis’ Hair
King Hell Bummer
King of Kings
Knock Out James
Life In A Blender
Loud & Boisterous
Melted Genital Roundup
Movie Star Dread
N. Y. Hoods
N. Y. Samba Band
N. Y. Sheiks
Nami & the Crew
On The Fringe
Pe De Boi
Portabello Theater Co
Preppy Sex Murder
Ralph & Willie
Red Rough & Sore
Retarded Elf Paradise
Roo Ha Ha
Saint Marys Children of Salvation
Sandblast The Elderly
Severe Dog Leg
Sick Of It All
Side By Side
Smoking Gas Truck
Sounds Of Fishing
Stride Piano Nightmare
System Of Touch
Tear To Open
The Dead Boys
The Yuh Boys
Victims Of Circumstance
Vote Of Confidence
Wanda & the Way It Is
When Worlds Collide
Youth Of Today
Eddie Gregg benefit at CBGBs. Sean Taggart original art. Performers: Jocko Pastorius, Angat, P.M.S., Hit By A Truck, Garbage, and Kretins
This theme for this Sean Taggart poster came from an Angat song called “Giant Night at Yo Mama’s House” which we wrote just for this party.
Danceteria was packed wall to wall for this event. Everyone who played or attended this event I’m sure looks back at this as something special. The whole of NYC ska scene was there.
We used to have a Giant party every month. Sean Taggart made us this poster for one of those first parties. I used to buy kegs of Brooklyn Lager. Free beer no cover six bands and party til you drop.
Another poster by the great Sean Taggart.
Giant had several parties at Negril. Interns of Dub also played there for a couple of concerts. The sound system was dope. The promoter who ran the space was Ken Williams who had a reggae radio show on the infamous WNWK. He also ran hip-hop events there.
One morning an ad from the Times jumped right off the page. Manufacturing space on 14th St. between 6th and 7th Ave. 12,000 sq/ft will divide. I called and set an appointment for 11am that day. Michael Craig was working the day shift and arrived as I was leaving. Come along I said and we headed to 14th St together. He and I were the first ones to see the new place. As soon as we got out of the elevator and saw the huge loft space Michael said “Oh yea! This is the next Giant Rehearsal Studios.” I couldn’t talk because I knew he was right. The place was massive. As Dave Conrad, a bass player I was working with at the time said when he first saw the space, “That place is so big it has a horizon.” The current tenant was a sweat shop that glued glitter on shirts. That business occupied the top two floors of the building. He was moving everything into one floor which left the top floor open. I liked the top floor because it meant no neighbors to bother upstairs. The floor below was the glitter factory so there wouldn’t be any complaints there. It was in a prime location and it was certainly big enough. Everything looked perfect.
Marty was the owner of the building. He was this 6 1/2 foot tall, kind of jovial Jewish guy. Though he was old school, he had a flair about him which I related to instantly. When I told him I was in the music business he smiled and said, “You make records?” I invited him down to observe the studio on 38th St to see first hand what he was getting himself into. Marty arrived at 11:00 am a couple of mornings later. It was January 28, 1986. There was one room rented to a guy practicing piano. Marty hung out for half an hour or so then said he didn’t see a problem renting to us. We shook on the deal and he left. A minute after Marty left, Michael comes flying into the room. He flips on the TV announcing that the Space Shuttle Challenger just blew up 5 minutes ago. I had a flashback to the lightning bolt at Mr K’s office (see The End of 38th St.) These are some of the coincidences surrounding the facts that stick out in my mind during the transition between the Giant Studio on 38th and the four times bigger Giant of 14th Street.
Now that you mention it Fred, I remember the elevator opening up and thinking “Oh my god, this is going to be HUGE”! Because it was and it reaked of potential I remember feeling so proud that I was the first one to see it with you. The pictures of Michael Carvin on the other pages remind me of why I don’t remember a whole lot from back then! I think he was my main drinking buddy during the day up there at the old place. He was teaching drums and his prize student was Ben Stiller (this was way before he was famous) Michael only mentioned him to me because his parents were famous.
Another point the picture reminded me of was the “Air Conditioner Covers”. When REALLY loud bands came it, we would let them run the air conditioning ONLY when they weren’t playing. Then they would have to be closed. It was STILL a sweatshop, even though there weren’t any garments being manufactured.
I found another undeveloped roll of film. Probably taken by the same mysterious photographer as The View (1986).
WOW, a whole site devoted to Giant, how cool. Thanx for doing this, y’all. I can’t believe Carvin let me put my dirty country-punk hands on his mackin’ suit, that suave MF. I miss the days of Bud in cans at work in the daylight. I also can’t believe how young we all looked, in my mind we were all already delapidated (in a good way).
Seeing these pics Is a total trip — that one of Pete & Michael Carvin is fucking classic –It’s nice to see that view again — I want to post a lot more but I’m overwhelmed –don’t know where to start — I could write a book- Thanks for getting this shit going Paul — I’m gonna fucking cry
This is going to be the COOLEST thing about this site! Seeing posts from people who were MY LIFE back then! Pete, I have the picture from the steps were there was Guitar clobbering! (I’ll try to find it). What about the PERPETUAL night time at 38th street? Damn everyone does look young, I’m freaking old and fat now, with kids who hate me because I am the strictest Dad in the world!
Let’s make the whole site live, tell everyone you know!
Paul, Wacko is righter than right you DO rule! And Fred… you my good man are responsible for ALL of this. I use the “being the boss” skills I learned from you EVERY day at my store!
Thanks to ALL of you!
OHHHH SHIT!!! Michaelovich, you freak. Great to know you’re out there. I’ll email you back — I gues your real name is Littlefield, right?
Paul, thank you for getting this up and running, you reggae bum. Doug and I still sing the song we “wrote” about you entitled “Sunday’s My Only Day to Chill, Mon.” I couldn’t agree with you more that the late 70s and ealr to mid 80s in NYC were special, the punk rock ethos of DIY applied to ALL kinds of music, and people from everywhere converging and just making shit happen. You think it’ll always be that way, and then you wake up!
I have a daughter and I still play music, still write songs, gig a fair amount, record a bunch, wish I knew then what I know now, but wish I had now the kind of energy and freedom I had then. I’ll get Hubel to visit the site, that big fairy!
Howdy to all of y’all! Ups to Fred, nice to see old pix of you wandering the as yet unbuilt caverns of 14th Street. And thanx Wacko for cluing me in to this site.
I still sing that song ….. to my kids!
Here are some slides of Giant on 14th St. The glitter factory hadn’t moved out yet.
Eric was part of the Giant family and played in many bands at the studio. Big Fat Love, Flophouse Society Orchestra and Sounds of Fishing plus others that just wont rise out of my fuzzy burnt out brain. In these pics I think he was roped into the Giant move from 38th to 14th and had just hauled up an ungodly amount of sheetrock, studs and joint compound.
Many a NYC band/musician had their flyer/business card up
The best place to start a story is the obviously the beginning. So here is the first post, some pictures of Fred moving into the space on 38th St. These photos and memories by people who were around Giant ell the story of this crazy and wonderful place called Giant. So without further adieu here we go!
Giant really started out of my desire to live in a loft. I was sitting in my apartment on 6 & B in 1979, talking to my sister Ann on the phone about how I could pay for such a luxury. She was in the health food business and wanted to sell in NYC. Why not become partners in the business, get a loft space as a product warehouse and live there as well? With that idea in mind I set out to find a space. I rented 242 W 38 6th Floor from John Iraqi early the next year. It was an old garment district sweat shop. The place was completely open but had rows and rows of heavily built tables 6 ft wide by 40 ft long. First I recycled all the 2X12 wood which became the framing material for the 5 small rooms and the big room in the back. Most of the rest of the construction materials came out of dumpsters on the Upper East Side. I started selling health food to stores. I couldn’t stand that business or any of the people connected with it – they are so unhealthy! – so I dumped that and looked for another way to pay the rent. I built a common bathroom and kitchen and rented the small rooms out as SROs. Now I had 5 tenants but the space was carrying itself.
I was playing jazz at the time and it didn’t take long before the groups I was in heard about my loft space. One by one they started rehearsing there. The first note of the first band caused a noise complaint from someone on another floor. Little did I know that this would be the bain of my existence for the next 12 years. The real change came when the city started cracking down on loft squatters – living illegally in commercially zoned loft space. I found a loop hole which gave the owner of a business the right to set up small living quarters for himself only. Now all I needed was a business. Well the bands were already practicing here so why not create a DBA and charge money? I had to move all the tenants out which was no fun and convert to rehearsal rooms. After more trips to the dumpsters and help from my neighbor on 6th Street, John Kuhlman and his friend Howie Clifton, the work was moving along. While I was getting the little rooms ready I put an ad in the Village Voice to rent the big room; “One giant rehearsal room for rent for music. Call Fred etc…” The first call I got was, “Is this Giant?” “No” I said, “You must have the wrong number.” I went down stairs for my coffee and picked up the Voice. They had made a headline in the ad, GIANT, then put in the rest of the copy the way I had called it in. The next phone call, “Is this Giant?”, YES may I help you? That’s how I got the name.
I think this picture says it all about the 14th St. Giant.
Fred had Sean Taggart, who did many Giant posters and T-shirts, do the artwork for the poster that announced the move from 242 W 38th to 142 W 14th St.
This was put blown up large in the front area of the studio. You saw right in front of you as you came in through the front door.
I still have my red T-shirt. The black one and the white one bit the dust along the way. Anybody got any backstock on that? I would pay top dollar for one more black one (not one pickled in Hubel’s flop sweat, though!)
Black shirts are the holy grail of Giant paraphernalia . The first one I don’t know anybody who has one. They were so cool that they got worn to death.
Any shirt photo postings would be appreciated. I’m going to post a list of the bands on the back soon. I would pay top dollar for a “Da Willys” T-shirt also.
Paul had this shirt (that he bought on 14th street) that epitomized the 14th street era. It featured a ho, drugs and guns and the slogan “That’s How I’m Livin'”. Not that Paul was livin’ like that but 14th street certainly was. You could listen to the same radio station from the the cars on the street all the way to the unemployment office near 6th Ave “WBLS”
It started out innocently enough. A thrown drumstick by Jay or me, aimed to miss. Then a drumstick thrown back a few days later.
The front desk was in the center of the lobby of Giant. It was in front of the large windows facing 14th St. then if you sat at the desk and turned you head to the left you could see all the way to Jays control room. Before the control room you would have to enter a storage area from the lobby, Fred’s office then the recording/bedroom area of Jay’s studio.
Either Jay or I would start by hurling the first drumstick. All I would have to do was stand from behind the desk, lean forward a little and let one hurl. It would spin and hurtle its way down 4 rooms till it barley missed Jay sitting in his control room. He would cackle with glee and run wildly around the room collecting drumsticks. I of course had a handful ready. Each would take turns hurling the drumsticks down the hall. Once in awhile one with a broken end would hit a wooden door and stick in like an arrow.
Sometimes I would be sitting at the desk with a band standing in front of me paying or trying to book some time and a drumstick would spin out of control in between us then come crashing against the area on the side of us. They would look at me like what the fuck was that. I would stare back blankly as if it was no big deal. And it wasnt.
I would return favour and hurl one at Jay as he was mixing or recording a band.
The wars sometimes would extend out into the studio.
For whatever reason no one ever got hurt or even hit I dont think. We probably would of felt really bad if we did hit or hurt one another. Even though they were hurled at certain times with all ones might the aim was calculated not to hit but create the biggest crash on the other side.
One could not help but be caught up in the madness and anarchy of Giant.
If I had me a drum stick & real good arm right now — you can bet I’d try to nail paul — Yeah It’s fucking amazzzzzing no one ever lost an eye — I loved it when the battles would extend into the zig zag halway and when a drumsick would repeteaaly catch a wall at 45 mph there was no telling what it was going to do. All you could do is throw your hands around your head, wince -& hope for the best —
The innocent bystander/ human sheild componant of this is what really made it all worth wile. —
When I was on the road (circa 1980s) doing gigs I used to tape off the radio on a sony walkman. When Cubase XT came out in 95 I burned all the best clips to my hard drive and boiled about 40 tapes down to 2 90 minute cassettes. I played the tapes once in the van while on the road with Black 47. The first few minutes on Tape I Side A have some excerpts off the Giant answering machine including Dino Sax.
Cool stuff.. Dino Sax…Razor..oh shit..I remember him. He would give us cocaine so we wouldnt kick him out and close down. Plenty of times I would wonder out of there at sunrise becuase of his treats. THe guy who says he is a great actor is awesome “Im good!! Im good i tell you!!”
I found this roll of film in a drawer at giant. I finally got it developed. It sat so long that the colors faded. I don’t even remember taking the pictures.
Jay left these slides at my house a few years ago. It’s pictures of the making of the video “Cream The Milkman”.
One of my all-time favorite bands at Giant has to be Da Willys. I never went to see them live. Never really heard them play except sticking my head in the practice room to give them 5 minutes, but they still rank as one my favorite Giant bands. They were the darlings of the short lived “Scum Rock” scene. Ill post more about this later.
Da Willys consisted of 4 people. Willy was the the bass player. He was really tall with a wild bushy red untamed afro and thick reading glasses. He was a true fan of rock and roll and punk. I see him in all of the old videos and movies with footage from CBGBs and Max’s Kansas City in their heyday, shaking his head wildly in the front row. The drummer was a slight nerdy guy with a mod haircut and geeky square glasses.. the guitar player had greasy wild hair and a leather jacket with hardcore buttons and tight black pants and pointy boots. The lead singer was a large girl who always dressed like a trash movie star from the 30’s or slightly punk with always changing hair color and style.
To me they represented the apex of punk DIY music. Their style spoke loudly when they walked in the door. They were always the most friendly group of freaks (and I mean this in the best way) that walked through the Giant doors. Sometimes Willy would just come up and sit on the couch drinking a 40 and bask in the cacophony of 20 or more bands playing at once. He truly loved rock and roll. The Ramones gave him an audition as a bass player once because he was around the scene for so long and knew everybody.
Scum Rock to me was the apex of rock and roll and its last gasp of creativity before it truly died.
– Paul H.
They were a real “Band” indeed — Willy was like 7 ft tall–I remember when the village voice finally caught on.. too late — and the drummer died — & then there was “Sharkey’s Machine” –a lot of those people were artists & worked at mags like “High Times” — & a pro wrestling zine years before WWF was in vogue.. all those guys were always extremely nice– Must be how the ended up backing GG Allin –go figure
Da Willys recorded output consisted of 1 7-inch single in 1989 and a full-length album, issued on both CD and vinyl, entitled SATUHDAY NIGHT PALSY. Great stuff on them online if you poke around. Check out:
I remember I was working the first Saturday morning (ie., noon) shift at the new space at 14th Street. Everybody had pitched in and framed out the first coridoor’s worth of rooms over a couple of days as I recall (Correct me if I got that wrong Paul, Fred, Mike, or Jay) — I learned about the wonders of sheet rock for the first time, working alongside Bosco, Jay, and my old roommate Ted Proferes who always needed work. And I vaguely remember staple-gunning that wacked out Marcus Garvey print fabric all over one room, with a beer in one hand.
Anyway, I got the new keys and I come in Saturday for the first daytime full-on new Giant shift — I think Fred met me for this one. I got my donut and coffee from the joint on the northwest side of 14th street with the big fat Greek girl who was really nice, and take the elevator up and open the doors. And within a few minutes of being open, this guy comes in: 50-something, an old-school NYC popeye with big black-rimmed glasses, dented, ill-fitting black fedora over gray hair, needs a shave, a cheap-ass long black raincoat. He was short and he looked exhausted and stressed out. He was one of our new neighbors from the 13th Street side, and he wasn’t exactly rolling out the red carpet.
“Jeeziz Christ, the DRUMS, the DRUMS, it sounds like the goddamned jungle up here, what are you, boiling people in oil like in freakin’ Africa… Oy vey, the DRUUMMMSS!”
He had tossed and turned through our first full-on Friday night with the jungle drums of scum rock and ska and punk and all that good Giant stew rattling his rent-controlled apartment. He was old-school SRO NYC all the way!
He sat on the couch and complained to me and Fred (I think) like that for about half an hour, occasionally throwing in: “What is it you people are DOING up here?” Um, we’re a music studio. We just moved in. We can’t afford to wait for construction to be completed, but I assure you, more insulation and soundproofing is on its way! I remember Fred had prepped us for complaints, though I don’t remember exactly what stonewalling tactic we were suppposed to use. Plus I was terrible at that kind of thing, way too sympathetic for the plight of this beleagured old sod, and at the same time trying to keep from laughing.
Anyway, that was one of the first of the encounters with our new neighbors — and as I remember it, Fred ran great interference for a long time to come, keeping the Giant wheels turning and the engine greeezy.
I forgot that you were there that day. I’ve forgotten a lot. Now you spur my memory. I remember that poor guy. His bedroom window was 50 feet from Studio C. He kept saying to me over and over, “Boom, boom,, boom, boom, every night, I feel like I’m being boiled in oil! Who ahh these people.” Eric imitated him best. I had to keep disappearing into the back office. I too couldn’t contain my laughter. Later I realized he was the beginning of the noise complaints which ended in a law suit from the retired lawyers judges and doctors who lived behind us on 13th St. That was 1986-7. Can you imagine trying to do that today?
Yeah –Eric had that guy down perfectly
“Boom -BoomBoom What the hells wrong with you people” –I almost forgot about that guy –He seemed to just kind of go away– I hope he wasn’t driven to suicide.
It probly didn’t help that at 5 am the morning after the move Pete and the gone fishn drumer(wish I could remember his name) & I jammed in studio B pre. AC with the window wide open.
Welcome to the neiborhood!!!
Oh man, Fred, I’m glad you confirmed that for me… I didn’t realize how close that poor guy’s window was… And yeah, imagine doing any of what you did as a wildman entrepreneur NOW in post-Rudy, post-Bloomberg NYC. Different town, no question. On the other hand, that poor guy wouldn’t be able to hold on to any decent real estate now either.
Jay, you have a sick memory, I had totally forgotten that you me and Doug jammed but now that you mention it I do recall that… wow… Wish I could hear what the hell THAT sounded like. Or maybe not.
It’s Amassing that I have I have any memory at al…..l considering my close affiliation with the beer machine. That’s a whole new topic — imagine that in ’06
I still have soundboard cassette tapes of a couple Step Outside gigs from CBs in ’86 — the lineup with Paul holding down the bottom, me and Hubel on guitars, and Doug Ryan on drums. (I remember our band changed its name every time we got a new bass player, which was every year for 3 yrs in a row — we changed names more often than we played gigs! We were Sounds of Fishing in year 2, then when Paul joined up, we became Step Outside.)
I have a tape of one gig where Bosco and Fred jump onstage as “The Giant Horns” for an encore cover of Big Fat Love’s “Cold Rail”… and you can hear Michael Craig drunkenly yelling when we introduce Bosco.
And we do like a 10 minute version of “One Long Bad Trip”, that tune I wrote about my brother dosing the trick-or-treaters with LSD in the halloween candy when I was a kid.
Anybody have any cool recordings of Giant bands? I’d really like to hear any Interns, Boilers, etc. stuff that’s floating around out there… (Wacko’s got lots of cool stuff up on the Web including some of that old Swiss Army Bass/Johnny Skilsaw stuff.)
Was that gig the at a giant party at the “Voodoo Club” (off center theater)?? I remember a lot of shit about that night — Da Willys played last. I CLEARLY remember Willie passed out on the floor w/ a 40oz bud clutched in his hand– Rock & Roll baby
ow about the SOF gig at CB’s during the world series when I kept running up on stage with updates of the score? I was REALLY drunk that night! You guys are remembering all the great bands, and they were many (My personal fav Scab (previously Cut later to become Scar the all girl speed punk band who’s kids sang a rousing rendition of “Reality Street”). But how about the WORST band of all time: Letch Patrol! The lead singer used to have stuff thrown at him and would stage dive and people would jump out of the way so he would fall on the floor. Some punk at the studio said that he used to bring a big old slurpy to all of their gigs, just to throw it at him!
The CBs gig you’re talking about was not just any World Series game, but Game 7 of the Amazin’ Mets’ 1986 triumph of the Sawx. I’m not sure if I have that on tape, but I know we had changed to Step Outside by then, with Paul on the bass. Letch Patrol were indeed right up there with the worst of the worst. And if you wanna talk about cool girl bands, how about the one that started as FRENCH LETTER BANDITS and morphed intpo the very sexy PISTOL WHIPPED. That lead guitar player w/ the bleach blonde hair was awesome, and she had a kind of dark-lady Joan Jett style counterpart who was smokin’ hot! Then there was Spinster Playtime… Ahead of the curve on the Lez-rock scene, should be playing with Le Tigre and The Butchies today.
PISTOL WHIPPED evolved into “Everets Body” I recorded them –Oh man..Slone & that red head–
lets not forget the Lunachicks
I remember that night a CB’s what a fucking night!!
I remember Ted & I sort of passing out on that brick stuff on that little island across from st. vincents hosp.
I want to do that again sometime
Was Chicken John the main dude from Letch Patrol???
I have the 1/2 inch mixes from Bat Cave, at least I think they’re half inch, maybe quarter? I dont have the 8-track masters, I don’t think. They too need baking.
Ahhh, Dorfman, that guy was so cool. That was when we were Step Outside, definitely the best sounding stuff I was part of back then, Paul’s style really gave the band a cool drive. He played “Shortnin’ Bread” as the bass line to one song!
Yeah, the “Fez Sessions” did wind up being Dog Face Boy, it had that psychedelic new wave cover of Morning Dew on it, right? And that song in 6/8 called “Eye of the Chicken.” And the tune where all the lyrix were taken from the film classic “I Spit On Your Grave”? And my girlfriend at the time, Beth, came in all innocent and sang that stuff about “I’m gonna hang you from the highest tree…” Very weird song which I have no record of anywhere.
And the more I think about it, the more I think you’re right, that crash into the Learn to Drive sign DID happen when we were there, there was like this ungodly sound of steel and we all just jumped up to the ledge to see it…
I think I remember “The Fez Sessions” — I have tapes that are all boxed up, some mislabled & all need to be baked before they get transfered to somekind of useable formatt. It’s going to be a tough project -paul has the 8 track machine & we plan on getting it into working order at some point. I’ll Let you know If I have anyting when I get into pawing through the stacks. Sooner than later I hope. Do you still have any of that SOF bat cave stuff to dub off?? I’d love to get my hands on a coppy of that! Not sure—did you ever hear BFL “Hell House”?–has some of those great tunes from that era. I could swear that you were the guy that pointrd out the irony with the car crashed into a storefront wit “Learn To Drive” emblazened above.
I know it’s not funny, & then again — one night a guy & his girlfried ran their white tr-7 into the car rental place across the street — the guy was reeling in agony on the sidewalk while his girlfriend stood there with her arms crossed chewing gum.. Above them in huge letters “Learn To Drive -Rent A CAR”– I think I was recording Pete that night –anyone remember?
Man..some of these stories remind me how fuking burned out I am. I can hardly remember any of this shit. There are like 10 stories to be told in just these post above..argg..me ‘ead ‘urts.
Man, that kind of DOES ring a bell… Was that when you were recording Dog Face Boy? And by the way, would you have any tapes from that session?
I’m really surprised that no one has posted yet about Dino Sax. I guess everyone’s still trying to repress the memories. But if you worked at Giant either in the last days of 38th or the first years of 14th, chances are at some point you would be doin’ business with the naked drummer.
Dino was a drummer who had a power trio of sorts, with 2 Polynesian brothers on bass and guitar. The brothers had bushy black hair and were skinny as hell, seemingly because they were serious speed freaks. When adjusting the PA for them, the guitarist/lead singer wouldn’t say “check one two,” he would yell “SOUND CHECK!!!” at the top of his lungs in a Geddy Lee-like high-pitched freakout. I think he played a Flying V.
But the real attraction was Dino, who disrobed for every rehearsal. Down to his sweat socks. Then he’d ask for like 8 mics — “Five for the drums, and three for the vocals.” He never seemed to take the hint that our PA’s were mostly 4-channel jobs and that miking the drum kit in an 8 by 10 room was pure insanity. He’d just come walking out to the desk with a trenchcoat on to cover his, um, manhood, and ask for more mikes. He’d inevitably saunter out mid-rehearsal too, for change. “Can I have 12 quarters?” He spoke in kind of a flat mutter and would’ve really been at home in the back row of a porno theatre on 42nd Street circa 1974.
The real tough part was having to go in to give them 10 minutes, then 5; they always ran over and he was ALWAYS NUDE. The inevitable jokes about handling the drum stool after his sessions were based on genuine revulsion and with damn good reason!!! I mean, as scummy as I was living back then, it couldn’t hold a candle to Dino’s ball sweat adorning our drum stools.
Dino was a real distinctive NYC character, another Giant regular who probably couldn’t be part of our new Disney-fied town. He had a strange pubic-looking beard that hung down off his chin and was often dyed blue, or rainbow colors. I used to see him on the street, both during and for years after my times at Giant. He was a bike messenger for years, and he went on to play for GG Allin (a good fit).
The last time I saw Dino play was at a historic show — the big Nirvana/Breeders gig at the New York Coliseum where now stands the Time Warner Center in Colombus Circle. The opening act was Jad Fair’s Half Japanese, a great weirdo underground band from the NYC/Hoboken scene of the 1980s. So I’m near the front, and thhe band starts playing, and I look up, and fuckin’ Dino Sax is playing drums for Half Japanese. And yes, he is 100 percent nude.
Ok so some of these memories are a little easier on the psyche than others…. repressed memory for sure!
I was kind of thinking for Eric would have come along to give the keynote address on Dino but I think you dida great job here summing it up Pete Dose anyone remember “the helmet years” — That Chicken John guy told about a time that they were at a party somewhere when they were backing GG Allin. Dino flipped a chair over & started sticking one of it’s legs in his ass– To that he said “Dino, how many times have I gotta tell you not to fuck with the furniture”
Damn! I’m fat and all now, but at least I keep my clothes on! SHEESH!
Oh my god..Dino Sax..or Dino Sachs …Ive found it spelled both ways.
Dino truly is on the top ten list of Giant characters. I wanted to post about him..but just couldnt get my brain around it. But now that Pete has broken the ice..
Dino’s main thing..besides playing drums, which he was actually pretty good at.. is that he likes to expose himself. Most of the time it was a subtle thing. He would stand in the main area and as people were paying he would drop his skintight biker shorts down exposing his ass and then pull them quickly back up. People would catch this out of the corner of their eye..and be like..what the fuck? a ‘did I just see what I thought I saw?’ look would appear on their face.
When you would go into a room to give him 5 minutes to get the fuck out he would be totally nude playing the drums. He had magazines spread out all around him. Mostly underwear catalogs, some softcore porn and Lunachick albums. Some people would get mad at him at shout at him to put his clothes back on..but most of us were like..yeah ..whatever man. We had seen it all and didnt even blink. It was actually a source of great amusement.
One time I was leaving Giant with my ex-wife and Eric Hubel. It was one of those brutaly cold, blusty and windy days…and as we got to the corner of 7th ave. and 14th st. there was Dino..He has his pants down to his ankles and his shirt hiked up presenting his naked body for all to see..I saw cars driving by gawking in amazement.. and as we started to pass him he turned and recognized us… He nodded his head and said “Hello” in a very casual way.
There are tons of Dino stories. Im sure that every day of that guys life is a story.
One of my favorites, told to me by the lead singer of Urban Scarecrow, is that Dino had been called at the last minute to sub for a drummer who couldnt make it to a gig. That gig was playing in this band that was supposed to play in the background for one of those PBS fundraisers that they have on televsion. It was a station in Connecticut I think. So sure enough Dino gets there and proceeds to freak everyone out by exposing himself and removing his clothing..so they call the police and he gets arrested. He goes to court the next day and the judge books a court date and gives him like $100 fine or 30 days..and Dino was like..Ill take the days..so Dino spent some time in jail. The actual figures are a blur..but you get the idea.
Wow, Paul, that jail time story is wild. I didn’t remember the magazines being spread out, when giving them the countdown, but that explains Jay’s comment about “Redbook” and Lunachicks records… Someone oughta write a biography, like you said, every day of Dino’s life must be a story.
If nothing else, you have to give the guy points for “style” It evolved to a point where he became strangely specific about the mags & whatnot strewn about him. Never porn…& then And then he started with the motorcycle helmet. (what the fuck can I say wearing a lumberjack hat & who really knows what worse at the time) If really want to see the glory –there’s an account of GG Allins funeral out there on the internet. It’s some webzine reporter relating exactly what he saw and we would expect. Dino was apparently in full forum doing his thing, that included LunaChicks records. I wish that I bookmarked it…or maybe not. It’s a trip to hear a 23rd persons account Was it Dave Scott that he used to play with when he was semi normal on 38th st?
I never really liked Burger King (and I can’t eat it at ALL now) but the fly buy extravaganza started when Burger King put out a coupon for a buy one get one free whopper. I ate SO many whoppers and Wasco went and got them for me! I don’t remember how we ended up with so many coupons but we had a shit load of them and used them almost every day! Thanks for running Jay! I’ll buy you a beer from the machine too (oh wait, I have the KEYS!)
No — I have the keys (for the beer machine) I owe Fred $28,000 I remember just about everything — but the BK treck less then I should. I do remember a trek skiing w/ you, Joe Bannon and Sara Green — To this day that’s the best time I’ve ever fucking had. You’re the dude that opened up your arms to me & brought me into Giant. I’m not kidding when I say that that’s one of the nicest things anyone’s ever done for me.. Thanks man –miss you dude–
Original plan by Sean Taggart
Here is the first shirt in red. The back is the same as the second one but with less names.
I still have my red one, it’s in great shape, cuz basically I had one of each and I wore out the black one and the white one before I wever broke the seal on the red one! It’s a fuckin’ HEIRLOOM!
There was a plumbing school on the 3rd floor. Here is Fred P. consulting with the plumber teacher from that school. Rooms had to be build so they didn’t conceal any sprinkler system shutoff valves.
Classic Giant drums
Jeff Meyers vacuuming. In those days NYC was raw. People would put their cigarettes out right on the carpet.
Studs and sheetrock. You know the drill.
Fred P. with a classic set of Giant drums.
Walls of hardware at Giant 14th.
Walls of crap at Giant 14th St.
And yet more crap
Fred P. and his pops.
A young Fred P.
L. Dub Bunny AKA Michael Craig AKA L. Michael Craig.
Front room at Giant 14th St.
Bitch the cat was the Giant cat for many years. We rescued her from living in the basement of the building 123 W.14th st. She was terrified at first of all the people and band noise but gradually acclimated to her surroundings and roamed the rooms and hung out with bands all over the large top floor space.
The photo is not her but kind of looks like her and has her swagger and street smarts.
People would always ask..”awwww..whats the cats name?”. And you would have to reply, truthfully…”Bitch!” One time Bitch got her tail caught in the big metal door to Jays apartment/studio and it ripped off an inch or 2 of skin off of her tail so that just the bone was exposed. People would go “awwww..hey kitty…aww..err..akkkkk!!!” and pull their hand back quickly in horror. Jay and I finally decided that it was best to cut it off. I held her and Jay bravely snipped off the exposed bone. She didn’t even flinch.
I’ll never forget out near the desk, Adam Youch goes to to pet her(him) less than a week after the incident- runs his hands from Bitch’s head to tail like anyone would pet a cat — his hand shot up real fast when he got the last part of the tail– I’ll never forget the look on his face. a portion of the cat’s tail was sheered off in a door but there was this dried out bone that remained. Bitch (or Ed or Alice that we attempted to call her) was still a stray at that point She lived in the basement for some time under “Henry rule” When she first came up she hid in a pile of construction shit on the east side of the loft for about a month & a half The first time that I saw her acting social was seeing her hanging directly outside of studio N while “The False Prophets” were playing with their door wide open. After that she finally came out front. She (he) became a great pet & friend to us all She died at my studio on 27th st. We all did what we could but Alex & co footed a big vets bill from an abscessed tooth -the meds closed in. From my research — that cat lived more than 20 years. Not bad & not really that much younger than ANY of us at the time
Yeah. I had to put up more than a cat should. someone talk to me, or just feed me from my dinosaur bowl…ahhh screw yous all, I’m going back out on the ledge.
Bag kites were one of the many fun diversions at the studio. Jay Wacko invented this contraption in his laboratory/apartment. All you would need for a bag kite was a large black garbage bag and a cassette tape rewinded to the beginning. There were no shortage of cassette tapes as just about every band had one. You pull the tape out and break it and then you tie that to a corner of the garbage bag. Giant was on the 7th floor and the front windows looked out to 14th street. Not that much wind was needed to launch the bag kite out the window. A simple opening up of the bag would allow the wind to open it up and take off. Like a kite you could feed it out as far as you wanted and have a little control of where it went. There were times that we would get the bag kite almost all the way down to 6th ave. at which point you could barely see it. The best was when you could get it to go down and hover over the sidewalk. People would walk by amazed at this large open garbage bag floating above them. Once there was party on the roof across the street and we got it hovering just above them. The whole party just stood there and with bewilderment, because at night you couldn’t really see the tape that controlled it, as they tried to figure out what the hell it was and how it was there menacing above them.
THis poster is indeed calling on all people with class and disctinction.
John Kuhlman Seeing The Elephant at CBGB
Fred P. played with Copernicus. He was and I’m sure still is a crazy mofo.
This tour happened right around the time of the Berlin Wall coming down I think? Maybe Fred will post more about this?
Actually the Berlin Wall came down after that tour. I was tagging along on my sister Betsy’s tour which started in France and traveled up the Rhine River into Germany. She was the featured soloist with the Frankfurt Orchestra. After a gig we would find a wine house to hang out in. The vineyard was usually the back yard of some 600 year old stone house, so we would order a bottle and look at the grapes that made the wine from the back window. Anyway, the gig on November 9, 1989 was in Metz France. Earlier that day we had visited the Douaumont Ossuary. It was my birthday so after the gig we went to a wine house and ordered their best bottle. About an hour later a sudden cheer roared through the crowd and many bottles were being consumed rapidly. I turned to Betsy and said, “Well you found the right place for my birthday celebration!” She asked around and found out that the Berlin Wall had just fallen.
The much desired and hard to find Black Giant T-shirt.
I wish I had more. Actually this is the last one. And I had to dig to the bottom of my t-shirt dresser ( I must have 500 in there ) to find this one. I have asked Hammy if he has the black, older shirt. I always gave him Giant shirts to wear on gigs with Black 47.
The Band List A-Z from the back of the shirt:
All For One
All Of Us
Bee Me Seed
Big Fat Love
Blessing In Disguise
Chucky Suicide And The Velvetones
Circus Of Power
Crazy Not To
Cross To Bear
Dad Bought A Gun
Dance Hall Road
Dean Of The Weenies
Deans Of Discipline
Death In A Box
Department Of Corruption
Dog Felt Days
Everything Must Go
Fade To Black
Fat And Ugly
Flophouse Society Orchestra
Fly Ash Tray
Friends Of The Family
From Outer Space
Full Of Noise
Gang Bang Gang
Gary Korb And The Wrecks
Guns And Fish
Hell In A Handbasket
Hit By A Truck
House Of God
Jerry Lewis’ Hair
John Barley Corn
King Of Kings
Life In A Blender
Loud and Boisterous
Low Flying Planes
Me And My Friend Graham
Men Who Cook
Monster Dog Wagon
My Sick Friends
Of A Mesh
On The Fringe
One Fish Two Fish
Our American Cousins
Pe De Boi
Peebles And The Beach
Perry Mason Loses
Razor And The Blades
Red Light District
Roo Ha Ha
Set The Tone
Severe Dog Leg
Sick Of It All
Side By Side
Sign Of Change
Smokin Gas Truck
Sounds Of Fishing
Squirrels From Hell
Stir By Still
System Of Touch
Tear To Open
The Back Yards
The Funkless Wonders
The New Creatures
The Rump Rollers
The Yuh Boys
Thick As Thieves
Three Rock Gods
Tom and Paul
Toy Toy Toy
Victims Of Circumstance
Vote Of Confidence
Wake The Snail
Wanda And The Way It Is
When Worlds Collide
Youth Of Today
Giant doors had many years and layers of NYC graffiti. All of the NYC hardcore scene tagged on these doors as did many others.
Here are some pictures of the Giant doors from 14th St. that now live at the studio on 28th. When we were building the studio we told Fred that we needed doors. Out of the kindness of his heart he told us we could have some doors from the then closed down empty floor. Fred, Alex and I (and maybe someone else?) went down with a truck and a few crowbars and hammers, let ourselves in and proceeded to hack out 14 doors. When we were just about done one of the day supers came up and started to yell at us. “What the fuck do you think you are doing?!.. you cant do this!! Im phoning Henry!!!”. Fred started yelling back at him that these were his doors and he could take them if he pleased. Meanwhile we hurried the last of the doors out the back. These doors definitely convey the madness and anarchy that was Giant.
Paul and Alex stunned, stoned and building the third iteration of Giant Studios.