Giant Studios, Chill Faction Live, Interns of Dub at Giant 38th: Eddie Gregg, Michael Craig, andy Moore, Paul Henshaw, Fred Parcells, Pam Fleming.
Rare Giant 14th St. footage, with Mista Rhee, Jay Wasco and more!
Giant Studios, Chill Faction Live, Interns of Dub at Giant 38th: Eddie Gregg, Michael Craig, andy Moore, Paul Henshaw, Fred Parcells, Pam Fleming.
Rare Giant 14th St. footage, with Mista Rhee, Jay Wasco and more!
We first came to Giant because it was Cheap! Our band sucked and we needed a LOT of rehearsal. Before too long I was working with Fred and Jeff, this was in the early 80’s. There are so many memories (most of them incredibly foggy) that I don’t even know where to start. So many bands, so much music, so many friends.
The city was an amazing place in 1979. Punk Rock and Hip Hop were starting to grow from their births in the few preceding years. New York was starting to have clubs pop up all over the place. Live music was flourishing. It was everywhere all over the city. All of the dance clubs incorporated live music. Clubs such as CBGB, Max’s Kansas City, Mudd Club, Hurrahs, The Latin Quarter, The Roxy to name a few were all exploding with energy and creativity. The sexual revolution was hitting its peak. Drugs were everywhere (and I mean everywhere!). Rents were dirt cheap and you needed very little to get by. New York had just pretty much hit rock bottom as far as the economy. There was a sense of danger and wildness all around the city, especially at night. Big brother was not breathing down your neck as he does now. People sold weed in the streets and parks. They would smoke in the movie theaters and openly in some places. Prostitutes were all over certain areas. The need for places to practice, music rehearsal studios, was on the rise as more and more bands were being formed. The city was alive with many different kinds of music as it always had been. But with the aesthetic of punk rock you didn’t need to know how to play to have a band. You just had to show up and start playing. And show up they did.
The area where Giant first started was on 38th St. between 7th and 8th Ave. just below Times Square, which had reached the apex of pornography and drugs. In the day it was a mix of business, the fashion district and import-export. As the night would progress the vice from 8th Ave. and Times Square would filter into the surround blocks. On every corner was some hustle, some shady character. You always had to watch your back and be aware of what was going on. Times Square action was round the clock as was all the comings and goings of the blocks that surrounded it. 8th Ave. was more like Times Square. It had a lot of porn shops mixed with clothing and electronics stores. 7th Ave. had more big business buildings that pretty much closed down at night. This period of time was fuel for the fire for Giant Studios.
Giant’s first customer (before it was called Giant) was The Ed Palermo Big Band. It was a weekday from 3:00-6:00 pm. in 1981 a couple months after the place was built. I still had the small rooms rented out for living. Studio B was my room. Studio C was rented to Joe Pehrson, a classical composer who had recently moved to NY from Detroit. A bathing suit model from Metuchen, NJ Karen O’Shea lived in Studio D. A budding jazz guitarist, James Zucker, who we all knew as Jimbo lived in Studio E. Thad Wheeler was in Studio F. He practiced and stored his drums there.
Anyway, about 5 minutes into the rehearsal, Mark Epstein from the 3rd floor who had a print business called IZMO yells up the elevator shaft, “Cut the noise, were trying to work down here!” I’ll never forget Ed yelling back, “No you shut up, I’m paying for this time!” A light bulb went off in my head and Giant was born.
This was my first office. The year is 1981. There was no Giant yet. The loft space was all living spaces and I had just started a health food supplement business called Creative Arts Marketing.
Elizabeth Parcells Tales of Hoffmann The Doll Song
A picture of my sister Betsy in Costume from the Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach as Chanson d’Olympia singing the doll song is propped up on my desk along with a box of 3 x 5 cards, a can of Bud and a piano bench for a seat; all the necessary tools of upper management. I had this same desk through all 12 years of Giant.
It was in September 1979 that my parents drove my sister and I to the airport. That afternoon she flew off to Frankfurt Germany to sing Opera while I went to New York to play Jazz. Both of us were ready to conquer the world and make our mark with music.
Here are the first two business cards from Giant on 38th St. The one on the top was the first one.
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.
Copernicus would show up now again at Giant.
Usually the Giant parties. I would hear most of
the tales of Copernicus’ adventures through Fred
who would tell great stories of hanging out with the guy.
I toured many times all over the world with Copernicus.
Eddie Gregg (guitar) was in this band. Shortly after he went to jail they went on the road and became a successful touring band. The sharpie additions to this photo were in keeping with Giant rule #1: “Yo, you’re band sucks”
Juli Kohl at 55 Grand Nov. 2, 1984
Juli Kohl – Jazz Vocalist
Larry Willis Piano
Rael Wesley Grant Bass
Ricky Sebastion Drums
Bruce Williamson Sax Flute
Fred Hersch was a classmate of mine at The New England Conservatory of Music in 1976.This is a poster for a gig at Washington Square Church with Jane Ira Bloom soprano sax, Billy Drewes woodwinds, Ratzo Harris bass, and Joey Baron percussion.
Brian Bones Drums
Kenny Jack Bass Vocals
Fred Parcells Electric Trombone
Mark Dymon Lead Vocals Rhythm Guitar Piano
Joe Thunderhead Lead Guitar
Metal: Here To Stay? by Don Slaughter
The Interns of Dub
L H Craig Guitar Vocals
“Dreaded” Eddie Gregg Lead Guitar
Andy Moore Percussion
Paul Stark Bass
Pam Fleming Trumpet
Fred Parcells Trombone
Jimmy Daniel Drums
Jeff Meyers Bass
Alan Schwartz Guitar
Alec Schanzies Keyboard
Reggie B. Vocals
And they’re still going in 2017
I especially enjoyed the thought provoking article on “Why Metal Is Here to Stay” by Don Slaughter.
Oh my god!
that is fucking awesome!
Brings back big memories.
Half of the bands playing that week were bands that rehearsed at Giant.
Jaco showed up earlier in the day and ended up somehow getting kicked out of CBGBS. How the hell do you do that?
PMS were an awesome band with 2 cuban sisters and a witchy blonde
and errr.. (brain strain) some other girl.
Hit by a Truck was a guy and two girls. They had a great song
called “Stuck in an Elevator” based on the experience of getting
stuck in the Giant elevator. Garbage were friends of Eddie’s.
Kretins I cant remember for the life of me.
We were all in shock about Eddie who was part of the Giant family.
Damn! Those were the days
Robert Een and John Kuhlman at Roulette
Oct. 7, 1986
Robert Een Cello and Voice
John Kuhlman Accordion Guitar Piano Voice
Andrea Goodman Voice
Naaz Hosseini Voice
George Arevelo Pedal Steel
Fred Parcells Trombone
Ben Neill Trumpet
Carlos Vivanco Guitar
Jeff Meyers Bass
John was my roommate for most of the time I lived in NYC. Robert lived upstairs in our building at 520 E. 12th St.
Juli Kohl at 55 Grand
Juli Kohl – Jazz Vocalist
Larry Willis Piano
Rael Wesley Grant Bass
Ricky Sebastion Drums
Bruce Williamson Sax Flute
Juli Kohl at 101 Greene St
Lisette Wilson Piano
Darryl Jones Bass
Juli turned me on to the infamous Spencer of 55 Grand where a lot of great Jazz lived.
I was in this band called Des Refuses. That band later turned into The Rumprollers. But anyway, one of the coolest gigs we did was in Canada with DST, an early rap artist who later went on to play with Herbie Hancock. We got snowed in after the gig and I was the only one who was crazy enough to drive back so DST gave me his whole record collection to bring back to NY for safe keeping. I stored those records at Giant till he arrived back. He had the best collection of grooves imaginable. I taped hours of those sides and later used them as the background for my Radio Game tapes.
My Carnegie Debut
On Sept. 28, 1984 I played at Carnegie Recital Hall with AUMN.
Paul Steven Ray (vibraphone)
Vernon Reid (guitar),
Julian Thayer (bass)
Ciro Baptista (precussion)
Dougie Bowne (drums)
Except for this gig, the band was usually Rael Wesley Grant on bass and without Ciro on percussion. I played trombone thru a full compliment of guitar pedals, especially the old yellow overdrive. When Vernon was taking a solo I would lean the bell of my horn into his amp catching some of his sounds. My whole instrument would vibrate causing his sound to be picked up and processed in a really weird ethereal way. With the angle of my horn I could control the amount of feedback. Then I would sing notes into the mouthpiece which gave me control over the pitch. After a while I was able to produce Vernon’s melody lines only harmonized with bizarre intervals.
I must of B.Y.O’d my own on this one..because I cant remember one damn thing about it!
The Giant Studios site used to exist as a BBS. This image was always the number one image that was searched and viewed. Over the years it has received millions of hits. If this is why you are viewing it then …WELCOME!
When Paquito D’Rivera the great Cuban saxophonist came to New York he was signed to CBS Records. He did a demo recording at Giant with his band. I remember Montego hanging out for that session and being pretty excited about it.
Notice the two long black and white oil painted panels hanging over the drummer? Those were done by Bill Brunson, an artist from NC who lived in the building of my first apartment at 620 E. 6th St. When Giant moved to 14th I gave the panels back to him for safe keeping.
What can I say, but Montego! He was the spirit of Giant in those early days. Percussionist extraordinaire. He conducted conga classes in Studio C early on. He was a regular for 10 years after that. He had a monthly room at 14th St as well. Always a gentleman, always cool.
Montego is the best! A monster of a musician and a great wise soul.
Here are some way cool pix I found. Montego played with just about everyone. He even played on Cat Scratch Fever!!.
Article: Latin Symposium The Conga Drum by Montego Joe
www.comosuena.com ::: ©2011, Rafael Figueroa Hernández
° Joe, Montego. “Latin Symposium: the Conga Drums”. Modern Percussionist. Vol. 1, no. 2, (1985) p. 24-26
Michael Antelis brought in an 8-track recording studio, set it up in Studio B, and we became partners for a time. I’ll never forget cutting my hand pretty badly installing the double glass window in the wall between Studio B, the control room, and Studio A, the recording room. I fainted it was so deep.
Michael played Bass with
an Israeli vocalist/guitarist. They recorded their first album at Giant called Piamenta. After Michael left Giant, he changed his name to Moshe Antelis and went on to play and record with many Israeli and Klezmer Bands. I think he still lives in Brooklyn.
Just about all of the NYC hardcore scene went through Giant, both on 38th and 14th St. Bands such as Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front, War Zone, Underdog, Sick of it All, Nausea, PMS, Scab, Reagan Youth, Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Sheer Terror to name few.
These bands were highly influential on a lot of the derivative rock that came after it.
The funny thing is that most of them were cool friendly people.
The scene flourished through hardcore matinees at CBGB. A lot of violence at those events that eventually led to the end of the matinees.
The drummer from AF was the coolest guy, he had a tattoo of a burning building with people jumping out of it all the way down his arm. He was one of the nicest guys! He’d come in early to set up the drums, when Fred had the 3 dollar an hour drum rooms he’d come in to play for an hour and I’d let him play for 3 hours or until the next band came in.
His tats were when tats were still very dangerous, but he was just the nicest guy. He’d bring me coffee’s in the morning.
The first groups that rehearsed at Giant were Big Bands. Studio A was big enough to comfortably hold 25 musicians sitting down with music stands. It was early 1982 and Studio A was my living room. It was a pleasure to have Toshiko’s band raising the rafters in my house. In those days among the jazz guys, Giant was just known as Fred’s place.
SOUP/The Patrick Brennan Ensemble at the Donnell Public Library 20 W 53rd
I moved to New York to play jazz. In 1980 I hooked up with Patrick Brennan, a composer/alto saxophonist. Many a late night was spent in his loft on 26th St. practicing Charlie Parker, Monk, and a host of other great modern jazz standards. Soon though we set our sights on Patrick’s original tunes. The difficulty level of his compositions I can only compare to George Russell although Patrick had different time signatures and tempos going simultaneously adding another level of complexity. It was almost impossible to play. I used to walk home from those sessions at 4 in the morning with my head hanging low. I never felt I did his music justice. Those sessions did produce two excellent albums though. INTRODUCING:SOUP/The Patrick Brennan Ensemble and MOLTEN OPPOSITES.
We used to play The Montreal Jazz Festival. I remember staying with Patrick Darby there who had a huge ‘out jazz’ collection. I spent hours making tapes from his records. I got to work with the amazing Bern Nix the guitarist from Ornette Coleman. Another special treat was working with Marvin Blackman tenor saxophone. After a few years I couldn’t take the frustration level of feeling I would never get my arms around this music. I broke off from Patrick who was about to leave the country for Europe and joined Greg Alper’s band Dog Eat Dog and Marc Holen’s band The Rumprollers, and The Fabulous Flint Brothers who were more song based with instrumental solos. I started getting a lot more gigs.
I had just moved back to 12th St and Ave B with John Kuhlman. I didn’t take much with me so there was a lot of stuff to recycle for studio use. Of course you can never have enough couches. The mattress became a sound baffle for recording sessions. It got lots of use in other ways. In fact Giant was home to many a wayward musician. Delmar Brown of Bush Rock used to grab that mattress into Studio D and crash. He let me lock him in at the end of the night. The next morning I would have customers waiting outside for me to open up. Imagine their surprise when I let them into the room only to wake up Delmar, looking like a homeless person.
One of the craziest Giant characters has to be Jaco. There was a period where he started coming not only to play but to just hang out.
For those who don’t know him..Jaco Pastorius is called one of the greatest bass players who ever lived..but whether he was or not he was definitely somewhat of a madman at times. When he wasn’t drinking or drugging he seemed somewhat normal.
I remember him coming into the studio once..he was wasted out of his mind. His face was painted in war paint and he looked like he hadn’t bathed in a week. He had duck tape wrapped around each of his joints..so wrists, elbows ankles and knees.
Jaco had an apartment in the village and the windows of it eventually were busted out and he had all these homeless people living in his house with him. Jaco loved the street and street people.
He died in the late 80’s after getting in an argument with a bouncer in Florida (his home state) and was beaten to death.
Someone with a better memory has to tell the story of him set up to play at CBGB’s at the Dreaded Eddie benefit.
Jaco used to come to the studio a few hours before rehearsal. He would go into the big room (Studio A) and plug into the Acoustic 360 Bass amp. The most amazing stuff would eminate from that room. And I mean amazing. The definition of impossible runs, licks, scales, changes, and effortlessly…he was truly amazing. About a half hour before the scheduled rehearsal time his manager showed up. Jaco would demand money from him for “operating costs”. Jaco would disappear for an hour. When he got back he was definitely high. He went back into the studio to rehearse with the group who had been waiting for him now for almost an hour. They started playing and he sounded really average – like any other bass player. Such a shame how a great talent gets wasted like that. Jaco was talented all around. During the breaks in rehearsal he used to draw cartoons on the back of the Giant business cards. Jeff Meyers, a bass player and good friend who worked at Giant, once asked Jaco for one of the drawings. So Jeff, if you are out there, will you scan that and post it to this board?
He would play in the mornings like Fred said and Oh what a sound, sometimes he would ask for several bass amp heads to link together. He blew up the big Marshall guitar head in the Big Room more than once. His manager was SUPER SLEAZY, He seemed like a cut rate pimp or something. Jaco would demand money “for operating expenses” and the manager guy would hand over a 5 dollar bill which Jaco would just hand to me saying “Take care of us today kid” and he’d go back into the room and I’d hand the 5 bucks back to the manager. He was a great bass player and an unusual character.
Aggravated assualt always rehearsed in the D room. How much was that? I think it was like $6 and hour. It was a small room..but cheapskates would put whole orchestras in there. AA was death metal? hardcore? speed metal? Whatever they were, for a band called Aggravated Assault they were the frendliest 3 guys you would ever want to meet. The singer was tall and gangly and he always had his mike way in the air like the dude in Moterhead. The bass player was always smiling..and Erick Talbert!! played drums. I played in a couple of bands with Eric..Flophouse Society Orchestra, The Family Clone and some other Bosco project later on. Maybe another one that im blanking out. They (Eric not included..I think he was straight edge or something back then) would always smoke crack rolled up with weed. Once I went on Roach Patrol (Roach Patrol: a process of going room to room and collecting as many roaches as possible to make a joint ..or in the case of 14th street Giant, several joints) and forgot they were in the room earlier. Halfway through smoking the joint I realized that this wasnt just your combo of street and good weed..that shit got me fucked up! Such were the perils of Roach Patrol.
You know who were great regulars up at 38 were UNDERDOG. They could really play that sort of tuneful hardcore thing, their guitar player and drummer kicked ass, they came to own the CBs Sunday all-ages hardcore matinees, they were really young and that blonde haired guitar player/lead guy was SUPER nice. I wonder what happened to all those really earnest hardcore kinds?
Wasn’t Bad Acid Disco Experience a Paul and Eric Talbert production?
No..that was me that produced that stuff..Might release sum of it at a later date..although some of it is on a tape i foolishly gave Jay Wacko..and he left it out in a barn. So along with all of his 8 track stuff needs to be baked.
We should all invest in a baking machine. And I’m not referring to a bong.
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.
So I was living for $100/month in my friend Tod’s apartment on West 111th Street, having moved uptown when his parents moved out and left the place to disintegrate. We never did dishes and we had roaches all over the house, thousands of them. Hubel lived a couple blocks away, we’d meet for breakfast at like 2 or 3 in the afternoon on weekdays then go back to one of our places to write songs. And John Berry’s Hell House with Bosco and the Beastie Boys hanging out and Big fat Love taking shape was only 11 blocks down Broadway. The upper West Side was oddly fertile with scuzz back then.
Anyway I had occasional work but I was pretty much drinking all day every day and just sleeping late, writing songs, recording on my Portastudio, smoking pot and drinking at the bars at night. I guess Eric put the bug in my ear that Giant could use a janitor, and that was about the only work I was qualified for, so I took the gig. I am grateful to Fred for giving me any kind of work then, I sure was a messed up little puppy!
I would hang with Craig and sometimes Jersey Jeff Jerzin, as Eric called him, on the day shift, we used to order from that coffee shop next door (Andrews?) — you’d call in and order like 10 things and the guy would always say “And what else?”
Anyway, I would come in, pick the cigarette butts and beer cans out of the rehearsal rooms from the night before, vacuum, do Roach Patrol, and clean that ratty little toilet that was situated uncomfortably close to the front desk. I remember over the toilet was a bunch of graffiti, some of which our drummer Doug Ryan immortalized one night while pissing. We were all hanging out in the reception area, I think it was right after an all-night after-hours Giant jam so like everybody was there, and no one was saying much cuz we were all baked, and suddenly out of the bathroom you hear Doug singing, in the manner of a medieval round or a Gentle Giant prog tune: “Flush the toilet you fuckin’ pigs / One-to-One / Motherfuckin’ toilet / Flush the toilet you fuckin’ pigs / One-to-One / Motherfuckin’ toilet… ”
Wasn’t Zebeto the lead singer of Pe De Boi, the “Power Samba” outfit that played at 38th a lot? I just remember one Christmas season, Hubel started singing that to the tune of “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”
He sadly passed away years ago. Sapel is my neighbour..he was the co-leader of Pe De Boi. He mad cool. I will post a story about them and Jaco Pastorious once that thread gets started.
That’s sad about Zebeto. I’m really happy that so many of us are still alive, to be honest.
Zbeto was also the lead singer in the amazing Jimmy Daniel band Brazuka! Which also featured some pretty incredible talent including Ciro Batista, who has gone on to amass quite and impressive discography. What a crazy cool bunch of guys!
Ok..Zbeto sang with Brazuka..He was a tv star down in Brazil..He was very…errrr..flamboiant. He did pass away.
THe other bandleader for Pe De Boi..who’s name escapes me also died.
Pe De Boi would play in Central Park and gather a crowd of 1000’s. They would do capoera and have hot scantily clad dancers shaking their asses.
Now you cant even play a kazoo in the park without the cops kicking you out.
Guilherme Franco was the leader of Pe De Boi
Man they were ALWAYS great to have in the big room, those chicks were SOOOO hot!
Anybody remember that chick who always came in and covered the disco/Pointer Sisters “classic” “New Attitude”? And I think it was Hubel or Craig who started singing “I got a new pair of shoes” really loud?
And how about the weird out of tune version of “Thunder Only Happens When It’s Raining,” always wafting down the hall from the elevator end studio (I forget the letters)…
Or the Yuh Boys’s awesome version of “16 Tons” (those guys were great).
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!
Are you talking about the after hours jam we did at 38th like right before we moved the studio to 14th? And Michael Craig was so messed up sitting on the floor in the big studio with his red guitar playing that 8-note guitar lick from “Black Magic Woman” like in half time, over and over and over again? I recall copious amounts of weed and alcohol and just some really funny, retarded playing… and Craig’s face as completely zoned as anyone has ever been!
Is that the King Hell Bummer to which you refer?
anybody got a coppy of that???
I am soooo glad I had a stage name back then! It’s nice you could make out the song Peet, I don’t think I EVER put the 8 Notes in the correct order!
Man, you were getting really close by the half hour mark!
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 tell 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.