Hey Greasy Brings Local Fuzz Back From The Grave! -By: Mondo Rock N’ Rolla Johnny Mystery

Written by on May 7, 2022

I felt deprived at a young age. Not for what I needed but for what I “really” needed. In the Spring of 1966, it was a mere two years after the “Mop Tops” landed and slightly over a year before the putrid summer of smelly hippies. I’d learned to play a bit of an upright piano we had at my school and started taking trumpet lessons, but my true musical awakening was fast approaching.

When I looked out my bedroom window, I could see where I wanted to be. The place was The Cohoes Armory, and the event was the twice yearly “Battle of the Bands.” The keys to the kingdom were not yet in my hands due to my age. My nine-year-old eyes and ears wanted to experience the magical noise that would soon be wafting from those windows.

As fate would have it, our next-door neighbor had some clout to get some friends and myself in this year. I was smart enough to know though, that my idiotic friends would sooner or later pull some stunt that would get us thrown out, so I made the decision to put as must distance between myself and them once we got in. It was a real adventure. The huge room was filled with a massive number of drums, amps, mics, guitars and organs…so started my lifelong love affair with all the “gear” needed to play rock n roll. There would be 12 different bands playing that night. It was hard for me to believe that there were that many local groups who were active and playing in my little town.  It would turn out however that every city and town had their own little scene. Everywhere across the country thousands and thousands were making this music.

Small studios and independent record labels sprung up everywhere, to capture the moment, for better or worse, this movement was going to be documented for future generations of rock n roll mutants and freaks like myself, thank God!!!!

Starting with Lenny Kayes’ “Nuggets“ compilation in 1972, which featured many of the well-known so-called “one hit wonders” of the first garage era, countless other albums have popped up over the years. All these records document the even lesser-known bands and the rare recordings they produced mainly locally during the same era.

Imagine my surprise when I recently stumbled upon a release that explores the local 60’s bands of Albany, Troy and other upstate communities. Enter “Upstate Underground Vol. 1 from “Hey Greasy”. The Volume 1 issue apparently indicating a Volume 2 is in the works. Let’s hope so. It’s a cassette only release but included in the accompanying “zine”, yes zine, is a QR to scan for downloading all 11 tunes included in this super cool package. Songs exploring lost love, teen angst, long hair and praise for chemical amusement from the Sandoz Laboratories.

All these songs were recorded between !964 and 1968 by groups from Albany, Troy, Schenectady, Kingston, Hudson and elsewhere, with names like, The Kynds, The Mark IV, The Heathens and The Stingrays. All forgotten losers who either got married, got drafted or ended up penniless and insane, never to be heard from again. Get this gem with its green, looks like it was Xeroxed zine, at your fave local indie record store.  Dust off your old cassette deck and experience the lo-fi vibes ‘cause baby, cassette is the new vinyl!!

Now get out there and hit the bins…


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