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August 23, 2007

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Paul

More early-'80s Buffalo notalgia. Thanks! RIP Home of the Hits.

Tim formerly from Town Line, NY now in diaspora in Denver.

Wow, that brings back many memories of Labatts, Canadian Ballet, The Continental, Duffs, and Super-Mighty Taco's.

I had a copy of a copy of this on cassette, but it's long been stretched out.

Do you have a copy of the Goo Goo Dolls first cassette? They were much heavier back in the mid 1980's. I especially like "I'm Addicted"

Other 1980's bands that may be of interest from around Buffalo:
- Talas (minor hits with See Saw and Shy Boy)
- Forgotten Rebels from Hamilton ON, but played at UB and Continental alot
- Splat Cats - High Schoolers from Amherst? had a great cover of 'Sin 66/The Beat Goes On'

I'm sure I can remember more later after a few OV splits..

I saw the Fems about a million times back in the day. I'm still good buddies with most of the band members, especially Bob the singer who now performs cowboy and Eno songs in LA under the name Badwater. Sadly one of the key members of the Fems passed away this summer. Anyone who lived in the Bflo area between the years 1975-2007 will be mourning Mark Freeland who was pretty much one of the most amazing art people I've ever met. This guy's ability to JUST DO IT, whatever it was, was incredible. No Fems show was complete without the epic Van Wyck, which included the full lyrics of Rapper's Delight and usually some Russian folk dancing. Oh, so many great times and so many great gigs. Thank you, Fems.

Brian C.

RIP Home of the Hits indeed.

Ah, memories. Hey Tim, as for early-80s, Buffalo, How about Electroman? An incarnation of the Fems I saw at the Continental (212 Franklin St? Maybe… haven't been there in 20+ years) had Mark Freeland in it, I think. I have vague memories of someone beating on a upturned kickdrum while somebody else just wailed. I drove my 18-yr old @ss (+19 yr g'friend's) 60 miles to go see Nina Hagen--who cancelled--the Fems were the replacement.

Home of the Hits-Zoot Suit City, Buff State's wbny…

Ken Katkin


Anyone interested in Buffalo punk & new wave music from 1977-84 should run--not walk--to find a copy of the indispensible 2CD comp "This Is It - Greater Buffalo's Greatest 1977-1984," released on the Musicians United label back in 2002. Although The Fems do not appear on it, almost every other notable Buffalo band of the era does--with The Jumpers, The Good, The Vores, the Stains (later Pauline & the Perils), and Extra Cheese (featuring legendary "Oil of Dog" DJ Gary Storm on vocals) being the particular standouts.

p.s. A few years ago, former Mystic Eyes bass player Craig Davison passed along to me the following anecdotes about THE FEMS:

*When Craig's brother and John Walters were trying to figure out a name for the band, at one point they were considering BORG9, as a tribute to Ernest Borgnine.

*"Go To A Party" mutated from the old commercial for the "Trouble" board game. It was a plastic-molded board game with a dice sealed into a central Pop-O-Matic dome in the center of the board. Maybe there are some on eBay. The commercial seemed to be in heavy rotation on the old Commander Tom show [a local kids TV show in Buffalo in the 1970s hosted by the Channel 7 weatherman, "Commander" Tom Jolls] .

Ken Katkin

I hadn't heard about Mark Freeland until reading the post above. But the Buffalo News published this obit on June 16, 2007, which does a nice job capturing what a catalyst Freeland was for a lot that happened in Buffalo over the years:


Remembering a Buffalo icon who lived for music
by Jeff Miers - News Pop Music Critic

---------------------------------------

"Miers. It's Freeland. Call me." Click.

That was a few months ago. I'd get these messages on my answering machine periodically from Mark Freeland . He'd tell me what he liked that I'd written, what he didn't like, what he thought I might want to check out. He treated me like an eager kid, which I really appreciated. Freeland, who died Thursday after a lengthy battle with cancer, was the kind of guy whose respect you craved, if you considered yourself at all an artist.

He'd smile and say, "You're almost there. But there are a few more things you need to know." That was always our cue to reprise the plan that we'd made a few years earlier, to get together at Freeland's place so that he could walk me through his record collection.

"A lot of this stuff you have. But some of it you don't," he'd say, and smile again -- with enthusiasm and love for the whole game, never in a condescending way.

We never did get together to work our way through Freeland's piles of vinyl, which to him represented a living history of rock 'n' roll. Something always came up. I always felt privileged to have been offered, though. I still do. In a sense, it meant I'd "made it" in Buffalo.

Freeland died in his sleep with his soul mate, Carla Levorchick, by his side. Those who knew him well feel an incredible loss. Freeland was a major player in the Western New York music and art scenes. He was the brains behind two popular Western New York bands -- Pegasus and Electroman.

Friends I spoke with almost unanimously referred to losing Freeland as "a light going out." The best way to remember him, however, is to celebrate him. Freeland would not want to be mourned in the traditional way.

"The thing is, there was no one more positive than Mark," says longtime friend Bernie Kugel, who was part of the late-'70s scene centered around McVan's nightclub. "He was always inspirational, and a tireless champion of the music scene here. He should be remembered as an idol, a friend, Buffalo's own David Bowie -- a musical icon. Mark had no ill will for anyone."

He was well loved in Western New York's underground arts community, especially among friends like artist and musician John Simon, who cared for Freeland around the clock in the weeks prior to his passing; Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac; and musician Kent Weber, a friend and band-mate from teen years on.

"He was beautiful, in a word," says Mary Moser of West Seneca, who first met Freeland when both were 16 year-olds attending Kenmore West High School. "Mark was himself from the day he was born, if you know what I mean. He was completely unique. I remember the first time I brought him home to my house on the back of my motorcycle -- my father welcomed all my friends, openly. Mark walked in wearing jeans rolled up to the knee, with striped knee socks on, super-high platform heels, and a pair of devil horns poking through that beautiful curly head of hair. My father just shook his head and sighed!

"That was Mark -- never a follower, always a leader, though he was inspired by everyone and everything."

Freeland's legend goes deep. Many recall his early band, Pegasus, a daring progressive rock group famed for its spot-on renditions of the Genesis masterpiece "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway," which the group would present in full theatrical mode. Freeland never became mired in the past glories of progressive rock, however. He was on the cutting edge of punk rock in Buffalo, just as he would later assimilate the influences of electronica and even hip-hop in later years.

"Mark was smart enough to be able to play this incredibly complex music, like 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway' or some super-long Jethro Tull piece, but he was also smart enough to know when punk came along that it was time to return to some of the primitive fury of real rock 'n' roll," says Kugel.

Conversely, Freeland was also smart enough to know that punk's power did not wash away the importance of the prog-rock pioneers he revered. He realized that the best of these musicians were daring individualists, musicians capable of blending hard-earned technique with abundant imagination. Freeland did the same in his own art.

"Mark was the consummate example of the artist-as-individual," says Buffalo rock legend Terry Sullivan, who first met Freeland more than 30 years back, when the two were attending a gig that has attained mythical status in Buffalo -- a triple bill featuring the New York Dolls, Mott the Hoople and a still wet behind the ears Aerosmith, in Kleinhans Music Hall.
"Even then, Mark was a walking piece of art," said Sullivan. "He never stopped. He was like a spark plug, one that will never lose its spark."

No, Freeland never lost that childlike excitement he had for music. Even as he approached 50, he still tirelessly supported bands and artists in Buffalo. A few years back, he called me to insist I go with him to see musician Ray Roener's Living In the Past, a spot-on Jethro Tull tribute band. This led to a 30-minute discussion of our favorite Tull albums, and the genius of that band's guitarist, Martin Barre.

"These guys play this stuff absolutely perfectly, man!" Freeland insisted. "If you don't go with me, I'm gonna take it personally and doubt how serious you are about music." I went. Freeland was right.

"His gift to the art and music community here was that he made it OK to be daring, to go for it, to really believe in yourself," says Moser. "He was the single most creative person I've ever known, and ever will know."

"As a musician and an artist, Mark was everywhere at once, both physically and intellectually," Sullivan recalls. "Now that he's passed, he really is everywhere. He's still here. He always will be."

mike

You couldn't listen to WPRB in the mid-80s and not know "Go To A Party." I'm amazed that there are two remakes!

Gratz

The Fems actually sang the lyrics of the "Pop-O-Matic Trouble" commercial in a song.
"You got trouble wait don't run,
This kind of trouble is LOTS of fun!"
I remember Bob Weider singing that song vividly...

I've been looking online for some Electroman, especially The Vegitarian Song....
"Look at him, he's drunk, he's under the pillow,
he didn't do anything!
I was born eating potatoes and corn
I was born like a lion's foot with a thorn
I was born big like a mountain with horns
I was born"
One of my favorite songs ever.
Can't find anything as of yet.

I'm also looking for the video of the time Mark Freeland took Bob Weider to court on the Judge Joe Brown show, over a painting that was destroyed during a melee on the stage in Los Angeles. Another classic performance by Freeland. If anyone has that link, please post it!

Good article on Mark Freeland here,
http://artvoice.com/issues/v6n26/american_googaloo

Tim formerly from Town Line, NY now in diaspora in Denver.

Wow, that "This is it.." sounds brilliant. I can't wait to get my hands on it. I'll add it next to my "We kill McKinley" and "Temple of Music" compilations if I can dig those up.
---
I think I found a Trouble commercial..
http://tesla.liketelevision.com/liketelevision/tuner.php?channel=531&format=tv&theme=guide

--
I found some information on the SplatCats and with a New Jersey connection. Some of the members are now in the Garage Band 'Dark Marbles' which WFMU has played once in a while. BTW, I was wrong, the song I was thinking of was SIN 73 (Elvis kinda upside down) and the cover they did was the Jan and Dean song "Surfin Hearse".

http://darkmarbles.com/_wsn/page3.html
and http://darkmarbles.com/
---


Ilona

How fondly I remember WPRB and in particular Ken Katkin and "Thanks for sharing" and his other progams. I still have any number of recordings off the air of Ken and his fellow dj's on WPRB. PRB and the PRE (Princeton Record Exchange) made Junior and High School Bearable.

rickparkerz

A few years ago I was thinking about "Go To A Party" as I used to listen to WPRB a lot in the 80's so I looked around and finally was able to get the song on some bootleg seeming compilation "No One Left To Blame:A Compilation of Twenty American Punk Unknowns '76-'82"

Ken Katkin

Lots to respond to:

Gratz-- your online search from some original recordings by Mark Freeland's Electroman is now over. I've just uploaded "The Vegetarian Song" (whose lyrics you remember perfectly) here, and also Freeland's signature track "Go Go Go" here. I'm not sure whether Freeland/Electroman's unique vision of a prog/disco hybrid stands the test of time as well as some other Buffalo music of the 1977-84 era (or as well as Freeland's contributions to other people's projects, such as The Fems), but it certainly does reflect the man's singular high-energy individualism.

Tim-- Thanks for the tip about Dark Marbles. To complete the Buffalo circle, Dark Marbles apparently have recorded a cover of a song by Bernie Kugel's legendary pre-Mystic Eyes Buffalo band The Good, which I will definitely be checking out!

Ilona--Thanks for the kind words.

Rickparkerz--"No One Left To Blame" is a *great* comp, but the version of "Go To A Party" that appears on it is the shorter, faster, and cleaner 2001 version, not the long, sludgy, original 1982 version!


Gratz

Ken... YOU ROCK!! Thanks!

Kyle

Holy Crap!

I fronted a Buffalo hardcore band, D.I.E, and we played with The Fems at The Jam Club back in the day. I used to stand next to the amp to take in that awesome bass line. At a party, the bass player (I think it was Kevin)'s profile was drawn on the wall of the Roach Motel, the home of another local band still in existence, The Painkillers, where it remained until the band was evicted for repeatedly complaiing to the landlord about the space aliens in the basement.

MIck Lucas

I just came acoss the sad news of Mark Freeland, I was a friend of Marks and the Fems from the 80's.I had them play their first Canadian gig in St. Catharines at the now defunct Labour Temple on Oakdale Ave. I used to call Mark the Bob Hope of Buffalo, he was quite the entertainer. I will miss him, all those nights at the Continental's patio, all those after parties, all those great times. He used to say to me" you know why you are a big guy ?' I would always say "no" and he would always reply " because you have a big heart" I felt the same way about him. A big HELLO to all my old buffalo friends,esp John W.my wild turkey friend. if any of you read this , my email is [email protected] if you want to write. To Mike, who was loking for the link to the Judge Joe Brown clip, it is on Marks site at www.Markfreeland.com along with alot of cool stuff. My big heart goes out to Marks family, friends and his girl. Take care Buffalo, see you in my dreams. Mick Lucas from St Catharines

Dawn Moorhouse

heres the addy to Mark & Bob on Judge Joe Brown & other vids too... http://www.markfreeland.com/video.html
i grew up with Mark & Jimbo in Kenmore and followed his carrer ever since..what a great experience...RIP Mark & Jimbo love~ Dawn

Dave

My most memorable experience (having seen the Fems well over 100 times) was at a bar once on the corner of Hertel and Main (Thumpers). Mark went outside during a break and switched the lettering on a portable sign in front of the bar from "LIVE MUSIC" to "EVIL MUSIC"

John Walters

Wow! It's great to see there's still an interest in a bunch of ageing old punks from buffalo! I would just like to say thanks to all that posted!The Fems lost a dear member of our band this year and it's been a tough time! Your posts and thoughts of Mark are greatly appreciated.The rest of the band are doing well and look forward to our annual (yes we do it every yr. for nearly 30 yrs.) Christmas re-union.By the way..All is not lost, I found the Master in a drawer and we are contemplating doing a re-press!To quote Mark.."People We Love You! Rockstars are not above you!'On behalf of The Fems Thank You!

John Walters

By the way.. The Fems know nothing of this compilation record. Anyone with info. on how I can obtain one please reach me at [email protected] Thanks! John Walters!

Dave

"Dudley Dooright....where are you? ...we need you now!.... Ralph Phillips....where are you? ...we need you now!....Mark Freeland.....where are you? ...we need you now!"

John Walters

The Fems will be playing LIVE Sat. Dec.29th at The Town Ballroom, Downtown Buffalo.See you there!

bags

Does anybody know who the inspiration for "Go to a Party..." is? I would ask Wieder, but I'm afraid he'll say me. BTW, I have original copies of The Femunist Manifesto, which I wrote. Wonder what they'll fetch on eBay?

That’s my brother's artwork on the record cover which I believe does justice to the fine lyrics which are forever posted in the annals (anals?) of Buffalo rock and roll history.

Rodney (WNUR'S Fast N Loud 1983-1987)

Wow.
It is interesting to hear how that record got to WNUR. The Punk/Hardcore radio show that I was a member of, FAST N LOUD, played the hell out of that record early on. Doug, the show's originator, liked that song so much (we had to fight him to play it ourselves), he arranged for them to come do a gig in Chicago, which they did. Direct guitar (no amp), direct bass, and just a floor tom for drums. Sounded just like the record....

I HOPE that WNUR still has it in their collection.


Rodney.

Carl H  (Alden Alum)

Wow...great data here. I actually have my original "Go To A Party" from 1981. Going for $400 ????? Think I'll keep it anyway. Bought mine at a long out of businees record shop in East Aurora....Bob said he dropped off five copies there...guess I got one.
I have two complete Fems shows from the very early 90's on video. I'm gonna find it and try to make a high quality DVD out of them.
Hey John....got any Full Of Grace stuff for us to listen to??

John Walters

Carl-Ofcourse I have "Full of Grace" I have a great recording of us live at U.B. baird point for Springfest! I have it,but don't know where? But why would you want that when you can go and buy The Fems "Live at the Continental" recorded in '95 and '96! Bob is insane on these recordings!

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