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Book details
  • Genre:MUSIC
  • SubGenre:genres & Styles / Rock
  • Language:English
  • Pages:250
  • Format:Paperback
  • eBook ISBN:9781098370701
  • Paperback ISBN:9781098370695

Rock and Roll Meltdown

The Circus Nightclub Story 1979 – 1983

by Rick Bandazian

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Ah, the brave foolishness of youth. Take an ambitious 25-year-old kid from a little suburban town in New Jersey, his music-obsessed kid brother, and a dad who believed in the whole idea. Add loud rock and roll, wet T-shirt nights, nickel beer, and here we are. This book is a chronicle of those times, and a tribute to all the rock bands and club goers on the tri-state club circuit and around the country during the late 70s and 80s. From Ramsey to Carteret, from Hoboken and Fort Lee, to the little town of Bergenfield, it was a time of great clubs and even greater music. While the scene in New York City was thriving, from Irving Plaza to Max's Kansas City and the Bottom Line, another scene was developing out in the suburbs, where young rock fans actually lived. Any night of the week, winter or summer, they were filling clubs to see their favorite bands—loud, hot, sweaty, and live. Imagine a sitcom about this young kid who opens up a rock and roll nightclub at a time when the American music industry equaled GM or the NFL in terms of power and influence. That's what my world was like for five years—every day.
In 1979, rock and roll was in revolution. While FM radio covered the nation with a nonstop format of Fleetwood Mac, Foreigner, Kansas, Styx, Led Zeppelin, and more Fleetwood Mac, it was a different story in rock clubs all over America. In dingy, sweaty venues from LA to New York, punk rock and new wave bands were rewriting the story of rock and roll. And in New Jersey, the club scene was exploding as a result of the drinking age having been lowered to eighteen just a few years earlier. By this time, the rock and roll storm had already been brewing for several years. From Ramsey to Carteret, from Hoboken and Fort Lee, to the little town of Bergenfield, it was a time of great clubs and even greater music. Brothers Rick and Jack – barely out of their teens themselves – and their dad, Jack Sr., opened one of the premiere rock clubs in the New York metropolitan area. They had to hustle and learn the ropes quickly while dealing with underage drinkers, nightly fights, the out of control drug scene, local authorities, and a pool of seasoned sharks that were controlling the entertainment industry. Cyndi Lauper, The Ramones, Papa John Creach, New Riders of the Purple Sage, John Kay and Steppenwolf, Johnny Thunders, Twisted Sister, David Johansen, Robert Hunter, Rick Danko, Joe Perry, Steve Forbert; they were all there, live on stage and in your face. The cover bands and tribute acts that performed up and down the East Coast were phenomenal too, sometimes even outdrawing the recording artists. This book chronicles those times, and gives a first-hand account of a club owner's recollections of that famed era, and the fallen rock scene that followed. You'll be captivated by interviews with band members, rock fans, and former employees, who witnessed this special time in rock history, who tell their story as only they can. The author places you in the front row and gives you a peek behind the curtain of a rock club at the center of this revolution.
About the author
Rick Bandazian grew up in the quiet community of Glen Rock, New Jersey. He currently resides in Wyckoff with his wife and has two grown children and four grandchildren. His friends and family referred to him as a hustler and a workaholic when he was just 12 years old. When he was 19, he tried unsuccessfully to buy his first piece of real estate. It was not an ordinary first investment property such as a house or condo, but instead, it was a small shopping center with seven stores and a two family home attached. Three banks laughed at him when he tried to get a mortgage. After working numerous jobs, including one at a local luncheonette, Rick convinced his father to open a similar business. Although that particular venture failed, they went on to own and operate four other successful businesses, including the iconic rock club, which was the inspiration for this book. Whether it was cutting lawns, shoveling snow, delivering newspapers, painting house numbers on curbs for 50¢, or working at Mike's vegetable stand, Bandazian had to be working somewhere or at something; otherwise, he wasn't happy. He learned at an early age the value of earning and saving money. After high school graduation, he went to work full-time in the family business but not before giving college a try. He later joked to his friends that it was the worst eight weeks of his life. And on the day he decided to quit, he went into the school's book store and tried to negotiate the best deal he could at reselling the books back to the school. After all, they were brand new and never opened. That was the sales pitch that got him $9 for the algebra book, rather than the $7 he was offered. It wasn't the two bucks, but the art of the deal. While some of his friends were joining fraternities, going to toga parties, and smoking weed, Rick was doing what he loved-working and saving money because he wanted to own his own business. At 20 years old that dream came true when he became a partner in a diner in Westwood, New Jersey. By the time he turned 25, Rick was part owner of two other successful businesses. After selling The Circus rock club in 1983, Rick went on to a successful career in real estate, including sales, management, investment, and construction.
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