Monday, January 28, 2008

All For the Love of Rock and Roll

Sorry to hear that Jeff Salen, lead guitarist and lynchpin of first generation CBGB's band Tuff Darts died Saturday, just a week shy of his 55th birthday. Here's a clip of the earliest incarnation of the band with then singer Robert Gordon (before he went rockabilly), and their quite wonderful "Head Over Heels." That's Salen on guitar to Gordon's left.

I'm pretty sure my 70s band did at least one gig with these guys (possibly at Great Guildersleeves on the Bowery, up the block from CB's) although I may have hallucinated that. In any case the Darts brand of pop/rock with attitude was the real deal; you can check out their 1978 studio album here, and they also have three tracks with Gordon -- including "Head Over Heels" and the original version of their anthem "All For the Love of Rock and Roll" -- on the essential Live at CBGBs compilation.


Mister Pleasant said...

I am sad to read here of Jeffrey Salen's death. He was also the guitarist on Spark's Big Beat, their first foray back in the US after their inspired 3-album glam run in the UK.

I have always been partial to the two Tuff Dart's tunes on Live at CBGBs. Jeff could make one a helluva noise.

return of the plumber said...

I don't remember Tuff Darts at Guildersleeves. Don't think you ever played with them. I'm sure you saw them at one of the clubs though.

steve simels said...


I know I saw them at the Bottom Line when their album came out, and I'm pretty sure I saw them somewhere before they got signed.

I don't know why I think we gigged with them at some point......

return of the plumber said...

We rented the "Shirts' "PA once. Opened for the "Dictators". Had "Snake" (Debbie & Chris pre "Blonde") open for us and the "Demons" open for us the next night. We used the Weasel's PA that night as CBGB's didn't have a PA system yet.

Can we ever forget our greatest triple bill "Whitey Jack" and "Cyd Arthur" opening for us at Club 82!

Finally "The Romantics" still owe me $5 to this day when I let them slide on that amount on the rental of the PA at a Copperfields gig so they could eat dinner at the Burger King down the block on 8th Street. I covered the $5 out of my own pocket because me made no money at the door as usual.

Ah big time Rock & Roll! Almost cost me my marriage.

So you must have see Tuff Darts at CBGB's or Max's some night when you went downtown to see them or some other act.

Anyone reading this please don't over romanticize this era, CBGB's & Guidersleeves were a palaces compared to the other clubs (including Max's) and there was no money or respect for the bands below the top 5 or so bands. Several clubs were deathtraps (Copperfields) or so bizarre (Club 82) you doubted you sanity at the end of the night. The club managers were total scum with the exception of Hilly Krystal (who was a real mench!) and the owner of Guilderfields who was also an up front guy. We lost the drumer's boots between sets one night from a locked dressing room at MAX's!

Wait, wait, WAIT!!!! It's all coming back to me!!! We did open for the Tuff Darts at Max's at the gig that Bobby's (the band's drummer and now a highly respected Psychologist) boots were stolen! We almost got into a fist fight with Tuff Darts when they stated throwing stuff from their dressing room into our dressing room while they were fighting among themselves. When our set ended (I still have some video footage of that night including Tuff Darts singing about 15 seconds of Garland Jeffries "Wild In The Street") Bobby's boots were gone and one of the Darts was screwing some groupie on that vile toilet by the dressing rooms. And I really had to take a leak! Yikes. I should have videotaped that!

According to Cindy (the band's female vocalist and now a highly respected lawyer [and now married to Bobby]) Nancy Spungen was sitting in the first row of tables drinking a magnum of champaign. (Did I spell that right? Don't think so) She's on the video sitting there so I do believe it could be her.

Damn you were right about us playing with Tuff Darts. I haven't thought about a lot of this stuff in many, many years.

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