By Bob ‘The Record Guy’ Paxon
Gene Cornish became a Rochester boy early in his life, after moving from Ontario. He joined Joey Dee & The Starliters but he also found time to lead The Unbeatables, who recorded one LP and several 45s for an Upstate NY label Dawn Records. And of course he went on to fame with The (Young) Rascals. They’re not so well remembered today but at one time they were one of the biggest-selling bands in America, a hit-making machine.
But Gene never cut ties with his hometown, apparently, finding time in 1968 to produce Rochester’s own Brass Buttons: Bob Guglielmino, Jay Capozzi, Eric Thorngren, Joe Graziano, Danny Labatte and Mike Julian. Gene wrote the A-side for their Cotillion single, “My Song”. Jay Capozzi, who had previously played with The Show Stoppers (well-known in WNY but mostly remembered now as the starting point for Bat McGrath and Don Potter) wrote the side we celebrate here, and what a song it is!
There’s no theme more central to Garage Rock than the Bad Girl. This Girl is bad, like most (“her eyes are blue, her heart’s as black as night”) but she takes it further. Like the Bad Girl of The Sonics’ The Witch, this girl is pure Evil. “Curses things that other girls just wish they had / Praises all the things that are all so bad.” And like The Sonics’ He’s Waiting (in which Satan deals with the Bad Girl), this girl has something unpleasant in her future!
Like so many bands, the Brass Buttons played a lot of shows (including Buffalo clubs) but took only this one shot at the black plastic, and went away. One member did achieve some fame in the music industry – under the monicker “ET”, Eric Thorngren became a noted producer.