45 Friday: Davy and the Crocketts – Turn Your Back

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David Myles Meinzer has been making music in Buffalo for 40 years now. Here’s  his earliest recording.  BTW, I’m filling in for Bob Paxon this week, and I’ll attempt to fill you in on some of the background.

Since Dave is a friend, I’m going to eschew the Associated Press style and just call him by his first name. He traces his musical roots, like so many others,  back to hearing the Beatles as a young kid in the 1960s. But by the time he got to college in the 1970s, he was already exploring roots music. He was involved with the legendary Buffalo State College music magazine Shaking Street Gazette (which took its name from a MC5 song and took its money to publish from the student government there; it was edited by Gary Sperrazza). He would have been the one writing about Gram Parsons, and he recalls being at the legendary Kinky Friedman show in Buffalo where a small number of feminists were protesting Kinky’s song “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven (and Your Buns Into Bed).” In Kinky’s memory the incident has since grown into a feminist riot!

But by the time the late ’70s came around, most of the interesting music was coming out of the punk/new wave scene. And Dave says he remembers being inspired by the do-it-yourself attitude, that you could take a guitar and go play at a local club.  Plus his friends had always jokingly called him “Davy Crockett” as a kid because of his first name. So the name felt like a natural.

While Dave was never a punk, he could — and did — get into the rockabily and power pop edges of that scene. And since the since was really a melange of styles, that meant playing at McVan’s, the Schuper House and any of a number of other places where he and the band might be sharing the stage with Mark Freeland and Electroman, the Enemies, the Jumpers or a host of other punk/new wave/edgy bands.

When it was time to record, the group — Dave (guitar plus lead vocals), plus Dave Zwink (drums), Geoff Copp (guitar) and the mysteriously named E. Minor (actually Russell Steinberg on bass) — went to Tommy Calandra’s BCMK studios. Both sides of the single (“Long Time, No See” was the flip) were Meinzer compositions, and the production was credited to the Crocketts and Calandra.

Recorded in January of 1979, the song has been included on the “This Is It”  CD compilation of punk/new wave put out by Bob James (of the Third Floor Strangers, Restless and numerous other bands) in 2002. It’s a great piece of power pop that still holds up to this day.

The band actually had coonskin caps, by the way, although Geoff will tell you he was the only one to wear his.

The graphics for the single’s sleeve are actualy credited to Marlene Weisman and Attack Graphics. That’s a surprise, given that Dave went on to do graphics for many of the BCMK releases and has done art for dozens of albums, posters and CD covers for local performers and local shows by national artists over the years. He has also gone on to release an impressive number of recordings, with groups (Nimrod Wildfire, Dry Bones and, currently, with the Outlyers) and individually. The Crocketts, meanwhile, have scattered. Russ Steinberg is still in Western New York, but Dave Zwink is in Alaska and Geoff Copp on Long Island.

Meanwhile,  in one of this writer’s favorites, “Rock Castle,” by the Outlyers, Dave recalls the early years at McVan’s, which was indeed built to look like a castle. The castle was rockin’ indeed.

You can check out Dave’s own way more detailed history of the band here.

 

 

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