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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pierson Blog: The Melody Reunion & Life Itself

(Side note: if ya wanna read about The Melody reunion at The Loop Lounge, scroll down to the bottom half)


There's a lotta shit to write about and I've been Mr. Neglect.

Can't say that there's a lot of music to gabba gabba about. The Police played "Roxanne" at The Grammys and I shut my T.V. off.

SNOW ("and other sentimental crap...")

The big deal is all the snow they got up north of Syracuse, New York these past two weeks. Over 100 inches. Kinda nuts. It reminds me of my one and only trek up to that neck of the woods during such treacherous times in the winter of 1981. My friend Mike Lively picked me up at the Watertown bus station. It was one of the most insane personal mindfuks of all-time: Eight-plus hours on a Greyhound taking me back to a very familiar and beloved place, BUT finally with all the SNOW god could deliver. When we got out to Mike's house on the banks of Chaumont Bay ('twas mid-February) there was probably 4 feet of snow on the ground along with these thin walkways shoveled out as pathways towards the house... Wild shit...

That whole week I spent up there was one of those trademark growing up experiences. Mike was/is three years older than I, and we were both in the midst of the post-punk (& power pop) luvfest that held the disconnected UNDERGROUND together. We had no idea. I really thought everyone was tuning in to "Hollywood Heartbeat," "Rock World" and HBO's "Video Jukebox" and discarding the metal.

For the trip, I brought up a Beatles BBC bootleg ("Beatles Broadcasts") with "Soldier Of Love" ('cause The Flashcubes had covered it) and Phil Seymour's solo debut. At Mike's I taped a lot of Ramones and Supremes along with some other choice goodies: Raspberries, Dwight Twilley Band, Bay City Rollers, Artful Dodger, Records, XTC, Split Enz, Only Ones, The Police, and Vapors.

Feb '07: New Jersey finally got a smattering of ice and snow, but my guts are yearning to seek out the mountaineasque snowbanks of upstate New York. I dug out the old Maxell cassettes to keep the car warm. Mike Lively's cat's still skipped "Do You Remember Rock & Roll Radio" (walking on top of the turntable!) while Dwight Twilley's "You Were So Warm" knocked me out all over again. The Cars' "Panorama" is still an odd record.

"I believe in life and I believe in love but the world in which I live in keeps trying to prove me wrong..."

Late January got me started on the old tape excavation deal 'cause I still have a functioning tape deck in the car and Paul Weller was playing NYC. Spirited idea was to throw the old cut-tape in en route to the city. Which I did, once I got approval from compadre Fran Azzarto. (One should always ask permission before playing said artist amongst company with only hours before set time; it could sour someone's zen.)

In our case it was a fun tale. Fran waxed on about his earliest "band" days when trying to learn most of The Jam's "Sound Affects." Both of us were still as excited about what "Sound Affects" is, as we were when it changed our lives. Sadly, Paul Weller seems to have let that part of his life go to the wayside, while he plunders an MOR-ish path of sturdy blue-eyed soul. We caught the last night of Weller's three-night stand at Irving Plaza. The first night (which was "bandied about" as a Jam-only night) only saw PW do nine tunes from the catalog whilst the rest was scattershot. Our night was snoresville with only three Jam tunes in the count; granted they were good ones: "Butterfly Collector," "Thick As Thieves" and "Town Called Malice." Still, I got more of a rush during our pre-show pints at the pub around the corner where a room packed full of aging mods/Jam fans buzzed with "My Ever Changing Moods" blasting as Fran and I made our way to the bar fresh from air-drumming "Set The House Ablaze." Switch.


Between the new work schedule, a radio-less Radio Boy, and trying to get 10cc's "Sacro Iliac" out of my head, I've been eschew with thoughts and the like.

I watched TCM's prime time pick for Valentine's Day, "Breakfast At Tiffany's" (I still hate the fact that they overdubbed Buddy Ebsen's lines) and promptly fell asleep only to awake three hours later, still trying to figure a way to tell everyone about what's going on at The Loop Lounge this Saturday Night.

Another run out in the freezing frigid leftover mess of our storm to get some Ben & Jerry's and some fresh coffee did the trick, lighting the needed fire to connect these dots and send this damn blog on its way.


I don't know all the specifics about The Melody besides the fact that it shut down the first week of April in 2001. It was during that April I was scheduled to finally DJ there for the first time; overdue as it seemed.

Jim Dunlap had kept the old fires lit with his Tuesday night "Save The Wave" gig stretching from the 20th into the 21st century without flinching. The ghost of Matt Pinfield was still there whenever certain tunes fell into place and the dance floor appeased. Still, I (we) all missed Matt and the glory days of "The Mel" circa 1990. For us realists, fate was certain. We knew we couldn't kiss it for the first time ever again. But we always wanted to go back. And we all have some amazing memories of the place.


I first met Matt while I was still in high school. Pinfield was the star attraction on WRSU and I tuned in religiously. I forget when I finally decided to call-in and say hey. I'm sure it was motivated by my attempts to get my friends Screen Test heard by hip people.

Somewhere in 1982, Pinfield invited me down to Patrix to check out his "band" Opium Vala. My 50-minute virgin-pilgrimage to New Brunswick, almost saw my 17-year-old ass turned away at the door until this balding chap said who he was and got me in.

The set was a blistering set of punk classics mixed with amazing '60s pop and other obscurities. I completely remember them tearing "Do Anything You Wanna Do" apart and, of course, the nearly half-a-dozen Buzzcocks songs that made their rep. They also nailed Hot Chocolate's "Everyone's A Winner" which they had demo'd along with a bunch of gems like Grass Roots' "Wait A Million Years," Hello's "Game's Up," 1910 Fruitgum Co.'s "Indian Giver" and Simon & Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade Of Winter."

I haven't seen Matt this century. He was working as an A&R guy (Sony) but was let go recently only to end up back on TV on VH1. He's also kept his profile on radio via Sirius. Last time we were in the same place was at The Budapest in New Brunswick for The Wonder Stuff's Miles Hunt and Malc Treece's acoustic set in 1998 (I think).


Certain things never dull with time and some people grow sharper with age, as do the best memories. The Melody is definitely one of those places where magic in a bottle was captured. A scene. For those who were there, it was an amazing time to be alive.

The people made it, obviously. But truth be told, it wasn't the place where I made such deep everlasting bonds. I just remember it as the best dance club that ever existed. (There were other notable clubs: The Roxy, Aldo's and of course, The Loop Lounge.)

What made it amazing was the fact that such an Anglo-centric scene was profitable in central Jersey from 1986 to 1992. On paper, those years really seem like the worst years for music where nary a decent band with guitars existed (or at least sold a lot of records). The bands who made up the crux of The Melody's musical oeuvre (or at least Pinfield's world) were what a lot of people would label "synth-pop" bands, but for those of us who know better, it wasn't so easily categorized.

Bands like New Order, The Cure, The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Echo & The Bunnymen, B.A.D., and Siouxsie & The Banshees (to name a few) had a lot more depth beyond remixes and make-up. And these days, they heavily outweigh what is deemed '80s music; especially the crap MTV played during those years.

The Melody never played any of the crappy hits from MTV; it was as if their playlist had exclusive radar against junk like Real Life, Re-Flex, Information Society, Corey Hart, Falco, Billy Idol, and bad Duran Duran. Pinfield did play a good amount of goth and industrial but never let it take over in any way. It was done right. 'Tis the secret of Matt and why The Melody ruled.


(...and here's the bit about the Melody Reunion at The Loop Lounge.)

It's been a long time coming and thank god Frank Gibson (Stiffy Biceptz) stayed in touch with so many people and has kept tabs on Sir Pinfield.

When Frank asked me about a good place to stage this party, I thought of a couple of places, AND obviously having it closer to New Brunswick would've been nice. But reality is reality. And I KNEW the Loop Lounge was the best natural place to have this party. I'm glad he took the advice. I'm glad Loop owner, Bruce Ciccone, was cool with it.

The Loop Lounge is the only remaining club in New Jersey that has kept the aesthetic which it originally set in place 20 years ago along with The Melody, The Roxy, and Aldo's. Of course, each club had/has it's own identity, but the idea of an alternative dance club was brought into existence by these places. Without them all you'd have is sports bars and lame discos.

The party starts at 5pm on Saturday, February 17th and goes until 11pm when The Loop's "regular" Saturday night takes over. It's a marriage made in heaven. Saturday night is Ted Wrigley's night at The Loop which is really the only night in NJ that does the memory of such '80s music justice.

Matt will be spinning most of the party along with a bunch of old Melody DJs. I will be doing the DJ honors from approximately 10:45pm-11:30. Passing the torch, so to speak. It's an honor I ain't taking lightly. See ya there.

"I could go on for hours and I probably will... But I'd sooner put some joy back into this town (world) called malice."

-Pat Pierson (2.15.07)

DJ Pat Pierson schedule
  • Thursday, Feb 15th: THE LOOP LOUNGE (front bar w/ Ike, no cover, $2 PBRs) 10pm
  • Friday, Feb 16th: THE LOOP LOUNGE (front bar w/ live music in back room: The Milwaukees) 10pm
  • Saturday, Feb 17th: THE LOOP LOUNGE "Melody Reunion" party 5pm-11pm (my set follows the party approx: 10:45pm-11:30pm)
for more info check:

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