Our “New York Times” were some of the best times we ever had. The shows at the Bottom Line were more like doing off-Broadway theater than a rock and roll show in a nightclub. Each year-end performance had a focus that was nurtured during the year on the road and the inspiration for each show grew out of the nights we traveled in a car, a motor home or in the back stage dressing rooms of the theaters across America. When we drove between cities it would always be Howard, Joe and I in one car and the other guys in the second. We usually left right after the show to drive to the next town in the wee hours of the morning and it was during these rides that we usually smoked copious amounts of incredible weed and talked about our cultural icons: Elvis, Woody, Jerry Lewis and all the current events that eventually became part of the shows on these discs. Our love of George Gershwin, John Carpenter, sixties television, comic books, and other references that only we would understand and laugh at became the foundation for these shows.
The performances, hopefully, took the audience into our inside jokes. As we returned every holiday season, the show grew from a weekend of 4 shows over 2 nights to as many as 16 shows over 8 nights in a row at one point. The New Year’s show became a zoo as our New York fans would sometimes buy tickets for multiple nights but always fill up the theater on New Year’s Eve to wear their hats and blow those crazy noisemakers.
Special thanks must go out to all of the musicians who came through the group during this era. Dave Nelson - Dave Lebolt - Andy Cahan - Steve Buslowe - Gus Weiland - Mike Visceglia - Peter Zale - Russ Shirley - Mike Reed - Chris Apostle - Ritchie Cannata - Donnie Kisselbach and Tristan Avakian. There are not enough words we could say to show our gratitude to our drummer for the past 30 years Joe Stefko. He not only played on all the New York shows that took place but he put the band together and then helped us keep it stocked with the best players when someone left. This list showcases some of the best players Howard and I ever worked with, but these musicians were not just great players they were great people with one more ingredient needed, a sense of humor. We also offer up:
Thanks to Alan Pepper and Stanley Sandowsky who let us take over the Bottom Line for these shows. It must have made them money doing this year in and year out or it would not have happened.
Thanks to Linda Bahn and Kathy Morris who helped bring all of the visual props together, the stuffed animals, fences, clothesline, hippos and all of the blow-up toys. We also need to thank them for baking some of the best cookies and cakes. Without their help it would have been really hard to do this.
Special thanks also go to Andy Craig. I know that Andy is somewhere either looking up at us or down at us with that feeling of finally getting his due. He was there every year, bugging us, interviewing us, singing in the band and just adding to the necessary mayhem that only he could bring to that small room backstage. He was so talented and even though we beat him up physically and emotionally, we respected him and we all miss him.
Thanks to Denny McNerney who mixed the sound for the shows and these recordings. He actually kept track of everything and when this project began he and Joe Stefko had already considered what would be the best parts to put on these discs for you to enjoy.
Thanks to the many people who supported us during these shows. Tony at the door and the club staff really had to put up with a lot, so we thank them. I am not sure what they thought each year as we would fly blow-up toys and stuffed animals through the audience or have monsters loose in the aisles as they tried to serve drinks or breakfast at the late shows on New Year’s.
Thanks to the city of New York. I know it is a bit crazy to thank an entire city, but New York always meant a lot to us. As the Turtles it was a start up place for some great memories in our career: Getting to do the Ed Sullivan Show, Hullabuloo, and Clay Cole. Getting to perform at The Phone Booth, Steve Paul’s scene, The Fillmore East and Carnegie Hall helped us become better performers. We realized every show we played in New York was important. Our biggest hit songs were written by musicians from New York and it helped us grow closer to the city. Getting to live here for 2 years, while we did afternoon drive at 92.3 WXRK, made us feel like it was our home. It was always amazing and inspiring to spend these particular times during the holidays in New York. Howard and I loved the city at this time. It is one of the greatest cites to be in and believe it or not, during those holidays when we came to play the shows were some of the quietest and most peaceful times we got to spend there. I guarantee you at night at The Bottom Line; it was far from quiet and peaceful.
Last but not least, we could not go on without thanking the Flo & Eddie/Turtle fans: The casual ones and the die-hard ones who all came together and who supported us and joined us in making these “NEW YORK TIMES” the best times of our lives. We will never forget you.
óMark Volman 2009