The garage-rock/alternative/indie scene in Buffalo as the 1980s turned into the ’90s was an incredibly vibrant one. There were a lot of good bands in town, gigging weekly, getting airplay on WBNY-FM, and conspiring to form a gravitational pull that drew music freaks, myself included, to Buffalo.
One of those bands was the Ramrods, and after catching them at SUNY Fredonia in 1988, I decided to move to Buffalo and play in a band with my friends. This was artsy garage-rock, with underpinning of Bowie-Ziggy glam, and the sort of elegant sloppiness that made the Stooges great. I was convinced that the Ramrods, whose members hailed from Kenmore, was going to be huge.
It never happened, alas – the Ramrods called it a day in 1990.
Shortly after the demise of the Ramrods, that band’s spirit found a new host body in the form of Girlpope, another Kenmore collective. Girlpope was given to taking Kinks-inspired riffs, doubling the tempo, and then adding the sort of rough-but-right grit to the proceedings that belied the influence of their forebears, be they Ramrods or Stooges. Like their older Kenmore brethren, Girlpope struck me (and everyone I knew) as a band poised for a broader breakthrough. The mid- and late-’90s releases “Cheeses of Nazareth” and “The Whole Scene Going” underscored that belief. These guys had the tunes, the energy, the personality.
Girlpope had a great run, but called it quits in 2004 to pursue various musical adventures, though the band – Mark Norris, Rich Campagna and Brandon Delmont – has reunited on occasion.
One such special event takes place at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.) when Kenmore’s finest will join forces for a one-off gig with Mom Said No. Admission is free.
– Jeff Miers