The picture of The Complaints greatly depends on your lens. The wide angle view was just another high school band who sped up a few rock and roll standards, sang with a vague British accent and called it punk rock. To understand this band though, you need a zoom.
There is no way to answer who, without understanding where. The town of Catasauqua (Catty) in the 80’s was peculiar. The working class birthplace of the American Iron Industry, it was DIY for a couple of centuries. The youth culture in Catty at this time was set ablaze by punk rock. You would have been hard pressed to find a place that embraced the genre with the viscera and vigor as The Iron Borough. The humor, the energy, the sneer fit Catty hand in glove. Even the “nice girls” loved it. The Complaints were that culture’s juke box.
The first thing to know about this band was they were as talented as they were young (14-17). The musical backbone of the band was Glenn (Stoag) Longenhagen. The oldest member of the band, he was somewhat of a savant. He seemed to be able to play any song on any instrument. His younger brother Greg (Story) was charismatic, funny and most importantly, he knew cool, a consummate frontman. The rhythm section was every bit the equal to the front line. Bass player Louis Stubits was not only very proficient, but had a vision for what the band should be. Finally, the youngest member, drummer Steve Roth was a powerhouse. Together, this band was the living mixtape for this odd town during these iconic days. They played it all. First wave standards by Undertones, Buzzcocks, Clash, Gang of Four to covering the likes of Smokey Robinson, The Who and The Yardbirds. They were a good live band but this is where you need to adjust your focus. It was the originals. A small batch of songs that make you look back again. They were tight, smart and had their own sound. Really good songs.
That’s The Complaints, in a snapshot. In time, life moved the lads on to other things. Careers in theatre and science and business called them forward. Such is life’s arc, but this batch of songs are testament to a quirky time in a little place and a bunch of kids who filled it brilliantly.
-Al Zuzic ex Complaints roadie
I was friends with Story Longenhagen and Lou Fabulous but i only ever saw the COMPLAINTS once. They played with The Clap (thee original Lehigh Valley punk band) and SENSELESS HATE (featuring Joe Hanna from
Play It Again Records. As well as a wonderful, weird & young Brother JT, who during their set, fell over and landed on his back and continued flailing at his guitar cuz he couldnt get up, earning him the nickname ‘The Insect’ from my Catty punk friends for years ) at the Runway, which in 6 or 7 years would be called Airport Music Hall, the site of many gigantic harvore and metal horrorshows /riots.
I had heard from a few with-it kids that the Complaints were good and super punk and did perfect British punk covers, which was fitting as they hailed from Little England Catty.
Before we’d met i’d heard that Lou was a sneering Sid Vicious protege on bass. They floored me with their version of “clash city rockers”.
But in true small town teen punk sunurban style, my buddy Jon got his nose busted in the parking lot by a jealous Catty kid over Bobby Almazan’s little sister. Then Joe Hanna’s dog licked up all the blood. ah, youth! what great times!…..
-Eric de Jesus Easy Subcult / Raw Pogo Scaffold