Tag: Catasauqua

Complaints

Complaints

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

Complaints

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

01 Complaints
02 Computer Chips
03 Vertigo
04 From Russia With Love
05 Misconceived Stories
06 Breakout
07 Catholic Killers
08 Come Home
09 Sunday Bloody Sunday
10 Gloria
11 Radio Clash
12 12 OClock High

MediaFire Zip of all files

YouthQuake

Photo credit: Jen Buck Knies

YQ was a band from 1985 to 1986 from Catasauqua in the Lehigh Valley.

Larry Deiter, charismatic teenage hero who ran away from home and lived in the little league dugouts for awhile, was the singer. he’d sung in a band called Zero Factor previously.

Tracy Pain played guitar, Bobby Fegley played bass (RIP. he died in a car crash in the 90s) and Roy Mayorga played drums. Somewhere late in their ‘career’ they got Roy Grube from LAST CRY to play bass. (I never saw this lineup…) Mike Gentilcore, local king of LV BMX, played second guitar in an early lineup.

They were from Catasauqua, which kids on the scene used to call Little England. Catasauqua (or Catty) was one of the punkest small towns in America. there were some truly amazingly stacked shows from 84 to 86 there. it was like the Huntington Beach of Pennsylvania; as if Catty High was the PA version of Edison High in HB. And most of those kids were a bit crazed and tough. it was totally Class Of ‘84.

Every other high school in the LV had maybe 5 or 6 punkers each. but at Catty High it seemed to me like every single student was a punker, or at least wouldn’t give you shit for being a punker. i mean i would go to the Catty High dances with Larry Deiter and Story from The Complaints and hang high up in the bleachers with the punkers. I never even thought of going to a dance at my own high school in Bethlehem! I mean fuck, that thought gives me shivers.

By the early 80s for some reason Catty had such a deep punk tradition and i don’t really know why…. To this day i still wonder about Why That Was. Someone brainiac should figure it out and do an ethnography.

There were even dances at some church in Catty that I and other LV punkers would attend. First time I went my mind was fucking completely blown: little elementary & middle school kids (no lie) pogoing around with spiked hair, sid vicious chain necklaces with locks, and engineer boots. Tracy Pain’s gnarly older brother was DJing (999, pork dukes, sex pistols, uk subs, all Catty faves). The chaperones were all singing along to Friggin In The Riggin and dancing around.

I couldn’t believe it.

Me & a couple kids started skanking around 1982 style and bam! Tracy’s older brother put me on the floor with a sucker punch. He didn’t like this new kinda punk dancing.

YQ practicing in some basement

Prior to Youthquake the Catty bands were pretty tough & raw and late 70s-ish. The LIARS, The CLAP, The COMPLAINTS (whom i totally loved), etc. They all kind of sang with english accents.

But with YQ came a more hardcore approach, as if intentionally they were reacting against the older punkers ( the Complaints had a song called Johnny Please Come Home, which i always hoped & imagined was about Johnny Loftus from The Clap)  YQ wrote a darker themed song called Johnny’s Not Coming Home)

They broke up in 1986 I think?

But with roy’s brother on bass, or down-tuned guitar, they morphed into WORD MADE FLESH who were, to me, thee greatest LV band ever (not just up to that point). But for whatever reason they didn’t last too long either.

Larry went on to sing in Fathead, and continues to ‘live rough’ to this very day i hear. Roy went on to play with Nausea, Soulfly, Stone Sour, Amebix and probably others.

When i think of all these old friends and the things they did I cant help but feel good, and sad; about having once been a 16 year old punker, and about how much time has gone by.
– Eric de Jesus (raw pogo on the scaffold zine/ easy subcult)
photos by Jen Buck Knies & Jen Chapelle

There first demo – It’s Up To Us is up on the FOE site
Thanks for the tape files Brett Noise Addiction II

demo cover

Stress Test Demo 1986

01 – We Dont Need
02 – Johnnys Not Coming Home Today
03 – The Tables Turned
04 – American Escalation
05 – Stress Test
06 – Ill Take My Chances
07 – Right to Die
08 – It Wasnt Your Choice
09 – Prepare Them for War
10 – It Cant Happen
11 – Youre the Robot

MediaFire Zip of all files

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