This 432-page tome is a loving tribute to City Gardens, the legendary (to many) but often overlooked club in Trenton, New Jersey that was crucial to the then-burgeoning punk-to-hardcore punk scene in the ’80’s and early ’90’s. In many ways, it is a history lesson – including a chapter on the city of Trenton itself.
The painstaking research, interview process and details are not to be overlooked; the authors did their due diligence and were able to put to print vivid recollections by musicians who played there, other club-goers, the club’s respected/beloved booker, Randy “Now” Ellis and even the bartender, Jon Leibowitz – or known to everyone else as Jon Stewart (yes, THAT Jon Stewart). What makes this book so much more potent is that the authors were regulars at City Gardens themselves – them writing from memory and experience makes the re-visitation (for me) warm (I was there twice in the late ’80’s).
Of the bands that played there, the list goes on – Bad Brains, Black Flag, Butthole Surfers, The Meatmen, Dead Kennedys, etc. At a time when there were not many venues that catered to this kind of music, City Gardens was an oasis. Equally crucial was that it was a place to go for the “misfit” kids who loved this music to find refuge, unity and kinship.
Many have never heard of City Gardens but once you’ve read this book, you’ll feel like you were there. No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History Of The Legendary City Gardens captures a once-in-a-lifetime kind of place.
RELEASE DATE: March 10th, 2014