Let’s travel back in time to Hoboken 1982.
An urban working class, close-knit family community with a bustling music scene set to take off just west of Manhattan. Live bands are packing the house at historic music venues such as Maxwell’s and The Beat’n Path (now the Whiskey Bar). Now flash-forward to 2012, much has changed in Hoboken, but not the music, and on the weekend of Oct. 6 and 7 the past and the present are about to crash.
Get ready for Gibbypalooza 2012: A 30 year retrospective on the Hoboken music scene!
Gibbypalooza is the namesake of founder Chris “Gibby” Gibson, who has been promoting this series of concerts since 2001.
“It’s retrospective on my 30 year labor of love with the Hoboken music scene,” said Gibby. “My goal with Gibbypalooza is to reactivate some people in the scene that may have been dormant or understated through the years.”
The two-night event will feature about 20 acts featuring some of Hoboken’s music legends including Chris Butler, Karyn Kuhl, Alice Genese, a reunion of High Speed Chase, Crewman Number Six, as well as some of the town’s leading contemporary acts including Nipsy, Davey and The Trainwreck and Timelord. Gibbypalooza 2012 is also doubling as a big birthday bash for Gibby, who will be playing with High Speed Chase and with current band Ed Smith and the Ego.
“Living half a century and being able to tell stories about it, I consider myself lucky,” said Gibby. “I can’t wait to celebrate my birthday with all my friends, and I can’t wait to play.”
The birth of Gibbypakooza
Gibbypalooza spawned from Gibby’s involvement in the Rock the Vote effort of the early 90s. In the fall of 1991 Gibby coordinated and promoted the East Coast debut of the Rock The Vote Organization by staging four straight nights of promotional fund-raising concerts at major New York City music venues with the help of punk rock legend Joey Ramone and Virgin Records. The events were nationally publicized on MTV.
“I was involved with that in the early 90s when I used to work in the music industry,” said Gibby, who started putting on shows in various venues like the legendary CBGB and Cat Club. Back then they weren’t called Gibbypaloozas, they were mobilizations to rock the vote.
“It inspired me to see how easy it was to bring [acts together]. I started doing a series of these shows throughout the year,” said Gibby.
However, the first official Gibbypalooza was held on Oct. 5, 2001 at CBGB. In the wake of September 11, the event was converted into a benefit to support the 9/11 charities.
“I was going to do a big birthday show, but then myself, all the bands involved, and CB's agreed it should be Sept. 11th benefit,” said Gibby. “I believe we were the very first benefit concert in the city at the time. We got every band involved. We got a lot of press. We sold out CB's, and raised a lot of money for the cause.”
The Gibbypalooza event was also dubbed the “You Can’t Keep Us Down” Rally, and all the profits from the event went to the Twin Towers Fund and the World Trade Center Relief Fund. About 21 performers were a part of the benefit including local and established touring bands such as Gibby’s modern punk rock group High Speed Chase.
Rocking the scene
The first show of Gibbypalooza 2012 is on Saturday, Oct. 6, and will be hosted by Bill Hamilton at the Beel Media Loft, 721 Grand St., featuring about 12 acts including Hamilton’s band Nipsey.
Bill Hamilton has been a staple in Hoboken for many years and has been at his “Loft in Space” - as he calls it – since he came to Hoboken. It was Hamilton’s loft space that inspired Gibby to recreate these loft parties from the 80s.
“I have known Gibby since 1998 and this is our third Gibbypalooza at the loft,” said Hamilton. “We have been doing concerts at the loft since 2006, and we have had like 30 bands over the years play there.”
Nipsy, who have been together for five years, describes themselves as “70’s rock mixed with punk and blues and in your face guitar mayhem” that will shoot you to outer space.
“We’re going to be performing a whole new set of material that we’ve been working on, and we got an album coming out,” said Hamilton.
The loft will have separate acoustic and electric stages for the bands. In addition to Nipsy, the line-up features The Wailing Denims, Torch the Throne, Barbiana Complex, Dave Entwistle (MC Acoustic Stage), Ed Smith & The Ego, Mercury Morning, Crewman Number Six, Alice Genese, and co-MC's Jim Testa (of Jersey Beat) & Brian Smith.
“It’s a very old school loft,” said Gibby. “A lot of these musicians and artists lived in these gigantic lofts –work spaces – and put up sheet rock walls. One of the ways you would get [exposure] to the [scene] was these loft parties.”
According to Gibby, if you were looking for something to do on a Friday or Saturday night you just had to put your ear to the street to find out where the parties were happening.
“It’s literally a real throw back to ‘back in the day,’” said Gibby.
“Gibby runs the most efficient show you have ever seen,” said Hamilton. “It’s a community event and it’s always fun to get bands together and have a good show. You should expect some old favorite and some new favorites, and just to see all the different musicians from the community get together is really cool.”
The second night of Gibbypalooza 2012 will be hosted Sunday, Oct. 7, at the legendary Maxwell’s featuring about eight performers.
“Maxwell’s is a world renowned music venue that I would consider the birth place of the Hoboken music scene,” said Gibby. “It’s the perfect book end [to Gibbypalooza].”
Gibby will be doing a reunion show with High Speed Chase, and another Hoboken legend Karyn Kuhl will also be performing with her band.
Karyn was one of the founding members of Gutbank (along with Alice Genese), an all female punk rock act "that played with utterly sheer abandon,” said Gibby, who first became immersed in the Hoboken music scene in 1982. “I remember seeing Gutbank (who eventually became Sex Pod) and The Smithereens pretty much in the first week.”
Another music legend Gibby was able to get for the show was Chris Butler, who founded the band The Waitresses.
“Chris has been living in Hoboken for over 20 years, and he is coming out of semi-retirement for this show working with members of The What Nots and The Gefkens to rock out his set,” said Gibby. “You're really getting a great living history of the Hoboken music scene from these two nights.”
The rest of the line-up includes Davey & The Trainwreck, New Day Dawn, Clueless, Timelord, and Marc Giannotti. Stephen Bailey of D's Soulful Cafe will be M.C. for the night.
Of course, not only is Gibbypalooza an event to bring people together for good music, but it also brings people together for a good cause. Both events hope to raise funds for several different veterans’ charities including The Wounded Warrior Foundation. To lead by example, Gibby will be putting in his own $10 from the stage on both nights.
“I’m hoping to raise a lot of money for our brave men and women who served and sacrificed so much for us,” said Gibby.
Doors will open at 6 p.m. on both nights. There will be free admission at the LOFT before 7p.m. After 7 p.m. admission will be $10. You must be 21 and older for the loft party. There will be drinks at the loft party all night and you will receive a wristband, which if you bring it to Maxwell’s the following night, admission will be half price. All ages welcomed.
So if you were a fan of great local music - old and new - from Folk to Metal, come out and celebrate the sounds of Hoboken at Gibbypalooza 2012.