BUXX

Country USA

Style Hard Rock/AOR

391410_398091940251312_853503589_nLike many bands of the era, they started out literally in Al’s garage, a detached, not very soundproof structure in the back the DesGrange family home in the Rochester suburb of Irondequoit NY in the early summer of 1979. As The Buxx, the name was suggested by Alan’s then girlfriend as to what it would take for him to get a new drum kit, the band consisted of Martin Victor on keyboards and vocals, Alan DesGrange on drums and Toronto native Robert (Bob) Norman on guitar and vocals plus an additional guitarist and bass player. They began playing the local clubs doing mostly covers of The Kinks, Deep Purple, The Who and Steppenwolf along with a couple of early original songs.  After becoming a 4 piece outfit that summer, the band did one tour of the Southern US states in early 1980, which while getting them tight as a musical until left them broke and in need of a new bass player. Back in Rochester again, determined to refine their sound and write and perform more original material at all costs, they added Toronto based bassist/vocalist Paul Gallop who not only brought some high energy fearlessness to the stage show but also a unique creativity in the songwriting department. The band was reborn and ready to rock.

Finally dropping the, the BUXX began gigging throughout Ontario and Quebec, 5 and 6 nights a week in remote working class town that demanded high energy entertainment. That quickly helped define both their musical direction and their stage presence in front of a live audience. Deciding to set up a home base near the then-thriving music scene in Buffalo, the guys had a succession of band houses in the quiet suburban towns of Middleport, Gasport, and Lockport NY. Thanks to new managers Fred Caserta and Mike Faley at Starstruck Productions they began touring the NY State Thruway circuit non-stop, playing clubs, colleges, drive-ins, roller skating rinks, anywhere and everywhere, building a following in cities and town lake Albany, Rome, Syracuse, Newark, Batavia, Niagara Falls, all over Rochester and Buffalo and throughout the southern tier in in Alfred, Olean, Jamestown, Erie and Pittsburgh PA. The band frequently did weekly residency style gigs around their strongest upstate markets in places like The Penny Arcade and the Mason Jar in Rochester or Stage One, After Dark, Cougars, Uncle Sam’s and the Purple Moose in the Buffalo area. By md ’82, Buxx were a top draw, packing clus throughout the region. Between bookings the group constantly wrote and recorded new material in the local studios.

Following requests from club goers to play Buxx on the air, some great word of mouth attracted the attention of radio stations around western NY. WCMF in Rochester was an early supporter of the group, often playing their demos on the late night “Uncle Roger’s Homegrown” show which lead to the band winning the ‘CMF “Homegrown” contest in 1982. The song,  “Can’t Say No,” got so many requests that competing local stations soon added the song to their regular rotation as did outles in Buffalo and Syracuse. The song made it into ‘CMF’s Top 40 songs of ’82 list.

97 ROCK in Buffalo, another early supporter and WMJQ in Niagara Falls NY also added other Buxx songs to their playlist and the band appeared on both of their “Homegrown” releases in ’82-’83.

Buxx performed on numerous Canadian Television “In Concert” style shows, lip synching to early recordings, “Take You Back Anyway” and “Party Doll” as well as “Only The Night” and concert favorite “Cold Hard Cash” , which when played live featured Victor and Gallop throwing out promotional “Buxx Bucks” to the audience.

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The group was early on the video bandwagon, shooting low budget videos for “Don’t Blame You” and “Can’t Say No” as well as slightly more developed efforts for “Not This Time: and “Hangar 18”. All were aired on local TV music segments and some can be found on Youtube today. The group’s strong regional dray meant they were frequently picked as local support on shows by national headliners of the day including Bryan Adams, Cheap Trick, Blue Oyster Cult, Rick Derringer, Steppenwolf, The Guess Who, Grass Roots, local legends Talas, 805 and Canadians rock superstars Max Webster/Kim Mitchell as well as one odd but early pairing with blues legend Muddy Waters.

Although they never toured Europe, UK music magazine Kerrang called Buxx “the best unsigned band in America” after catching a live set in the fall of ’82. Several of the band’s demos were featured in the mags’ Import Charts with “Are You Alone Tonight” peaking at  # 6. Various German and European fanzines also followed the band, lumping them in with other acts of the era (Loverboy, The Tubes and Trooper).

At the height of their popularity, Buxx performed at a free outdoor Memorial Day ’82 concert in front of an estimated 25,000 people at Charlotte Beach in Rochester appearing with another popular upstate based band, Duke Jupiter. The concert was covered by MTV, local and national news the following week and cemented their regional credibility.

The band released one well-received EP collection “Knickers Down” on Panther Records that year and won a total of 8 Buffalo Music Awards including Top Rock/Pop Band and Most Original Local Band.

Throughout ’83 and early ’84, Buxx highly entertaining stage show and simple but catchy original songs generated enough interest for several major labels and managers to fly in to see them live. In search of a major label deal they did showcases in the nearby music centers, NYC and Toronto, but by the mid ‘80’s times were changing. Harder-edged glam bands, punk and new wave artists were becoming the next big thing. The writing was on the wall. After one last tour of their top markets, the band decided to call it quits in the fall of 1984.

Victor joined Canadian recording act Brighton Rock for a while and later played with DesGrange in local bands back in NY. Gallop headed back to Toronto to continue in various other music projects. Norman headed to LA to pursue a career in the music business. Eventually families and “legit” careers became the priority and music took a back seat or became a hobby.

In 2006 Buffalo based music producer Bob James and Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac were putting together a retrospective Benefit CD, “Music Is Art” featuring many of the top bands from once vibrant Buffalo music scene in the late 70’s and 80’s. James tracked down the members of Buxx for the last inclusion on the record.

Some digital magic performed by LA based, award-winning recording engineer Frank Morrone (from the original vinyl) netted impressive results from the old track “Take You Back Anyway”. That project reconnected the guys for the first time in many years.

In 2008 a chance meeting backstage at a Moody Blues show in LA between Toronto based videographer Tony Morrone and ex-Rochester videographer, now LA based, Allan Schollnick got everyone talking about the old days. Both realized they had various pieces of old Buxx footage stored in basements and attics. With some assembly required by Tony, clips began appearing on YouToube.

 The positive response to the video clips and European demand for the album cover art brought interest from Retrospect Records, a Las Vegas based label that specializes in bands of the era. They were initially interested in releasing Buxx “Knickers Down” EP. Additional tracks were eventually located to augment this career retrospective.

BUXX_KD

– Knickers Down [1982]

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BUXX, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings