Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Tony Mart's Scrapbook Revisited
Carmen Marotta - On the Boardwalk in Atlantic City (Photo Press of AC)
Carmen Marotta – Interview with Bill Kelly
Sunday, November 15, 1992
Marotta residence, Gull and Bay Avenues, Somers Point NJ
Bill Kelly: I’m with Carmen Marotta. Carmen how old are you?
Carmen Marotta: I’m thirty six years old.
BK: Your father Anthony Marotta owned Tony Mart’s Café.
CM: In 1944 my father purchased it and began renovating it. At the time it was known as Schick’s Tavern.
BK: What did he do before he came to Somers Point?
CM: He operated a hot dog stand and sandwich shop at St. James Place and the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, and he called it Tony Mart’s Luncheonette. He was the operator, he worked the grill and the counter and my mother was a waitress, counter girl and made sandwiches.
BK: Your father was born in Italy?
CM: He was born on the north coast of Sicily, in the province of Mesina, in a little town on a mountain overlooking the Mediterranean. The town is called Naso, which means nose in Italian because if you look at a profile of the mountain, it is nose like in appearance. It’s near Capo De Lano, the Cape of Orlando, a resort on the north shore.
BK: Is your mother from there too?
CM: No. It’s a funny story about my mother and father. My mother was born and raised in what is colloquially referred to as Ducktown in Atlantic City, near Blake Street and Georgia Ave, but my mother’s mother was from Naso. My mother’s father, my maternal grandfather is from Mesina, the capitol city of the province of Mesina, which is approximately 30 kilometers from Naso. So when my father came to this country he had, as one of his potential contacts, people from Naso in Atlantic City.
BK: What year were you born?
BK: What are your first memories of the club?
CM: I would say my first memories of the club were running around there as a child. Do you want me to just sprout off what’s coming into my head?
CM: Sitting in a car talking to Mrs. Tattler, who was Tommy Tattler’s wife. He was a talent and booking agent. Running around the front of the bar, playing with the bouncers, being in the bar when it was open and when it was closed, eating cherries and drinking cokes. Being in there. My very first memories go back to, I can recall things from 1961 or 62, when I was about five or six years old. The Fall Guys playing the “Alabama Jubilee” and “Tiger Rag” and doing the Sunday night Showtime when they would do a Dixieland, Southern type show and dance on the bar and play “When the Saints Come Marching In,” in sort of a mummers kind of way.
The Fall Guys were influenced by the Spike Jones kind of comedy groups. They were a lounge group that adapted themselves to the Tony Marts summer scene rock & roll type of thing.
BK: You have a brother and a sister?
CM: I have a sister Tina – Catina by birth, is eight years older than me, and could provide a lot more about the fifties and early sixties, naturally. And my little brother is 14 months younger than me, Tony, Anthony Marotta, Jr.
BK: Lets go through the Book – the Tony Marts Scrapbook.
CM: Here’s a photo of Charlote Kinsten with my mother. This would be circa 1964. she was probably my father’s first Go-Go girl. Now George Naame told me that my father didn’t like Go-Go girls. Now I didn’t realize this. I don’t remember it. Because my dad literally advertised No-Go-Go and George Naame had Go-Go girls at the Elbow Room in Margate, which is now Jerry Blavat’s Memories. George Naame is parenthetically, is one of the few people left still operating a club from my father’s generation. There aren’t many left. I don’t think there’s a handful left. My dad did eventually go with the Go-Go girls, and this Charlotte Kirsten is one of the first that he had. You’ll see her name in some of the ads in the scrapbook here.
CM: Reading the newspaper headline – July 23, 1961 – Thirsty Teen Throngs Besiege Point- Here’s pictures of Mike Calao checking age cards and Lynn Bader the Chief of Police in a white dinner jacket checking IDs. Mike Calao is now a councilman. He was a policeman who became deputy chief.
Lynn Bader. They called the police “Bader’s Raiders” in those days. There’s a wonderful picture of my father. Thinner there than I’ve ever seen him. And who was playing in Somers Point in those days – the legendary and infamous Peter Carroll and Tido Mambo. What’s funny is that Tido Mambo’s bass player is living out in Tuscon now with Dale Stretch, Bruce’s brother. And (my brother) Tony and him kibbutz all the time and talk about the old days.
BK: Whatever happened to Tido Mambo?
CM: I don’t know. Peter Carroll, I don’t know either. These guys just drop off the face of the earth.
BK: It says here capacity 1000. I think it was more than that. You know I have the Tony Marts capacity sign hanging in my garage and it says 1300.
CM: yes, it was 1300. I know dad used to do paid admission of over 2,000 in those days, as far as how many people came through the door on any given night. And that was before the lounge, the 1300 was with the lounge.
BK: Six bars, two stages.
CM: Eventually it became three stages and eight bars. That was in 1966 that he did the last edition.
BK: The caption on this picture says: “Three attractions. This is the corner of Bay and Goll Avenues, some under 21 and conjugate during the summer months. The college crowd likes to come here to Bayshores Café, Tony Mart’s and Steels Ship Bar to listen to their favorite rock & roll stars, dance and drink.”
CM: Evidently this article was inspired or came about because of the complaints from a portion of this community who thought Somers Point was becoming too much of a bedroom suburb to allow this kind of “Barbary Coast” activity. They always resented us, especially after Midnick put the track homes in the area that is now referred to as the Fairways. That’s when Somers Point began to become Bougouis, and these Bougouis people began to look askance at the businesses that were an original part of Somers Point – the Anchorage, Greogry’s, Elmer Blake (Steel’s) and my father, Mac’s, Daniels, the Antolinies and Previties.
BK: They’re calling it a “Mecca for young partying kids.”
CM: Here’s a wonderful picture from 1963 in the Courier Post, this is the real Eddie & The Cruisers.
BK: The Fabulous Fall Guys, The Roof Toppers and the Beanstalks, Jack & the Beanstalks.
CM: The absolute height, I would say the years 63, 64, 65, 66 were the very best years for revenue and attendance. Things were really happening.
BK: Things were different back then though, revenue wise. Like how much was a beer back then?
CM: I recall we used to have a pricing scheme called 60-70-80 meant a beer was sixty cents, a high ball with pouring liquor was 70 cents and top shelf was 80 cents. Then at night we would go to higher prices – 70-80-90. I remember as a kid, my father and Pete Toscano, who was the manger for many years in my early youth, talking to Tony saying, “We’re at 60-70-80, shall we go to 70-80-90?” And like wise, the admission was a dollar to get in or a dollar to get in with a one drink minimum. You’d get a minimum ticket. Then sometimes it was one and one, which was two dollars to get in and you got one drink. Or one and two, three dollars to get in and you got two drinks.
BK: What about the seven for one? Both Andrew at the Anchorage, who made it famous, and Gregory’s, who had it before the Anchorage, say that at least in Somers Point, seven for one started at Tony Marts.
CM: There is some controversy about that. I think that my godfather, Willie Theodore could answer that question. There aren’t may left from that era, other than Willie, Joe Orsini, who we called Little Joe, might be able to shed some light on that era. One person who could talk about that era going back to the 40s, is my uncle Pete Basile, who works for my uncle Tony at the White House Sub Shop (in Atlantic City). If both of us went out and tried to run all of this down we would barely scratch the surface. Unfortunately so many of them are dying.
BK: It’s too late for a lot of people.
CM: It’s too late to talk to Pete Toscano, God rest his soul. He was an integral part of this place, and his brother Harry is gone.
BK: Who was the other manager?
CM: Joe Fiore was the manger in the later years, you’re time – ’72-76. He went from our place to the casino industry. Tony and I really began to run the place in earnest in 1977. Tony and I managed the place from 77 to 82 when we closed it.
Here’s Roger Evoy doing the limbo. On Thursday nights we had a limbo contest on the dance floor behind the stage. That’s what this is (in this photo). Around 12, 12:30, depending on the crowd. Dad gave out T-shirts, gift certificates…because you couldn’t give out cash. There was an ABC regulation about giving out cash in those days.
BK: The dateline on this Philadelphia clip is July 28, 1963, my birthday. I was 12 years old. It says: “Saturday Night at the Point – Youth Capitol of South Jersey – Magic Number is 21 when Boy Meets Girl.”
CM: Notice the picture is of the Ocean City beach. It shows the beach, which tells the story. Together, Ocean City and Somers Point comprised one of the major seashore resorts on the east coast – comparable to Fort Lauderdale.
BK: Well Ocean City has the beach but doesn’t have the booze, so they compliment each other.
CM: Exactly. That’s what this is all about. Otherwise, in other places, like Rehobeth, Ocean City, Maryland, Fort Lauderdale – the bars are right on the beach. But here you have the unique situation of the blue laws in Ocean City. I think that may have factored into the reasoning for my father buying Tony Marts in the first place.
BK: Here’s a headline: FBI Checking Fake ID Cards. Somers Point nets $5,000 from 48 persons found guilty by Judge Edward Helfan t. Ordinance #11.
CM: In this picture is Joe DiOrio. This just goes to show how deeply involved in community government civic associations the taproom owners are. The Licensed Beverage Association the important political force in this town (for many years). It is nothing compared to what it was. There still is one, but its lost its political clout. You don’t have these old characters – maybe you have Elmer Gregory and Joe DiOrio. Mr. Antolini has lost his business (Daniels), Tony Sr. is gone from Mac’s, Buddy Styer (Harry’s) is gone, Elmer Blake (Steels) and McCann (Bay Shores) are gone. My dad has been gone since 1986. You have corporations and Yuppie types running places like Markers. These people were great characters like Judge Helfant presiding over this, and solicitor Naame (George’s uncle Lou).
These stories in the scrapbook are about controversies. You have to understand, I mean there were so many people coming here, there was so much activity, so much booze being sold, there was a controversy simply because of the sheer volume. Between those three clubs in the summer you would average 5,000 people on Bay Avenue. They would be in Bay Shores, Steels, Tony Marts, the Anchorage, Gregory’s Jolly Roger, DiOrios; Your Father’s Mustache was a Dixieland club on the circle.
BK: Here’s a photo of the Fall Guys.
CM: The Fall Guys were one of the greatest groups to ever play at Tony Marts. This is the original Fall Guys – Jack the bass player, Joey Delvecio the drummer, Don the guitarist. Now the saxophone player and the trumpeter left the group about ’62 or ’63. Two other gentlemen, Kenny Koucha (ph) and Bill Laws replaced them and those five in that form have remained the Fall Guys up until the last time I saw them, which was at a casino in Atlantic City about fiver or six years ago (1987). They became a casino lounge act, an excellent group that played a broad spectrum of music.
There was always a broad spectrum of music played at Tony Marts, not just rock & roll, which is the type of music that is so frequently associated with this, but there was Rhythm & Blues, which is tantamount to Rock & Roll in a lot of ways. Ray Charles, Dixieland, Big Band – Tommy Dorsey’s band played here in 1963. Bill Haley played this year here. Jerry Gabriel and the Angles were here with the Fall Guys. Interestingly, Jerry Gabriel’s saxophone player became the arranger for Ike and Tina Tuner, that’s one story I know about this page (in the scrapbook).
The Fall Guys did comedy music. They used to do “Unchain My Heart,” “Peanut Butter,” “My Blue Heaven,” which was a Dixieland classic, and songs that are classic rock & roll, “Runaround Sue,” which was in Eddie & the Cruisers. And the Fall Guys came back and did us a favor by coming back and doing the testimonial on our last night.
The Kit Kats were here, and they were a famous band in Philadelphia. The Fables were a great band from Canada, extremely popular.
Pete Carroll was an excellent showman, singer and guitar player who fronted this band. He was also a Wildman who was notorious for his drunken binges and his outlandish behavior after consuming too much alcohol. A very colorful character. He’s the one that nobody could find when he was supposed to go on stage, and he was out in the middle of the bay in a rowboat, drunk. He probably got fired from Bay Shores and went to Steels. That’s the way it was in those days.
BK: Here you have different dances for different nights of the week – Mashed Potato Monday, Twist Tuesday, Talent night Wednesday, and Limbo Thursday.
CM: Talent night was always on Wednesday and the Limbo on Thursday. This handbill with all of the Ivy League schools reflects the collegiate nature of the crowd. Even though some of the nare-do-well, do-gooders in Somers Point tried to make it out like it was a drunken, rowdy crowd, just the opposite was true. The patrons and employees of Tony Marts were for the most part college students and graduate students, many of whom have become successful lawyers, doctors, engineers – I could sprout off some of their names if you’re interested.
BK: Yea, let’s name a few.
CM: Atlantic City attorney Harry Goldenberg worked at the Triangle Bar (by the front door) for my dad, while Sonny McCullough, the mayor of Egg Harbor Township worked the same bar. Dick Brunswick became an open heart surgeon at Tulane University in New Orleans. Dubie Duberson, another bartender, worked for Dunn & Bradstreet while he moonlighted at Tony Marts.
Ronnie Frey, a school teacher and wrestling coach was the head bouncer in these years, the golden years.
Here’s a picture of Dick Brunswick beating on a trash can from behind the bar, probably to a song like “Alabama Jubilee.”
Here’s the Fall Guy’s song list – “Alabama Jubilee,” “If You Want to Be Happy,” “The Bounce,” “Peanut Butter,” “New Orleans,” “Shout,” “Can’t Sit Down,” “ Do You Love Me?” “Muskrat Ramble,” “Do Run Run,” “Twist & Shout,” Duane Eddie’s “Honkey Tonk,” and he later came here himself. My father said that Duane Eddie was probably the greatest draw of anybody who ever played here. He played one week and he made a lot of money that week.
Other songs on the list include Ray Charles’ “What I’d Say?” “Secret Love,” “Tiger Rag,” a New Orleans-Dixieland favorite, “Movin’ and Grovin’” Chuck Berry’s “Memphis” and “Maria,” from West Side Story. “Melaguana and “I Wish You Love.”
CM: That gives you an idea of what I was saying before, of the vast spectrum of music that was played. Here’s a picture of Bill Haley & the Comets, playing on the same bill as Conway Twitty. One of these guys with Haley now runs a restaurant in Barcelona, Spain, and he likes to remember those days.
Here you have Bill Haley, Conway Twtitty, Del Shannon and the Fall Guys, all in one week. To put this in modern rock terms it would be like having Huey Lewis & the News and Hank Williams, Jr. and……Conway was not so much country in those days. He was rock & roll. After he left here, in ’64 or ’65, he crossed back over to country and became even more successful. I could tell you some interesting stories about him too.
Conway was a hell of a guy, a nice person, great softball player. Conway and his drummer Pork Chop were two of the best player on the Tony Marts (All Stars) soft-ball team. They used to play at the Somers Point ball field. They used to play against Bader’s Raiders, the Somers Point Police team. They would play on Monday afternoons because Sundays were big business, and Mondays and Tuesdays were the days that most of the valuable musicians and bartenders would be off because they were the slowest days of the week.
BK: You had a lot of bands from Canada.
CM: That was the Harold Kutlets agency, out of Hamilton, near Toronto. My father met him through MCA out of New York. They were a promotions, talent, productions, booking company. Kutlets is the man who is eventually credited with picking up and representing the Hawks, Levon & the Hawks who became The Band.
They were with Ronnie Hawkins and were the Fabulous Hawks – that’s where the name Hawks comes from – the rockabilly, rhythm & blues singer. Then when they lost Ronnie Hawkins, they had a fight with them or something, they became Levon & the Hawks. Even though they were a Canadian group they couldn’t get any work in Canada at the time, and they were touring down south, we’re talking about the winter of 1965. They were kicking around the south, some of them were from Arkansas, and Kutlets called dad up and said he had this great band that needed a break. They would work cheap. Dad put them in in April. They played six nights a week, four or five sets a night, for $700 total, plus rooms, they lived over top of the bar. They worked their way up to $1300 a week. Now this is for five guys and a manager, a character named Bill Avis, and of course Harold Kutlets got a cut of that.
Then, as the story goes, and its been corroborated, that they became such a legendary talent, that Dylan himself came here. The way it was told to me was that people from Boston to Georgetown, D.C. were coming here just to hear Levon and the Hawks, and hear Richard Manuel sing Ray Charles and Ottis Redding and James Brown, and see Garth Hudson play the sax and do Junior Walker and the All-Star’s “Shotgun.”
Dylan took them from dad the week before Labor Day. But dad still loved them and even gave them a cake and party for them on their last night, but he was mad that they couldn’t stay that last week of the summer. But of course Dylan didn’t care about that, and he took the band. But dad was able to get Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels to finish the last week of the summer. It was big times in those days.
The Four Fables were here too. A great show band. Another Harold Kutlets Canadian band, Joey D and the Starlighters, who became famous for doing the Pepperment Twist. But they played here in 1961, before the Twist. And my father maintained that Joey D learned to rock & roll at Tony Marts. Warren Covington led the Tommy Dorsey band. Wes Covington was a big name in swing and they came and played a Sunday jam session. Swing, Dixieland, traditional jazz, rhythm & blues, there was all kinds of music on Bay Avenue, it was not simply rock & roll.
The Roof Toppers were a strong second band they supported The Fables and the Fall Guys. They kept he room moving. The Four Fables were an excellent draw, a dynamic group of performers. Notice the bands at this time all wore suits and ties. Even the Furies have their freshmen sweaters and patent leather shoes. All of that was a part of Tony Marts until 1966.
The Blastoffs, The Magnetic Magnatones, Johnny Caswell shows up here as a little second band to the Magnatones, and the third band was Paul and the Profits. May 20, 1964 – this is when Johnny Caswell was just a kid. At this time it was Johnny Caswell and the Secrets. It’s spelled in the newspaper ad – Coswell – that’s my father saying “Coswell” over the phone.
Sean Kelly and the Irish Beatles. He was the front man for the Magnatones. Everybody was doing the Beatles then.
The Skyliners played a number of engagements for dad. “Pennies from Heaven” is still on the jukebox at the Anchorage. In the ad it says, “Stars of the Ed Sullivan and Perry Como TV shows.”
The Rockatones were another band that recorded, “I Don’t Know Why?” for ABC Paramount Records.
The Fireflys, Little Anthony and the Secrets – five white guys, Johnny and the Holidays, The Corvairs, The Temptations – a white Temptations, Jerry Gabriel and the Angels, very talented, almost everybody in Jerry Gabriel’s band went on to noteworthy careers in popular music. One went with Ike Turner.
Len Carey and the Crackerjacks. Len Carey was a legendary performer. Now we’ve made a retrograde move here. These guys were from the fifties. He was gone by ’61. Len Carey, my dad said, started with him in 1954. Carey was a show name. He was really an Italian guy. They did a lot of Spike Jones type comedy, music, swing, Dixieland and were wonderful at dancing on the bars and throwing crackerjacks out into the crowd the way they throw novelties at the Mardi Gras in New Orleans. “The Saints Come Marching In” – it was very Dixieland, and it was really important in the history of Tony Marts because it was this band that my father told me, that really made Tony Marts take off. I dwell on the Fall Guys because they were more my era, my recollection, but Len Carey was here before I was even born.
BK: They’re billed as the “Stars of the Spike Jones Show.”
CM: Spike Jones was a famous band leader from the Swing era into the fifties, and known for his comedy music. In fact Levon Helm refers to him in the song “Up on Cripple Creek,” when he says, “I can’t stand the way he sings, but I love to hear him talk.” Spike Jones was a comedian and band leader and Len Carey played with him and was inspired by him and came off like him. It says here, “Jazzmania Simile.” He started with dad in 1954 and played through 1960. I asked dad one day, “Dad, what really took you from being a small piano bar to becoming a showplace nightclub?” And he said
“Len Carey. It was Len Carey.”
He was a dynamic showman who used to perform to the people and project in such a way that he actually developed a big following at the bar, and that’s how Tony Marts became a big club. This guy was very instrumental in the development of Tony Marts. He and dad remained friends and he came back and visited six or seven years ago when dad was still alive.
And Len Carey was till performing as an old gentleman, performing for senior citizens on Staten Island, which is where he was from.
Duane Eddy was one of the best. A great sax player. Dad payed him several thousand dollars to work a week but Duane Eddie was a big name in those days, and dad said he never made as much money in any other week. I think it was in 1964.
Johnny Miestro and the Crests, who became Johnny Miestro and the Brooklyn Bridge, he played for dad a couple of times. A balladeer, crooner and kind of egotistical and dad didn’t get along with him.
Dad had this saying, “The musicians are playing for themselves,” meaning they were playing music with an artistic slant rather than catering to the crowd and keeping the room moving so the people would dance and drink. Needless to say, my father would fire bands that would play for themselves.
The Furies were still here in 1962. Now this (scrap) book is not chronologically accurate. Now it says here that the Carroll Brothers were on tour with Chubby Checker in South America, so Pete Carroll was a very noteworthy cat.
People think that it wasn’t until the late 60s and 70s that rock & roll tragedy was invented, with Janis Choplin and Jimmie Hendrix and Jim Morrision, but this stuff was going on down here on Bay Avenue in the fifties. These people were talented, and crazy geniuses. They carried on, they did drugs, it just wasn’t celebrated. There was cocaine on Bay Avenue, but they were not “social problems” in those days. It was just part of the thing. The kids going into the clubs weren’t doing cocaine, but some of the musicians were.
Conway Twitty worked many years here. He was a gentleman who worked very well with my father. A hell of a showman, dad told of the time the IRS came knocking on the door and said they had a court order compelling him to turn over all of Conway’s salary for the week. And dad argued with them because he wanted to be able to pay Conway. “Look, he’s got to pay his men, he’s got to eat.” But the IRS didn’t want to hear it. So dad advanced Conway half of the next week’s salary, so he could take care of his men and eat. But today it’s ironic because Conway is one of the biggest names in music today.
The Royal Dukes Quintet, just off their Canadian tour. Don Ellis was a big name in the annals somewhere. The Needler was a publication that came out with semi-nude women in it. Bobby Blue, Bobby Comsock, Johnny Preston….
The Fall Guys were the house band. They played for the season for a set rate. Then dad would bring in big names to play overtop of them as the draw. But the Fall Guys were the house band.
The Female Beatles Dad did well with them. The female bands of that era, the thing that I remember, is that they were lesbians. He liked to bring in a female band once in awhile to change the pace. The Kit Kats became famous in Wildwood, Margate and Philadelphia.
Here’s Jeff, who I recently saw in Sea Isle City, Rickie & the Rockets, he first played here with the Lively Ones.
BK: It says Coming Tuesday – Levon & the Hawks – May 6, 1965 With Conway Twitty as the main attraction.
CM: Phil Humphrey and the Fendermen and Damien & the Classics. This is a damn good lineup. This is when Conway Twitty was beginning to get into country. His six man Oklahoma Review with Jackie Apple and the Applejacks
Ted Shall’s Nightly Whirl – he did the display advertising (for the Press of Atlantic City) and did what Dave Spatz does today. This is when Levon and the Hawks first got here, but later on in July when the summer came it really got hot.
Shall wrote: “Don’t forget that tonight is going to be a big one in Somers Point, and at Tony Mart’s in particular. The renown Conway Twitty arrives at the offshore nightspot to join a Canadian group that has rated plaudits for a number of weeks – Levon and the Hawks.”
CM: 1965 and 1966 were the biggest years, the absolute biggest years.
Here’s an article about softball. The Tony Mart’s All-Stars, with South Philly Al, the pitcher, in the Hangover League, when they beat Bay Shores. Sonny McCullough, Freddie Smartly was a big guy who worked for years for dad. Nickie Russo…..
I was only nine years old at the time, fourth, fifth grade, but I remember The Band. I remember The Band being great. I remember hearing them play. They had two keyboards, there was a railing that ran along the stage and they had Richard Manual on the left hand side, looking at it. It was the center stage, which the L-bar was built around. On the right was Garth Hudson’s organ, a B-3, and all his saxophones and accordions – he was always playing different instruments. In the middle was the drum riser with Levon Helm, and Rick Danko and Robbie Robertson were out front.
I remember how great they were. I remember the soulful blues they played. I think that Richard Manuel was the greatest blues singer to ever sing at Tony Marts. I think he was one of the greatest under-rated white blues singers, and he was known for that, as was their music, their jamming, their diversity. They would do, “Little Lizza Jane – I got a girl and you got none….” That was unusual to hear a hillbilly song being played with a rock beat in Tony Marts. They also played, “They Call Me Mr. Pittiful,” “Please, Please, Please,” “Shotgun,” “Blue, Swede Shoes,” “Memphis,” and a lot of the songs on their album, “Moondog Matinee” they played at Tony Marts. Richard Manuel and Levon Helm used to do some of the old southern stuff.
Mitch Ryder came in after The Band was taken by Dylan. Mitch Ryder had Little Huey in the band then.
CM: Here we are (in the Scrapbook) in the New York Times in 1965. This was at the height of our activity, as attested to the fact that even the New York Times is running stories. Tuesday August 24, 1965. “A New Look Slowly Comes To The Jersey Shore – Changes Some Subtle, Some Abrupt and Flamboyant.”
The contrast between the geriatric nature of Ocean City and the action at Tony Marts in Somers Point. “Changes are evident nearly everywhere along the shore.”
BK: Who was the house band at the very end?
CM: The last year we had Fanfare and some other bands – Shotgun from the Villanova area, the summer of 1981. Alien was doing their Doors show that summer. We remained on the cutting edge as far as music went. We had financial constraints and couldn’t fix it up the way we wanted to, but musically we were right there.
The band were doing the music that was happening on the college campuses and radio stations.
One For All was noteworthy – disco year 1978 – they came up from Fort Lauderdale. Joey Powers ’67 – Joey Powers and the New Dimensions. A strange thing happened in 1967 – the drug craze.
The suits and ties came off in 1966.
The Magic Mushrooms were the first psychedelic band to play in South Jersey. The beginning of the British Invasion – the Kinks, the Stones….
Gunther’s Bus played “Indagodadavida” at Tony Marts.
I remember Tido Mambo – a crazy man but dynamic performer. He had long, greasy hair that he used to comb. His band was called Tido Mambo and the Upsetters and he used to draw. He used to give dad fits. People would go to Bay Shores to see Tido Mambo because he was the first long hair. So Bay Shores had that long hair thing with a crazy band. This was a time – 1966, when the Beatles were going psychedelic. So my dad brought in the Magic Mushrooms.
BK: IT must have been hard for him to get away from the suits and tie thing.
CM: It was. But he was convinced, at first they came and it was like a costume thing, with flowerprint and paisley shirts, Nehru jackets and psychedelic garb, so he was just thinking this was a costume, and from the very beginning they did tremendous volume in attracting crows. So the money helped persuade him in that regard.