That one night Andy Partridge got back on stage…

Ok, so, over the years I’ve been present for some pretty amazing things that have happened on a stage. (See earlier post about Green Day playing CBGB.) Many times I’ve had friends tell me that I should write all of these things down. Part of me wishes I had done so at the time because as the years go by and I tell the story another time I’m afraid that I’m getting some detail wrong. Wrong location, wrong date, wrong person…some detail, however insignificant, may have been changed or lost over time. But, I’ll give it a shot anyway…

The date was 15 November 1993 at the Bottom Line in NYC. Aimee Mann was on tour supporting her “Whatever” album. It was released by Imago Records and someone there had invited me (and a guest, I believe I was there with my friend Glenn) to the show. As an aside, my dear friend Michael McDermott and his band were the support for this show. Though, at the time, I didn’t know him.

It’s important to know that Aimee’s touring band for this tour included XTC guitarist Dave Gregory doubling on keys. So, we’re all sitting at those remarkably uncomfortable tables the Bottom Line had. So narrow that your legs would be intertwined with those of the person sitting across from you. As I recall, it was either before the show started or between sets, I turn my head towards the door to see Andy Partridge of XTC enter and grab a seat at one of the back tables. “That’s interesting. I wonder why he’s in NYC, but it’s cool he’s come out to support his old bandmate” I thought. You see, XTC were and still are one of my all time favorite bands. But I’d never had a chance to see them live as they’d stopped touring in 1982 after Andy had a breakdown on stage in Paris. It was long believed he had extreme stage fright. Now we know it was only partially that and primarily trying to stop a long addiction to Valium cold turkey that put him off touring and performing.

Aimee and her band do, as expected, a great set. When they retreat after the last song I notice Andy get up from his seat and head to the backstage area. I think to myself, “Nice. He’s going back to say hi and whatnot, congratulate the band on a great show.” We’re all applauding waiting for the band to return for the encore. It’s seemingly taking a little longer than it should. “Could they be trying to convince Andy to come out for the encore?” When they finally reappear through the back of the stage (the way on and off stage was, oddly, upstage center) they actually have convinced Andy on stage! “What the hell?!?!?!” Now, I have to presume that Aimee and her band had been doing the song “Collideascope” by The Dukes Of Stratosphear (a band that was actually XTC using pseudonyms) because there is no way on god’s green earth that they would have known that song off the tops of their heads. But, sure enough, after an introduction that I think went something like “We’ve convinced a friend to join us…” they break into “Collideascope,” Andy sharing the vocals with Aimee. No guitar, but shaking a tambourine and smiling broadly. Even if he did seem to forget his own lyrics almost immediately. “That does not look like someone who is deathly afraid to be on stage.”

After the show there was one of those industry meet & greets, so I’m hanging around for the band to come out and say hi to us radio and label dweebs. So after getting to say a brief hello to Aimee and her band I head to the door to leave. My friend Glenn was behind me by some distance and was still saying hellos when I turned around at the door. As I did, one Andy Partridge was heading out. So I held the door open for him and said “Hi” or “Good to see you” or some other pleasantry.

Some years later, I’m outside Arlene Grocery in NYC waiting to go in and see my friend, Irish singer and songwriter, Mundy. We’re out front chatting, I’m saying hello to the all-Irish members of the band that he’s playing with. I don’t remember how it came up, but I started to say “So I’m at the Bottom Line to see Aimee Mann…” and one of the guys stops me, grabs me by the shoulders and exclaims “You were at that show?!?!?!?!” It seems, even in the pre-internet days, that night at the Bottom Line had made it’s way into rock and roll lore. At least among XTC fans. “Yes, yes I was there.”

photo by Larry Busacca/Retna

“One encore was a pop rarity. Ms. Mann’s band included Dave Gregory, a member of XTC. Up from the audience came XTC’s Andy Partridge, whose stage fright has made XTC a reclusive, studio-only band. But Mr. Partridge shared a microphone with Ms. Mann and belted “Collideascope” by the Dukes of Stratosphear (alias XTC), with tambourine in hand and a big grin on his face.” Jon Parales/New York Times (18 November 1993)

“It only looked impromptu when XTC’s Andy Partridge leaped onstage during Aimee Mann’s show at New York City’s Bottom Line to sing “Collideascope.” Says Mann: ‘I figured once he heard me sing it and not do a very good job, he’d push me out of the way and start singing, which is pretty much what happened.’” Jancie Dunn


Happy Holidays 2017!!


I’m still on the air at WBJB-FM, 90.5 The Night Brookdale Public Radio at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft NJ. I am the Music Director and afternoon on air host, every Monday through Friday 3p-7p. We haven’t won the Asbury Music Award for Top Local Radio Station for the 17th year in a row…yet. The ceremonies have been moved to the Spring. You can visit the website to listen online. We’re a “Triple A” radio station. That stands for “Adult Album Alternative.” We play a lot of rock, classic rock, blues, acoustic, some alternative, singer/songwriters, and a lot of local NJ artists. We had another successful summer of concerts on the beach in Belmar (Only 1 rain out! Actually rain *in* since we now have a legitimate Plan B in case of bad weather.) and successful Membership Drives (we’re listener supported) as well.

I’ve also been working part-time at Jack’s Music Shoppe, a legendary record store in Red Bank NJ. Only working on Sundays and Record Store Days, but it’s enough to get back into the “record store thing.” I get to work with some fellow “record geeks” and we always have a good time. It’s been reassuring to see how much vinyl we sell day to day.

About this time last year I finally had a sleep study done and found out I have severe sleep apnea and need a CPAP machine. I was sleeping at 28% efficiency, waking up as many as 58 times an hour. I am officially a convert now. After a year of use I sleep better and sounder and more consistantly. It’s also dropped my blood pressure back into the “normal” range which had not been the case for some time.

My folks are retired and doing okay in Cresskill. Still in the house I grew up in.

My brother Gordon and his wife Teresa’s kids, are still getting older and bigger. Stephanie is now 23 and is still not using her mechanical engineering degree. However, she’s decided that she wants to get into the music business/concert business by teching or working for a band or venue. She’s also been teaching at her old dance school and doing some math tutoring.

Phillip is 20 now. He has been at Western New England University in Springfield MA. He’s studying computer engineering at the moment. He’s also been playing tuba/baritone in their marching band.

Victoria is 6…no, that’s not right. She’s 16 and in high school. She’s turned into a big reader and still plays soccer and volleyball and sings in choir. She’s joined Stephanie and me at the annual Warped Tour the last couple of summers too.

Gizmo their Papillon, is still reaking havoc wherever he goes and getting too many treats from Grandma. They’ve also added a chinchilla named Sparky.

And, as any of my Facebook friends can tell you, I still go to way too many concerts. As usual, I try to see as many local Jersey shore bands as possible. But I still get out to see a lot of my favorite national acts too.

The highlight this year was, without question, Summer StrummerJam at The Stone Pony in August. Jesse Malin and I put together an amazing night in celebration of Joe Strummer‘s 65th birthday. He was the frontman for The Clash and Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros before his untimely death in 2002. We had local Asbury Park favorites Matty Carlock and The Vansaders start the night. Followed by a “headlining” set by Jesse and his band. Ending the night with a 20 song set of Strummer/Clash songs with an amazing group of guest vocalists all backed up by Jesse and his band. It was a benefit for Music & Memory and The Joe Strummer Foundation. We raised more money than expected for both organizations. Find the documentary “Alive Inside” or visit and to learn more about their work. There were upwards of 26 official StrummerJam events (in the campaign’s 2nd year) happening around the world in August all celebrating Joe Strummer/The Clash/The Mescaleros and raising money for local music charities. Everywhere from the UK to Peru, Sweden, South Africa, Croatia, Canada, Brooklyn, Nicaragua, Mexico, Detroit, Pennsylvania, Florida, St Louis, Las Vegas, Ohio, and Spain. It was great to add Asbury Park New Jersey to the list this year!
Here’s an absurd amount of photos from the night:
Summer StrummerJam Asbury Park
We also made up special t-shirts for the night. There are a few left over, available for sale here:
unkajeff at BigCartel

As well as all of the new and current artists that I went to see this year, it was especially great to see some come back after many years off the road like The Dream Syndicate (who I got to introduce on stage at World Cafe Live in Philly!), Charles Bissell of The Wrens, Quicksand and Tommy Stinson‘s post-Replacements band Bash & Pop. I also got to see some all-time faves like The Psychedelic Furs, Dramarama, Echo & The Bunnymen, U2, The Pixies, Squeeze and The Alarm. Sadly though, it was probably the last time I’ll see Miracle Legion, The Butterflies Of Love and The Smithereens.

And, contrary to popular belief, this and every year sees a lot of great music put out into the world. All you have to do is look…and listen…

Alex Dezen – Alex Dezen II
Allison Pierce – Year Of The Rabbit
Animal Years – Far From Home EP
Ari Hest – Natural
Bash & Pop – Anything Could Happen LP/”Too Late” single
Blitzen Trapper – Wild And Reckless
BNQT – BNQT Volume 1
Bruce Cockburn – Bone On Bone
Canyon Ride – Wasting Time With Ghosts
Caroline Reese – Two Horses
Caroline Reese & The Drifting Fifth – Tenderfoot
Chuck Prophet – Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins
Cory Branan – Adios
Craig Finn – We All Want The Same Things
Cranston Dean – High Beams
Dave Hause – Bury Me In Philly
David Ramirez – We’re Not Going Anywhere
Deal Casino – Deal Casino
Dispatch – America, Location 12
Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors – Souvenir
Elbow – Little Fictions
Garland Jeffreys – 14 Steps To Harlem
Ghost Of Paul Revere – Monarch
Gizmodrome – Gizmodrome
Guided By Voices – How Do You Spell Heaven
Ha Ha Tonka – Heart Shaped Mountain
Hidden Cities – The Strange
Hiss Golden Messenger – Hallelujah Anyhow
Hodera – First Things First
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – The Nashville Sound
Jesse Malin – Meet Me At The End Of The World
John Moreland – Big Bad Luv
Josh Ritter – Gathering
Juliana Hatfield – Pussycat
Kolars – Kolars
Langhorne Slim – Lost At Last Vol 1
Liam Gallagher – As You Were
Lost Leaders – Heavy Lifting
Luna – A Sentimental Education
matt pond PA – Still Summer
Matthew Logan Vasquez – Does What He Wants
Matthew Ryan – Hustle Up Starlings
Matthew Sweet – Tomorrow Forever
Michael Askin – Road By The River
Miranda Lee Richards – Existential Beast
Modern Crowds – Modern Crowds
NHD – And The Devil Went Up To Portland
Nicole Atkins – Goodnight Rhonda Lee
Noah Gundersen – White Noise
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Who Built The Moon
Old 97’s – Graveyard Whistling
Paul Weller – A Kind Revolution
Rick Barry – Curses, Maledictions & Harsh Reiterations
Robyn Hitchcock – Robyn Hitchcock
Ryan Adams – Prisoner
Shannon McNally – Black Irish
Silver Torches – Let It Be A Dream
Skyeline – Something About Your Basement
Sweet Spirit – Saint Mojo
Tara Dente – The Gleaner
Ted Leo – The Hanged Man
The Afghan Whigs – In Spades
The Battery Electric – The Battery Electric EP
The Brixton Riot – Close Counts
The Clydes – So The Story Goes
The Feelies – In Between
The Front Bottoms – Going Grey
The Replacements – For Sale: Live At Maxwell’s 1986
The Vansaders – No Matter What EP
The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
The Waterboys – Out Of All This Blue
The White Buffalo – Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights
Them Vibes – Electric Fever
Thorcraft Cobra – The Distance
U2 – Songs Of Experience
Val Emmich – The Reminders (Inspired By The Novel)
Wesley Stace – Wesley Stace’s John Wesley Harding
Willie Nile – Positively Bob, Willie Nile Sings Bob Dylan

Don’t forget, you can find me on the interwebs.
Personal Facebook Page (with tons of pics)
Public Figure Facebook Page
You Tube

Happy Holidays!