Trauma school dropouts celebrate the release of lost album at reunion show – The Daily Gazette
“Past Due” is an appropriate title for an album that comes to us 25 years after it was recorded. Reminiscent of overdue library books and unfinished schoolwork, it’s also an apt title for a Trauma School Dropouts album.
The Albany punk band were mainstays of the local music scene in the 1990s with a raucous retro 70s sound, a snotty sense of humor and a name that made them sound like runaways from a reform school . “Our live shows felt more like a carnival than a concert. They weren’t scripted and off the hook,” says frontman Duane Beer, a resident of Rotterdam.
Trauma School Dropouts broke up in 1998, thinking it was better to burn out than fade away, Beer says. But nearly a quarter century later, the band will reunite to play a gig this Saturday, August 6 at the Fuze Box in Albany.
Why now? When four of the five members of the Trauma School Dropouts randomly showed up at Albany’s Fuze Box for a recent gig by Beer’s current band Blasé DeBris, the singer decided the event was too coincidental to ignore.
The Dropouts lineup currently includes Beer on vocals, David Ranford on drums, Thomas Howard on guitar, Jaime Lubbers on bass and Robert Marcello on guitar. “Rob and Jaime both played bass in trauma school at different times. Rob took over lead guitar from our original guitarist and longtime friend Henry McFerran, may he rest in peace,” Beer said of the guitarist, founder of heavy metal band China White, who died in 2019.
A second reason for the reunion is the revival of Albany’s nightclub, the Fuze Box, purchased last year by local business owner and punk Tragedy Yager. Throughout the 1990s, the distinctive White Tower hamburger building on Central Avenue was home to legendary punk club QE2. “The ‘Q’ was our home away from home, and [past owner] Charlene Shortsleeve was our queen of clubs,” says Beer.
And finally, there’s the band’s third album, now titled “Past Due,” which Beer describes as “shamelessly unbridled.” Originally recorded in 1997 and shelved for reasons no one seems to remember, the 14-song album is out this week on Albany’s Cacophone Records, the label that released the band’s first two albums in the 1990s. : “Beach Party Dragstrip” and “Identity Crisis.”
“Digging through the vaults of the Cacophone is really fun. You never know what’s going to happen. Luckily for us, Duane booked the reunion gig and remembered working on what was planned as a third trauma school complete 25 years ago,” says Jeff Smith, who runs Cacophone Records with his brother Kip.
“As we listened to the tracks, the fun, energy and enthusiasm were over the top and undeniable,” Smith adds. “We’re thrilled that people can finally hear this long-lost album.”
The group intends for this to be a one-time reunion, Beer says. However, he admits that the meeting has gone very well so far.
“The first rehearsal was good, really fitting for a band that hadn’t played together in over 20 years,” he says. “The fourth and final rehearsal was extraordinarily good. It was more fun than I ever imagined. We will not send mail on this show. It will have all the bells and whistles and more. Come see for yourself and grab a copy of the lost album.
Trauma School Dropouts will play their record release and reunion show on August 6 at the Fuze Box (12 Central Ave., Albany) with Plastic Jesus and Society High. 8:21+.
The week ahead
— Don’t miss the latest Living at five free outdoor concert of the season at Jennings Landing (1 Quay St., Albany) tonight with the rapper, record producer and beatboxer Doug E. Fresh. Dubbed the “World’s Greatest Artist”, Fresh is a true hip-hop pioneer, having amassed countless accolades for his haunting beatboxing abilities, catchy rhymes, iconic dance moves and masterful audience control. With Ohzhe & DJ TGIF and DJ HollyW8D. 4:30 p.m.
— On Saturday, August 6, the Black Arts and Culture Festival at Empire State Plaza (279 Madison Ave., Albany) celebrates African-American heritage and culture with free events throughout the day, including children’s activities, crafts, food vendors and a head d poster created by SWV. Formed in 1992, the Grammy-nominated SWV is one of the best-selling girl groups of all time. The female trio released a number of top ten R&B hits, including “I’m So into You”, “Right Here (Human Nature Remix)” and “You’re the One”. 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
— Summer events are really picking up again at Not funny (275 River St.), the new concert hall in downtown Troy. This week alone includes several shows from acclaimed indie-rock touring bands. On Saturday, August 6, Oneida from New York performs with local psych duo Spiral Wave Nomads (8 p.m.). Oneida is known for his extensive live improv performances, onstage collaboration with Mike Watt, members of Flaming Lips, Portishead and many more. On Sunday, New York City dream-pop band Widowspeak appears with local indie rockers Bear Grass and Rusell the Leaf (8 p.m.). And on Tuesday, August 9, Los Angeles’ Death Valley Girls bring hypercharged rock that revels in dark mysticism. With Schenectady’s Abyssmals. 8 p.m.
Contact Kirsten Ferguson at [email protected]
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