9 Mar 2023

New York City

A Real new York Legend BUSH TETRAS RULE!!!!!!

'I could not believe the whippersnapper above comparing the bush tetras with Bikini kill. Ha!! Bikini kill * W I S H E S * they were in the same league as the Bush Tetras ((by the way, the reuninted band will play a gig on feb 24 here in NYC).

I Am old enough to remember them playing live in 1981 So cool so real so perfect in their time. Myself and half of the other straight guys were in love with the butch dykes that ruled downtown with everything one could hope to have= real style, Intelligence, wry humor, poetry, good music and defiant politics.They did not become big because of their in-your-face lesbian sensuality. I remember when "Too many creeps" came out, everyone was like "hey who are these women, and what are they saying?". Sadly, heroin took its toll and members went downhill and destroyed a great band...

Do yourself a favor. buy this record.This is the real deal.' -bushtetrasrule

Bush Tetras
Band, 1979-1983 US, New York City

Bush Tetras are an American post-punk band from New York City that was popular in the Manhattan club scene and college radio in the early 1980s but never achieved much mainstream success. Their music combined funk rhythms and dissonant guitar riffs.

'14 funky post-punk / no-wave tracks recorded by the Bush Tetras, luminaries of the Manhattan 80s club scene.'

''Post new wave funk/punk early '80s stars of the New York club scene, the Bush Tetras were on of the most popular and exciting groups of the era.''

Bush Tetras seminal compilation 'Boom in the Night. This comp contains their seminal early 80's output including the hits "Too Many Creeps" and "You Can't Be Funky."

"Boom In The Night" is the first and only Bush Tetras CD ever released from this historic, now kicking-ass band, that was one of Stiff UK Recordings' first signings in the early '80s. It includes all the crucial recordings made from 1980 to 1983. Fifteen songs, including unreleased demos, all digitally re-mastered.

Here we have their original studio recordings, 1980-83, remastered by band member/drummer Dee Pop. It includes all their Clash period production work by Topper Headon and Joe Blaney.

"A pioneering rhythm-and-paranoia band, summed up the Lower East Side circa 1980." -- Robert Christgau, Record Guide The 80's

"A synthesis of African sensibilities with the modern dance to form a global tribal music." -- Trouser Press Record Guide, Ira Robbins, 4th Edition

"The original Bush Tetras who first wrapped barbed wire around feminist funk have reunited" -- Ira Robbins, NY Newsday 3/31/95

'The Bush Tetras were a formidable force in Manhattan’s downtown rock scene. A deadly serious quartet that were loud, funky, intense and more than a little bit intimidating, particularly to those of us male rockers who couldn’t quite figure out if we were among the ones giving the Tetras the “creeps” - that jittery mixture of raw nerves and repulsion that figured into the bands best-known song “Too Many Creeps.” Chick bands had mostly been a joke until punk came along. Suddenly guitars were wrenched from the sweaty hands of a bunch of guys whose last dominion was being shattered right in front of their faces. Even the Tetras’ male drummer, Dee Pop, looked nervous. Rock ‘n’ roll swagger was now, like CBGB’s bathroom, no longer gender specific. The Bush Tetras had ripped the doors off their hinges.'

'Women musicians were scarce in rock music until the punk movement of the late 1970s. New York City’s Bush Tetras in 1979 proved that women rockers were not only growing in visibility but also were innovative and groundbreaking. Today, hundreds of bands are copying Bush Tetras’ progressive funk noise, even if these bands do not know it. Cynthia Sley’s half talking, half scolding vocals, Pat Place’s searing, hypnotic guitar resonance, Laura Kennedy’s sturdy, funky bass grooves and Dee Pop’s pounding, thumping percussion together combined for a sound like no other band. Bush Tetras failed to grow out of the punk rock circuit and into the mainstream, however, and ultimately the band split in 1983. Bush Tetras reformed from 1995 to 1998, and then reformed again in 2005. Kennedy died in 2011; the band’s current bassist is Val Opielski. Bush Tetras’ third and most recent album, Happy, was recorded in 1998 and became available in 2012.'

'Arising from the New York post-rock scene (Pat Place had been one of James White’s Blacks), the Bush Tetras attempted a synthesis of African sensibilities (as perceived by white Americans) with the modern dance to form a global tribal music. The 12-inch Rituals (produced by then-Clash drummer Topper Headon) sets songs against a funk/reggae beat with horns and punchy guitar work tossed in liberally. “Can’t Be Funky” and its doppelgänger, “Funky Version,” are the most explicitly Third World tunes; “Cowboys in Africa” rushes along with punk intensity and “Rituals” employs a threnody pace.' -trouserpress

'Subtitled "Original Studio Recordings 1980-1983," Boom in the Night was a CD reissue of the 1989 cassette compilation Better Late Than Never, though it omitted one track, the demo "Makin' a Mistake," and resequenced the remaining 14 tracks. The Bush Tetras made a couple of independent label EPs and a single in New York in the early '80s, and then disappeared. The music was simple and relentless, as were the chanted messages of songs such as the seminal "Too Many Creeps." This was punk minimalism down to the point of amateurishness, but no less compelling because of it. The album, which contained the same liner notes as the earlier one, apparently was released to herald the April 1995 reformation of the Bush Tetras.' -William Ruhlmann

The Music Box // Bush Tetras – Boom in the Night (Original Studio Recordings 1980​- 1983)
'Oh man I couldn’t tell you how excited I am. For a few days now, I’ve been walking around hearing the ghost of a scraggy bassline and spoken-sung vocals. I’ve been hearing this approximated old post-punk song, trying to recreate it in my head with nothing more than just that bassline and that voice. For a few nights, I’ve been typing in female-fronted american post-punk band nineties in search bar after search bar. After several manhours of searching, I’ve finally found the song, and the album that contains it. I couldn’t tell you how excited I am to finally be listening to Bush Tetras’ Boom in the Night (Original Studio Recordings 1980-1983). (The song I was half-hearing just before my head hit the pillow for the last few nights is their most popular recording – Too Many Creeps). 

In many ways, the story of Bush Tetras is a familiar one. A band with an innovative sound and an infectiously energetic live set starts to make waves in a formidable local music scene (in this case, the thriving New York post-punk scene, which spawned a huge roster of future stars: from Talking Heads to Sonic Youth). They become a sort of band’s band, with more popular bands vouching for their quality (in the case of Bush Tetras, among them were the English post-punk band, Gang of Four, who described their sound as being ‘… both jarring and warming.’) Labels find their sound hard to market, and so they find little success outside of the scene, and when there appears to be no record deal in sight, they disband and move on with their lives.

In their first iteration, between 1980 and 1983, Bush Tetras straddled the ground between New York’s two post-post-punk sounds: no wave and new wave. Consisting of guitarist Pat Place, bassist Laura Kennedy and drummer Dee Pop, the Tetras had a stripped-down sound: part punk, part funk. They were a staple at gigs in the city, before disbanding and moving on with life post-post-post-punk, becoming visual artists and elementary school teachers. But as fate would have it, and as is the case with so many influential artists who get called things like ‘ahead of their time’ and ‘leftfield’, Bush Tetras’ music ended up having a life of its own after 1983. Part of it has to do with the fact that the New York scene at that time produced several Tetras-like classics – punk-inspired danceables by short-lived bands. The sort of song you can find in this incredible compilation album (New York Noise) (that includes Bush Tetras’ Can’t Be Funky): an album about which I will speak soon. And part of it has to do with how catchy each of their tunes is. 

The result of this renaissance is also a familiar story, but a happier one. A grey-haired, much-wiser band gets together a couple of decades after their initial brush with sustained artistic success. With a combination of those who remain from their original audience and an entirely new, younger audience that has discovered their music through movies and mixtapes and shows, they’re able to reform as an occasionally-gigging band. In the case of Bush Tetras, they’ve been performing on-and-off since 1995, even releasing new material since. But, to me, none of it has the immediacy (and just the straight-up charm) of Boom in the Night – one of the most infectious, minimal, and danceable post-punk records I’ve heard.' -Akhil Srivatsan

Bush Tetras – Boom In The Night (Original Studio Recordings 1980-1983)

Label: ROIR USA – RUSCD 8218
Format: CD, Compilation
Country: US
Released: 1995
Genre: Rock
Style: Post-Punk, No Wave

1. Cowboys In Africa 2:54
2. Things That Go Boom In The Night 4:26
3. You Can't Be Funky 2:44
4. Snakes Crawl 3:36
5. Rituals 3:57
6. Moonlite 3:17
7. You Taste Like The Tropics 1:32
8. Das Ah Riot 4:14
9. Too Many Creeps 4:02
10. Dum Dum 3:02
11. Stand Up And Fight 4:39
12. Who's Gonna Pay 3:39
13. It's So Weird 4:50
14. Funky (Instrumental) 2:41

Incl. Scans

Bass – Bob Albertson (tracks: 12, 13), Laura Kennedy (tracks: 1 to 11, 14)
Design – Jeremy Dawson
Drums – Dee Pop (tracks: 1 to 11, 14), Don Christensen (tracks: 12, 13)
Guitar – Pat Place
Liner Notes – Yablonskaya
Painting [Cover] – Anthony J. Vogdes
Photography By [Dee (drums) - Cynthia (vocals)] – Stephanie Chernikowski
Photography By [Graveyard Shot] – Deborah Opton
Photography By [Laura (bass)] – Janet Callahan
Photography By [Pat (guitar)] – Buto
Producer – Bush Tetras (tracks: 2, 6, 8, 10, 11), Don Christensen (tracks: 4, 7, 9, 12, 13), Ed Bahlman (tracks: 4, 7, 9), Joe Blaney (tracks: 6, 10, 11, 12, 13), Ken Thomas (tracks: 2, 8), Topper Headon (tracks: 1, 3, 5, 14)
Vocals – Cynthia Sley