In his latest Spine of Overkill column, Chris “Woody High” MacDermott takes a look back at TT Quick and time spent at the Rising Son in Yonkers. As ever, he’s fucking brilliant. Please enjoy:
Hello to the Yo – a personal history of TT Quick and the Rising Sun
It’s going to be hard to top the reaction I got to last month’s column about the Big 4 Before The Big 4 (Anvil, Riot, The Rods and Twisted Sister). People from near and far went out of their way to lemmy know how much they enjoyed it and shared their own stories of growing up with those bands. I was just a hair too young to catch the class of 1982 in their club daze prime but a band I did get to see many, many times in a bar was the pride of Ozzy Osbornville, NJ – TT Quick. And not just any bar, the legendary, super scuzzy Rising Sun in Yonkers, NY. Truly a match made in metal heaven.
According to Yonkers.gov, “The City of Yonkers, located on the majestic Hudson River, is the fourth largest city in the State of New York and is the largest city in beautiful Westchester County.” There’s no mention of the fact that it was home to a large population of dusted out metal maniacs in the 1980s who made their counterparts in White Plains and New Rochelle (my hometown) seem positively tame. Yonkers Raceway has been rebranded as the Empire Casino, but back in my day it was just a landmark off of the New York State Thruway on the way to the Rising Sun. L’Amours in Brooklyn and L’Amours East in Queens were the metal capitols but the Rising Sun hosted some great shows. It was a regular stop for Twisted Sister on their never-ending club tours of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. The Raven/Metallica “Kill ‘Em All For One” tour also made a pit stop there. Cover bands thrived there. There was still a large crowd of blue collar dudes that just wanted to relax and jam out to some Zep covers after a long day of smoking weeed at BOCES. It was also a total dump, but easy to get into if you were underage during the last days of the 18 (then later 19) year old drinking age. When the drinking age finally went to 21 in New York places like the Rising Sun disappeared and bands like TT Quick were left homeless.
During my last two years of high school 1984-‘85 TT Quick would play the Rising Sun every other Friday. I have no idea how many times I actually saw them play. It feels like dozens but maybe it’s because they used to play two sets a night. Maybe because I was drunk every single time and really don’t remember. Either way, they always kicked ass and put on a great show. Slowly but surely more and more of my friends started coming to the shows and bringing more people with them. 914 area code metal crowds were really strong back then. I have to give special credit to my friend Dave for driving me to every single one of these shows. I still owe you a tank of gas!
TT Quick was a great live band. Heavy enough for the dudes getting into all the new speed metal bands, but not too heavy to scare away the guys more into Zep/Aerosmith. A few girls even liked them. Every show was basically a big party. TT Quick specialized in doing kick ass covers. Without fail you’d get “Back in the Saddle” by Aerosmith, “Ace of Spades” by Motörhead and “Into the Void” by Black Sabbath. “Into the Void” was always killer because they’d line up at the front of the stage and do some cool synchronized moves on the ending riff. They’d get the Led out with “Ramble On” and/or “Out on the Tiles,” give the drummer some on “The Wizard” and get me really pumped up with “Son of a Bitch” by Accept. When singer Mark Tornillo became the new singer in Accept a few years ago I knew he’d be a great replacement for Udo. Hell, he did such a great job on Dio‘s “Last in Line” and “We Rock” he should work with Tony and Geezer, too. The rest of the band could really play. Guitarist David Dipietro was especially good. When all the other metal guitarists were switching to pointy Jacksons and Charvels, he stuck with a Les Paul and played the hell out of it. He gave guitar lessons back then and one of his students was none other than Zakk Wylde. Bassist Walt Fortune was very solid and looked pretty decent in leopard print pants. Drummer Glenn Evans was a monster behind the kit. He’d blow us all away by making it sound like he had a double bass kit by using a second floor tom like Bonham. He later joined Nuclear Assault but my memory isn’t strong enough to recall if he used two bass drums for them.
In addition to their killer covers, they’d throw in originals from their self titled EP released in 1984 by Avalanche Records. Avalanche was a short-lived subdivision of Megaforce and used the slogan “Heavy Metal at its Peak.” The best song on the record by far is “Child of Sin.” It’s got a killer stop/start chugga-chugga riff perfect for headbanging with built in pauses to yell “HEY!” Two years later an almost identical riff appeared as the instrumental “Intro” to I Against I by Bad Brains. I doubt Dr. Know pinched it, since it’s not the world’s most original riff, but it is a weird coincidence. I remember Vernon Reid of Living Colour reviewed I Against I for the Village Voice and described “Intro” as “Mahavishnu-esque.” I doubt he’d say the same thing about TT Quick. “Go for the Throat,” “Metal Man” and “Victims” are great US metal songs that rocked hard live. Oddly enough for a band that specialized in heavy rock covers live, they included “Fortunate Son” by CCR on the EP. It’s not a bad version but who wants Creedence in their metal? I don’t ever remember them playing this one live. Chances are if they did I would probably use it as a chance to hit the can and get another bottle of Bud. TT Quick should have been sponsored by Budweiser with all the empties they’d have piled on the stage by the end of the night. Mark Tornillo had a cool shirt that said something like “Olympic Beer Drinking Team.”
In the fall of 1985 I went upstate for college and that put an end to spending every other Friday night in Yonkers with a great band. I only went to the Rising Sun a few more times after that on breaks from school. One of the most insane shows I ever witnessed took place there in October 1985 when Overkill (listed as “Overhill” on the club’s flyer) with S.O.D. opening up. That was right at the start of “moshing” at metal shows and there was a lot of fights between the guys that just wanted to headbang and the new breed of metal slam dancers. Billy Milano wore my Suicidal hat on stage when they covered “War Inside My Head” that night. Every now and then photos from that night show up on the internet. My hat is prominent but luckily I am not visible. TT Quick went on to release Metal of Honor on Megaforce in 1986. It’s a shame that they didn’t achieve more success earlier in their career. By ‘86 metal was either thrash or poser crap and TT Quick didn’t fit into either category. The Rising Sun is now a strip club, so at least there’s still some seedy activity going on at that address. It’s probably for the best that it closed down because I’d probably be living above the place strung out on coke and waiting for the next TT Quick show. New Jersey bangers are well aware that Mark will be fronting Accept on tour now. Be sure to heckle him by yelling out for “Child of Sin” all night long.
“Child of Sin” live at L’Amours 1986
“Supernaut” live at L’Amours 1987
Tags: Brooklyn, Mighty High, New York, Spine of Overkill, TT Quick