We are using this edition of Voices of Bard to introduce Bard Makes Noise, an ongoing web-based project inspired by the creativity of Bard bands and musicians past and present. What you'll find here are groups and people that have fired the hearts and imaginations of Bardians over the last five decades. Their music reflects riotously diverse roots from rock to punk, rap to metal, folk to funk, and new wave and post-punk to techno.
We have contacted alumni/ae in person, by phone, by email, and through Myspace and Facebook to collect audio, video, concert flyers, photos, and permission to use all of the above. Your band isn’t included? Provide us with some audio, a description and a visual or two and we will work our magic. The response to the idea of this site has been great; click the logo to make some noise:
Below we have sampled a few bands and included photos, videos and audio along with quotes from the musicians involved. See the Bard Makes Noise site for more.
Terence Boylan (late 60s)
At Bard College in 1968, Boylan teamed up with fellow students Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of Steeley Dan fame, and recorded Alias Boona at New York’s Hit Factory for MGM Records. In a tip of the hat to his old mentor, Boylan recorded an entirely re-arranged version of Dylan’s "Subterranean Homesick Blues," sounding more like Procol Harem than early Dylan. -From Terence Boylan's website
"Subterranean Homesick Blues"
(from Alias Boona featuing Donald Fagen and Walter Becker)
Boylan in front of Stone Row late 60s.
The Twilites (late 70s)
"Virus and the Twilites had a friendly and often humorous rivalry which was somewhat instigated by Art who seemed to revel in it, (the anarchistic punk that he was back then). I think that he may have been pissed because he wasn't good enough to play with us." -George Hirose
"The Trolls were born in 1973 in the basement of Art's parents house, where we smoked weed, listened to Sun Ra, Eric Dolphy, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Captain Beefheart, and Stockhausen among others...The dream came alive in the Troll House on Broadway in Tivoli, where we jammed, smoked, I sold mushrooms, and Art cooked. Sometimes we even had jobs..." -Mark Kirby
The Trolls [Photo courtesy of Bruce Huber]
Suzy Jaguar & the Mechanics (80s)
"The band started in '81...a few weeks after I just arrived. Charlie Lenk, our drummer, saw I had an electric guitar and a much needed car and immediately introduced me to Michael O'Brian, our brilliant lead guitarist. He was my guitar hero. Michael wrote most of the songs but I got to write one of our more popular songs 'Boyfriend Material.' That was fun to sing...I mean scream out. A little R rated so definitely not a song to share with my kids around the campfire. I'm never good with categorizing music so I'd say our music was a combo of new wave, punk, rock. Innovative, to say the least. I have dim memories of us in our black leather jackets practicing in a dark barn-like room and Abdi, our bass player, constantly singing out 'oy, oy, oy' whenever he could. We played at school and around town-mostly at The Whaleback. We didn't get payed much but always got free drinks. I loved being the only female. These guys were so unbel! ievably cool. They graduated before me so I sure missed my boys when they were gone!" -Suzy Baracos Perler
Suzy Jaguar & the Mechanics in front of Stone Row [Photo courtesy of Suzy Perler]
Big Noise (1980s)
"The Big Noise story is anthemic in the world of college bands in the eighties...their adventures tell of the ambitions to achieve fame in an increasingly electronic music world. It is not as unique a story, as it is evocative of the indie spirit of the times. As well, it brought together individual personalities, as different from each other as could be, in a solid group that lasted most of a decade." -Brian O'Sullivan
"College Student" music video made at Bard in 1984
Boba Fett/Challenge of the Future (1990s)
"It's both a weird and telling testament to Bard's musical and cultural environment that more than a decade on, people still come up to me and gush about my college band, Boba Fett Experience (aka Challenge of the Future). Crazed shows at 32 Broadway, sloppy art opening performances, and nervous concerts opening for new york city bands of the moment in the Old Gym. Playing in that band, which we formed my sophmore year, influenced not only my years at school, but the years after, culminating in our collective post-graduate relocation to the city, where I still live. Despite the band being broken up now (until our probable and eventual cash-in-reunion ) my life would be a very different one had Bard not offered a chance and a space for 5 more or less like-minded people to create the music we wanted to within its walls, and for that I am eternally thankful." -Nick Zinner, November 2008
"The band returned to campus in the fall of '03 after spending the summer playing in and around New York City. After an L+T gig in Tivoli and a couple visits back to the Big Apple, the band played it's most massive (and final) Old Gym show. After beginning the show with the lights off, the band members wound their way through the crowd on to the stage and proceeded to play for 3 hours non-stop. This show provided the footage for Sam Mende-Wong's music video for the single 'Feeling Better.'" -Elijah Tucker
Mother Ming "Feeling Better" Old Gym Fall 2003 (Video: Sam Mende-Wong)