“I didn’t know about it!” – Duke Duchnowski
Truer words were never spoken, although Duke shouldn’t feel too bad; he wasn’t the only one who didn’t know about it. What you now hold in your hot little hands is a testament to one of the greatest bands never to make it out of the exciting, but all-too-brief, power-pop explosion of the late 70’s/early 80’s: THE GO.
Driven by a lifelong passion for rock and roll, four neighborhood pals from the NYC suburb of Yonkers decided to form what was to become THE GO in the summer of 1979 when singer/guitarists Tom Conte, Kenny Dutch and drummer Joe Brya asked their friend George Peters to join their new band to play bass.
The fact that George had only been playing bass for a few months did little to dissuade any of them, since their penultimate heroes, The Ramones had pretty much just picked up their instruments and started one of the greatest American bands ever! Such were the times. And real rock and roll.
Spurred on by the burgeoning “punk/new wave” scene, they started writing and rehearsing their own material with hopes of gigs and (with a little luck) a recording contract. Tom & Ken eventually purchased a 4-track reel to reel tape machine (cutting edge technology at the time) to record demo tapes of their songs.
Wasting no time, the boys rehearsed sort of relentlessly and in the fall of ‘79 made their debut at CBGB’s Monday night audition showcase. To their credit, they were the only band that evening that had been invited back to play the legendary club. It was a moment to savor.
What followed was 4 years of constant tri-state gigging in punk dives and “rock-discos”, along with local TV and radio appearances, the odd benefit or two and more than a couple of fistfights.
Not long after that auspicious debut, THE GO were introduced to producer Rob Freeman by one of their fans. When Rob heard their material, he was impressed by the band’s budding songwriting prowess, as well as their onstage and offstage energy. Since Freeman had engineered the first couple of Ramones LP’s, as well as Blondie’s first 2 LP’s, THE GO were eager to work with him, too.
Almost immediately, Rob took THE GO into the studio to cut some sides at a long-forgotten studio in Rockland County in upstate New York. No one knows where the master tapes are now, so unfortunately they are not included in this set.
Buoyed by their first “real” recording session and constant gigging, THE GO made plans to record in a more “professional” studio at Rob’s behest. In the spring of 1980, THE GO went into Penny Lane Studios in midtown NYC to cut 4 hot tracks that would hopefully land them that elusive recording contract. After the session (recorded in 4 hours & mixed in 2 hours!), everyone was so impressed that they decided to release it themselves immediately. This vinyl 45 EP was referred to as the “Instant Reaction EP” by the band since that was the track that was getting some airplay at the time. With only 1000 copies pressed, it is currently a highly sought after record in the power-pop collectors market. The entire EP is proudly presented here as the first 4 tracks on this CD.
After the EP’s release, THE GO gained
more local notoriety, but no recording contract. By 1982, opportunities for
the band were winding down and things began to grind to a halt. The jig was