Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Robb Nunzio - Antidote

Nunzio with Antidote at the Gallery East Reunion Show 8/29/10, Photo: Return To The Pit

Antidote guitarist Nunzio delivers some NYHC history to us and gives the inside scoop on the origins of the legendary ANTIDOTE. Much thanks to him, and plenty more to come. Be sure to make it out to Antidote's show with DYS at Bowery Electric, in NYC on January 2nd! -Gordo DCXX

I grew up in Hell`s Kitchen NY across the street from the old MSGarden on 50th St. and 9th Ave. My earliest musical influences were the Beatles / Jackson 5 / 3 Dog Night/ The Who`s Tommy/ Elvis Presley / and Snoopy and his friends the Royal Guardsmen was an early favorite when I was a kid. I read Archie comics, collected Hot Wheels cars and went to Yankee and Rangers games with my Uncle. Then as a preteen, I ran wild in the streets of the westside and created havoc with my friends like most born and bred city kids wind up doing.

I started getting in trouble and my grandma fell ill so we moved over the bridge to Queens. That's when I got bored and picked up the guitar at around 14. My musical tastes also broadened as I was listening to Kiss / ACDC/ Black Sabbath etc. Then I found the Ramones Rocket To Russia and the first Clash album and Never Mind The Bollocks and started teaching myself those songs on the guitar. Getting heavily into early punk shaped my adult life from that point on. And it is still some of my favorite music to this day. What better way was there at the time for bored / confused and growing teens to express themselves in those days?


Before I started Antidote, I had started several bands after graduating high school. Those bands were formed with friends from Jackson Heights mainly. The Lust Scabs and Vas Deferens were the 2 bands I did where I started to try out the early songs I had written. After those bands I had a better idea of what a group should consist of and I wanted to form a more professional type of group that could play in the New York club scene which at that time was Max's Kansas City, CBGB, Hurrah, the Mudd Club, Danceteria, Irving Plaza and the Peppermint Lounge. Remember, this was BEFORE the NY Hardcore scene happened.

Antidote was formed after I had met the guys in the Bad Brains. I saw them open for the Clash at Bonds and knew that I had to meet them. One of the guys in Vas Deferens lived downtown and knew they rehearsed at 171 A on Avenue A. So I went down there and booked us a block of rehearsal time. The guy who ran the place was Jerry Williams, and we got along well enough so that he let me hang around the place while he was recording their infamous ROIR cassette. So I got to know H.R. and Dr. Know as friends and they kind of took me under their wing so to speak.

They were playing at Trudy Heller's on 6th Ave. one weekend, and they invited us to get onstage after they played and do some songs, and that's what we did. Tommy Victor was in the audience and approached me after the show with some feedback. I liked what he was saying and my girlfriend at the time who played bass for a group named Neon Leon knew him and told me he was a very talented dude. I wound up sharing an apartment with him on First Avenue and 1st Street and we immersed ourselves in music.

Original Antidote lineup at CBGB, NYC, Photo courtesy of: Nunzio

Tom taught me a lot of shit and knew everyone on the downtown music scene because he was in a few bands. Arthur Googy was a good friend of mine from Jackson Hgts. Him and I and a couple other people were the only 'punks' in the hood at that time and he was having time off from the Misfits, so I got him to play with me and Tom and that was the earliest lineup of Antidote.

The songs we played then were a mixture of hardcore, punk, and British Oi type shit and some Ska thrown in. We did songs that I wrote and songs that Tom wrote and a couple of collabarations. When Tom split the band and Googy and I moved on and got another bass player, I wrote a whole new batch of songs strictly in the hardcore vein. I was listening to mostly HC shit like Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, Fear, the Descendants, Minor Threat and lots of British shit like GBH and the Business, the 4 Skins and any kickass Oi shit.

But my old Punk and early Metal influences like Sabbath and KISS were still inside my head so that's why Thou Shalt Not Kill sounds the way it sounds...



Anonymous said...

Tommy Victor was in the first Antidote line-up, that's some cool trivia.

kaprookie said...

Great write up. Will there be more? Queens, baby!

Anonymous said...

one of my all time faves for more than 25 years in the game.
Still kicks most bands in the ass even today. LOVE!! the band.
Now someone please post the antidote videos from knitting factory and trash bar PLEASE!!!

Isaac Golub said...

Great piece!

I remember hearing the Antidote 7 inch the one and only time I was in a car with Billy Rubin. I think the conversation went something like this:
Isaac: (after hearing the tape) Man, that's great!?!
Billy: Oh you like Antidote? Isaac: FUCK YEA they shred!
Billy: Do you have the 7 inch? Isaac: (not even knowing they had a 7 inch and too embarrassed to admit I never heard them prior to that moment) Hell yea, I love it!
Billy: (rewinds and plays it again)

I had to ask John Bruce to tape it for me so I would not be embarrassed that I completely lied to Billy a few days prior.

I love when Robb says the bit about being one of the only punks in the hood. I can relate.

Thanks for this piece.