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Except where noted, all original text & art ©2010 Eddie Flowers

an unpublished, anonymous account of . . .
The Rock Writers Symposium at Buffalo State University, 1974

EDITOR'S NOTE: This was written by a youthful male resident of Buffalo, New York, and sent to future Angry Samoan Metal Mike Saunders in 1974, in hopes that it would be in the second issue of Mike's Brain Damage fanzine. But there was never a second issue, so Metal Mike passed it on to Krazee Ken Highland, for an upcoming issue of Ken's Trash fanzine. That never came out either. When Ken joined the Marines in 1976, it passed into my hands, and was slated for a Gulcher-published issue of Trash, which once again, never happened. Unfortunately, I passed on the original, fully illustrated version to another fanzine person in the mid-80s, who I was later told wanted to suppress the story. (Are you getting bored yet?) The story of this "symposium" goes something like this: Gary Sperrazza was editing a very cool fanzine called Shakin' Street Gazette, which he somehow conned the University of Buffalo into financing. In May of '74, he pulled an even more unlikely scam: he talked the university into flying a bunch of so-called rock writers to Buffalo for a panel discussion on their dubious craft. The author of this piece was one of the organizers, and witnessed the antics of the greats and not-so-greats of early-70s "rock journalism." This is his story. Only one identity has been concealed (by me), and the "insiders" who are most interested in this crap will know who it is anyway.



Subject: Fw: richard meltzer's take on "buffalo's 1974 academic symposium ofrock critics"
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2000 13:35:12 -0700
To: "Eddie Flowers" <>

-----Original Message-----
From: bofus? <>
To: <>
Date: June 23, 2000 7:27 AM
Subject: richard meltzer's take on "buffalo's 1974 academic symposium of rock critics"

richard meltzer's take on "buffalo's 1974 academic symposium of rock critics"

At 9:43 AM -0700 6/22/00, richard  meltzer wrote:

Well, the whole thing was pretty much NOTHING. It wasn't even really that much fun, it was more like three days of hangover. Nobody came close to getting laid. The reason some people were put in the dorm was so they might part with their whiskey at a party down the hall the first night. The arrangers of the event actually came up with a "liquor allotment" for everybody (2 fifths of your choice!), and what that was really about, it turned out, was it was the only way to fuel the party, which included the arrangers' girlfriends (it was during or just after finals). It was like "Hey guys, party down the hall!" when all they had without us was pretzels and soda pop. So we went down there and the chicks drank a good part of our whiskey and in spite of this nobody got so much as a kiss, or even a handshake. At some point me, Lester and Nicks were singing "Buffalo gals won't you come out tonight?"--forget it. Two things I remember about that night: Rob Tyner stealing a bottle of Jack Daniel's or Wild Turkey from either Nick or me, sticking it up his pants leg and slinking away, then it fell out and broke (ha ha ha); Lester asleep STANDING UP while we were waiting to get in this bar, standing in line for much too long just 'cause some local told us it was a happening joint, and when it was finally our turn the guy at the door says "You can't come in--that guy is ASLEEP"--he was fucking snoring.

The next night we were onstage on campus somewhere, 12 people with 12 live mikes!--chaos!--everybody'd been there over a day and we'd already abandoned hope of, well, any real kicks--we all felt HAD, the organizers had brought us in as props for their own campus jollies--and all we wanted was to move right on to that night's party, which this time was at least off campus. My only memory is of sitting on the floor next to a dwarf, a student, and asking him "Whudda ya do in this town to get laid?" "You tell ME, fuck if I know."

The next morning Nick and I, VERY hung over, took a walk and found an Italian restaurant, kind of fern-bar-ish, catering to the brunch trade. We each got the "combination pasta"--marinara, meat sauce, sausage--probably what the waitress recommended. It was worse than a can of Chef Boy-ar-dee or Franco-American, or spaghetti with ketchup and Velveeta. (Oh. the day before somebody took us to a local eatery that had a loaf of Wonder Bread on every table. Worst town for food I've ever been.)

This was our last day, Sunday, and they forgot to tell us we had to vacate our rooms (in some shitty motel near the campus) by something like noon. Meanwhile our flights were at like 4 or 5...we were on our own and ABANDONED. (Lester got lucky and scored "bourgeois hospitality"--something I didn't know until I read the piece.)

One more memory. Being mean to xxxxx. First night, en route to the bar we didn't get in, we're all in somebody's van and xxxxx announces he has to get out and puke. Just about everybody in the van had been ripped off by the guy (he would do things like "borrow" limited edition promo records or vintage photos of Brian Jones smoking a cigar, driving a tractor--this was mine--and when you wanted them back he'd say "Sorry, but they're in the xxxxx archive and it would be difficult for me to find them right now--but they're SAFE there, y'know, and rock NEEDS an archive, I was sure you wouldn't object," then they would show up on his next AUCTION LIST) and without hesitating we all simultaneously shouted at the driver: "TAKE OFF!" Leaving xxxxx puking in some scuzzy end of this strange town. And the next day there he was, back in the midst of things, and he didn't even mention it.

Stuff I Been Listenin' To
Stuff I Been Watchin'
Spam Pomes: Junk Email, Unedited (& Uncredited)

Stooges in St. Louis 1974 photos by Bruce Cole
Creme Soda Q&A 1974
1974 Rock Writers Symposium in Buffalo NY by anonymous

Teenstar 69 online reprint