NEW YORK WASTE, August 2011
Show for SUZY CREAMCHEESE lifts spirits of CBGB's SUSAN PALERMO
EDWARD X. YOUNG and FRANK WOOD
On Thursday, May 19, at The DELANCEY BAR, in New York City's Lower East Side, Impresario FRANK WOOD sponsored "A SHOW FOR SUZY CREAMCHEESE," as a tribute to his friend, Susan Palermo, who is currently in a hospital in the Bronx fighting a brave battle against cancer. SUZY PALERMO is not an ordinary girl. She was one of the original employees at CBGB when HILLY CRYSTAL opened the club. She first worked there as a waitress and a bartender, from which vantage point, she witnessed virtually all of the famous and notorious original punk rock bands at their start. After their first New York City gig, when THE DEAD BOYS had nowhere to stay, SUZY took the entire band in to crash at her loft apartment until every member found places of their own to live and thrive within The NY Metro Area.
Through SUZY's relationship with bass player, JOHN DeSALVO, of the band, TUFF DARTS, SUZY was inspired to learn the bass herself. Then, in 1977, SUZY got the idea to form a group of her own. Gathering her musically inclined female friends, she helped form the first all-girl New York City punk rock band. Taking the name from a RICK DERRINGER song, SUZY helped launch CHEAP PERFUME. The original line up consisted of LYNN ODEL on lead vocals, SUSAN PALERMO on bass, BRENDA MARTINEZ on drums, and NANCY STREET on rhythm guitar, and ALISON BERGER on lead guitar. Later, guitarist, BUNNY joined the band.
SUSAN was also a songwriter for CHEAP PERFUME. Among other tunes, she penned their biggest hit "ORDUNARY GIRLS."
SUSAN's band was enormously popular in The Downtown punk club scene during their initial run from the late 1970s into the early 1980s. They shared billing with the DEAD BOYS, THE RAMONES, TUFF DARTS, THE SHIRTS, JOHNNY THUNDERS & THE HEARTBREAKERS, THE SENDERS, THE RATTLERS, THE WALDOS, and THE SIC FUCKS, among other legendary groups. MAX's KANSAS CITY even had a drink named after CHEAP PERFUME on their bar menu.
After the breakup of CHEAP PERFUME, SUSAN helped form other bands, including SNATCH 22.
When I, EDWARD X. YOUNG,, first met SUSAN, it was on the occasion of my first visit to CBGB. There was a HEARTBREAKERS' rent party going on with regulars JOHNNY THUNDERS and WALTER LURE vying for the spotlight on guitar and vocals (as usual) and filling in, LUIGI SCORCIA on bass and BILLY ROGEN on drums – a memorable gig that sold me on the scene.
From the smoky din emerged this tall, beautiful, Sicilian girl with jet black hair and a tight-fitting black leather outfit to match. With a killer smile and a sharp wit, SUSAN PALERMO was the most amazing woman I had ever seen. She was a punk rock angel. We became fast friends and remained close for over four years, until Fate drew us apart.
The last time I had seen her, back then, was at RICHARD MANITOBA's birthday party at THE RITZ, in December of 1985, when, to my surprise, SUSAN came to pay her respects, while six months pregnant.
Following her marriage to drummer BILL PISCITELLO (currently with The Hudson Dusters) and the birth of her children BART and RITA, SUSAN dropped out of the music scene as a performer; and instead, she dedicated more time to her other day job for TV producer and distributor SANDY FRANK, who brought America television many dubbed Japanese imports, including GAMERA, the giant, flying, fire-breathing turtle. Over her 33-year association with the media mogul, Suzie rose to become the Vice President of Operations of SANDY FRANK PRODUCTIONS.
In the new millennium, following her divorce, SUSAN and the remaining interested girls from CHEAP PERFUME, decided to reform the band, with some new members. Then, on August 3, 2007, after a hiatus of nearly a quarter of a century, they hit the Downtown club scene again, embarking on a successful two-year run.
In the summer of 2009, SUSAN's life took another happy turn when her friend JOEY PINTER (former guitarist of THE WALDOS) was instrumental in reuniting SUSAN and me. After lengthy email communication, Yours Truly, EDWARD X. YOUNG, arranged to meet SUSAN again at the premiere of one of my science fiction horror features, "Mold!" in October 2009. SUSAN and I instantly fell in love at first sight again and embarked on a whirlwind romance, making up for our time apart. We became engaged on the set of my movie, "Mr. Hush," in April 2010; and we had planned to marry in April of 2011.
With her musician friend STURGIS NIKEDES, of the band LOW SOCIETY, SUSAN also began composing and performing musical scores for my horror flicks.
SUSAN was also part of a new band, ALOYSIUSs, a rock & blues group, featuring SUSAN on bass, STEVE ALOYSIUS on guitar, EMMA CHANNING on vocals, and ALEX ROJAS on drums. They began rehearsing in the summer of 2010; and they planned to hit the scene performing on stages in the spring of 2011
Unfortunately, Fate dealt SUSAN a cruel hand when she collapsed at her desk at work on December 20. Her boss rushed her to Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, where SUSAN was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, Glioblastoma Multiform, the same type of cancer that Senator Ted Kennedy had.
Since then SUSAN's home has been in a series of hospitals. From Manhattan, she traveled to Germany for special alternative treatments, then back to New York to hospitals and rehabilitation centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and now a hospice in the Bronx. I put my acting career on hold and have been at Suzie's side the entire time.
SUSAN's road through her medical treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation, has been rocky. Her condition had been declining – until musician friends of hers began bringing their instruments to the hospital to play for her at her bedside. The live music not only helped her attitude, but physically revitalized her. Saved by Rock 'N' Roll, and a lot of prayers, her condition (although still very serious) has miraculously improved and stabilized.
Inspired by her continuing recovery through music, FRANK WOOD, organized a gala benefit concert featuring the bands composed of many of SUSAN's friends. The multimedia show also featured movie clips of SUSAN in her new burgeoning acting career, as a Scream Queen in horror pictures.
"THE SHOW FOR SUZY CREAMCHEESE," on Thursday, May 19, started when Crazy Glen opened the doors to let the crowd of Suzie's fans and friends in at 6:30pm.
FRANK WOOD arranged to have GUY WARD and his company, WWW.NYCLIVEROCK.COM stream the show LIVE, over the internet, so that SUSIE could watch it on her laptop, from the hospice! She watched the WHOLE show (over 7 hours worth)!
At 7:00pm, MARNI RICE, the accordionist for MAD JUANA and Le GARAGE CABARET, performed a solo cabaret gig with a distinctive European Flair. MARNI holds the distinction of being the first musician to perform for Suzie in the hospital; and she took notice of the positive effects.
At 7:25pm, a clip from the Scream Kings production of the horror/comedy movie "Zombies! Zombies Everywhere !" starring SUSAN and ED, was screened. The film also boasted a title song by SUSAN and STURGIS, performed by their band, SUZY CREAMCHEESE & THE LOX NESS MONSTER..
Then at 7:45pm, after numerous glitches with the dvd, STURGIS (of the JOHN CALE BAND) and his wife, MANDY LEMONS hammered out a hard bluesy set with their new band, LOW SOCIETY.
At 8:30pm, THE SHIRTS, legendary punk rockers from the old days (and long-time friends of SUSAN's) performed many of their popular hits, as well as brand new songs from their new CD release, "Tiger Must Jump."
At 9:15pm, HARLEY FINE & TEN TON TRUCKERS delivered a hard rocking mix of original songs and covers. The band featured HARLEY FINE (TUFF DARTS), JOHN BARBATA (TURTLES, CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE/STRSHIP) on drums and RICK MULLEN (VAN MORRISON, COMMANDER CODY) on bass. HARLEY started an evening trend when he invited ED onto the stage to sing backup on a Rolling stones cover, so that SUSAN could see her fiancé, on the live video broadcast.
At 10:00pm, BUDDY LOVE, a band that has been around without changing members since the 1970s tore up the stage. The band features JOE KELLY, on lead vocals, DOUG KHAZZAM on guitar and vocals, SCOTT "THE KILLER" SCHILLER on bass, RICH STARR on drums and vocals, and DAVE STOLER on keyboards. I'm grateful to have shared the spotlight in this set, singing with JOE KELLY's arm around my shoulder. SUSAN got a kick out of viewing this.
At 10:45pm the HUDSON DUSTERS hit the stage, featuring WILD BILL THOMPSON (THE SENDERS) on guitar, JOHN COLLINS (THE TERRORISTS) on vocals, DANNY RAY (MAD JUANA) on saxophone, KEVIN SHAW (BMTs) on bass, and BIG BILL TELLO (SUSAN's ex-husband and father of her children) on drums.
At 11:30pm DIRTY & NAUGHTY, rocked, featuring KEVIN SHAW, GASS WILD (LOVE PIRATES)
MIKE LINN (GRAVEYARD SLUTS) and KURT (BLUE SHADOW DOGS) GASS invited ED up to help with percussion and backup vocals for a song.
At 12:15, SUSAN's friend, vocalist TRISH RANIERI, who is currently also part of the new incarnation of CHEAP PERFUME, as well as FRANK WOOD & HIS NYC ALL-STARS BAND, performed with her band, NOW WE'RE EVEN, which features TY FLORES on guitar, KENNY KILLER HURRICANED on bass, and GREG JACOB on drums. TRISH deserves special credit for all the work she has done to help SUSAN at the hospital, especially helping her with legal documents. During her performance, Trish also invited ED on stage to sing with her; and she got horror movie actor JOHN LINK to dance. (Reportedly, SUSAN was tickled by that sight.) The final act eventually evolved into a wild jam session that got almost every other performer in the audience into the spotlight, crowding the stage with wild celebration and cheers for SUZY CREAMCHEESE
Special thanks are owed to DJ ROB NITRO for providing classic New York punk music between sets.
Suzie's friend Alison Harvey stayed at SUSAN's side at Calvary Hospital the entire time. She kept everyone informed with text messaging on how SUSAN was enjoying the show. Alison reported that although the nurses tried to get SUSAN to log off and go to bed at midnight, SUSAN refused. Instead, she watched the show to the very end, reportedly often laughing out loud and singing along. It was reported that eventually many of the nurses on SUSAN's floor at Calvary Hospital ended up watching the show with her – right until the end, well after 2:00am.
Gratitude must also be expressed to so many other musician friends of SUSAN's, who could not make it into the line-up on-stage, but were nevertheless there in spirit, either in the audience, or watching on their computers at home and contributing to the live chat room during the broadcast.
SUSAN was also thrilled to hear FRANK WOOD report that MAX's KANSAS CITY's PETER CROWLEY called in with an attempt to broadcast a phone greeting to SUSAN from the stage. Unfortunately technical problems forced FRANK to orally relay the message for PETER.
Most of all, FRANK WOOD earns unlimited gratitude for making it all happen. He did a great job introducing bands and cracking jokes that made SUSAN Laugh.
The concert filled SUSAN's heart with delight. For one magical evening, SUSAN was able to forget her troubles. The music brought down the house; and the outpouring of love lifted her spirits.
SUSAN and ED and all those who love her will never forget this night in New York Rock 'N' Roll History.JOHNY BARBATA (THE TURTLES, CSNY...) on drums, JOHNY BARBATA (THE TURTLES, CSNY...) on drums, 9:15pm HARLEY FINE & TEN TON TRUCKERS HARLEY FINE (TUFF DARTS) will be joined by JOHNY BARBATA (THE TURTLES, CSNY...) on drums, ELLEN FOLEY (MEATLOAF) on vocals, RIC MULLEN (VAN MORRISON, COMMANDER CODY) on bass and BECKY SCALA (JERRY LEE LEWIS, RICK DANKO) on guitar and vocals.