Shameless plug: Hat City Entertainment
Time: 1:19 PM
First a small music history lesson in Danbury.
Back in the late 80s-early 90s, Danbury went through an indy musical explosion. While the West Coast area was turning out such idny musical act as Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, etc, Danbury had it's crop of musical talent that were making a name for themselves.
Acts like Monsterland, Creature Did, Hed, China Pig, the Bunnie Brains, and Gnu Fuz put Danbury on the map and thankfully, I was there to be a part of the madness (and yes, I actually video taped and photographed many of those bands and still have the footage. playing at such venues as TKs (Punk Rock Sundays) The Chicken Coop, Gotham City (now known as Cousin Larry's) these bands attracted a large following, which gave rise to Sonic Youth member Thurston Moore declaring Danbury as the "new Seattle" during a show at Tuxedo Junction.
If one band symbolized the high point and eventual downfall of the punk rock music scene of the 90s, it was Monsterland.
With Thom Monahan on bass, Greg Vegas on guitar, and "Swamp Thing" Chris Mitchell (1989-1991) and Todd Cronin (1991-1994) on drums, Monsterland were by far the best band in Danbury and their shows at TK's are still talked about to this day (as well as the Bunny Brains on Easter Sunday...but that's another twisted and wicked story.
Eventually, the group signed with a major label and released their first major album, and had their video (that featured Danbury's former historical landmarks such as the "Like" sign and the "Gas Ball") broadcasted on MTV (you can view the video by clicking here).
Unfortunately, the success was short-lived as the band broke up in 1994 and marked the slow and painful descent ofthe puck rock music scene in the area. The decline in popularity of punk/grunge music was accelerated with the death of such talented artists as Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon combined with the fact that people were just getting older and moving on with their lives.
For a while, the music scene moved from punk, to jazz and funk with such bands as Blue! and Fro backing in crowds at The Hat City Ale House, which brings me to my shameless plug for Hat City Entertainment.
The entertainment magazine is the brainchild of Blue! guitarist Pete Walrath and is the site to read for your music fix in Danbury. I remember Walrath playing on Wednesday Jazz night and it was evident early on that he would be the person who would do what he could to put Danbury back on the map. His magazine is moving beyond it's training wheel stage and into a amazing source for entertainment in this area.
Don't let anyone tell you that their is nothing to do in Danbury, just pick up a copy of the magazine, or view it online, and you'll see that theirs plenty of arts and entertainment in the area. Through Hat City Entertainment, I learned about open mic night and sub rosa at Cousin Larry's and was introduced to a whole new generation of raw talent that's staking their claim in the same place where I saw many of my favorite bands over ten years ago.
The magazine is working with City Center Danbury, which by the leadership of manager Andrea Gartner, doing what they can in making Danbury into a great music center. Give the site a read...you'll won't be disappointed.
As a side note: Gartner and Walrath were recently on the public access show Ideas at Work and Beyond discussing future musical plans for Danbury. If you missed the episode, you can view it online at the show's website.
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