History of Big Neck Records

Bart Hart

It all started back in 1994. At the time I was living in Buffalo, NY and owned a bar/restaurant called Asbury Alley. It was a great place with a small stage in back where my partner and I used to have happy hour bands play. We had slow Saturday nights unless the theater across the street had a show. This was until Ray Pist from Ray Pist and the Six Six Sixes came in one night and asked me if his band could play.  Punk rock I loved but was unsure of the crowd this would bring into Asbury Alley. I was a bit hesitant. Ray explained that there was basically nowhere for punk and garage rock bands to play and that his band would pack Asbury Alley the next Saturday night.  It did.

From that point Asbury Alley became known as the place where live music was reborn in Buffalo.  We took all the forgotten bands with all their forgotten music in Buffalo and gave them a home.  Ultimately this lead to me, Bart, becoming friends with many of the bands that played and in the end we hired many of them to work for us.

Fast approaching 1996:  I sold my portion of this great bar because I had an idea for a new kind of place in Buffalo that no one was attempting at the time and I thought the city's populace needed. So, I opened a nightclub that was a punk rock, heavy metal concoction called Sanctuary. There, the Punk Rock live music scene flourished. On the second floor, which was not supported too well (you could actually see the floor move about half a foot to a foot with people dancing to the bands upstairs), bands would tear up new sounds, replace old ones, and come out of it sweaty and reborn.

Sanctuary was home to bands such as The Baseball Furies, Jack Jimmy Hoodlums, Wrench, Backstabbers, Headknockers, Trailer Park Tornados, Tyrades, Suck, Ray Pist and the Six Six Sixes, and The Blowtops. The latter are just a few of the bands that came out of this scene in Buffalo. There were dozens more short-lived punk rock and rock n roll explosions of insanity.

I was good friends with Aaron Aducci and Dave Brand from The Blowtops; Jimmy McCann (aka “Hollywood” aka “Ordinary”) from The Baseball Furies, Blowtops, and Tyrades fame; Sean Garrow from the Jack Jimmy Hoodlums; Odie Wilson and A-ron Orslowski from The Baseball Furies again; and Timo from the Wrench.

So, how did Big Neck start you ask?  One drunken night in 1997....

I was out drinking with Aaron, Jimmy, and Sean. The Blowtops had just recorded a bundle of songs with Ski-Mask, their local master of the dials, at Pumpkin Patch Studios. The Baseball Furies were in the studio finishing up what would later become their second single, Sounds of Mayhem, and their first 10" offering off All American Psycho. Sean from the Hoodlums was just mixing down the Jack Jimmy Hoodlums recordings that they did. Aaron and Jimmy took me aside at a local watering hole for late nighters in Buffalo called The Old Pink Flamingo. They plied me with beer and shots and when the moment was just right they gave me their pitch.

“Help out the local bands another step, Bart.”  “Help us get our music out.”  “Start a record label.”  “No idea what to call the damn thing but let's do it.”

It was a great idea and I loved it. That night we discussed how the first release would be a split with The Blowtops and the Jack Jimmy Hoodlums. We would then follow that up with The Baseball Furies second single (they’d already released their first single on their own label, Go Bopper Records).

By the end of the night we had a plan of action but still no name for the label.  At the time, guys I knew had a running joke that I had the biggest neck they had every seen. They constantly used it whenever they could, and that night was no exception. As we were stumbling out of the bar, it came to Aaron and Jimmy almost in unison like a bolt of lightening. They both grabbed me and yelled, “We should call the label Big Neck Records! After your big f#@$ing neck!"

"I like it," I yelled before I missed a step coming out of the bar and face planted into the side of the building.

4 weeks and $600 later, I was in my apartment staring at 500 copies of The Blowtops Voodoo Alley single.  What did I let them talk me into? I kept mumbling. I don't know a damn thing about record labels. How do I sell a record?  How do I get distribution? How do I get radio stations to play it? And most importantly: How do I get my money back?

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