Hammer Stories: Renny's Git - Part 1
The Mostly True Humorous Tales of a Rock Band in the Early 1980s.
The first part of a multi part comic is below, but first a background story…
In 1980 a group of guys formed a Heavy Metal band in Elmira, NY. It wasn’t strictly a Heavy Metal band since they also played a few Punk Rock numbers. But I guess it wasn’t a Punk Band either since they tended to play every song fast, really fast,…maybe too fast…and really, really loud.
Let’s just settle and say that this band was a Speed Metal Punk Band…or a Punk Metal Speed Band, either way a few years before that was an actual thing.
They named the band “HAMMER” because it basically described what their music did to your eardrums. (However, the bass player liked Hammer because it was his favorite horror film company.)
The bandmates also chose a cool tag line for the band: HAMMER IS ROCK!
Of course, at the time in Elmira, there were about a half dozen other bands who would contend that they were more rock than Hammer.
Perhaps, but none of the competition had the talent to get booked into sordid, sorry taverns and then send customers running like Hammer did. Nor could the other bands almost burn down and destroy stages like Hammer did.
Nope. Hammer had an “edge.”
It may have been kind of like a Seppuku knife, but it was an edge none the less.
The band even wrote and recorded their one big hit called “Nightmare.” It found airplay on almost as many college radio stations as can be counted on the remaining fingers of a poorly trained bomb squad member.
Unfortunately, all copies of this mega-hit have been lost to the ages. But if you were to stick your head in a bucket and scream, “It’s a Nightmare!” while banging the side of the bucket with a frying pan, you’d have a pretty good recreation.
The band itself consisted of five guys plus a roadie: Eddie O. (Vocals), Steve (Drums), Dewey (Lead Guitar), Mark (Rhythm Guitar and Fireworks), Renny (Roadie and Maniac) and Cubby (Bass).
In case you couldn’t guess, I was “Cubby.”
How I got the moniker of “Cubby” has to do with the faux leopard fur pants that I wore to gigs. I bought those pants from a bass player in the Elmira band Glasshead. He was 6’4” and I was 5’7” so suffice to say the pants lent to a rather baggy leopard cub look. Plus, I had a ridiculous long-haired perm and a thin mustache (which I could never grow thick. Damn you, Irish genes!) that added to the effect of struggling pubescence. If I find the photo, and get my courage up for the ridicule, I’ll post it.
Steve coined the knickname I think, which was fitting since he was the ringmaster holding this group of lunatics together.
Due to our collective mania, HAMMER had some wild, hilarious times in its short lifespan of only a couple years. This of course makes for great comic fodder. I only wish I didn’t wait forty one years to tell the tales.
But then again, I’m sure it’s safe to relay these stories now since the statute of limitations on certain crimes have run out.
Here’s the first of these Hammer Stories.
It’s called “Renny’s Git”
OH NO! Will the boys be arrested? Will they make it to their gig in Penn Yan? Will Eddie O. Get to finish his beers?
Until then, If you want to hear what HAMMER sounded like, here’s audio salvaged from a 42 year old cassette.
This performance of HAMMER was recorded live on 6/21/1981 at a Horseheads High School graduation party1 in Big Flats, NY. I had to do a bit of remastering on this. See if you can hear the various chit chat from the crowd.
HAMMER IS ROCK!
Back in 1981 it was perfectly legal to drink when you were 18 years old, and boy howdy, there was far too much drinking.
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