NEW YORK’S ALRIGHT (IF YOU LIKE SAXOPHONES) by FEAR
Fear was formed in 1977 by vocalist/guitarist Lee Ving and bassist Derf Scratch while living in Los Angeles, California. They recruited guitarist Burt Good, and drummer Johnny Backbeat to fill out the original lineup. In 1977, Fear released the single “I Love Living in the City”. Shortly after this Good and Backbeat left the band and were replaced by Philo Cramer and Spit Stix.
Credited for helping to shape the sound and style of American hardcore punk, the band started out as part of the early California punk rock scene, and gained national prominence after an infamous 1981 performance on Saturday Night Live.
The band’s SNL appearance included a group of moshers, among them John Belushi, Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat,Tesco Vee of The Meatmen, Harley Flanagan and John Joseph of The Cro-mags, and John Brannon of Negative Approach. The shows director originally wanted to prevent the dancers from participating, so Belushi offered to be in the episode if the dancers were allowed to stay. The end result was the shortening of Fear’s appearance on TV. They started their second performance by saying, “It’s great to be in New Jersey,” drawing boos from SNL’s New York live audience. Fear played “Beef Bologna,” “New York’s Alright If You Like Saxophones,” and started to play “Let’s Have a War” when the audio and video of the telecast faded into commercial. During the performance the slamdancers left ripe pumpkin remains on the set and stage speakers.
Shortly after the 1981 Halloween SNL appearance, which resulted in $20,000 in damages, a New York Post article later reported the figure to be $500,000. This is believed to have originated from a phone call from the New York Post to Ving, in which Ving responded to the claim of causing $20,000 worth of damage by saying “Hold it, hold it! No way, pal. That’s a bald-faced lie! We caused $500,000 worth of damage, a cool half a million dollars worth of damage, ‘cause we’re professionals, and I counted the damage myself!”
Although Lee Ving is the only original remaining member, others were recruited and Fear still performs today.