TV Neats was the 4th "punk rock" and/or "new wave" band that I was in, in New Haven, Connecticut between 1978 and 1981, after The Special Guests (featuring early New Haven scene producer and former member of "The Snotz" Thom Gartland), The Obvious (with Mark Mulcahy and Ray Neal, both later of Miracle Legion), and The Excerpts (Power-Pop hero Jon Brion's 1st band-represented on this compilation by the song "Will I Ever See You Again").
Ricky Rondo (sometimes "Rondeaux" - real name Ric Orlando) led a power trio called Hot Bodies, which was one of my favorite combos on the local scene (I covered "In The Inside", written by their drummer Kerry Miller, on my 2005 LP "Stars After Stars After Stars"). There was some talk of me joining Hot Bodies as the 2nd guitarist/singer, but instead Rick broke up the band and started the "local supergroup" TV Neats.
Recording had begun on the first TV Neats demo (sometime in 1980) before I was officially asked to join the band. Ric and keyboardist/singer Robyn Ouiba (real name Robyn Cornell) formerly of "The Kids", had gone into Joe Mendyk's West Haven studio with local "rhythm section for hire", Rich D'Albis (Drums) and Doug "Derek" Riccio (Bass) -both then of "Doug Derek & The Hoax". They recorded four songs: Ric's "Runnin' Round", "Shadows" and "Don't You Take It Away" and Robyn's "Was I Dreaming Again". I was soon asked to join the band and I added my guitar and vocals to all 4 songs. The tape garnered a bunch of airplay on the local college radio stations.
The band was then filled out by Robyn's former "The Kids" bandmate, bassist Greg "Chipper" Anderson (who had also been in the Connecticut band "Epitome") who was enticed to move back from Hollywood on the strength of the first TV Neats demo. Jay Potts (real name Potocsky- his brothers are Joel Potts of "Miracle Legion" and Moe Potts of "The Laughing Dogs") was brought in to play the drums.
We played around the local clubs like "The Joint", "The Whalley Cinema" & "The Arcadia Ballroom" with other area bands such as "The Poodle Boys", "Suburbanites", "Disturbance", and the aforementioned "Doug Derek & The Hoax" as well as opening for, at New Haven's premier venue "Toad's Place", national and international acts such as "Joan Jett & The Blackhearts" and "The Stranglers" (who made Chip change out of his leather trousers as it was in their contract that no support bands could wear leather on stage!). One of our more unusual regular gigs was opening on weekends for local singer Michael Bolotin (long before he changed his name to Michael Bolton and became so successful) in a loft above a steak restaurant, a job we got because our drummer Jay and his brother Moe (Mark) were also the dual drummers in Bolotin's band.
On April 1-3, 1981 we returned to Joe Mendyk's studio and recorded 9 more songs. An alternate version of the 1st demo's "Don't You Take It Away", "Who's Courtin' Who", Robyn's "I Said On No", my song "Pushing Buttons", "Band Tonite", the obligatory "white reggae" jam "Sound Off", "I'm OK" (written by Ric but sung by me), "Do You Remember Me" and "Dear Abby".
By the end of July 1981, Chipper had left the line-up to start a band with New Haven guitar prodigy Bobbie Rose (The Snotz). He was replaced by former "Hot Bodies" member Scott Harris (that's him in the pictures of TV Neats live on the New Haven Green). The band broke up not too long after that. Ric and Jay moved to Boston and started the funk band "Skin". Robyn stopped playing music and for a while managed the band "October Days". I played bass in "Stray Divides" with Mark Mulcahy and Ray Neal and future "Dumptruck" co-founder (and former "Suburbanite") Kirk Swan, until I finished high school & moved to New York City in the fall of 1982 to attend the School of Visual Arts.
In 2006, Ric Orlando is a successful chef and restauranteur near Woodstock, NY. Robyn Cornell lives with her husband and son in her home town of Monroe, Connecticut. Greg "Chipper' Anderson is a professional fox hunter in North Carolina and still plays in bands. Michael "Spike" Priggen is a songwriter and recording artist in New York City and publishes the blog Bedazzled.tv.