TESTORS - TOGETHER
B1. TIME IS MINE
B2. [THIS] TIME IS MINE
THIS CLASSIC SLAB WAS RECORDED IN 1979 AND RELEASED IN 1980 ON THE DRIVE-IN LABEL. THE TESTORS SOON BROKE UP AFTER THIS RELEASES, LEAVING THIS RECORD IN THE VAST HOLE OF NYC PUNK LORE. THE SINGLE WAS THE BANDS FIRST AND ONLY, AND EXTREMELY HARD TO FIND. THIS REISSUE INCLUDES 'TOGETHER' AND 'TIME IS MINE', AND A NEVER RELEASED STUDIO RECORDING '[THIS] TIME IS MINE' WHICH WAS AN EARLY AND INCREDIBLY DIFFERENT VERSION OF 'TIME IS MINE.
Named after a model glue brand and incensed by the sudden emergence of venues supportive of original material, Testors created swinging New York Punk Rock and defied the strictures of an early scene where sides were chosen by many—CBGB's vs Max's Kansas City—preferring to barrel the swirling, miasmic, life-in-song primitive spirit and poetic observation supplied by leader Sonny Vincent's pen down the pipeline to as many ears possible at any venue willing. Sonny had been playing in NYC area bands (Distance, Fury, Liquid Diamonds, etc) since the early '70s butting against the rigid cover-heavy system favored by locations sympathetic to live entertainment, but became disillusioned by the faded and diminished '60s spark in the New York music scene he knew in his teens, which fostered a supportive network for musicians creating original music. So, in 1974 Sonny high-tailed it to Florida for some new air and a change of scenery; but palm tree'd skys wouldn't long be in Sonny's eyes.
Upon hearing of the emerging NYC rock scene a short eight months later, Vincent returned to the city with guitarist Gene Sinigalliano in tow, and snatched up Gregory Lapina on drums, to form the first Testors lineup, striking a bassless cord and beginning to rehearse and later play local venues around NYC in 1976. This lineup continued until 1978 racking up a heavy gig schedule supporting and themselves headlining along the way, playing with the likes of infamous acts like Mink Deville, the Cramps and Teenage Jesus & the Jerks (with Lydia Lunch), before Lapina left due to some personal turmoil. Shortly thereafter Gregory was replaced by Jeff Couganhaur, at which time they also added the four-string rhythm of surrealist painter/artist Ron Pieniak (also the designer of many of their flyers during this period). Following the trend, however, this lineup with Pieniak also didn't live long, with Ron departing the city after meeting the end of a knife in a subway and retreating to safer environs. Though, the lineup with Pieniak in the fold marked the emergence of the Testors with a low-end throb, and Sonny's songwriting continued to progress past the abusive, destructo mania of his early output, beginning to show shades of melody and section with one eye to the street and the other to the stratosphere lyrically, further expanding the human, artifice-free vibes past the single dimension broadcasted by many while giving his words a stronger bed to lay on. In 1979 Kenneth Brighton joined on bass taking over Pieniak's vacated position, and this was the lineup which led a groundbreaking tour of the US with the Dead Boys spreading the gritty gospel nationwide, but it all wasn't to last for long.
After storied run-ins with Lenny Kaye and pyro-happy moves, Sonny landed himself in observation at Wingdale Mental Hospital. Shortly thereafter his release the chugging Testors colossus imploded. They blazed a hot five year flash, with only one single released in their day—with a more polished sound than those familiar with their live sets—but the last decade or so has saw the boys from nowhere underdogs finally starting to get their piece of the kibble with unissued sides released by Incognito, Rave-Up, Swami and HoZac (starting a campaign of Sonny's pre-Testors combos) among others. Scattered reunion gigs and Sonny's continued collaborations and projects have kept him at the center of the under-eye, and with rumors of new Testors tracks rumored in the pipeline true fans of rock'n'roll with a deep, dark pulsing spirit have another reason to meet the day.
Jeremy Cargill (Ugly Things, Shindig!)