It was probably 1982. I used to wear a Trend tee shirt pretty much all the time. It was my punk rock badge of honor, my uniform. It was white and had the Trend logo on it.
I bought it at (I think) Desertshore records here in Syracuse. As with most things that long ago the mind fills in what it wants into the cracks in our memories. I wore that tee shirt to school, well to gym anyway, I went to a Catholic high school and had to wear the necktie and all that. I’m sure I cut quite the dashing figure in my white Trend tee shirt, probably tucked into my gym shorts, my pale legs looking like two coneys with sneakers on them as I dragged my skinny ass around the gym, or anywhere else I wore this trophy of mine.
I wore that shirt everywhere. The Trend, was one of my favorite bands, their name was spoken in the same breath as all my other favorite bands, like The Jam , The Ramones, another local band called My Sin, and The Clash. I was so proud of that tee shirt.
It’s 2016 and as I write this essay, I am wearing a Trend tee shirt, admittedly a few sizes larger than my original version. but I am just as proud of wearing it as I was of the one I wore almost 35 years ago. This time I got the shirt as a commemoration of a reunion of sorts. Truthfully it was more than a reunion. But that’s for another post, and THAT post is coming soon.
From 1980 to 1985, the Trend was one of the best, most fun and beloved bands in Syracuse.
Back in those days local punk/power pop/new wave bands were playing something like 6 nights a week in this town, and every one of those bands was fun to see, and damn good too. Three chords and a catchy melody and the dance floor was full.
My memory is fuzzy but the first time I saw The Trend was at a local club called the Lost Horizon, they were opening up some show and I can’t recall the rest of the bill. I was the only one on the dance floor at first, but soon a bunch more followed. I am nothing if not a trend setter.
I loved the brashness, the loudness and the fun. These guys were my age! J. Marc Patenaude (Vocals, Guitar), Larry Roux(Guitar), and Paul Doherty(Drums), later on they fleshed out the sound with bass player Ekendra Dasa, THESE guys played it the way my mind thought it should be played. Loud, fast, catchy and fun. There wasn’t a lot of seriousness in the songs, but the Trend sure were serious about what they were doing. They had a fan club! The Trend FUN CLUB! They had cards made up to book shows with that said..”Bozo Rock for Hire” The Trend never pretended to be older than they were. They were kids and wrote songs that came from that place but above all songs that rocked. Songs about “Peer Pressure”, about parents, about zinc tablets! Me being the same age, which was a little younger than the rest of the scene found in The Trend, songs that I could immediately identify with, and to lift a phrase from Paul Westerberg, they rocked like murder. By obvious influences alone you could hear British 60’s bands like The Who and The Kinks as well as The Jam, The Sex Pistols, and of course, The Ramones.
I had the single “Band Aid” b/w “Eclectic Chair”, I actually had two copies, one I hung on my bedroom wall next to other heroes, the other was for the turntable. I knew every word and sang along at every show I could get to. I saw them a bunch of other times at a long since closed after hours club downtown called the Insomniac. I remember seeing them at least once at the legendary Jabberwocky a student run club on the Syracuse University campus underneath the Kimmel dining hall.
In addition to the single, a classic in some circles, mine included , they followed up with a full length LP called “Batman Live at Budokan” . The Trend were one of the most exciting bands in Syracuse history but fate had to intervene. The story of The Trend would come to a tragic end when J Marc was killed in a car crash at the age of 21 in 1985. I can’t say I knew Marc well, but I knew him a little. Our last conversation was a good natured debate on whether The Clash was punk rock enough. He was a good guy and his passing was such a shock to me. People my age, around me, weren’t supposed to die.
It seemed like that year was the end of so many things. The scene pretty much faded away due in large part to a hike in New York State’s drinking age to 21 from 18. Clubs that hadn’t already closed, did close, even the Jabberwocky closed in 1985, it’s now a computer lab. To steal from the great Ray Davies, “What a bummer” There were a couple of active scenes that popped up later, including a good “hardcore” scene but none of that really resonated with me. This was MY scene and it was gone.
That would seem to have been it for the Trend but the legend never went away. People involved with the scene never forgot them. I sure didn’t The Band Aid single became a collectors item. I’ve heard stories where the single fetched as much as $600.00 from collectors. Word seemed to get around though, and like the Flashcubes before them, the legend grew even after the band was no more. An Italian label re-released the single and the LP and hell even a French punk band, The No Talents covered The Trend! Like I said, word got around.
(see Band Aid at 20:30 below)
In the summer of 2014 Carl Caferelli and Dana Bonn, hosts of THIS IS ROCK ‘n’ ROLL RADIO, an absolutely spectacular and indispensable weekly tribute to all things three and sometimes four chords(FOUR CHORDS? No Prog rock please!), at the suggestion of Paul Armstrong of the Flashcubes and 1.4.5, one of the great characters of the Syracuse scene, decided to get some of the bands back together for a one night only revue of the Salt City’s punk and new wave bands of the era. Some of these band’s hadn’t played together in decades. The line up included such legends as the aforementioned Flashcubes and 1.4.5, Porcelain Forehead, The Miamis, Distortion, The Most, The Dead Ducks, Screen Test. When I heard this was going to happen I was in right away. This was the reunion I was looking for. I never in a million years would have guessed that a late addition to the bill would be…The Trend.
How could this be? The Trend? I remember being nervous reading it. The Trend without Marc simply would not be The Trend, there is no way they could pull this off could they? Until I read further..standing in for Marc would be his 16 year old niece, Chloe. In fact I read that without Chloe the band wouldn’t perform at all. Perfect. I could hear a collective “YES” from the scattered Bright Lights faithful. No pressure kid , but this set would be one of the most anticipated sets of music in recent memory. Along with Josh Coy on guitar, the Trend were ready to take their rightful place in this lineup. But could they pull it off? Paul Doherty said he hadn’t even been behind a drum kit in decades. Again…no pressure.
The Bright Lights event truly was a wonderful night. The bands that played all played great tight sets. No egos. No problems but as the time came for The Trend, the pit in front of the stage at the Lost Horizon was full. Dana Bonn said the words. “For the first time..since 1985…The Trend” and it was on; and with Marc’s guitar on the stage with them, the Trend knocked it out of the park in one of the best, most celebratory shows I have ever seen., at times Chloe even sounded like Marc. For a band that had just recently come (back) together..well you just wouldn’t have known it. Sharp set, classic set list and the classic Blitzkrieg Bop thrown in for good measure.
When it was over I turned to the guys I was with, who happened to be the guys I used to go see this music with back in the day and said…holy crap..we just saw Trend, and they blew the doors off the place like never before. I was just slack jawed over it. It was more than a reunion, it was a reaffirmation and I dare say that among the so many special things of that night, that The Trend could be there in a credible way and that they could rock the house like they had been doing it for every day between 1985 and that night, well that was the most special thing of all.
As usual, Carl Caferelli says it better than anyone. “a single fingered salute to the cruelties of fate and the passing of time”.
There isn’t anything much more punk rock than that.
The Trend will be performing at Bright Lights 2 on July 3rd at Funk n Waffles Downtown Syracuse.
Images courtesy of The Trend, used with permission
The official recording of The Trend at Bright Lights in 2014, Bright Lights Live can be had for cheap at ITunes and Amazon. Go get it now.
THIS IS ROCK ‘n’ ROLL RADIO can be heard Sundays at 9PM on Westcott Community Radio http://www.westcottradio.org