After many years of hard work, tears, stops and starts, the book is finally completed! We labored to cover every aspect of the club - the punks and skinheads who inhabited it most nights, the dance nights (when they usually didn’t!), the bands who played, the bouncers who protected them, the bartenders (including a young Jon Stewart) -- and everyone else who showed up.
Besides all the music, what so many people remember is how City Gardens changed their lives; it made many lives better and may have even saved a few. Attending those shows and dance nights made a lot of outsiders and odd socks feel like they were part of a community - accepted and free to express themselves. Over the years, patrons had different perceptions of, and relationships to, the club and what went on there. People who went there in the beginning saw things differently than those who started going in later years. We worked hard to document it all.
A few excerpts from the book have been posted on The Rumpus. Read about how the Butthole Surfers almost burned the place down (or did they?). Or the Circle Jerks show on New Year's Day in 1989 when Keith Morris confronted the infamous "Wall of Death." These are just a taste of the events we’ve chronicled!
We have done well over 100 interviews and along the way have talked to Henry Rollins (a onetime Trenton resident), Daily Show host and former City Gardens bartender Jon Stewart, Dean Ween, Ian MacKaye, GWAR, Al Jourgenson (Ministry),Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers), Harley from the Cro-Mags, City Gardens promoter Randy Now, plus bouncers, moshers and other miscreants…to name but a few!
We have great packages with really cool stuff! You can get a limited edition t-shirt emblazoned with the infamous “No Slam Dancing” sign, City Gardens pint glasses, signed photos and more.
-- Amy & Steven
A little Q&A
Q: Wasn’t there already a Kickstarter campaign for this project? If it was already funded, why are you asking for more?
There was a Kickstarter campaign for the documentary film Riot on the Dance Floor, which is a different project than No Slamdancing, No Stagediving, No Spikes. Simply put, Riot is a film directed by Steve Tozzi and No Slam Dancing is a book by Amy & Steve.
Riot on the Dance Floor reached its targeted goal and is currently in the final stages of production. It should be completed by the end of the year.
Q: What is the difference between the two projects? Is the book just a re-telling of the documentary and vice versa?
While both projects share many similarities and overlap in many places, there are very distinct differences. The main difference is the focus of the narratives being told. While the film does include a lot of Trenton and City Gardens’ history, its main subject is the story of promoter Randy Ellis. The book being written by Amy and Steve focuses intensely on the club itself—dates and details of some of its most important events, personal stories and anecdotes, and what the club meant to people.
Q: When either project is mentioned, I always see the same group of names associated with both projects. Who is involved with what project?
Both projects are collaborative efforts and overlap in many ways. Steve Tozzi is the director of Riot on the Dance Floor but has greatly contributed to Steven and Amy’s project as well. Amy and Steven have both sat for interviews for Tozzi’s film and have served as producers. Peter Tabbot, who has played in the Jersey band Vision for years, has also worked as a producer on the film, as well as providing original music for the film’s soundtrack. Ken Salerno, the director of photography for Riot on the Dance Floor has contributed some of his photos to this very Kickstarter campaign and has helped Amy and Steven secure some of the interviews for the book. Basically both projects involve the same principle people doing whatever is needed to get the job done.
Q: What will the money will be used for?
The bulk of the money will be used to print the book, in both hardcover and paperback. That alone is about $14k. To have the book designed for print and download is another $5k. We are also having a professional editor proofread the manuscript. And please be aware that 8-10% of the money raised will be paid in fees to Kickstarter and Amazon.
Risks and challenges
The book is all but done. There are few other people we would love to interview whose people have turned us down (cough, cough DANZIG) but you can't have everything. We are working to have the book printed and ready at the end of the year, so that it makes its debut the same time the documentary Riot On The Dancefloor hits the film festival circuit.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)