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No Slam Dancing is an oral history of 80s/90s-era punk & metal told through the portal of one club—Trenton, NJ’s City Gardens. Read more

Trenton, NJ Nonfiction
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This project was successfully funded on July 26, 2013.

No Slam Dancing is an oral history of 80s/90s-era punk & metal told through the portal of one club—Trenton, NJ’s City Gardens.

Trenton, NJ Nonfiction
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About this project

It's here!

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.

Recognize these two? When they tossed you out, were they gentle?
Recognize these two? When they tossed you out, were they gentle?

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.

How many people remember actual tables and chairs at City Gardens?
How many people remember actual tables and chairs at City Gardens?

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!

Many people feared that D. Boon from the Minutemen would go through the stage at City Gardens. I might have been one of those people.
Many people feared that D. Boon from the Minutemen would go through the stage at City Gardens. I might have been one of those people.

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.

Peek-a-boo, Glenn Danzig, we see you!
Peek-a-boo, Glenn Danzig, we see you!
So check it out and help us preserve some punk rock history!

   -- 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.

No Slam Dancing: Table of Contents
No Slam Dancing: Table of Contents

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.

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Rewards

  • You selected
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    87 backers

    Official Badass: Your name in the "Thank You" part of book, letting everyone know that you are truly a badass. It's written in a book! So it must be true.

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    64 backers

    Kicking It New School: Your name in the "Thank You" part of book and a digital download of the book.

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    98 backers

    Kicking It Old School: Name in the "Thank You" part of book and a paperback book.

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    10 backers

    A Little Something For Your Trouble: Name in the "Thank You" part of book, and a paperback book signed by the authors when they sober up.

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    54 backers

    Let's Pogo!: Name in the "Thank You" part of book, and a HARDCOVER book signed by the authors when they sober up.

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    25 backers

    I Backed This Kickstarter Project and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt!: Name in the "Thanks" part of book, signed hardback book, and limited edition "No Slam Dancing" t-shirt.

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    4 backers

    Lend Me 10 Bucks and I'll Buy You A Beer: Name in the "Thanks" part of book, signed hardback book, limited edition "No Slam Dancing" t-shirt, and limited edition City Gardens PINT GLASSES!

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    Pledge $500 or more

    2 backers

    Got The Picture To Prove It: Name in the "Thanks" part of book, signed hardback book, limited edition "No Slam Dancing" t-shirt, limited edition City Gardens pint glasses, and one signed custom print by Ron Gregorio. (His cool photos include exclusive Danzig, Meatmen, Husker Du and many more! Those are his D. Boon and Danzig photos to the left!)

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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    Let's Party Like It's 1989: Name in the "Thanks" part of book, signed hardback book, limited edition "No Slam Dancing" t-shirt, limited edition City Gardens pint glasses, one signed custom print by Ron Gregorio, and invite to book party in Trenton, NJ. (Winter/Spring 2014)

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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    We'll be Friends Forever: A BOOK DEDICATION from the authors,signed hardback book, limited edition "No Slam Dancing" t-shirt, limited edition City Gardens pint glasses, one signed custom print by Ron Gregorio, and invite to book party in Trenton, NJ. (Winter/Spring 2014)

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Funding period

- (30 days)