A 40-years-ago time capsule culminating in an intimate translation of what Jersey’s Own music scene was like in the 1970s. Original B+W video taken by the Capitol Theatre stage crew steeping in authenticity, where the ambiance of live performance was the essence of creative efforts by the band, Kinderhook (Creek), John Scher, and his amazing stage crew and front office. Many diehards continue celebrating with an annual Capitol Theatre reunion coming up September 15, 2018. This short music documentary was accepted in the Music Legacy Documentary category at the 2018 Asbury Park Music+Film Festival, Asbury Park, New Jersey.
In a nutshell…
Riding high in the turbulent 1970s, New Jersey’s homegrown country rock band, Kinderhook unknowingly parallels the rise of Bruce Springsteen. The band’s premiere at Rutgers College campus gigs and local dives evolved; opening shows for headlining acts during the heyday of the Capitol Theatre Passaic, New Jersey under John Scher’s direction. Hailed as the next great band to come out of New Jersey, Jersey’s own Kinderhook (Creek) never got a record deal. Undermined by circumstances and eventualities, both Capitol Theatre and Kinderhook peaked and ebbed during a tumultuous time of unprecedented music access followed by corporations taking over the music industry, marking an end of an era.
Back in the day, Kinderhook knew how to draw a crowd; working it at times into a feverish pitch or as famous music critic Robert Palmer of The New York Times, wrote in 1976 “the sextet has ample original material, much of it country-flavored, some of it exceptionally infectious.” Yuri Turchyn, along with his band mates, witnessed many upheavals and lived the live music lifestyle. He graduated in Rutgers New Brunswick in1972 with a degree in Eastern European studies and was accepted as a graduate student to Glasgow University in Scotland for International Relations. Without skipping a beat, he opted to return to Rutgers becoming the fourth voice in a normally designated three-man dorm room and co founded a bedrock of music. Can’t get more Jersey than that. Yuri, a.k.a. “The Professor,” still performs to this day.
The Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ was the longest running concert hall in rock n’roll history.
Located at the intersection of Monroe Street and Central Avenue, Passaic, New Jersey, it was ten miles west of New York City. With the closing of the Fillmore East in Manhattan, John Scher wanted a theater that could make New Jersey the rock capital of America. He made his move in the New Jersey market and bought the property as a venue for rock concerts.
Throughout the 1970s and into the mid 1980s, the 3,400 seat theater was a popular stop on nearly every major rock artist’s tour. It had the best acoustical environment (two inch thick acoustical padding on the interior walls), and an unobstructed view of the stage from every seat. The venue was known for its in house video system which resulted in a number of good quality, black and white videos. After it closed, the building fell into disrepair and was demolished on April 16, 1991.
Country Trimmings By Kinderhook Creek
Kinderhook Creek, a country-rock sextet from New Jersey is playing this week at The Other End, which usually presents groups with recording contracts and more substantial reputations. Indications are that Kinderhook Creek will soon have a recording contract of its own.
The group drew an enthusiastic crowd from its home state. Although it performs passable quasi-bluegrass and goes to town with Hank Williams songs, the sextet has ample original material, much of it country-flavored, some of it exceptionally infectious.
But Kinderhook Creek’s strong points are its musicians, especially Stan Taylor, pedal steel guitarist, and arrangements, which include a cappella vocal breaks, strikingly harmonized lines for electric and steel guitars, and tempo and rhythm changes. Like most local favorites, the group needs to weed out some of its material and project a more unified image. Otherwise, it seems ready to try for the big time.
ROBERT PALMER, New York Times article April 9, 1976
Music Critic Robert Palmer of The New York Times
Robert Palmer was one of America’s most famous music critics from the 1970s to the 1990s. According to the 1997 NYT obit, Mr. Palmer was the first full time rock writer and chief popular music critic of The New York Times from 1981 to 1988 and a contributing editor to Rolling Stone magazine since the early 70s. He was a distinguished observer and scholar of American music and its sources worldwide, a full-time writer on music, contributing to both scholarly and popular publications, from Rolling Stone and Atlantic Monthly to the Journal of American Folk Lore and Ethnomusicology. Palmer’s involvement in music took several guises; he was most successful at writing, but was also a musician and recording artist, a teacher, a record producer, music director, consultant for film and television documentaries.