Shoreworld: Status Green, Matt O’Ree and Mischief

Status Green, Matt O’Ree and others team up for Johnny Bukowiec memorial Scholarship benefit at The Paramount Theater, Nov. 21.

I always hate to have to announce any type of benefit show as the reasons leading up to it are usually not good, but this one is especially tragic due to the circumstances and the age of the individual. John Robert Bukowiec, Jr., or Johnny, 18, of Howell, passed away on July 30, 2010 from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Johnny was a great kid who had everything going for him. He had a great personality and everyone who knew him truly liked being around him. He was a talented athlete and was scheduled to play football and lacrosse at Montclair State University this year.

Family friend and Stone Pony security head Tom Ihnken immediately moved into action after the accident to help the family cope with their loss and steer this chaotic tragedy into some positive direction that made sense and gave meaning for all who knew Johnny and wanted to be part of the healing process for his family.

After a phone conversation or two, our musical community answered the call for help and as of press time great bands such as Status Green, Predator Dubb Assassins and Matt O’Ree are donating their talent and time to perform along Sibling Rivalry, a brother/sister duet that attended that very same Howell High School as Johnny Bukowiec did.

It’s also important to publicly thank Madison Marquette, who has quietly donated the use of the Paramount Theater, which is a huge help for any show, let alone a fundraiser with a minuscule budget and a burgeoning expense list. Tickets will be available at the door the day of the fundraiser for $15. There will be food, donated by The Windmill, for sale at the event, a 50/50 and a gift auction. The show is an all ages event and is scheduled to go from noon to 5 p.m.

I had read how the Howell Rebels honored their fallen teammate and friend with a pre-game speech by head coach Cory Davies. The large crowd was reportedly wearing T-shirts with Bukowiec’s jersey number 11, and “Johnny Buk” across the back. The team presented a special football with the phrase Be an 11 on it, along with flowers and a No. 11 jersey to Bukowiec’s family. Davies publicly eulogized his former player as tears streamed down the faces of his players and the large home crowd.

Davies summed it up best, as he said to Johnny’s extended family, “Most people are judged from one to 10, but Johnny Buk blasted through the 10 zone and was an 11.”

Further donations and volunteer opportunities are encouraged and can be worked out by contacting Tom or Nancy Inhken directly at 732-202-8347 or

Mischief Reunion

Brighton Bar

October 29, 2010

I remember first running into the boys of Mischief back in late ‘82 at The Brighton Bar in Long Branch. Back then the Brighton was a grungy cave of cutting edge punk, beer soaked floors and dark velveteen walls adorned with sardonic visuals and later paintings of the many local hero’s courtesy of painter Lou Rudolph. The back bar was legendary as a hangout for anyone from the scene (the front bar was staked out by the local blue collar residents) and that’s where I first met these primping, preening, vinyl clad womanizers.

I emphasize womanizers because through their relationship with guys like Brian James and Stiv Bators from the Dead Boys, Mischief spent much time leaning about looking cool and tallying up sexual conquests from the real deal as they bashed away at their trashy instruments. But honestly, wasn’t that the way back then? Almost everyone played music for two basic reasons, notoriety and pussy. Along that fast and furious pathway, Mischief wrote some memorable punk tunes and made some long ranging waves throughout the New York and New Jersey scene before disintegrating into obscurity like so many other vital Jersey bands.

During their time, Mischief released one full-length album titled, Only Losers Left Alive. The 1985 disc was chock full of snotty, punk anthems about sex, anarchy and attitude. Combining a jagged wall of sound with their trademark ‘Dark Shadows’ look, the band immediately attracted fans from all over the New Jersey/New York area with music lovers all hungry for the bands blitzkrieg of sound. Songwriters Tom Kanach and Joe DeLorenzo were childhood friends who knew from an early age that this is what they wanted to do, and their return from the musical grave was full force at this Brighton show, slinging sharp-edged punk gems at the faithful and re-creating that 1980s vibe of Only Losers Left Alive, as if it were yesterday.

“This is really something I’d like to do again,” muses bassist Joe Delorenzo on the phone. “Sometimes I have to remind myself about the actual impact we had. I still have the letter from guitarist and songwriter Brian James [the Damned/Lords of the New Church] with all of his production notes for the making of this album. It was a fascinating undertaking for sure. As far as the reunion, it was really Greg [Maccolino] chasing us around that really made this happen…that bastard! (Laughs) He’s a great friend and someone who respects all the bands from Jerseys true productive period and I’m glad he lit a fire under us.”

The set itself was impressive, especially as I learned later that the band almost didn’t play due to some performance anxiety amongst a few of the players. However, in the final hours they all came through admirably, closing the door on a questionable past and opening a bigger door of future opportunities. Each member gave 100 percent with clear harmonies and even-keeled tempos, including DeLorenzo’s Jet Harris vibe and Kanach’s underrated lead playing, which was supported admirably by Blair Russell’s razor sharp rhythms and fleet-footed prancing and jumping about.

Songs like “Smash The Glass” cracked whip-like lashing sharp, as drummer Mike Sasso led the tempo, blasting out staccato hits underneath Delorenzo’s ‘Experiment In Terror’ low-end barrage, while Kanach and Russell’s six-stringed wall of fuzz padded the middle ground. “Smash the Glass” left the Brighton faithful drained and edging closer to the stage with drunken shouts for more.

Other known Mischief hits were the record’s self titled number, “Only Losers Left Alive,” as well as the sing along punk anthem “Rotten To The Core,” a favorite of mine, and a song that has helped make that Mischief album one of the more memorable. Mischief was called back for three encores, including “Search and Destroy,” “Pills” and “Russian Roulette,” by long time pals Lords of The New Church.

The very fact that they still love what they do is much more important now than chasing a recording contract carrot through endless hours of gigs and broken promises or being crammed is some shitty van on the freeway. As lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Kanach states, “The reunion reminded me what music used to mean to us when we started out. We were going to change the world, right the wrongs and exorcise our demons. Sharing our passion was somehow going to make things better for us. And in a way, it actually did that. Only Losers Left Alive was an album that I am still proud of. It captured exactly who we were at that moment in our lives and tonight was a great reminder of that passion.”

Mischief says they plan on returning for more, so stay tuned for my Kolchak, The Night Stalker updates on the band, as well as other Brighton shows featuring the resurrection of our original music scene and the players who really started it all in New Jersey.