Tony Powers: Press
Rantings and musings from a pixel pusher
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Let's go back in time. Before there was the internet. Before Youtube. Before DVD's.CD's were justing coming in their own. Laser Disks were exotic. When the idea of owning a "personal computer" was still a novel idea. Before MTV was international, let alone the darling of Viacom. When "music videos" could only be seen in a few places. When the idea of actually owning a copy of music videos was exotic.
So there I was, one weekend afternoon over at Marc Cerasini and Charles Hoffman's Red Hook apartment, with CJ Henderson (look up these amazing writers if you want to know why I find it important to mention them by name. In fact, buy their books dammit!) for the purpose of hanging out and watching videos. Marc had something special to show us. He couldn't rent DEVO's Video, (The Truth about De-Evolution) so the store clerk recommended something else. This was what I saw:
A full out sensory assault. With stream of consciousness lyrics that somehow moved between the works of Herbert Selby Jr. and William S. Burroughs via Ring Lardner and a visual style that was, and remains, between a waking nightmare and the best of the French New Wave and Sam Fuller. This was the 80's version of a New York that I remember. And then there was the star of it all. A thin dude with a profile that Lamont Cranston would be familiar with and an accent somewhere between North Yonkers and South Brooklyn, Tony Powers and his conspirators take us on a little evening stroll around some old haunts in Manhattan.
And that was only the first of three. Tony himself has posted Don't Nobody Move (This is a Heist) for us to view on youtube . Maybe soon, he will post the other two--"Odyssey" (with Lois Chiles", and "Midnite Trampoline" (with Corine Loraine).
Tony Powers. Buy his new CD:
Who Could Imagine
Posted by marcoshark on MySpace at 10:55 AM
When John Lurie was guest host for the 2 hour VH1 New Visions in 1988 he played this video. Guest hosts could play whatever music videos they wanted and Lurie said he did not know where Tony Powers was at that time or what he was doing but liked the video a lot.
Back in the day, the USA Network used to carry this show called Night Flight, which ran from midnight till 3:00am or so and showed all sorts of weird, underground and cultish music videos -- stuff you'd never see on MTV, which, at the time, was too busy pushing Huey Lewis and Lionel Richie on an unsuspecting public. While most other red-blooded American kids were out drinking cheap beer in mall parking lots and chasing tail, I was glued to Night Flight. And my all-time favorite Night Flight video was a six-minute smorgasbord of downtown NYC surreality called "Don't Nobody Move (This is a Heist)" by Tony Powers. Now, through the miracle of YouTube, this video is available to the general public once again.
I don't know a lot about Powers, other than he played "Jimmy Two Times" in GoodFellas [the gangster who said everything twice, as in "I'm gonna go get the papers, get the papers"] and was also in a couple of Caruso-era NYPD Blues as a mob boss. But "Heist" should have made him a superstar, if for no other reason than it's simply one of the coolest and weirdest things ever committed to video. Check it out below and watch Powers -- who looks like Michael Richards' slightly dangerous younger brother -- chain-smoking his way through Times Square, fraternizing with the homeless and other transients, haunting late-night cafes, and feeling up mannequins. Just like your Uncle Pietro, only Powers was getting paid for it.
And even if you don't like the song -- which kinda recalls Leonard Cohen and every drunken Saturday night you've ever experienced -- you gotta admire the goofy cameos in this vid. Look! There's Peter "Boone from Animal House" Riegert as a mild-mannered hot dog stand patron! And Marcia Strassman -- Mrs. freakin' Kotter, fer chrissakes -- as a bubble-gum blowing hooker! And, hey, isn't that Stephen "7th Heaven" Collins as her would-be john? You'll also see Treat Williams in the all-important roll of "Guy in the Shower Who Gets Surprised by Tony Powers." And, if you look closely, you'll spot a young but impressively bulky John Goodman [sitting at a cafe table in a blue Hawaiian shirt] in an inexplicably bizarre bit that I can only hope Powers got paid a lot of money for.
So, please, I ask you: Watch this video. Bask in its weirdness. Embrace Tony Powers. And journey with me back to a better time.
Don't Nobody Move, This Is a Heist (1984) [Single]
I was clicking and dragging songs out of a buddy's Ipod onto I Tunes for me to then click and drag onto my 60 gig player. I came across the name Tony Powers. I was like, who is this, man? Tony Powers? Do I need that? He explained that, "Don't Nobody Move, This Is A Heist" was a tune First Ave in Minneapolis would crank up at bar time when they wanted to get everybody out years and years ago. He said it was funny and would always crack him and his pal up. Years later, he snagged it from Napster or what have you.
Don't Nobody Move(TIAH) kicked me in the tookus. Too bad you'll never hear it.
O.K., so Rudy G did an amazing job cleaning up NYC, especially the Times Square area...still, we sometimes find ourselves disturbingly nostalgic regarding that old smut pit, once filled with drugs, whores and bums. This video captures that late night, 8th ave feeling perfectly.
The singer/ songwriter is Tony Powers who also wrote such classic hits as 98.6 and Lazy Day. Today Tony is an actor working the scene in Hollyweird and has been featured on both the big and little screens (Goodfellas and Catch Me if You Can, to name but a few).
I remember the first time I saw this video was on USA Network's Night Flight, a late night, weekend cable show that ran from midnight to 5 am and showed a lot of the stuff Mtv had yet to discover (it was actually the first place I saw Madonna). The show had an odd, decidedly underground sensibility and, for that reason, it had me hooked at "hello".
While watching this one you may spot a few celebrities in the mix so, before you ask, yes, that is Mrs. Kotter (Marsha Strassman) as the hooker being solicited by Reverend Eric Camden (Stephen Collins) from 7th Heaven and, right you are, that's Boone from Animal House (Peter Riegert) trying to eat the hotdog, Berger from Hair (Treat Williams) is the one having his shower interrupted and a much slimmer John Goodman smoking, in the Hawaian shirt who has Tony singing into his crack.
This track has the best 70's/ early 80's sax work ( George Young) this side of Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side and ya gotta love that shot of the late great Times Square Howard Johnson Restaurant. Tony's ultra cool vocal and take no prisoners delivery brings back all the memories of the gone but never forgotten ultra hip Greenwich Village club scene when the Talking Heads, Blondie, The Ramones and Tony ruled the earth!
This video is, easily, in my top five favorites of all time! Enjoy!
feloniousbutterfly (7 months ago)
Wow dude. Wow.
saathi88 (7 months ago)
"So they gave me the electric chair again... and then they had me shot. Ow!"
Who Could Imagine
author: Barbara C. Levin
This is the real McCoy....a poet/songwriter/singer
who tells it like it is. The more you listen to this CD the more you get it. Tony Powers is an original and if you care about where this country is headed you need to listen up. His lyrics are funny and frightening and his voice is raw and romantic. Hurry up....buy this album!
DJ Jimmy M
post Jun 16 2003, 07:37 AM
."..but it was "Don't Nobody Move This Is A Heist" by Tony Powers..that has gotta be the most funniest damn video I've ever seen in my life... also the song itself is pretty funny as well. The funniest part is there is this guy that looks like Bob Dylan at a hot dog stand putting sour kraut on his hot dog and Tony Powers just walks up and starts singing and then as this Dylan look alike is about to take a bite into his hot dog Tony Powers yells right in his face and scares the living hell out of him and he throws the hot dog right at the vendor and you see the sour kraut fly and all LMGDAOF!!!!! You just gotta see it somehow if ya dont know what im talkin about LOL. Anyway, this is my first post here and I was referred here by one of the moderators who listens to my weekly 70's underground disco program I host on winmx." --Jimmy M
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The Greatest Recorded Album In 21 Years
author: Jimmy Michaels
Living in a world and a society today where music and art are all but dead, Tony comes through, and gives us a light at the end of the tunnel, with this brilliantly crafted lyrical and musical masterpiece.
Real production, expression and instrumentation are brought back to life after almost 2 decades of the same old bullshit everywhere we turn (rap, hip hop/whats passing for r&b, grunge/whats passing for rock, teenie bopper garbage, computer produced noise, etc).
Tony tells it like it is in almost every cut, and with a nice hint of humor. Listen to the samples provided here, they speak for themselves. Do yourself a favor and pick up this great album and be reminded of what real musical talent and art is all about. And all this in the times we're in now...who COULD imagine??
- Jimmy Michaels