Murder, betrayal, fortunes lost, a Quincy Jones lawsuit, and a passion for singing and playing together are all part of the history of local British influenced new wave band Quincy. They came out of the famous New York City punk scene in 1978 at CBGBs.
Quincy signed the biggest record deal in history for a new band in 1980 with the biggest record company in the world. But who the hell are they? Let’s back up.
The two sets of songwriting brothers rented an old house in Collingswood, NJ in 1975 and formed the band. Friends from Haddon Heights High School, Steve & Brian Butler with Alex & Gerald (Emerick) Takach began playing local bars in the area like The Library II and The Red Apple (later The Galaxy). Drummer Mike Governa joined up at that time.
They caught the ear of promoter Don Driggs who offered a tour of the midwest playing South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota ballrooms. Unwilling to travel Mike Governa left the band and Bob Holden joined up. The band honed it’s skills and built a solid act. Upon their return while playing at a bar in Philadelphia (JC Dobbs) one of the members, Alex Takach, was stabbed to death in a random act of violence. A horrific turn of events. (The murder was never solved.)
After several grieving months, the devastated band members decided to continue. The clubs in Philadelphia refuse to hire them because of their association with the murder. Around this time punk rock emerged from England and the angry disenfranchised youths from that movement found Quincy joining the ranks. It was at this time a friend from the local club scene Wally Smith AKA Metro joined the line-up adding his unique brand of mischief and mayhem on keys and the chemistry was formed.
Looking to get signed to a record deal they began playing in New York City at Max’s Kansas City, Great Gildersleeves, and CBGBs where owner Hilly Krystal took an interest and signed the band to a management contract and released their first single on CBGB records. Still playing clubs all over New Jersey they started playing CBGBs regularly.
Soon record labels took an interest and a bidding war for the band ensued. The excitement grew. Word of the the band’s good fortune and impending success brought some unwanted attention. Vultures wanting money and lawsuits from every crackpot the band had met along the way emerged. Even the famous Quincy Jones sued the band eventually preventing what should’ve been a meteoric rise to success and fame. The impact of that lawsuit delivered what would turn out to be the fatal blow. Forced to change the name and losing favor with Columbia Records things went south.
The band continued to write and record but after several years of trying to rebuild it’s momentum the members went their separate ways continuing on in various musical projects such as Smash Palace, Crosstown Traffic, Lulu Temple, and The Dukes of Destiny.
The songs, the music, the fun, and the friendship was always at the center. All these years later the same members of Quincy are coming together again. In New Jersey where it started.
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