The Psychotic Frogs
The Long Island punk band Jimi LaLumia & the Psychotic Frogs started the Death to Disco movement with the single "Death to Disco (Disco Sucks)," released on the Death Records label in 1977/'78. It sold in the neighborhood of 10,000 copies, becoming an international underground hit. "Death to Disco (Disco Sucks)" was the first ever punk record to be released on Long Island and have worldwide impact.
The single's B-side, "Wipe Out," recorded as an afterthought, is now featured on AOL Radio's surf channel, and has become an internet fan favorite. The song, first a hit for the Surfaris in the '60s, was included because the band didn't have any other original songs at the time.
In 1978, spurred on by the worldwide success of "Death to Disco," LaLumia & the Frogs cut four new tracks, again for Death, and labeled the release the Typically Tasteless E.P.. The A-side boasted two new original tracks -- "Mangle Me," an extended vendetta answering and threatening the band's critics, and "You'll Never Walk Again," a mean-spirited song inspired by a Frogs appearance on the Don Imus television show and "You'll Never Walk Alone," a Broadway tune that Jerry Lewis sang at the end of the Muscular Dystrophy telethon.
The B-side features a triple X parody of "Eleanor Rigby, (also included on Killed By Death comp #14)" and a cover version of Wayne(now Jayne) County's "F**ked By the Devil," which County had cleaned up while in England and recorded as "Paranoia Paradise." L.A. legends 45 Grave covered "F**ked By the Devil" in the '80s and credited LaLumia.
Typically Tasteless is considered the crowning achivement for The Psychotic Frogs, and cemented the band's reputation. The kissing nuns sleeve art -- by local artist Michael "Sport" Murphy, who later went on to front The Skels and release solo albums on the Kill Rock Stars label -- was a second choice, after a naked picture of James Dean in a tree with a hard on was rejected by record pressing plants. Typically Tasteless again sold thousands of copies, outstanding for an X-rated band in the pre-internet, pre-MTV era.
The Frogs wound up with a poorly produced and recorded third single -- from sessions for a never-released full-length studio album -- by 1979/'80; the A-side is a studio cover of the '60's oldie "Palisades Park" and the B side is a version of the Psychotic Frogs song "Loser," recorded live in concert at the Oyster Bay Theater; the record was pressed on clear vinyl, and then later, multi color vinyl. The B-side played from the inner groove out, instead of the usual outer groove in. This rare, poorly distributed single on the BeatBad label has sold for $400 on eBay.
The band dissolved in the early '80s, but a Live at Max's Kansas City performance showed up, first on a 1985 cassette on the Rather Rude indie label, then in the early '90s on CD as part of the legendary ESP Disk catalog. The live album served as a "Greatest Hits" of sorts, culminating with an all-star jam featuring New York rock scene stars -- all friends of LaLumia -- Johnny Thunders, Jayne County, Cherry Vanilla and Donna Destri, who joined the Frogs on two songs, "Twist and Shout" and "Boys." Both of these tracks were earlier released on a gold vinyl picture sleeve single in '91 on the Beat This label. In 2001, the live Thunders cuts became bonus tracks on the Winged Disk compilation Something In the Water: The Secret History of Long Island Punk, which also included the "Death to Disco" 7" and rare tracks by local acts like Dead Virgins, Horror Planet, Ism, Nihilistics and Sea Monster. The Psychotic Frogs is now regarded as a NYC/Long Island "first wave" punk legend.
The Dance Singles
By the mid '90s Jimi had begun a career DJing in nightclubs, and as a result, began toying with the idea of recording some "Jimi style" dance tracks, much to the shock and horror of those who thought he'd still be screaming "Death to Disco" three decades later. LaLumia teamed up with Bobby La Serra at Strong Island Records, and recorded tracks that were "punk" in spirit, in that the subject matter was hardly typical dance fare...
The result? Four Top 20 singles that appeared on Billboard Magazine's Dance Singles/Sales Chart...
"The Anthem (Drugs, Drugs, Drugs)" was a worldwide underground club hit, as was the "B' side, "For DJs Only," which was a lecture to the audience from the DJ's point of view. DJ's 'round the world went nuts over this one, released in 2003.
A year or so later came "Loud Enough" on Chris "The Greek" Panaghi's Liquid Music label along with the B-side follow up to "For DJs Only" titled "Sorry No Requests." Again, both tracks showed up on charts all around the world, although Top 40 Radio was scared off by the apocalyptic subject matter of "Loud Enough," just as it had been frightened by theme of "The Anthem" a year earlier. The LaLumia "punk" curse just wouldn't go away...
In 2005, a more commercial track, "Dance Floor" was released on Liquid Music. "Dance Floor" managed to show up on the national MediaBase radio airplay chart, and Long Island's Party 105 radio used the track for commercials. The same was true for the Strong Island release of "Last Call," the third in the series of "DJ Lecture" records. "Last Call" went Top Ten in Belgium, just as "Sorry No Requests" had done in Greece. After recording a cover version of "Native Love" by Divine, LaLumia hung up his dance shoes...for the moment.
In late 2006, La Serra's Strong Island Records released a limited 7" on red vinyl for "New York City Song," a new track by Jimi LaLumia and the Psychotic Frogs. The record -- complete with a cheerleader style "spell-it-out" verse -- was a snarky tribute to CBGB, its release timed to coincide with the closing of the legendary punk venue The Frogs quickly shot a live performance video for the song featuring punk icon Jayne County joining in on vocals.
Jimi LaLumia remains on Long Island, and can be found spinning an eclectic catalog of music as a DJ at night.
What's next is anyone's guess!