Blog

We Proudly Announce To You - Rocks Off NYC Walking Tours!!!!!

Rock N Roll has lived, breathed, evolved and injected itself into NewYork City - transforming itself, the city, the people and the very culture of America and the world along the way. Please allow us to show you the when, the how, the why, and the who.

A walk through Manhattan's East Village is a walk through Rock N Roll history. Boston can have their Freedom Trail and Philly can keep their Liberty Bell, nowhere has more history, culture and tradition than New York City and nowhere rocks nearly as hard. Since famed radio DJ Alan Freed coined the term Rock N Roll, New York has been it's ground zero.

Sure, you could go to Cleveland and walk through a museum, or surf Wikipedia until you're blind….OR you could immerse yourself in the very streets and sights where ordinary men and women became immortal rock gods and the proverbial "shit went down." We're talking about a walking tour of the great Rock N Roll haunts of NYC, a one-of-a-kind pilgrimage through the East Village and Lower East Side. From the late 19th century Vaudeville and Yiddish Theaters of the Bowery to the Homesteading by the Beatniks in the 50s, the hippies and radicals of the 60s and the classic rock and punk rockers of the 70s, this is where rock transformed from music to religion.

The Rocks Off Rock N Roll Walking Tour will show you ALL OF IT and then some. See where Leadbelly spent the last few years of his life, Charlie Parker's historic home, the Fillmore East, CBGB, Max's Kansas City, The Electric Circus, The Palladium, The Ritz / Webster Hall, Irving Plaza, Tompkins Square Park, Madonna's first NYC apartment, and tons more! Be prepared to walk the streets that LEGENDS have walked, piss in urinals that Lou Reed pissed in, drink egg creams that the NY Dolls drank, shit where GG Allin shit (everywhere). See where everyone who was anyone partied, played, created, and inspired the whole wide world.

Who better to lead you on your journey through rock history than the dudes that eat, drink and occasionally vomit Rock N Roll, the guys who kneel at the altar of rock, devil horns raised. Our tour guides have spent a collective 500 years in the business and the neighborhood and are sick and tired of keeping all their knowledge and passion to themselves. Let us enlighten you! You too can taste sweet, delicious Rock and Roll history.

 

THE PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE of ROCK NROLL in NEW YORK CITY:

A rock and roll walking tour of the highest order. We’re not here to give you a pedestrian (wink, wink) guide to the city. We want you to feel like you’ve lived, drank, eaten, and shit New York City Rock and Roll History. Just a few things you’ll see and feel on our tour: where Leadbelly and Joey Ramone lived out their lives, find out where Jimmy Page’s dealer lived, how to properly go #2 in the CBGB bathroom, see where Paul Simonon of the Clash smashed his bass, where Iggy and Blondie and countless other rockers shopped and still shop for clothes, Is that Chipotle?! No! It’s the Electric Circus! Can’t you see Warhol’s wig from here? And where did newcomers like The Strokes, Interpol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and more start? Oh, right here on Houston and Ave A. Yes, folks, Rock and Roll in NYC ain’t dead yet! We can prove it to you. Join us on the History Of Rock and Roll in New York City tour and become an expert just like our guides.
Hosted by Jake Szufnarowski

 

THE HISTORY OF ART, CRIME, DRUGS and PUNK ROCK ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE:

What was it about the Lower East Side that attracted so much talent and crime in the last 40 years? Since my early days of punk the summer of 1977 I’ve been exposed of the best music and the worst crime. Everything from Max’s Kansas City to the Alphabet City Butcher Daniel Rackowitz who lived right above me and killed his girlfriend, chopped her up and fed her to the homeless in Tompkins Square Park. I was also in that park when the riot of 1989 kicked off and I played one of the last shows at CBGB’s.

Most people walking around on the Lower East Side today with its trendy boutiques and coffee shops have no idea of its history, the great music and violence that has always co-existed side by side down here. I’ll take you to the punk clubs, gang hangouts and drug spots where some of the craziest things went down. It’s a first hand account from someone who was immersed in the danger having myself grown up on the streets of NYC since the age of 14. I guarantee you it will be a true punk rock & crime history lesson from someone who was there way back then and is still here.

We will drop by the famous CBGB’s location where The Ramones and so many other legendary punk bands started. We’ll walk by Great Gildersleeves where the Hells Angels regularly ran people over on their motorcycles. Stroll down memory lane at Saint Marks Place passing Trash and Vaudeville (punk store), the Electric Circus where the likes of Bad Brains, Crass, and so many others jammed. All the while telling you my anecdotes and funny stories of the crazy shit I’ve seen go down. Then Tompkins Sq Park, giving first hand knowledge of the areas events. We’ll even hit MANITOBAS for Bob Gruen's famous Punk Rock photo exhibit before we go by the Ritz (now Webster Hall) and Irving Plaza where so many great bands like Black Flag, Bad Brains, Circle Jerks, Motorhead (first US gig), The Damned, Buzzcocks and where the late punk-rocker John Belushi slam danced his nights away. Finally our last stops on the tour will be Max's Kansas City where we end in Union Sq Park discussing the area and what is what like. Drugs, hookers, violence, the Palladium where The Clash's London Calling album cover was taken and many great bands played. Ever heard of Julien's Pool Hall? The porno theaters where I’d sleep in the dead of winter for 50 cents a night and the Gramercy Park Boxing Gym (now PC Richard’s) where my old man and many world Champions boxed. The bottom line is, whether you’re a seasoned New Yorker or someone visiting the city on vacation, this tour is not to be missed. I can guarantee you it will be a memorable experience.
Hosted by John Joseph


JAKE SZUFNAROWSKI Concert Promoter. Band manager. Record Label Chief. Impresario. Founder of the Rocks Off Concert Cruise Series -now in it's 11th glorious years of promoting floating rock n roll concerts in New York Harbor. And currently the frontman for the international touring rock n roll juggernaut TRAGEDY: A Metal Tribute to the Bee Gees. Since 1994 Jake has lived, breathed and shaped Rock n Roll in New York City. He has booked the legendary rock n roll meccas Wetlands, The Knitting Factory and CBGB. His label Which? Records released records by Daniel Johnston, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Shining Path (featuring Dr Know and Darryl Jennifer of the Bad Brains), H2O, The Meatmen, Murphy's Law, the Dickies, and many more. He booked the farewell festival at Wetlands (which featured Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, blah blah blah) After booking countless nights as a promoter at CBGB, Jake was tapped to book the last 100 shows at the famed rock n roll institution. Jake even sang backing vocals with Joey Ramone on the Furious George song "Gilligan" This guy is so rock n roll that when you call him on the phone the voice you hear is none other than the King of the Surf Guitar DICK DALE telling you "You reached Jake Szufnarowski's phone. He's my buddy - he's the best agent there is in town, you fuck with him I will find your ass and I will wack you!" So, um, yeah, we think he's pretty qualified to show you around.


JOHN JOSEPH Author. Ex-con. Ex-drug addict. Musician. Street hustler. Triathlete. 30 Year Vegetarian / Vegan. Lifelong New Yorker and the frontman of the legendary Cro-Mags. Icon of Hardcore / Punk Rock music which was born in the burnt-out buildings where he squatted on the lower east side of Manhattan. John formed the Cro Mags in 1981. Before, during, and after his time in the Cro-Mags, Joseph served as an occasional roadie and spiritual divining rod for the Bad Brains on several tours. Since the Cro Mags breakup John kept himself busy with music - criss-crossing the globe with Modes of Ignorance, Bloodclot, Fearless Vampire Killers, and most recently the reformed Cro Mags. He’s currently writing a screenplay for a movie based on his experiences, but guess what? You can catch the stories told first–hand before they hit the big screen.