banner logo
nav bar bottom

Phil Gammage
"Adventures in Bluesland"
Phil Gammage: Adventures in Bluesland

Phil Gammage
"Kneel to the Rising Sun"
20th Anniversary Edition

originally released on New Rose (France)
Phil Gammage: Kneel to the Rising Sun

The Scarlet Dukes
"Rogue Escapade" Jump blues/swing
The Scarlet Dukes: Rogue Escapades
The Scarlet Dukes - Rogue Escapades

Certain General
"November's Heat" 1985's classic NYC post-punk LP November's Heat

Phil Gammage
"Tracks of Sound"
Edgy downtown jazz Phil Gammage - Tracks of Sound


by Jay Grant

1. Give me a short history of the band, formation, how did you end up in Laramie?

Alex, Stoney and I were students at the University at the time (1978). I met those guys at a music store in town. I had just come back to school after a summer in Chicago when I had seen the Ramones and the Dicatators play at the Ivanhoe Theater. Met those guys and started rockin at Alex's place.

record cov2. What was Laramie/WY like at the time? Stories? Local reactions/what did people in Laramie think of you? Was there any other bands worth mentioning?

Disco was big. It was a really bad time for music. Boston/Foreigner corporate rock, Jeff Beck and the Jazz Fusion thing. To say that People really reacted negetively to the Dirty Dogs would be an understatement. There were quite a few letters to the editor in the school paper about us. A lot of it was people acting out stuff from the 60 Minutes Punk Rock episode that" explained punk rock to the Americans. Alex threw some real big parties. There was a bit of a scene built by the charge account at Reed's Liquour store down the street. There was another band in town that was a good rock band. I forget their name. We called them the Faith Healers. Don Dimasi was their gutiar player and he played on the Dirty Dogs single with us.

3. Tell me a little about the shows you played in Colorado and the bands you played with.

We played on quite a few bills with the Johnny 3. They were a great rockabilly band from Littleton, Colorado. Wax Trax records was still in Denver at the time (they moved to Chicago in the early 80's). Wax Trax promoted a lot of the punk rock shows with bands like the Suicide Commandos and the Tuff Darts. We opened a lot of those shows 'cause we had a PA system that Alex had built. We used to have the Johnny 3 play with us in Laramie too. We did some shows in the old Fox Theater and we also played the Summit Tavern off of Interstate 80 inbetween Laramie and Cheyenne. Summit gigs were pretty wild.

4. Talk about the first record "Sorority Girl / Eric's Move" 45. Did you guys release it yourself? Where was it recorded? How many did you press/sale? What do you think of it?

We wanted to make a record and started looking into recording. The University music department had some recording gear but you had to be a music major to have access to it. (I was in the marching band playing trumpet) After looking around I found about this guy "Rocky's Recording Service" in West Laramie. He was an old guy with some professional portable recording gear that did recordings of school bands and orchestras.

Rocky came over to Alex's where we had our set up and took a feed off of our board and mixed in 3 mics of his own. Rocky's price included 200 45's. I think that's all that were pressed. I wish I had a few copies to sell that's for sure!

5. Then the band moved to Los Angeles and changed your name to the Accelerators. Give me a brief history of the Accelerators in LA. Tell me about the scene there.(Bands, audience, stories....)

We actually changed our name to the Accelerators before we moved to LA. We needed to play one more University gig to get the money to go to LA and we had been banned from the U of Wyo. We changed our name to get the gig. My hometown of Batavia, Illinois is home to the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Particle Accelerator. The place looked like something out of a Matt Helm movie. Thats where we got the name.

We got to Los Angeles/Hollywood on the night of Holloween '78. we parked our van, truck and car at the Holliday Inn on Hollwood Bouldevard and went to the street in our leather jackets and immediately got an invite to a show at the old Roosavelt Hotel with the Germs, the Mau Mau's and the Go Go's playing their very first gig. From there we made some connections and got a practice place in the legendary Masque in the basement of the Pussycat Theater. We played a lot of parties there including one for the Dead Boys after their Whiskey A Go Go gig. We played the Troubador, the Starwood, The Blind Pig and the Club 88.

6. Give me a little info on the Accelerators record.

We attracted the attention of a guy named Danny Holloway who used to work for Island Records. Danny went on to produce the Plimsouls.

We recorded at a studio in Hermosa Beach that a lot of the punk rock bands used to record at. It was a pretty good set up. We recorded mostly live with a minimum of overdubs. We put the record out ourselves with the help of my friend Doug Arbesfeld. Shortly after finishing the record (there were a thousand of 'em pressed up) Alex quit the band and that was pretty much the end. We played one more gig in Jackson Hole WY.

7. What happened after the Accelerators broke up? What have you been doing since? Are you still in contact with the other members of the Dirty Dogs/Accelerators?

eric ambel nowAfter the end of the Accelerators I stayed in Los Angeles and played in some bands. I played with Rik L Rik (lead singer from the early west coast band "F-Word". We had a song on one of the "Rodney On the Rocks" compilations. I also played with Top Jimmy in an early version of the Rhythm Pigs. I then became the first guitarist in Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. I hooked Dig Aeiltz up with Jimmy and he played with Top Jimmy for a long time.

I was in Joan Jett & the Blackhearts from '79-81. We moved to London then New York. After the Blackhearts I started a band with Scott "Top Ten" Kempner from the Dictators. Our band was called the Del Lords. We released 5 albums on EMI and Enigma. I released my first solo record called "Roscoe's Gang" on Enigma in '88. Del-Lords broke up around '90 or so. I released another solo record in '94 called "Loud & Lonesome" on East Side Digital records.

By the late '80's I was producing records for local bands in NYC. I have continued to produce records for artists like the Bottle Rockets, Nils Lofgren, Freedy Johnston, Blue Mountain and others. You can find some info about my producing at I also operate my own 24 track analog recording studio in Williamsburg Brooklyn. In '96 I opened a bar in NYC's East Village called the Lakeside Lounge. We have live music and an award winning jukebox stocked by my partner writer/DJ Jim "the Hound" Marshall. You can check out the Lakeside at For the last year or so I have been playing guitar with Steve Earle and the Dukes ( for their "Transcendental Blues" wold tour. We have been on the Jay Leno, Letterman and Conan shows. Also there is a concert video from Toronto.

I have a band called the Yayhoos with Dan Baird of the Georgia Sattelites and we are releasing our first record on Bloodshot records this August. The record is called "Fear Not the Obvious"

There has been some interest in the Dirty Dogs/Accelerators story for a while since we were inlcuded on the German "Killed By Death". That put me intouch with the other Dirty Dogs via e-mail

8. Anything else to add to complete the story?


This interview by Jay Grant is part of an ongoing project that archives Wyoming rock before 1985.