‘The Shoits’, as their Brooklyn accents would have it, engaged on a long, hard climb in the mid to late 70s along the US East Coast under the direction of their manager, CBGBs entrepreneur Hilly Kristal.
Apart from lead singer Annie Golden (pictured above), The Shirts all lived and rehearsed in the same house. In addition, guitarist Ronnie Ardito, bassist Robert Racioppo and keyboard player John Piccolo were all cousins. The other two live-ins were John Criscione (drums) and Artie Lamonica (guitar and vocals).
Their self-titled first album (1978) was a stark but fairly accurate compendium of their virtues, demented, tight rockers (Empty Ever After) snuggling beside willowy ballads (The Story Goes), and not too many people got to hear it, a consequence of no hit singles.
Of those who did twist an eardrum, some thought it dandy and the rest made remarks about outmoded 60’s jumble.
John ‘Zeek’ Criscione