Playing tough-minded rock with pop hooks, hard rock riffs, and more than a little retro style, Tuff Darts first began making a noise on the New York club scene in the early ’70s, where their punchy sound and suit-and-tie image earned them gigs opening for The New York Dolls.
The band made its recording debut with three tracks on the 1976 compilation album Live at CBGB’s before original vocalist Robert Gordon left the group and eventually went on to a well-respected solo career as a rockabilly revivalist.
With new singer Tommy Frenzy at the helm, Tuff Darts scored a deal with Sire Records and released their self-titled debut album in 1978.
A nationwide tour followed, but after returning to New York, Frenzy announced he was leaving Tuff Darts to form his own band, Big Spender. It wasn’t long before Tuff Darts broke up.
The band’s sole album was reissued on CD in 2002, and Frenzy, Salen, DeSalvo, and Morrison celebrated the occasion by reuniting for a handful of shows.
Frenzy continues to perform with a new Tuff Darts line-up, as well as recording and gigging as a solo act.
Founder and lead guitarist, Jeff Salen, died of a heart attack on 26 January 2008 aged 55.
John De Salvo