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’90s Brooklyn rockers Dead Air reuniting for one night only

’90s Brooklyn rockers Dead Air reuniting for one night only
Back on the air: Bassist Michael Maclvor, drummer Wayne K. Banner-Schneiderman, and guitarist John LaMacchia get ready for their reunion show.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

After 20 years of dead air, they’re making noise again.

Legendary Southern Brooklyn rock band Dead Air is reuniting for one night only at Williamsburg venue the Grand Victory on Jan. 10. The trio is playing at a goodbye party for some friends moving to San Francisco, members said.

“This may be the only chance for people to see us play again,” said guitarist John LaMacchia, a Gravesender.

For fans who remember the band’s heyday, the reunion is a big deal. One Bay Ridge musician who grew up listening to the power trio said the group garnered an intense following in the 1990s for its raw energy and masterful genre-blending.

“They were light-years before their time,” said Justin Brannan, the guitarist of Brooklyn bands Most Precious Blood and Indecision. “These were hardcore kids playing something totally different, and it was stimulating and unique — it was as much Jane’s Addiction as it was CBGBs. It was very much a movement at the time. It was cult-like.”

LaMacchia, bassist Mike MacIvor, and drummer Wayne K. Banner-Schneiderman formed Dead Air in 1992. The friends were fresh out of high school and needed an outlet to push their own musical boundaries, said Banner-Schneiderman, who lives in Sheepshead Bay.

For nearly a decade, the three made a name for themselves in Southern Brooklyn’s once-thriving rock clubs. The first show was at the now-closed Crazy Country Club in Bay Ridge. Within a couple years, Dead Air was headlining L’Amour — the so-called “rock capital of Brooklyn” in Borough Park where Metallica, Megadeth, and Twisted Sister cut their teeth before they became household names, members said.

“L’Amour was a very important place for us to play, and by ’94, we were headlining our shows and, if it didn’t sell out, it was pretty close to selling out,” LaMacchia said.

Not long after, Dead Air was drawing scores of fans at Manhattan punk mecca CBGB and as far east as Long Island. A bus once ferried 70 Dead Air-heads to a show at the now-shuttered Ferrari’s on Long Island, according to an article published in the short-lived Long Island Voice.

But Dead Air never broke out of the regional scene, and the members disbanded in 1998 for other projects, said MacIvor, who lives in Carroll Gardens.

In the years since, the trio said they have seen Brooklyn’s music environment has change drastically. Indeed, many of the group’s old haunts are long-buried.

“We played lot of places that don’t exist anymore,” MacIvor said.

The focus has shifted to Brooklyn’s Manhattan-adjacent neighborhoods — once a rock wasteland, he said.

“It’s funny, that whole landscape has completely changed,” MacIvor said. “One time Dead Air played a Polish club in Greenpoint, and it was a great time, but I remember people looked at us like we had 10 heads.”

But while the music scene is hitting fever pitch in hip neighborhoods, folks south of the Park are still keeping the old spirit alive, members said.

“There is this DIY venue in Bensonhurst,” LaMacchia said referring to borough newcomer Frank’s Basement. “Maybe that’s a glimpse into the future of what will be going on in Southern Brooklyn. Back in the day, in these neighborhoods, rock was happening here.”

Dead Air plays the Grand Victory [245 Grand St. between Roebling Street and Driggs Avenue, (347) 529–6610, www.thegr‌andvi‌ctory.com). Jan. 10 at 7 pm.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeg‌er@cn‌gloca‌l.com or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Frequent flyers: A poster for a Dead Air show in Staten Island, circa 1993.

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