Beat goes on: ’80s bands reunite to help old friend fight cancer

Play on: Guitarist Sal Cataldi helped put together a fund-raising concert for former bandmate Malcolm Smart.
Ivan Singer

He’s getting the bands back together.

A half-dozen bands from the Brooklyn Beat scene of the 1980s will reunite this month to help an old friend fight for his health. “Malcolm’s Kickin’ Cancer Concert,” at Rocky Sullivan’s in Red Hook on Aug. 17, will raise funds for Malcolm Smart, who is undergoing treatment for blood cancer. Smart played bass for several of the bands who rocked the Park Slope dive bar Lauterbach’s during the 1980s, and those bands will bring back the decade of decadence for the night, said one of the show’s organizers.

“In the mid-80s there were a lot of indie bands in Park Slope — we kind of had our own CBGB scene at Lauterbach’s and that’s how our scene began,” said Sam Cataldi. “When he heard he was diagnosed, we wanted to raise funds so he could have money to live off of. We felt the best thing to do was start doing a series of concerts.”

Smart played with the bands Frank’s Museum and Formaldehyde Blues Train, both of which will perform at the Aug. 17 show, along with local ’80s acts Rome56, The Shirts, Spaghetti Eastern Music, and M. West. Each of the bands will play for about 30 minutes, said Cataldi.

A few of the bands have come together for occasional shows over the years, but this will be the first show of this magnitude, said Cataldi, who played with Smart in Frank’s Museum.

“It’s going to be emotional,” he said. “Even though we periodically see each other time to time, not everybody has been back at once. So it’s going to be a lot of emotions because we all love Malcolm very much.”

Well preserved: Members of Formaldehyde Blues Train, shown playing in 1989 at Lauterbach’s in Park Slope, will reunite on Aug. 17 to raise funds for a former bandmember.
JR Rost

Smart, who now lives in Albany, plans to travel to Red Hook and play for a few minutes with each of his former bands. The man of the hour said that he is grateful for the love and encouragement his friends have extended to him, and while he was initially hesitant about accepting their help — he was overwhelmed with the support.

“It’s pretty amazing and it took me a while to get used to this, but people don’t want to stop doing things for me,” he said. “I felt a little embarrassed, but it’s been very humbling.”

The show will be a good time, said Cataldi. The band members at the show may be in their 50s and 60s, but they still have the same talent.

“Some of us still got it, and for some it’s not the same, but most of us are still active and can probably play better than 30 years ago — it’s all muscle memory,” he said.

“Malcolm’s Kickin’ Cancer Concert” at Rocky Sullivan’s [46 Beard St. at Dwight Street in Red Hook, (718) 246-8050,]. Aug. 17 at 8 pm. $10.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.
Man of the show: British-born bassist Malcolm Smart was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. He plans to play briefly at a fund-raising show thrown by his friends, at Rocky Sullivan’s in Red Hook on Aug. 17.
William A. Loeb

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