This Polyrock page was created by/is maintained by friends of Polyrock with the support of members of the band. You are welcome to ask questions, send a note or leave comments for the band. They will be forwarded. Polyrock's first two albums are now available for the first time ever on CD thanks to Wounded Bird Records! You can order Polyrock's self-titled album by clicking here! To order Changing Hearts, you can click here to purchase!
A Brief History Of The Band. "I find their approach to their music serious, lively, risky; these guys are doing all the things that artists are supposed to be doing." --Philip Glass, speaking about the New York rock clubs of the late '70s
Formed in 1978, Polyrock was one of New York's first groups to explore post-disco/new-sensibility dance music. The sextet led by ex-Model Citizens singer/guitarist Billy Robertson gained unquestionable artistic credibility through the patronage of Philip Glass, who (with Kurt Munkacsi) produced and played on their two original albums. The first combines minimalist repetition with electro-pop and smart, aware songs, then strips it all down to skin and bone.
"We never set out to make dance music, it was a by-product of our very conscious experiment to do something different and new. Our music probably reflected our inner-city anxious neurotic youth trying to bend the norm. I think we just heard it all in the 70's and wanted to do something different. " -- Lenny Aaron
Polyrock released two records on RCA in 1980 and 1981, Polyrock and Changing Hearts and an EP entitled Above The Fruited Plain on PVC/Jem before disbanding in 1982. A final cassette entitled No Love Lost was released on cassette only through ROIR in 1986 containing outtakes, demos, and live material.
Polyrock were, perhaps unknowingly, innovators of art rock whose legacy remains largely unknown. However, the potency of the sound they helped to shape and were so much a part of is evidenced in the work of innumerable artists of the last 25 years.
The Bucket Rider:
Excerpt from Live at Hurrah's:
********************************* From the liner notes to 1986's No Love Lost:
1978 was a good time for new music in New York city, with the likes of Patti Smith and Blondie becoming world famous and bands such as Television and Talking Heads getting recognition. There were numerous "new wave", "art rock", avant garde pop bands (sigh) plus a healthy New York club scene. Bands could perform with some frequency before an audience and mingle with other more established artists. Punk had emerged in America, an art scene was taking root on the lower east side, and two established weekly papers covered new bands -- The Soho Weekly News and the Village Voice.
In late 1978, I had just left the New York-based Model Citizens and had had the experience of working on an EP produced by John Cale and engineered by Kurt Munkacsi on John's own label, SPY. After Model Citizens, I moved into a ground floor loft in Tribeca with Lenny and Curt, where we used an abandoned basement meat freezer for rehearsal space. We were subsequently joined by my brother Tommy, Joey and Catherine.
Eight songs and six months later, we were playing out at Max's Kansas City, Tier 3, Hurrah, CBGB's, the Mudd Club, parties and anything we could get. We began to receive mention: one critic called us art-pop with Philip Glass-like wordless vocals.
If there was anything that Polyrock set out to do, it was probably to abandon R&B and traditional rock influences and embrace the likes of Philip Glass and Brian Eno, while hoping for something fresh to manifest. I believe these qualities, and a desire to be minimal in approach, first attracted Philip to us. Philip Glass and Kurt Munkacsi were already planning to produce a new band for RCA. After more showcases and more talk, we went on to make two albums -- "Polyrock" and "Changing Hearts" for RCA with Philip and Kurt. This association established enough of a following to keep us on the road, but not enough for RCA's bottom line.
In 1982, Tommy had left the band to pursue his own aspirations, and we five remaining members put out "Above the Fruited Plain", our own independent EP distributed by PVC/Jem. This was to be our final work together.
Polyrock's six members remain close friends, still working with music and living in New York. -- Billy Robertson, 1986
Thank you to Robert Burns Neveldine and the now-defunct Polyrock Pile webpage.