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Just found your site...do you know an early punk/new wave New Haven/New London band from late 70's/early 80's "the clothespins" ? fronted by Dan Nugent. Band later renamed "Vacant Lot" songs on "Towers of New London" and "Towers 2" compilations. I'm looking for any info...


Craig Bell had quite an impressive career. Not only being part of the Cleveland scene (and what a scene it was...where's the Taschen coffee-table book on that?) but also as the founder and head of the Syd Barrett Society. I was a member of the SBS, living in Denver in the early '70s. I remember taking a car trip to NYC with friends to see Bowie at Madison Square Gardens (Diamond Dogs tour '74), and stopping off to visit Craig in Cleveland on the way. Two in the morning and the house was crawling with proto-Ubu types, bombed on some kind of downers, the stereo cranking This Town Ain't Big Enough over and over (they had just got the import single that day). Craig was a great host, showing us his collection of Velvet Underground live at La Cave posters and letting us crash on his floor. Met up with him on the RFTT reunion tour a couple of years back. No memory of any of it. Hah!


Did you ever find Alan Rutberg? I am looking for him, too. He did the cover of a magazine in the 70s that I just love.

John Brolley

@Johnny77, albeit four years later....

I played saxophone in the Clothespins for a couple of years, roughly 1979-80. At that time, only the bass player still lived in New London CT; Dan Nugent and I were roommates in Boston, the drummer lived in Winthrop MA, and guitarist Matt Jansky was in NYC. The band -- or at least the idea of the band -- started while some of us were still enrolled at Connecticut College, so there was no direct New Haven connection, though one might have occurred after I left the band and they went on to become Vacant Lot. We did play on bills with New Haven bands now and then, including Saucers (before Seth Tiven moved on to Dumptruck).

We didn't do any recording beyond the occasional cassette compilation, and our steadiest gig was at Baba O'Riley's in New London. Sometimes we headlined the locals-only shows and we frequently opened for the Reducers; once we got lucky and opened for Mission of Burma, and I recall that the Clothespins also opened for the Stranglers but not when I was a member. We were pretty young, we played hard and we took the music and the message seriously. There were personality clashes now and then, but all in all it was a good time.

Dan died about twenty years ago and I have no idea what the other ex-Clothespins are doing, so there's not much else to tell. About five years ago I accidentally ran across an old Shaboo flyer that mentioned the band. It was online and I printed it but neglected to bookmark the site. Such is life.

Bob Winslow

Hey Brolley! How are you? Bob Winslow


John Brolley and John77,

I can't remember if I responded to this comment or another one on some other thread, but yeah, it's me-- the guitarist from the Clothespins. I remember that we did play with the Saucers, it was a pretty big deal for us at the time, though I can't remember the specifics of the show.

I am currently in Hollywood starting my fifth career or so and recording with Mike Alvarez for the underground psychedelic punk label Not Records Tapes. We play out very, very sporadically, but fun shows-- everything from the Whisky & Rainbow to way underground venues in Santa Barbara and Orange County.

We recently digitized all the old Clothespins demos, so they may actually be released at some point-- some sound better than others. You may inquire at mattjansky@sbcglobal.net, I will keep you posted. I am in touch with Don P, the second sax player, and Bob W., the drummer in Winthrop, we shoot the shit on e-mail all the time, would love to hear from John Brolley. I am also in touch with Tom C, the previous bass player from the Clothespins, and sporadically in touch with Mark B. and Bob B, the earlier drummer and bass player/guitarist respectively. Also in touch with Bill Dumas, who was more of a regular on the New London scene, played drums for Vacant Lot's last gigs, and also is working with Not Records Tapes on our current album. Note that the Reducers recently released a version of the Clothespins song Basement Boy as a tribute to Dan Nugent, you can probably find it on their website.

Feel free to hit me back with more info and questions. Would love to hear from anyone from the old scene.

John Brolley

Once again, that will teach me not to bookmark sites. I totally lost track of this one for two years and now I find that Bob and Matt have posted. No disrespect, guys, I just lost the link! Anyway, it's good to know that some folks have stayed in touch with one another. I feel a bit guilty using this page as a Clothespins blog, so in keeping with the hey-I-guess-we're-middle-aged-now theme, I'll shoot a couple of e-mails out, and check to see if I can find Matt and Bob and perhaps others on (ugh) Facebook.

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