Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bernie Kugel: A Photo Essay

Text (c) Robert Barry Francos, 2012
Photos as indicated

Yeah, sure, we hated each other the first time we met across the aisle in a classroom at Lafayette High School, in Brooklyn back in the early 1970s. Then one day we realized we were both reading comics while waiting for the teacher, and have been pals since.

I still remember the day when Bernie Kugel commented that he was thinking about picking up the guitar, some time before he went off to Buffalo to attend college. We formed a group together, called Les Beins, which was renamed The Good after he moved. After a few 45 releases on BCMK Records (i.e., Buffalo College of Musical Knowledge), he form garage punk cult legends Mystic Eyes, releases a few singles and two LPs on Get Hip Records out of the Pittsburgh area. After the death of their lead guitarist, he gathered the short-lived The Bernie Kugel Experience. Recently, gathering his Buffalo brethren around him, he has reformed the Good.

Now he's been inducted into the Buffalo Musicians Hall of Fame.  Sure, I could tell Kugel and Francos stories for hours, but here is a photo collage instead. Enjoy.
RBF and Bernie in the Kugel living room during high school, taken by his mom (pic: Goldie Kugel)

Bernie (wearing a FFanzeen t-shirt) and RBF goofing in an EJ Korvettes photo booth after signing fake names at a credit card table to get a free 2-liter Pepsi each.

Late '70s, we shared a table at a Rock Ages convention, where they put us in the middle of nowhere and we made no money, next to the Time Barrier Express table (pic by Suzanne Newman).

At a Burger King across the street from Madison Square Garden during one of his trips to New York after moving to Buffalo (pic: Dennis Concepcion).

The weekend Bernie married Dawn "Tink" Martin in Buffalo (pic: RBF).
Sitting at the kitchen table on Vermont Street, Buffalo, in one of his many horizontal striped tees (pic: RBF).

After a Videowave party in Brooklyn, late 1980s; l-r: FFanzeen Managing Editor Julia Masi, BK, Lynn Beggs. We were about to head over to White Castle (pic on 110 instamatic: RBF).

Mystic Eyes rehearsal in Craig's basement; l-r: Scott Davison (drums), Eric Lubstorff (back; lead guitar), Craig Davison (bass), BK (vox/guitar) (pic: RBF)

Mystic Eyes rehearsal in Craig's basement; l-r: Eric Lubstorff, Craig Davison, Scott Davison, BK (pic: RBF)

Mystic Eyes rehearsal in Craig's basement; BK wearing an ironic John Denver tee (pic: RBF)

Back stage before a Mystic Eyes gig in Buffalo, the band plays Jeopardy with RBF being a category (note: I was not there) (pic: Dawn Kugel)

Bernie picks up Eric Lubstoff (RIP) from LaGuardia Airport for a visit after BK moved back to Brooklyn for a period (pic: RBF)

The Bernie Kugel Experience open for Roy Loney of the Flamin' Groovies at Under Acme, NYC (pic: RBF)

Visiting Bernie in Cheektowaga while on a road trip to see the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame and Museum around 2005 (pic: RBF)


  1. Someday you should write about our adventures in White Castle after the Videowave party. It seems like everytime you, me and Bernie got together insanity ensued.

  2. nice photo about 30 years and 100 lbs ago. great to see. thanks much - scott davison