D Generation Break Up, Singer's Club Closes

Singer Jesse Malin, bassist Howie Pyro form new band while Malin's Coney Island High goes out of business.

NEW YORK — Glam-punk band D Generation have broken up, and they've taken one of the city's flagship punk clubs with them.

The band, which released its third album, Through the Darkness, in February, quietly called it quits in April. This week, Coney Island High, the club D Gen lead singer Jesse Malin co-founded four and a half years ago, permanently shut its doors due to financial problems, Malin said Wednesday.

After seven years, three albums and two major-label deals, D Generation had simply run its course as a band, Malin, who also played guitar, said. "It was time to shake things up and start something brand new," he said.

Along with D Generation bassist Howie Pyro, Malin has started a new band, PCP Highway, which is recording its debut album and looking for a record label. PCP Highway's sound is "trippier, more 21st century" than D Generation's straightforward, sneering-vocals-and-crunchy-guitars approach, Malin said from the studio where the new band is working.

One club PCP Highway will never get to play is Coney Island High, the East Village venue that succumbed this week to what Malin said were financial problems that plagued it ever since it opened. "We never really made a profit," he said.

The club, which owed money to its landlord and other creditors, was forced to shut down by a bankruptcy court judge, Malin said.

Coney Island High carved a significant niche in the New York music scene as a leading punk- and glam-rock venue. Over the years, the club hosted such memorable events as the California ska-pop band No Doubt's first New York appearance and one of the final shows by punk godfathers the Ramones.

Along the way, Coney Island High became, among other things, perhaps the only nightclub to sell Manic Panic hair dye — "in case your roots are showing," as the club's website (www.coneyhigh.com) explains.

Coney Island High also was a prime destination for the city's rock elite. "Everybody's bummed," former Ramones frontman Joey Ramone said Wednesday. "There's nowhere to hang out now."

Ramone, a friend of Malin's, was a regular there, both onstage and in the audience.

Ramone was scheduled to host a "Cyberbash" concert at Coney Island High as part of the Digital Music Festival next week. The show, which will include Ronnie Spector, the Independents and other artists, has been moved to the Soho club Don Hill's.

Other shows scheduled for Coney Island High will either be canceled or moved to other venues, according to a message on the club's answering machine.

"There's no club like it," Ramone said. "It was a one-of-a-kind place."

In April, D Generation played their final show at Coney Island High, which they recorded for a live album they intend to release soon, Malin said. The band also plans to release a B-sides and rarities collection, he said.

D Generation, who toured with California pop-punkers the Offspring earlier this year, worked with two of rock's most respected producers during their career. Former Cars frontman Ric Ocasek produced their second album, No Lunch (1996), which included such pop-savvy songs as "Capital Offender"

(RealAudio excerpt). Tony Visconti, who produced such earlier glam-rockers as David Bowie and T. Rex, handled those duties for D Gen's hard-rocking final album, Through the Darkness.

Those two albums came out on Columbia after the band lost its deal with Chrysalis, which released D Generation (1994).

"They were a great band," Ramone said. "I was kind of upset about [the break-up]."

The other former members of the band — guitarists Todd Youth and Danny Sage and drummer Michael "Wildwood" Reich — are all working with new bands, Malin said.