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Salad Days Magazine | April 12, 2024

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No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History

No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History
Salad Days

‘No Slam Dancing’ is an oral history of 80s/90s-era punk & metal told through the portal of one club—Trenton, NJ’s City Gardens.

After many years of hard work, tears, stops and starts, the book is finally completed! We labored to cover every aspect of the club – the punks and skinheads who inhabited it most nights, the dance nights (when they usually didn’t!), the bands who played, the bouncers who protected them, the bartenders (including a young Jon Stewart) — and everyone else who showed up. Besides all the music, what so many people remember is how City Gardens changed their lives; it made many lives better and may have even saved a few. Attending those shows and dance nights made a lot of outsiders and odd socks feel like they were part of a community – accepted and free to express themselves. Over the years, patrons had different perceptions of, and relationships to, the club and what went on there. People who went there in the beginning saw things differently than those who started going in later years. We worked hard to document it all. A few excerpts from the book have been posted on The Rumpus. Read about how the Butthole Surfers almost burned the place down (or did they?). Or the Circle Jerks show on New Year’s Day in 1989 when Keith Morris confronted the infamous “Wall of Death.” These are just a taste of the events we’ve chronicled! Many people feared that D. Boon from the Minutemen would go through the stage at City Gardens. We have done well over 100 interviews and along the way have talked to Henry Rollins (a onetime Trenton resident), Daily Show host and former City Gardens bartender Jon Stewart, Dean Ween, Ian MacKaye, GWAR, Al Jourgenson (Ministry), Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers), Harley from the Cro-Mags, City Gardens promoter Randy Now, plus bouncers, moshers and other miscreants…to name but a few! We have great packages with really cool stuff! You can get a limited edition t-shirt emblazoned with the infamous “No Slam Dancing” sign, City Gardens pint glasses, signed photos and more. So check it out and help us preserve some punk rock history!

Amy & Steven

(taken from

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