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Buffalo Music Vault

Stop for a moment to think about Buffalo’s live music history, with countless popular bands that played at some of the hottest venues around the country. We don’t tend to think about these “now obscure” bands too much, because so much of this music is hidden in obscurity.

If we dig deep enough, however, we can unearth these “sounds of the past.” In fact, that’s what local music aficionado Bob James is doing. James, who is a musician, producer, and nationally recognized music campaign fundraiser, has started to release his “long protected archives of historic studio and live recording from a range of WNY artists.”

The project, known as Buffalo Music Vault, has already resulted in some sensational releases, by prolific bands (with ties to Buffalo) that made their mark decades ago. 

“It was the COVID lockdown that reminded me that life is fleeting,” said James. “Unless I started sharing this music soon, it may get lost forever.”

Over the last year or so, James has begun to delve through hundreds of unreleased or unavailable tracks that have been stored in “The Vault.” That effort has led to the completion of two albums, with more in the works.

According to James, he has raised around $250k through music for charities since 1999 – half of that is for Veterans, half is for safe schools projects, FoodBanks (‘tunes4food’), and for Music is Art (MiA), where he was an early board member.

To get an idea about what sort of music (and bands) that we’re talking about, here are a couple of releases that James is now promoting:

The RESTLESS, LIVE, 7.7.82

Release date, July 15, 2021

BMV Release #1: Live broadcast from the historic Cleveland Agora; over the highly influential WMMS Radio station; This was the proof needed to land the band (known in 1982 as ‘The Edge”) a major label deal with Polygram-Mercury records. The high energy performance, and a mention in Rolling Stone magazine, attracted the interest of big name producers, Sandy Pearlman, Al Cooper, and finally Eddie Kramer (Hendrix, Zeppelin, Beatles, Kiss & others) to produce their debut LP. That 1984 LP received regular rotation coverage on 80 major market stations & MTV in the summer of 1984, thanks to their well connected managers Bruce Moser & Doug Dombrowski. Moser and 3 of the band members have been inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.

The ENEMIES 1978-1981 (lead image)

Release date August 6, 2021

Fred Mann, Joe Bompczyk, Bob Gueriglia & Pete Secrist were best known as a tough and high energy ‘punk’ band THE ENEMIES, playing to large crowds in places from the iconic Buffalo’s McVans to CBGBs in NYC and elsewhere. Their LP “Products of the Street” was known to have inspired Robby Takac and the formation of the Goo Goo Dolls. Many of their studio tracks were never released until now. Central to this 16 track CD, are 9 songs produced at James’ Maxwell Music Studio between 1979-1981. The August 6 CD release event now comes full circle as a benefit for Takac’s Music is Art festival 2021. 


Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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