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Site Preserves Bard College Music History


Skip Strong’s Steamboat Six
  • Skip Strong’s Steamboat Six
The changing of the year is always a time for reflection on times past. With that maxim in mind, I figured that this first Arts & Culture post of the new year would be an appropriate space to highlight Bard Makes Noise, a fascinating website launched in 2022 to chronicle the history of bands and musicians at Bard College.


Covering content from the 1950s through the 2000s, the growing archival site is a trove of recordings, photographs, fliers, and capsule histories of Bard bands and solo artists making music across a wide range of styles: Rock, folk, punk, jazz, funk, bluegrass, hip-hop, metal, indie, electronica, and psychedelic acts are featured. Naturally, there are entries on better-known Bard-associated acts like Steely Dan, whose Donald Fagen and Walter Becker are also heard with singer-songwriter Terence Boylan; the Beastie Boys, whose Adam Yauch studied electronic music at the college from 1982 to 1984; and Boba Fett AKA Challenge of the Future, which featured a pre-Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner.

Boba Fett in 1995
  • Boba Fett in 1995

Also here, however, are intriguing items on obscure Bard bands that are perhaps fondly remembered by a handful of their classmates but remain unknown to the world at large: Dixieland jazzers Skip Strong’s Steamboat Six; Tivoli-born no wavers the Trolls; party funksters Velcro Dildo; and Bard’s first punk band, Virus, which is said to have formed on the campus in 1978, although the two crude live tracks archived at the site are dated 1977.

  • Virus
“Our goal is to constantly be adding material,” say the website’s curators. “So hand it over if you’ve got it.” 

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