Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Satellite Lounge, Cookstown NJ



The Satellite Lounge, Cookstown NJ.
Owner Carlo Rossi.
Many Burg area folks familiar with this club near Fort Dix.
It was open from the 1960s to the 1980s according to my
records and many national acts played here.
Springsteen, Kiss,Molly Hatchet, King Diamond, The Young
Rascals. A local band called Good Wood.
Our own Sax played here for years as part of the house
band.

Sax Adds:

Carlo was a very colorfull man...there is that legendary story about when Foghat played at The Satellite that goes like this...Carlo owner told the band Foghat to turn volume down numerous times and finally he came out of the office with a shotgun (I think is was a handgun..he always carried one) and shot out the PA. I played there in '68 - '69 and we always had a good relationship with Carlo. Groups I remember: chuck berry, ben e king, the platters, soul survivors, association, dennis yost/classics four, peaches&herb, and my buddies jay & the americans. I'll have to really tax my brain for more...or yes, and Trenton's own MonkeyMen and Valentine (with Frank Stallone). Also the group "Fire" from Bordentown.

Sax band was called Peters Surprize or Surprize.

115 comments:

Saxman said...

thanks for this one Mack!!
Good memories of real good times doin' what I loved best...ROCKIN'!

We had our group-followers that hung-out around the bar that was to the right of the stage...rowdy bunch!!

Mack said...

Thanks for mentioning it Sax:)
The minute I read your post about
it I went searching for stuff on it.
Owner: Carlo Rossi.
Folks who played there I could
find on the net:
Foghat, Springsteen, The Young
Rascals, Kiss, King Diamond,
Molly Hatchet, a local band called
Good Wood...I am sure you know many more who played there.
There is almost no history of this
place on the Net I could find or I would have added many more bands.
This place was open until 4AM
if I remember right:)

Saxman said...

Carlo was a very colorfull man...there is that legendary story about when Foghat played at The Satellite that goes like this...Carlo owner told the band Foghat to turn volume down numerous times and finally he came out of the office with a shotgun (I think is was a handgun..he always carried one) and shot out the PA. I played there in '68 - '69 and we always had a good relationship with Carlo. Groups I remember: chuck berry, ben e king, the platters, soul survivors, association, dennis yost/classics four, peaches&herb, and my buddies jay & the americans. I'll have to really tax my brain for more...or yes, and Trenton's own MonkeyMen and Valentine (with Frank Stallone).

Mack said...

Thanks again Sax:)
I have added that to the post.

Saxman said...

I forgot our group...Surprize a/k/a Peter's Surprize. And my friends from Bordentown..Fire.

Saxman said...

another Lunge performer in the early 60's...Gene Chandler "Duke of Earl" fame.

Anonymous said...

Fun times!I saw Bachmann Turner Overdrive there around the time Hill Refrigeration left Trenton(I sware there was some drugs in their fog machines!).
Buddy locked keys in his old continental or some other old big boat with funny back window.I had to use a chunk of asphalt from THE VERY spot that pic was taken to smash it.

Anonymous said...

I used to work for Carlo for a few years up until the time of his death back in 94 or 95, and yes he was definitely colorful. I liked him a lot, even though he could be a real pr*ck at times.
There always were many stories floating around about him, which he claimed were false. Generally the bands couldn't stand him, or understand him for that matter, since his voice was messed up from his former 4 pack a day habit. I was one of the few people who could understand a damn thing he said.
What I remember is that when Anthrax played at The Satellite Carlo got up on stage and started cussing like a sailor at them to turn the volume down and the lead singer started following him around mocking him, while Carlo was unaware of it.
The last band that ever played at the club was Earth, Wind and Fire. He paid $10G for their appearance and the turn out was so weak he lost money on it.
He didn't have a gun when I worked for him, but he grew in the Italian section of NE Philly, and told me he used to be a gangster, so that could very well be possible. He used to own 7 night clubs in Philly, and he would say things to me like, "Bobby, you see that bank parking lot? That used to be my club."
Good times, sorry for rambling on while I reminisce.

Anonymous said...

A favorite place to go, even after bars in Levittown or Trenton closed -- different times eh! I think I remember seeing Mott the Hoople there or maybe it was the New York Dolls, and I definitely remember E street band. They also played locally at Bucks County Community College around the same time.

Even remember tangling with the bouncers to the right of the now rundown front door, under the missing Satellite Lounge sign. I hope the bouncers aged as badly as the building has.

Anonymous said...

Yes the Satellite, I was a bouncer their. I remember throwing out Scott "Bam Bam" Bigelow in the Pub.and FogHat,White Lion,Ect.But no Shot gun.

rwkobx said...

I worked as a bouncer in the late 70's, my brother in law was bartender there, craziest place i ever worked,great bands good food, lots of women.

Anonymous said...

Is the building still there? WOuld love to get down there and photograph while it's still standing. Can someone give me the street address or approximate location?

Anonymous said...

the building is still there the address is cookstown wrightstown road or county route 616.In cookstown new jersey

Anonymous said...

My dad worked at the Satellite for years as a bouncer & also Carlos other bar, The Whisper in Browns Mills. My dad was Skip Chamberlain....I have very fond memories of being in the Satellite when I was a little girl. Many shirley temples there :) He used to take me during the day when he needed to stop in for something. I lost my dad last March. He was my best friend. I took a drive down memory lane to some of the places I grew up and I stopped by the old Satellite building. Makes me sad to see its empty shell of a building. Many many stories I grew up with regarding this place.

Rock on Satellite Lounge...as well as Skip & Carlo!! R.I.P

Mack said...

Thanks for the memories
Anon:)

Anonymous said...

I played at the Satellite several times in the early 1980s and always had a fun (and interesting) time. I actually got along very well with Carlo (and his German Shepherd), although I think everyone in the band seemed at least a little intimidated by him. (He did habitually take bands into his office and yell at us, but I eventually became comfortable with the routine.)

In addition to the famous amp-shooting rumor, other alleged stories of legend included Carlo taking an axe to someone's guitar amp (for similar reasons to the Foghat gun story) and that the dressing rooms were bugged.

I was actually able to verify one small rumor I had heard (a few times): That, if asked how he met Frank Sinatra, Carlo would simply respond, "Frank met me." I actually witnessed someone asking the question and this exact response.

Am sorry to hear that Carlo passed away. I miss him.

Sky said...

Saxman -

What did you play in the band? I know some of the guys from Surprize..

Sky

Robert Hallowell said...

I played in a band called Widow's Kiss and we were booked at the Satellite for a whole week every month during 1974- 1976. We always shared the stage with another band. The sets were one hour long, then the other band played one hour, and we played a total of 5 sets a night. This is quite a bit more than the normal 4-set, 40 minutes on 20 minutes off club gig. The club closed at 5 AM. Long night! We played as second band to Herman's Hermits, Frank Sinatra Junior, and the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, among others. You can see a newspaper ad for the Satellite with our band at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1613791854#!/photo.php?pid=675251&id=1613791854&fbid=1290469274517

Bob said...

My band was called The Balloon Corp. During the late 1960's I played the Satellite every 5th week for about 5 years.
We worked with the Monkey Men many times - 2 bands from 9 to 5 in the morning.
Any stories about Carlo & volume I believe. I had many run in's with him over the 5 years but no matter what he was a very

likeable guy.

Some of the bands during that time were:

The Curosity Shop
Monkey Men
Balloon Corp
Brooklyn Bridge
Late Entry

and many more that I can't think of at the moment.

My name is Bob Hummel - if anybody from these groups remembers me or the group, give me a shout, I am on Facebook.

Anonymous said...

Carlo had a club on Roosevelt Blvd. in Phila. It was called CLUB ROSSI. He later sold it and opened the Satellite in the early 60's. The original Satellite was much smaller, an addition was added in the mid 60's. The Pig and Whistle in Browns Mill was competition for the small original Satellite, but once the addition was finished with it's lighted dance floor and massive bars and seating the Pig and Whistle faded into obscurity. The Satellite now owned the whole area and never looked back!

wylderose said...

I don't know what made me think of the Satellite Lounge...but here it is...I remember going there when I was 18, I'm 55 now !!! Lived in Levittown,PA. Drinking age in Pa. was 21, so off we went to Jersey !! Over the Trenton bridge to fun time. Dancing all night...I think there was 2 or 3 dance stages. And leaving when the roosters were crowing, and the sun was rising....Great memories...

Anonymous said...

Ahhh. Those were the days. 13 weeks in the Satellite in one year we were a favorite of Carlos and appreciated the opportunity to play our music for so so many people. We reunited in 1985 and played at a local fire hall in Penndel Pa. Was a lot of fun. We went to sleep again and came back in 2002 the orininal six and played for a little over a year. Just great. Thanks for remembering us in your blogs. We will never forget our days at The Satellite Lounge

GOODWOOD
Stosh
Lorie
Randy
Michael
Steve
Larry

john iannacone said...

I tended bar for Carlo at the Satelite lounge from 65-67, while I was stationed at McGuire, great place, Sorry to hear Carlo passed.

Pat said...

Boy do I remember this place, spent many a nite there dancing, and socialing with friends. I do remember the Monkey Men and evern have a picture of their band. What memories.

Randy Smailer said...

I was in a band called Liquid Heaven and we played at the Satellite back around 1975-76. It was probably my favorite place to play. I remember the first time we played there was the middle of the week and when the weekend came the big doors opened and the club tripled in size! The bands alternated hours with another band and played till almost dawn. Carlos was unforgettable and the restaurant had the best french fries with gravy.....

Anonymous said...

I remember the Satellite Lounge so well.....I used to work there in the early 80's, the bartender at the horseshoe bar in the front was Rusty. There were many famous bands that played there, but the last few that played there were, The Ohio Players, Edgar Winter and a local band by the name of Jasper, I think they were from Trenton. Carlo was a great man and as for the story about him shooting out the amps, that was true, but with a pistol. I was very close to Carlo...been to his house many times. I do miss hanging out there. I was one of the few that could understand him..
He will always be remembered as a great man! I miss working there, but mostly hanging out till 6am and then going next door to the bar/restaurant until it closed when ever it slowed down, usuall3-4pm and sttart all over, what memories. If anyone remembers the local band Jasper, please respond.
Thanks, Tina

Anonymous said...

The Satellite Lounge was the greatest place to party while living in New Jersey, I was stationed there down the street at McGuire AFB, this placed would seat 3700 peaople as I recall.
Good Memories, I remember Carlo and Skip the bouncer. RIP :(

Anonymous said...

fyi>>>google jersey rock clubs of the 80s and you all will find indoor photos of the Satellite lounge in Cookstown NJ.

Anonymous said...

Hi!!!
That owner was the biggest whack job! He actually had me thrown out of the building because I asked him where to unload my equipment! Luckily, the bouncer snuck me back in! You could just tell haow many times he must have had to do that!

mvgirl said...

I used to go there in 72-73. There was a band that played there frequently from New Haven, Ct., does anyone remember their name? Great memories, miss those days.

Anonymous said...

I spent quite a few nights here. Many of them were awesome. But, the common denominator, being close to airbase, and army base, after 2am, the military wanted to flex their muscles against one another...always ended wrong. Furthermore, the local police, would chalk your tires, with colors appropriate with when you arrived, and they would pull out from the diner, and target patrons as they left. If you arrived @ 10, you were yellow chalk, 11 , pink, 12 yellow, etc..pieces of crap!!!

Anonymous said...

Carlo Rossi? Like a Godfather to me as my band The Sterling Brothers open the place in the early 60`s along with Sam Allen and The Monkey Men. We worked there 16 weeks per year opposite many great acts including Herman and the Hermits. My good friend, legendary guitarist Roy Buchannon also played opposite us. We both, at one point, actually joined and then left The Monkey Men. Lots of work, putting up that cage! Carlo was a lot to handle, calling me into his office on many an occasion, usually over loudness. He did have guns for sure, a hot temper, but beneath all that was a genuine character. He`ll be missed by those who truely knew and survived him! We also played The Pig and Whistle and Johnny Tabones on a regular basis. The Sterling Brothers disbanded in the mid 60`s and i went on to record for various labels. Great times, fun bands, and you had to be there to appreciate it. Signing off, Jody Sterling, lead singer/guitarist.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this brings back memories. My husband was stationed at Ft. Dix in the early 70's. We were big fans of Bruce Springsteen's and one night Bruce was playing two shows at the Satellite Lounge. I worked at the Sheraton in Bordertown so I did not get off until 2:00 a.m. My husband went to the first show and I made the 3:00 a.m. show. I was yelling at Bruce from the audience to play Spirit in the Night. He said I already played that and I said but I wasn't here. As an encore, he came out and played my request and dedicated it to the lady in the audience. I went and thanked him afterwards. 4 years later he was already “The Boss”. I saw him in Mobile, AL and yelled out Satellite Lounge. He was taken aback and when he introduced the band he said and straight from the Satellite Lounge. Lots of good times there - hate to see it looking so bad.

Anonymous said...

Glad I found this page!

I'm sorry to say that the Satellite was long-closed before I moved to New Jersey, but I will share my story: As a military officer assigned here in the early 1990s (and since retired) I discovered this old wreck of a building just out riding around. By this time my husband and I had become "urban explorers" which is another word for people who like to explore abandoned buildings. Trust me -- not too hard to get into the building and on the inside it looks like it just closed the night before. It is like time stood still. There are still glasses and beer cans on the tables. All the furniture appears to still be there (or it was when we were there). The horseshow-shaped bars still intact. Big mural behind the stage. Dressing rooms dinky and deplorable. Further research showed me that this is where Twisted Sister performed for the very first time. While we were exploring in there (it is pitch dark) we heard a strange, animal sound only to find a small kitten trapped in a LOCKED OFFICE. It is obvious there had to have been some other way out of there but we couldn't find it. She is still with us, 10 years later, and we named her Luna in honor of the Satellite. I still pass the building occassionally as I still live in the area. It actually looks like it will collapse any minute. Oh -- and here's a weird twist: In 2004 we saw an ad in a local paper for an estate sale to be held in Cookstown. not putting things together we showed up at the address -- 1 Rossi Road -- only to find out it was Carlo Rossi's old estate! Seems he had passed years ago but his wife, who had moved south, i think, was in a home and authorized the property to be sold 'as is." We got lots of info from the woman directing the sale. I just remember how weird the house was: it's obvious they thought it quite "grand" when built but it was bizarre: flocked wallpaper in all the rooms, weird 60s split-level design. I've done quite a bit of research since then on the Satellite and Rossi -- great stuff. Wish we could have been in there in its prime.

Kathleen Falcone said...

Stationed at McGuire AFB from 77-79. Great memories..had great girl's nights out back then. I got into my first fight there when a bunch of local "chicks" who wanted to kick our asses 'cause we were from the base. We took it outside but then Carlo came out and chased us off the property. Yes, the Satellite is where I lost my "fighting virginity"

Anonymous said...

Out of curiousity... does anyone know who owns the old Satellite building/property?

Thank you for sharing this piece of history!

Anonymous said...

I remember back in the 70's the marquee always had Ike & Tina Turner on it. Not sure if was that they played there often or it just wasn't changed. My dad was stationed at McGuire.

Anonymous said...

Alot of good bands came thru there in the 80's too when hair metal was in....Stryper,Faster Pussycat, LA Guns,and the mainstays like Bon Jovi, Springsteen, Molly Hatchet, B.T.O,even Twisted Sister played there. It was a great town to grow up in during the 80's, I used to get in even though I was only 16 or 17 at the time

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Anonymous said...

My favorite place to go in the mid to late 60's. All the guys from Ft Dix & Mcguire air base from all over the US. Some of the best times of my life spent there.I remember the band Underground Balloon corps & how much I enjoyed them.

Anonymous said...

i worked they in 82-83. i prefered the small bar that was open on week nights.
i worked station 2 on the main bar on fridays and saturdays. carlo was quite a guy. he suspected another bartender was stealing from him. he called all of into his office and pulled a machette and a 45 out of his safe and told us what he would do to us if he caught us stealing. no one beleived he was serious. sorry to hear he passed away. he really was a nice guy to work for, but did have a temper

Anonymous said...

Sorry but this place in currently on fire

Anonymous said...

I was on facebook last night and a friend posted that the building was indeed on fire..Thanks for the Memories !

Anonymous said...

I just drove by there today after actually responding to the fire call there last night... anyway the building now has at least 3-4 holes punched in from the sides of the building but the building is still very much intact... I'm a local firemen and grew up right down the street... I was very saddened when Carlo passed as I knew him as a child growing up... him and his wife used to give out money instead of candy during Halloween... even though I was never inside my mother used to bartend there back in the day and also at the Old Sky Lodge Inn God rest her sole... I do however remember seeing the FLAMES coming out from those stacks outside of the entrance and those bright orangish/yellow bulbs flickering the famous words SATELLITE LOUNGE until the wee hr... I strongly believe the pilots flying around probably used the lights as a beacon... lol well anyway the building is still standing so for all of you that want to see it before they knock it down you better go soon... I truly enjoyed reading everyone's postings, growing up in Cookstown with the Satellite in town with all the bands that played there makes me feel proud... God bless the Rossi family and all those that were able to share they're memories from the SATELLITE LOUNGE...

Anonymous said...

Once Carlo made a near fatal mistake of trying to cheat Jerry Blavat the geator of pay after a gig.Jerry pulled a gun and shot at Carlo. He was so scared he paid Jerry double.DONT CROSS THE GEATOR...He's the real gangster.

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karynw said...

I just drove by. looks like it's being torn down

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Hello Tina or anyone else reading this,
My name is Chris and I'm looking for any and all info on the band , Jasper. Long story short, the lead singer , Wayne could possibly be my father. So, if you or anyone you know has any info about the band, it would be a great help. Thank you. I can be reached at 386.341.0676

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Paul said...

I remember the Satellite in the late 80's...we went to the Garden State club til 230 am, then the post bar til 330 and the SATELLITE WAS OVER AT 6am...good ol days

Falloutzine said...

I was recently inside of there for the first time last month. Since i'm only 31 this place was long before my time but as a fanatical metal/rock fan I'm totally infatuated with this place & it's time period, nothing like this exists for people nowadays. My Dad always hung out here in the 70s' & 80's. Here's a little bit of footage I took inside of the club in July 2013: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SD9SysZu4I

Cris said...

Had some of the best times of my life at the Satellite from 65 to 69.I remember & loved Carlo,such a sweet man.Met so many airmen,sailors & soldiers from across the country there.Also remember well the Balloon Corps.

Anonymous said...

Worked there while stationed at ft Dix , I bartended and bounced. The after hours club on the side, we would stay until 6 am, saw fog hat, stryper, many other great bands. Carlo was definitely a character , Scott bam bam bigelo was a good friend, he passed away a few years back too.

Eva Andrews said...

When I get a few moments I'm going to go back through these posts. I was a waitress at the Satellite for 1 1/2 years in the late 60's, early 70's. Oh my gosh, so many great memories, music, people. What an adventure and what a time it was. For the record, Carlo Rossi, was quite a character and a man unto his own self, a really great boss, and watched out for me. He got me out of a number of scrapes. God Bless Him.

Rusty said...

Cindy pauper,Robert hazard and heroes,drifters,David johansen ny dolls,dovells,Leon Russell,Edgar Winter,Johnny,winter,section 8,dead end kids,crystall ship,chuck berry,Molly hatchet,steppinwolf,humble pie,Nazareth,Mott the hoople,Marshall tucker,many more!

I'm sorry to hear about skip he was a good man and I do remember making a lot of Sheryly temples with extra Cherrys.
Carlo was a very good man,I stayed in touch with him long after I left the satellite.i was at the club

day and night,I would open at 8 and close at 6,Friday open at 8 ------------------close Monday mourning or afternoon,Carlo had a round the clock license,one of three in the state! It makes me laugh when I hear the gangster story's ,i seriously dought that anyone ever took a shot at Carlo and I know he wouldn't pay anyone double,out of fear.the only person he had any fear of was his wife.
The bouncers at the club were very good and I don't believe that anyone ever got into the club under age including Bon jovi,I regularly had to go to court to testify as much!
I had to open the safe twice a day never seen guns or machetes in it ever!.Carlo might have been rough on the bands because most of them expected more than their contracts stated,hookers,coke cases of booze,you name it they expected it!
Carlo new his business very well and when I z,ed the registers out through the week he knew who was stealing immediately .if he had me fire them they were luck enough to have Skip escort them out the front door.if Carlo fired them they saw the nasty end of a bank bag full of change then skip would escort them out the back door.
I wish I could tell everyone I worked for the sopranos but I didn't.i worked for one of the smartest businessmen I've known that happened to be Italian,grew up with Sinatra,and married a German.the club was a fun place with a lot of memory's .

nimnaveapphillyboy2 said...

Most of the video clips in this play list at you tube were taken at the Satellite lounge. They were taken in the late 60’s or early 70’s before they built the new dance floor in front of the new stage. And during a time when this Rock band, “Peter’s Surprize,” was considered the house band at this club. Peter Accardi, the originator, leader and front man of “Surprize” was Italian and got along well with Carlo Rossi. This band played there often during that era.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1Hbz9fAkgI&list=PLzciwB_rnn_M4dGoo6Xu9HPbzXPOp1OIW&index=6

Anonymous said...

Anthony(Stosh) king Lead singer for "GoodWood" Was killed earlier this year in a car crash in Morris Pa. he had just retired and moved to Morris weeks prior. It was a big loss for those who have heard this band play over the years..he will be sadly missed.


chester watson said...

Dear Anonymous, I read your blog from June 27 , 2010, wow 6 years ago. Don't even know if your are in the area? You write about your Dad , Skip. I can't remember if I knew him . I worked there '71 to '75 as a door man. Had a girlfriend who also worked there as a bar maid. Her name was Jackie. Your right GREAT memories there. It's gone now . A empty lot . Like " dust I the wind " .Reply if you wish. Thanks Chet.

Marlene D said...

So, back at least maybe the 70's and definitely 80's, customers at the Satellite Lounge were able to stay awake until 6 am because they were revved up as you get my drift. That made for some fun times and fond memories there.

Anonymous said...

Marlene, I worked @ The Satellite from '71 to '75 @ the door. Yes some patrons came in like that from partying @ other clubs in those days. When clubs were closing in Pa. & Trenton area ( 2am. ) You'd go to the Satellite. After all we were open till 5am. Sometimes the partying got out of hand and that wasn't easy for us @ the door. Anyway , I had some Great times there. Mr. Rossi was a good guy. It's gone now. But the memories still linger. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days. Sincerely. Chet Watson.

Anonymous said...

Played the Satellite many times in the early to mid 80's with the band "The Flakes" and then "Sinner". Sinner was the regular opening act for "The A's" whenever they played there. I was usually the first one to show up there for setup and I remember one day Carlo asked me if I would take him somewhere. I drove an old dodge tradesman van back then that was pretty beat up but I told him okay. He wound up taking me some place that loaded my van with bags of ice. And I wound up carrying them into the club for him. Crazy thinking back. Someone posted earlier asking about the band Jasper. I remember them well. We used to gig with them at "the menagerie". I remember the guitarist Steve used to date a friend of mine.

chester watson said...

For the guy who wrote that he played in the band ( The Flakes ) . Even in my working days @ The Satellite '71 - '75 & then after just stopping in as a patron to about 1983 . Can't remember your band. The ice thing sounds weird to me cause the lounge had a ice machine that provided enough for the place . I know because I loaded many buckets.

Unknown said...

Worked there from 80 to 84. We continued to serve until 530am and closed at 6am. Saturday night into Sunday morning the side bar would remain open until noon. Many a long night. Lots of fun. Loved that job. Carlo would do anything for his people as long as you didn't go against him. Lol.

Unknown said...

I was tending bar when Skip was there. Sorry to hear he is gone. We all loved Skip...great guy... He took good care of us. Kevin..Rusty. Hildy...Many a long night and would not change those experiences for the world. Loved you Dad.