Music » Music Features

Audio Archaeology: The Quitters’ impish rock ‘n’ roll

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Rochester has a rich musical past, with plenty of bands that helped to forge the city’s sound back then, and influence the scene as it is now. In the ongoing series “Audio Artifacts,” CITY Music Writer Frank De Blase digs into the vintage sounds that made Rochester music great, from the ’50s through the ’80s, and beyond.

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY ARTIST
  • PHOTOS PROVIDED BY ARTIST
From 1994 through 2009 — an impressive run — The Quitters helped to define the Rochester music scene. A guitar-driven bar band with just the right amount of sleaze, slop and roll, The Quitters had a level of maniacal drive and showmanship that few acts in town could match.

The Quitters (left to right): Dave Snyder, Rob Filardo, Dan Snyder, and Keith Parkins. - PHOTO PROVIDED BY ARTIST
  • PHOTO PROVIDED BY ARTIST
  • The Quitters (left to right): Dave Snyder, Rob Filardo, Dan Snyder, and Keith Parkins.
The lineup was steered by a pair of talented multi-instrumentalists, brothers Dave (vocals) and Dan Snyder (guitar), and rounded out by bassist Keith Parkins and Rob Filardo on drums. Their musical prowess was fast and monkey-wrenched tight. The lyrics were doused with a teenaged sense of wonderment and a penchant for trouble. The Quitters were imps. They were wild. They burned a lot of joints dowwwwnnn.

You could call The Quitters a pop band, in the sense that its music was popular. But it was definitely more than a fistful of catchy tunes. The quartet played melody-rich, aggressive rock ‘n’ roll, decidedly more Elvis Costello than Elvis Presley.

And The Quitters led the way for many Rochester bands that would come after — Televisionaries, The Demos, and any band that sweetened the beat with simple, hard-hitting harmonies to achieve the Garage Pop Records sound.

“The Quitters are king,” says Trevor Lake of Televisionaries. “And they should be a household name. Great songwriting, harmonies, and attitude. I got their box set and flipped my wig.”

“We took it right to the edge, ”says Filardo, whose dad was early sixties teen idol Bobby Francis (responsible for the 1964 tune “Summer's Comin’”). “There was no choreography or cliched posturing, We just plugged in and rode the lightning.”



Perhaps a case-in-point, Dave Snyder would routinely pull a kind of absent-minded professor bit by searching in his pockets for the setlist, a hint at the randomness of the band’s live material. And if you were lucky enough to see them in their salad days, well brother, you saw a show.

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The band didn’t tour a whole lot, opting to spend a lot of its time in Arpad Sekeres’s basement studio on South Clinton Avenue. What came out was the same slash-and-burn strain they were known for in a live setting.

The Quitters’ discography consists of three singles on Trashcan Records and three full-length collections on Garage Pop Records, with such tongue-in-cheek titles as “The Quitters are the Greatest Band in the World,” “The Quitters Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll,” and “The Quitters Are King.” The band also released a video “retrospective” called “Burn You All With Me Mind,” via Garage Pop Records in 1999.


The Quitters shared the stage with national touring acts like The White Stripes, The Greenhornes, The Oblivians, and local artists like The Veins, The Priests, and The Grinders. The quartet was also one of the bands behind Garage Pop Records’ series of tribute shows, which included memorable throwdowns for Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly, and X, for which The Quitters performed as “Q”.

Filardo, who went on to play organ with the Gothic-leaning band The Priests, says all members of The Quitters still live in the Rochester area, and that a reunion isn’t out of the question. In fact one such show was scheduled for the summer. But along came the pandemic …

“And, well, you know the rest.” Filardo says.

Frank De Blase is CITY's music writer. He can be reached at frank@rochester-citynews.com.