The Shirts

'If you were to believe the press, the CB's scene was only made up of a handful of bands but that just wasn't true. There were all kinds of musical styles being represented... and one could even claim the SHIRTS were the precursors to the musical RENT.'

- David Byrne in his afterword to
Thirty Years from the Home of Underground Rock, CBGB & OMFUG
published 2005 by Harry Abrams Inc

We regret to mention the death of Ronnie Ardito, aged 53, on the afternoon of January 5th 2008. He had been dealing with a suddencancer surprise for almost a year.

We will miss him. But his work will survive and his spirit continues. New Shirts guitarist John Amato, a long-time friend and associate, has taken over those guitar section duties with vigor.

Only The Dead Know Brooklyn

The video for the title track is available for free download.
Go check it out.


The Shirts' heydays were in the late seventies. As an integral part of the raucous and classic CBGB scene, they experimented from their own distinctive musical starting point. During their brush with big-time showbiz, they were managed by Hilly Kristal, who was still the club's owner in 2006 as it prepared to celebrate its 33rd birthday, and then close down (unwillingly) in October. The group had reformed in 2003 as a larger ensemble.
Read the story-to-date (2009).

Robert Racioppo and Artie Lamonica, elder statesmen of the Shirts (from Brooklyn), were interviewed in New York on Monday April 21 2003 at 5pm. They spoke fast, since the rehearsal followed with the new, expanded lineup heading for performance at CBGB on Saturday May 31 2003. Newcomers are Caren Messing (vocals) and Kathy McCloskey (keyboards and vocals). Annie Golden is no longer with the band.

(above) The Shirts on stage at CBGB, New York 2003,
their first performance after regrouping

photo: Molesworth

(above) The Shirts on stage at CBGB, New York 1978
photo: JR Rost

The Shirts, Only The Dead Know Brooklyn

to the Shirts' 2006 biography
to the Shirts' 21st century photo gallery
to the Shirts'1978 photo gallery

to the Shirts' 2003 interview (Artie Lamonica/Robert Racioppo)

to the Shirts' first album production commentary
to the Street Light Shine production commentary

from CD Baby