The Saga of J.D. King & The Coachmen:

Part 1:

The NYC version of The Coachmen (1978 to 1980) included J.D. King on guitar and vocals, Thurston Moore on guitar, Bob Pullin on bass and, first Danny Walworth, then Dave Keay, on drums. This group's tale was documented in copious detail in the liner notes to their posthumously released, "Failure to Thrive" (New Alliance), a 1988 CD of their 1979 demo tape. The short version is this:

December, 1976: RISD grad and Providence, RI resident, J.D. King, met a Connecticut teenager, Thurston Moore, at Cutler's Records in New Haven, CT, over the Velvet Underground bin.

The following September, J.D. and some Providence friends moved to a loft on South Street, NYC. Thurston was a frequent visitor, driving in from Bethel, CT.

From this South Street scene, J.D., Thurston, Bob and Danny formed The Coachmen.

By early-1978 they were playing the NYC club/loft circuit: Max's Kansas City, CBGB, Tier 3, The Botany Talk House (billed with Lee Ranaldo's band, Flux) and loft parties thrown by Jenny Holzer (once billed with Glen Branca's band, The Static) and a Lower East Side performance space, A's.

Despite minor victories, they went nowhere. Their final gig was August, 1980, at White Columns.

Part 2:

A new version of The Coachmen was formed in 1997 with guitarist J.D. as the sole original member, Valerie Boyd on Farfisa organ, Dave Wain on bass and Simone Kwik on drums, all living in upstate New York.

In March, 1997 they recorded, "Ten Compositions: New Frontiers in Free Rock" (Ecstatic Peace), an instrumental blend of free jazz, garage psych and modern composition, released on LP in 2000.

Part 3:

To avoid confusion with other bands with the same name, they became J.D. King & The Coachmen, and underwent a slight personnel change, Dave Wain replaced by May December. Also, Valerie traded her Farfisa for electric guitar. Their August, 2000 recording session, "American Mercury," (Ecstatic Peace) was released on CD in 2006.

"American Mercury" received airplay in the USA and Canada on independent and college stations, most notably WFMU. It also garnered positive reviews in The Wire No. 276 and The Next Big Thing.


1. Rumble  (© Link Wray)
From an unreleased tape, 1978. This is the very first version of The Coachmen that included JD King and Thurston Moore on guitars, John Miller on bass and Danny Walworth on drums. John Miller was soon leave for Cal Arts, to be replaced with Bob Pullin.

It was recorded at the 85 South Street loft on a cassette recorder.

2. General Zachary Thackery Marches On (and on and on)
From "Ten Compositions: New Frontiers in Free Rock," (2000 Ecstatic Peace). JD King on guitar, Valerie Boyd on Farfisa organ, Dave Wain on bass, Simone Kwik on drums.

3. Shivaree! Shivaree!
4. Untitled #17
From "American Mercury," (2006 Ecstatic Peace). JD King and Valerie Boyd on guitars, May December on bass, Simone Kwik on drums.

5. Barcelona
From "(Mercy) Can Make You Happy," unreleased CD.


A's flyer/poster
for New Year's Eve with The Coachmen.
Artist unknown, possibly Arlene Schloss?

The Coachmen and others
at Jenny Holzer's loft, 1979.

The Coachmen, circa 1978, prowling downtown Manhattan, searching for kicks. L to R: Bob, JD, Thurston, Danny.
Photo © Tama Bruder

JD on South Street, 1977.

Thurston, circa 1978, wondering,
"Is there life after The Sex Pistols?"

JD serenading the flowers and the birds at the
1815 Fresh Fruit Compost Compound, circa 1999.

The Coachmen, 1979. Left to right: J.D. King, Bob Pullin, Dave Keay, Thurston Moore.
Photo © Elodie Lauten