Airlines Home Page

Airlines was formed by Jim DeRogatis and John Tanzer -- who had played together opening for Wire in the tribute band the Ex-Lion Tamers -- and John Neilson, who met them at a show after interviewing the headliners. Taking a name from another favorite they all had in common, they came together as "Burning Airlines" in 1987. The first year saw them playing with a number of temporary lineups before things settled down with the arrival of guitarist/vocalist Jim Quinlan.

Airlines Mk 1 Jim DeRogatis
- Drums, Percussion

John Neilson
- Bass, Synth

John Tanzer
- Vocals, Guitar

Jim Quinlan
- Vocals, Guitar

(L to R)
This lineup's initial recording session resulted in a 5-song demo (they also took the opportunity to shorten the band name to "Airlines"). Four of the songs were ultimately released as two singles on the small Minneapolis label Susstones, Test and For Richard (written in honor of the brilliant oddball physicist Richard Feynman). Both of these records are long out of print, but you may still be able to find copies around if you look here.

For more information on Susstones you can try writing to:

    P.O. Box 6425
    Minneapolis, MN
Airlines Mk.I played regularly around NYC and the east coast, and did one short tour to Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis (shoutout to the 27 Various!), and Iowa City ("it's not the end of the world, but you can see it from here"). Soon afterwards Jim DeRogatis left the band to expand his music journalism career and publish a book on the history of psychedelia, Kaleidoscope Eyes and a biography of seminal rock critic Lester Bangs, Let It Blurt. For a year or so the band carried on as a 3-piece with a drum machine, performing numerous shows and recording with Wharton Tiers at Fun City Studios. The only recordings to surface from this lineup appeared on a 3-song demo cassette.

No sooner had the demos been mixed than Jim Quinlan left to form Lid, which released several singles on Quixotic (various other Airlines personnel were also floating members of Lid). A period of flux followed in which Neilson and Tanzer experimented with numerous lineups before emerging with the relatively stable Airlines MkII:

Dave Roby
- Bass

John Tanzer
- Vocals, Guitar

John Neilson
- Guitar, Bass

Joe Arcidiacono
- Vocals, Guitar

Tom Kelley
- Drums, Percussion

(L to R)
Airlines Mk 2

This lineup was responsible for the singles and CD that were eventually released on the Quixotic lable. In addition, the band racked up live appearances with Band Of Susans, Tall Dwarfs, Yo La Tengo, Babe The Blue Ox and a host of other acts, as well as airing live radio performances on WNYU, WFMU's Live Music Faucet, and NYC Public Access TV. The band also contributed a scorching version of "Point That Thing Somewhere Else" to the Dark Beloved Cloud Clean tribute compilation, as well as recording a cover of the Fall's "Leave The Capitol" for an as-yet-unreleased Dark Beloved Cloud Fall tribute, "Dead Beat Descendents".

Airlines eventually fragmented for good after the release of the self-titled CD. John Neilson and John Tanzer went on to play with the Wharton Tiers Ensemble and Glenn Branca. Tanzer also played in Nickel Hex with Joe Arcidiacono and Tom Kelley. Dave Roby left to spend more time on The Giant Mums, the Quixotic label, and the Upper Valley Psychedelic Continuum.

Poster Gallery

There are entries for Airlines and the Giant Mums in the Trouser Press Guide To '90s Rock.

Be sure to check out the Quixotic Records Airlines Page, recently updated with new pix and info!

Rare live tracks on GoJohnnyGo blog.

Airlines on VIMEO!

Live at Brooklyn Woodstock


  1. Airlines s/t demo cassette
  2. "Test" / "Ambulance Dance"  (Susstones IMS525-7)
  3. "For Richard" / "Road"  (Susstones IMS536-7)
  4. "Remote Color"/"Still Life"/"Clockwork"  (demo cassette)
  5. "Steady Goes" / "No.2"  (Quixotic QX003-7)
  6. "Talking About Talking" / "10,000 Days"  (Quixotic QX007-7)
  7. "Point That Thing Somewhere Else" - DBC Clean Tribute 7"
  8. "Leave The Capitol" - DBC Fall Tribute (unreleased)
  9. Airlines CD  (Quixotic QX011-CD)

Trainspotter's List Of Cover Songs

  1. Syd Barrett - "Baby Lemonade"
  2. Buzzcocks - "E.S.P."
  3. Clean - "Point That Thing Somewhere Else"
  4. Nick Drake - "Road"
  5. Dome - "Rolling Upon My Day"
  6. Dream Syndicate - "Then She Remembers"
  7. Brian Eno - "Dead Finks Don't Talk"
  8. Brian Eno - "Mother Whale Eyeless"
  9. Fall - "Leave The Capitol"
  10. Heptones - "Book Of Rules"
  11. Kinks - "Wicked Annabella"
  12. Pell Mell - "My Three Suns"
  13. Pere Ubu - "Laughing"
  14. Pink Floyd - "Point Me At The Sky"
  15. Soft Boys - "Tonight"
  16. "Underdog" Theme
  17. Velvet Underground - "Lady Godiva's Operation"
  18. Ventures - "Walk, Don't Run '64"

Airlines Contact Info:

"Beyond Music - Pure Radiance!"