OUR EYES ON YOU: February 2009

rita_lolita.jpgI’M NOT FRIGID, I’M JUST COLD

Rita: I love to complain about the snow, sleet, and bitter cold, but the truth is that winter helps us experience the passing of time and eventually encourages passion and surges of energy for new ideas and growth. Lolita: And every winter, in our first issue of the new year, we look back at the previous year and applaud the accomplishments of those who have followed through with their growth and ideas. Rita: Elsewhere in the issue we devote space to picks for Top Tens in many categories put together by Noise contributors. But we’d like to hear from more than just our staff. So, let’s get everyone here to sit around in a big circle and have each person take a turn to talk about the top three of anything pertaining to local rock of 2008.

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CIRCLE OF TOP THREE

Lolita: I know everyone has a person they’d like to sit next to, or someone they don’t want to sit next to, but please people! Let’s just get this together. Nick, will you give us your top three before a fight breaks out on the other side of the room? NICK BLAKEY (The In Out): Top Three of 2008: Album: Rick Berlin Old Stag; Song: the Dirty Truckers “So So Numb”; Live show: the Figgs/the Rudds, Church 3/1/08. ***MISS LYN (Boston Groupie News): Top Three Guys in Tight Pants: Joey Boy (Red Invasion); Rick Barton (Everybody Out!); Cam Ackland (the Prime Movers). ***KEVIN PATEY (Combat Jack Management): Top Three Shows of 2008: Darkbuster Hometown Throwup—eight shows in eight days! Showcase show with Jason Bennett & the Resistance, Have Nots, Swaggerin’ Growlers, and Chris Keating. New Collisions at Middle East. *** PETE SUTTON (Temper): Top Three things I look forward to seeing local music: (1) Beer in a plastic cup. (2) Band that’s only been together a couple of months saying, “we’re gonna play a new one now.” (3) Smokin’ outside with authentic rock dudes. *** SCOTT ANDERSON (Cemetery Superfly): Top Three reasons bands play live shows: (1) They love showing up early for soundcheck and waiting three hours to play while the sound guy is home sleeping! (2) The exercise they get from moving their equipment at shows from the hallway to the bathroom to the stage to the street is better than Buns of Steel! (3) Any moment could be a Def Leppard moment on stage… assuming there is a stage! *** MIKE CANN (BostonFreedomRally.com): Top Three Music Acts That Won Massachusetts Decriminalized Cannabis in 2008. (1) Graveyard BBQ. When do the Boston Police and High Times agree on anything? Graveyard BBQ crowned wildest set at the 2008 Rally. The NC17 rated party that working class moms, hipsters, stoners, strippers, hardcore kids, and cops love. (2) Superpower. Dave Tree wrote “God Grows Grass” with his old act, he’s never stopped supporting the sweet leaf. (3) Prospect Hill. Made it okay to support Question 2 in the burbs. Pushed the kids out of the malls, into the voting booths. Adam sings to the pretty female fans, we win. *** CARLENE BAROUS (Din/ Temper): Top Three socks-knockin’ live performances 2008: the Buckners at O’Brien’s in December; MOWE (My Own Worst Enemy) at Church in June; and Amanda Palmer at Symphony Hall in June. *** JOE COUGHLIN (the Noise): (1) Mission of Burma is STILL at it! (2) Men & Volts are revamped, playing out again, and doing stuff from their catalog that was never performed live before. (3) WMBR, in general, and for streaming all shows online for two weeks after airing (www.wmbr.org). *** SAMMY MIAMI (HoundStone): Best Vocalist: Ward Hayden. Best guitarist: Danny Zug. Best radio show: Bay State Rock with Carmelita. *** MR. CURT (…Ensemble/ Urban Caravan): Nothing is absolute, but here are three of my fave newest CDs released by localites in 2008: (1) Rick Berlin: Old Stag; (2) The Accident That Led Me to the World: The Island Gospel; (3) Patty Larkin: Watch the Sky. Runner-ups: Sal Baglio: The Gift; Jon Macey & Steve Gilligan: “Everything Under the Sun”; Sgt. Maxwell’s Peace Chorus: The Military EP; Glenn Williams: Freely Breathing; Chillgroove: Juju; Folksonomy: Trepanning; Eksi Ekso: I Am Your Bastard Wings; Amanda Palmer: Who Killed Amanda Palmer?; and LowBudget Records instrumental sampler: A Chosen Phew! *** PETER RINNIG (QRST’s): Top live band: the Neighborhoods. They can play better then anybody—any age—anytime! Best selling T-shirt (from QRST’s): the Rat. We sell more Rat shirts then any other T-shirt affiliated with music in Boston. I honestly do not think that many people have been to the Rat in its heyday. But I could be mistaken. Rita: Thousands of people passed through the doors of the Rat in its heyday. But everyone likes to honor a lost iconic club. Long live the Rat. Long live the Abbey, Bunratty’s, the Underground, Jacks, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Chet’s Last Call, Down Under, Johnny D’s (in Allston), Streets, Green Street Station, fill in your favorite closed club. Lolita: You don’t have to wait for a club to close to honor it. There are many clubs today right around Boston that deserve praise—the Middle East, the Cantab, Johnny D’s, the Midway, Great Scott, Church, the Paradise, the Milkyway, the Lizard Lounge, T.T. the Bear’s, Harper’s Ferry, Toad, All Asia, O’Briens, Copperfields, the Alchemist, Bill’s Bar, Atwoods, Club Passim, PA’s Lounge, Sally O’Brien’s, the Precinct, Zuzu, Matt Murphy’s—and that’ just the ones in town I can think of off the top of my head. Support these businesses and others like them because they support live music. Now let’s move onto the news of today—the stuff that becomes part of tomorrow’s history.

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NEWS

Rita: It takes time but the mainstream population always comes around, sometimes very slowly, to recognizing the heroes of the underground. On 1/5/09 Boston Garage Band Radio was launched by JEFF ROYDS. It’s an online radio station that plays music by Massachusetts’ bands 24 hours a day. Go to bostongaragebands.com. We’re going to tell you a lot more about Jeff in March 2009—in our online-only issue. Lolita: March is traditionally our one online-only issue during he year. *** BANG CAMARO played Late Night with Conan O’Brien on 1/7/09. *** WAR TAPES “Dreaming of You” was played on the New Year’s Eve Special with Carson Daly while he talked about New Year’s Eve around the world. *** CHRIS TRAPPER’s “Least You’re Breathing” (from Til the Last Leaf Falls) was aired on an episode of teen drama Privileged on the CW network. *** Boston Music Spotlight has named ELI “PAPERBOY” REED & THE TRUE LOVES their 2008 Band of the Year. *** THE EVERYDAY VISUALS are the only band from New England listed to play the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Conference and Festival, scheduled to take place Wednesday, 3/18 through 3/22, 2009 in Austin, Texas. *** S.R.O. recorded a live TVM performance and interview with THE VITAL MIGHT at Mohegan Sun Casino’s Wolf Den. The show is set to air in February on the New England CBS affiliate. *** THE DRESDEN DOLLS played at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC, on 1/20/09 to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama. *** JOSHUA BELL, one of the world’s finest violinists, is not a local musician but before his Boston appearance where tickets cost $100 apiece, the Washington Post did a social experiment and had him play in the subway incognito. People rushed through their day giving him little time or appreciation not realizing what they were passing up. The lesson is to slow down and appreciate the things around you. Boston flourishes with musical talent. Take some in soon—it’s good for your health and will socially activate you. *** PETER C. JOHNSON has put together a CD (1978-1981) that combines his old A&M and CBS releases. Proceeds from sales benefit the Mark Sandman Project. *** The Boston Music Trail (funded by Ernie Boch Jr.’s Music Drives Us Foundation) is being launched by the Music Museum Of New England (MM/ONE) to honor sites significant to the musical history of the city, and to provide visitors with information about them and directions where to find them. *** JIM GILBERT (the Sheila Devine) lost his 1996 Sunburst American Standard Fender Jazz bass with a Warmuth replacement neck (no serial number) when his rehearsal space (at the Beacon Street Sound Museum, 2nd floor) was robbed. Also lost in the theft were a drum kit, amps, and some mixing gear. *** The editorial staff of Performer magazine (all three editions, including Northeast Performer) were laid off on Friday, 12/19/08. The magazine will now have one national print release and three on-line versions for each issue. Lolita: The economic climate is trying all of us. Be aware of where you spend your money. We’ve said it many times in these pages—support the small businesses in your neighborhood, the ones that support you, and the ones that care about the same things you care about.

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BLACK HISTORY

Rita: Speaking of things we care about, February is Black History Month—let’s find out what our fellow rockers think is important about this tribute to black history. Go ahead, Ken, you can start. KEN CMAR (Wonderdrug Records): One of my musical heroes is Sly Stone, and I think he doesn’t get quite the credit he deserves. Not only was he an amazing songwriter and performer, but he put together the first really integrated band that was accepted by the mainstream. That’s a pretty big deal. Dance to the music! *** BRIAN KING (What Time Is It, Mr. Fox?): Right now. This moment. We now have the first black president. This importance of this is beyond measure. Not only significant in the resurrection and progression of our hopes and ideals, but also as a symbol. And symbols speak to the unconscious, to places untouched by the intellect, to the core soul. At this foundation there has been an enormous change for our country as a whole. And in the same breath, I think of the loss of someone who always reached that place in her music and planned to sing at the inauguration of Barack Obama. I celebrate and grieve the great Odetta, who simply was music. *** WILLIAM DWYER (Neon God): We celebrate Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Dick Gregory, Oprah Winfrey, Barak Obama and many more amazing people. Musically, the list is endless and grows each year. Billie Holiday, Robert Johnson, Nina Simone, Nat King Cole, Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, and on and on. Comic genius from Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy, and Dave Chappelle to name just a few. It is great to have an official month to celebrate black history, although, in many ways, I celebrate it every day. *** TIM MUNGENAST (Tim Mungenast & His Preexisting Conditions): When I was kid, I did a book report on the scientist/inventor Dr. George Washington Carver. I am still greatly impressed by his gentle courage and tenaciousness as he fought his way through Jim Crow’s bullshit and became a renowned man of science. *** TOM ARABIA (AMP): In these historic times of crisis and hope, while the economy crumbles and wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Gaza rage on horrifically and futilely; while the first black president of a country built by slaves on the one hand appoints noxious political cretins to his cabinet recycled from Bush and Clinton who created the current disasters, but on the other hand supports the inspiring and victorious occupation of the illegally closed Republic Windows & Doors plant in Chicago by mostly immigrant workers in the UE; while entire countries are going bankrupt, Iceland, and others are in mass political upheaval, Greece; for Black History Month and the entire new epoch unfolding before our eyes, we must first and foremost recall one of the great founders of the struggle for black and working class emancipation in this country, Frederick Douglass, and his utterly vital maxim: “If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.” *** LIZ BORDEN (the Liz Borden Band/ the Liz & Sean Show): I think black history is important because people gave their lives and worked very hard so we would acknowledge that very important part of our history. People marched, crossed lines, and lost their lives for equal rights. The civil rights movement is one of the most important and exciting parts of our history. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and W.E.B. Du Bois, to name a few, are all very important figures. There are so many other people that took stands and would not back down for human rights including college students Vivian Malone and James Hood. In Alabama they had to be escorted into a university by federal marshals with death threats against them just to get an equal education. The movement refers to the reform movements in the United States aimed at abolishing racial discrimination against African Americans and restoring suffrage in Southern states. Without there is a good chance we would not have President Obama leading our country. *** ERIC AUSTIN (Three Day Threshold/ the Rumbletones): As a modern popular music musician, no matter how time-worn this point has become, it is important for me to reflect on the significant contribution to American popular music from the African-American community. The influence of their music touches just about every aspect of American popular music. Rita: Whites typically lifted black music, stripped it of its soul, sanitized it, and sold it to the mainstream. The best early example of this was Pat Boone doing Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti.” Lolita: Wasn’t Pat Boone in Little Richard’s band? Rita: You fool—Little Richard would have tossed Pat Boone out of his band as quick as he could sing, “Tutti Frutti, loose bootie” (the original lyrics).

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MUSICAL CHAIRS

Lolita: Well, here in the local music scene, bands are changing members all the time. Here’s what we picked up lately… JIM FOSTER x-Bound.4.Venus / the DeNiros) is playing Irish folk music with THE BARLEYMEN and has concluded that Irish pubs have cleaner bathrooms than rock clubs. *** Multi-instrumentalist JEFF CLARKE has joined THE SUN LEE SUNBEAM on drums. *** Fans of THE RED TELEPHONE might be interested in BIRDWATCHERS OF AMERICA, seeing that both MATT HUTTON and PAT McDONALD are in the band. *** JESSE von KENMORE never stops adding new bands to his résumé. He’s joined with DREW SUXX (x-Lost City Angels/Ducky Boys) to form THE NEW ALINIS. *** ADAM ABRAMS (Aeolian Race) has joined SUGAR SNOW. *** BRITT LIGHTNING (Jaded) has teamed up with SAMMI MIAMI and other former Shööt the Möön members to form HOUNDSTONE. *** Guitarist CHRIS BRAT has joined THE SPOILERS. *** THE PRIME MOVERS (Mach II) have decided to call it quits after their initial reunion six years ago. Their final show was on 1/16 at the Middle East. Lolita: Well, now the Movers have set up the possibility of a re-reunion.

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VISUAL ART

Rita: While Lolita adds pages to the local music history book, I want to examine the diversity of our musicians. I asked a bunch of locals to tell me who are musicians that create the best visual art. Here’s a sampling of my findings… MARK LIND (… & the Unloved): Without a doubt that would be my bandmate, Douglas Sullivan, from Ducky Boys. The guy is talented in so many ways, but visual arts is probably his best area. He actually makes replica movie props for fun. He’s designed and built several replicas of the Proton Packs from Ghostbusters and sold them to other collector nerds. He designs and builds his own elaborate Halloween costumes that put the professionals to shame. He actually helped design a part of a replica light saber that ended up being mass-produced and sold in places like Spencer Gifts after that abortion of a new Star Wars trilogy was made. In addition to all of this he does web sites, CD layouts, and oil paintings. I have one of his original paintings hanging in my bedroom and every unlucky lady that gets to see it always asks where it came from. *** GARY WALEIK (Big Dipper): Bill Goffrier is certainly among the best local visual artists. And what range: watercolors of tranquil New England scenes, pastels of Wichita architecture, oils of naked ex-girlfriends, depictions of alien spacecraft and the lovable creatures that fly them, even the fabulous cover of Supercluster: the Big Dipper Anthology (Merge, 2008). He can do it all! *** LEXI KAHN (LowBudgetSuperhero.com): I would love to have one of Asa Brebner’s pieces on my wall. He can do some excellent pen-and-ink that rivals Shel Silverstein, but I love when he builds stunning wall sculptures. He’s like a modern day Bosch, only his unique garden of earthly delights is constructed from old guitars, toys, and found objects. Joey Pesce is also really talented, go to pescesculpture.com and look up the piece called Spirit and Minions, which I think might be presently hanging from the ceiling of River Gods. *** TAD OVERBAUGH (The Kickbacks/ x-Dirty Truckers): John Brookhouse’s artwork makes your eyes crackle and pop with joy. Always inspiring. *** CHRIS BRAT (the Throwaways/ the Acro-brats): Well, I like all of Ian’s stuff that he’s done for flyers, CD art, and all that. DeBarge does great work over at Stingray, so he’d be another obvious choice. Paul Delano’s clever with the Photoshop skills and my boy Swid has been responsible for impressive graphics in wicked popular video games. But just the other week I drew a really kickass rendition of the Aerosmith logo with a Sharpie on a napkin at the Cellar, so I’m gonna have to give it up to myself. *** WILL DAILEY (Will Dailey): I am addicted to Rose Polenzani’s YouTube videos. They are creative, fun, musically astounding, and she keeps them coming. I am more addicted to them than dark chocolate. *** MATT HUTTON (Birdwatchers of America): Well, Ad Frank is a work of art in and of himself—does that count? *** ANDERSON MAR (Dark Sky Productions/ Paul Green School of Rock): I would nominate Walter Sickert (… & the Army of Broken Toys) for his quirkily morbid drawings containing hearts, squids, wire trees, television-headed monsters, and grotestesque bunny rabbits. *** FRANK ROWE (CLASSIC RUINS): David Sholl from Four Piece Suit does these Ashcan School style paintings of sensuous radiators leaning against each other in the sun. Some have erections (bleeder valves) and they all look totally at ease in a yard full of other radiators. In the titles, he calls them Rads. If you think about it, people and radiators are rather similar… sometimes warm, often hard. *** RAY MASON (Ray Mason Band/ Lonesome Brothers): There’s no doubt that the answer to this question is the one and only Asa Brebner! Soulful and terrifying beauty would be an apt description of Asa’s artwork. Get some now! Lolita: Okay, Asa is the first two get more then one nod, so we’re crowing him today’s king of musical visual artists. I’ve seen his art and I have to admit, you don’t forget his pieces after seeing them.

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SCENE SPLEEN

Rita: Let’s combine our visual and aural sensors and figure out what bands we’re going to see and hear live in February 2009. POWERMAN 5000 returns to Boston on Monday, 2/2, at the Middle East. *** On Wednesday, 2/4, Heavy Rotation Records presents the Dorm Sessions 6 compilation release concert at the Berklee Performance Center. *** Then on Saturday, 2/7, THE GARAGE DOGS return to the Midway. *** The unsuperstitious CHANDLER TRAVIS PHILHARMONIC dares to play at Johnny D’s on Friday the 13th. *** GIRL ON TOP may dance on your table if you go to the Cantab on Saturday, 2/14. *** On Friday, 2/20, there are two 16th annual Mardi Gras celebrations to choose from: Club Bohemia’s Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball with the Chicken Slacks at Johnny D’s, and Shaun Wolf Wortis’s Mardi Gras Ball at T.T.’s. Both are highly recommended. *** THICK AS THIEVES releases its CD at the Middle East on Saturday, 2/21. *** THE JESSE GALLAGHER QUARTET plays Zuzu on Monday, 2/23. *** THE IN OUT gets its motion goin’ at the Midway on Saturday, 2/28. Lolita: Until we meet and exchange warm hugs, be well, and find the time to rock.

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