T Max: Welcome to the Holiday Double Issue of The Noise. Check it out! Something has been on my mind lately… it’s clear to me that our musician readers have good reason to support our advertisers. Without advertisers, The Noise does not exist. So those businesses are indirectly responsible for musicians getting reviewed and featured. If you are a musician who has never advertised with The Noise but has been reviewed, you owe it to your musical karma to check out these businesses—go in and at least thank them. Make note of our advertisers and do business with them as regularly as you can. Rita: Okay—can we have our column back now? Lolita: And can we put our focus back on the musicians—the wonderful people who have the magical gift of singing and playing that allows us to experience a world beyond our reality?f So sticking with that idea, let’s make believe money is no object and you can receive anything your heart desires…
MONEY IS NO OBJECT
Rita: Form a straight line and tell us about something you like to have for yourself… WILLIAM “DES” DESMOND (Sound Museum): A new bulldozer! I need one for my place in Vermont. They are big money. *** LINDA VIENS (Kingdom of Love): I would like around-the-world travel tickets to take Ruby and a friend on the trip of a lifetime—France, Italy, Amsterdam, Spain… leave home and don’t come back for a year. A girl’s gotta dream! *** MICHAEL J. EPSTEIN (…Memorial Library/ Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling/ Darling Pet Munkee/ Space Balloons): I’d buy a giant building and create a big no-rent studio/ living space for artists. *** AJDA THE TURKISH QUEEN (Black Fortress of Opium/ Ajdio): A brand new black Mercedes-Benz sedan. Or a vacation! *** JON MACEY (Fox Pass): A Gretch White Falcon, move to LA, buy a time machine, and jam with Buffalo Springfield. *** KAREN DeBIASSE (Girl on Top): I would like a large ranch away from everything in a place where high mountains grace the ocean. I would have horses that gallope up to greet me and a recording studio with large bay windows overlooking the beauty. *** CHELSEA BERRY (Chelsea Berry): I could use a new car. The White Raven (as we call my ’95 Saturn) has been an amazing vehicle and we’ve had some good times and great tours together. That being said, she’s starting to eat an awful lot of oil, and the sensation you experience while driving her is something akin to the feeling of being on the spin cycle inside a washing machine. *** MR. CURT (MC4): Oh yeah, too easy—the remaining mortgage payments on our house, then we could own it now! *** MICKEY BLISS (Cantab/ Club Bohemia): Wisdom. *** ROB CRUSHING (Pure Fiction/ Rocketscience/ Dana Labb): As many kegs of Konig Ludwig Dunkel, my favorite beer in the world (out of the Neuchwanstein, Germany area) as my house could hold. Pure Bavarian heaven. Can’t for the life of me find the damned stuff anywhere in the States. *** HEIDI FRAM (Byfield Community Arts Center): Most of the time I personally have everything I could need: a loving family, great friends, and lots to do. But, if money were no object and I could want something else, it would be a personal assistant to handle press and media for the Cat in the Cradle Coffeehouse (and maybe do laundry or something). It sounds like a plug, but I am always in awe that we have so much talent in our region and I want everyone to know about it and enjoy it as much as I do. Rita: And Cat in the Cradle is worth a plug—a great-sounding comfortable room—and it’s right off the highway in Byfield (Interstate 95, exit 55). Other advertisers who answered this question: Mickey Bliss of the Cantab, Karen DeBiasse who gives singing lessons, and Des from the Sound Museum (renter of rehearsal spaces).
NEW ENGLAND MUSIC NEWS
Lolita: Here’s the news you won’t hear on TV (my God—all they report is horrifying), radio, or the major newspapers… THEA HOPKINS has been recognized as one of the Top 10 Bands on ReverbNation. *** BRISTOL STUDIOS (169 Mass Ave., Boston, MA) is holding a free seminar on Audio Engineering basics on December 3. *** DROPKICK MURPHYS did an amazing job on the National Anthem before the game that had the Sox regain their World Series crown. *** JERRY VELONE and LARRY LUDDECKE penned a parody cover of “Sea Cruise” and recorded it with help from PAUL AHSTRAND (saxes) and PAUL LENART (guitar). The new lyrics reflected on the skill of the Boston Red Sox’s masterful closer KOJI UEHARA. Jerry sent “Koji on the Mound” to WEEI’s MIKE ADAMS and it became an immediate hit. It was even used by JOE CASTIGLIONE during the game broadcasts when Koji would enter the game. Japanese reporters at Sports Nippon became interested and interviewed him for the Sponichi Annex. Meanwhile Jerry’s son CHRIS VELONE threw together a video for YouTube and the thing went viral, with more than half the hits from Japan. “Koji on the Mound” is available on CDBaby and Jerry is working on a full-length release for 2014. Might we suggest “In Dust(in) We Trust” by the Chemical Brothers, “Papi’s on a Rolling Duck Tour” to the tune of “Papa was a Rolling Stone,” or use “Big Bad John” for a tune about the Sox’s wonderful new manager? *** During the Red Sox rolling rally, manager JOHN FARRELL was heard on TV stating he appreciated seeing all the people and The Noise.Lolita: Thank you John—we love the Red Sox too. We know this may sound out of context, but people everywhere keep talking about The Noise. ***SARAH BLACKER totaled her Prius while on tour with her dog Beazley, a Noise Pet of the Month. They were banged up and had to cancel shows, but Sarah will be back with a new automobile soon. *** HANKUS NETSKY (New England Conservatory) has been included in the Forward 50, 50 American Jews who’ve had the greatest impact on the world in 2013. Netsky, Chair of NEC’s Contemporary Improvisation Department, was cited for being a “mentor (to) generations of Jewish musicians” and “a quiet but powerful force affecting nearly every corner of contemporary Jewish music.” ***PETER PRESCOTT (Mission of Burma) has a new project going with GILLIAN CHADWICK (Elemental Child), RICK PELLETIER (Six Finger Satelllite) and ALEC K. REDFEARN (…& the Eyesores) called MINIBEAST. *** JASON DUNN has completed an interesting project called Boston Does Boston Vol. 1&2—a two-CD set of Boston acts covering Boston acts. The three-day release party at Brighton Music Hall is a benefit for the Animal Rescue League. *** JOHNNY D’s received the Somerville Chamber of Commerce’s Powderhouse Award for excellence in dining and nightlife. Rita: Make note—they advertise in The Noise.
FAMILY HOLIDAY TRADITIONS
Lolita: The holiday season is steeped in tradition. When you were growing up, how did your family celebrate the holidays? JON BUTCHER (Jon Butcher Axis): My growing up had a sound track, especially at the holidays. My introduction to and awareness of Nat King Cole and Johnny Mathis came at the Christmas holidays, as far back as I can remember. At the very same time was my introduction to Tchaikovsky (Swan Lake) and Johann Strauss (The Blue Danube), all of it emanating from my Dad’s hi-fi system when there was such a thing. My brother and I were emphatically not allowed to touch the hi-fi system. I learned about jazz from organist Jimmy Smith at the same time that I discovered big band swing via Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. But my love of classical music came by the Nutcracker Suite, this long before Jimi Hendrix changed the world. My family memories around the holidays have a crazy diverse music sound track, something I’m eternally grateful for. *** ERIN AMAR (rockerzine.com/ Ritual Arts): My Aunt always has a Christmas Eve party, but I stopped going after the year I spent much of the night trapped in conversation with her neighbor, a Clown for Christ. She came in full clown makeup, with an “I Love Jesus” button on her overalls, and talked in a squeaky baby voice all night. From the other end of the room her husband—a non-clown, Tony Soprano sort of fellow—gazed longingly at her, making me think this clown-thing must be part of their sex life. I prefer a more wholesome holiday now! *** AJ WACHTEL (Future Gynecologist): My Dad’s family was Jewish and my mom came from Protestant Irish and Scottish stock so we always celebrated Hanukah with the menorah I still have; and a real live Christmas tree, which we always decorated with tinsel and ornaments. I have always celebrated both holidays with my son in a secular, non-religious way. I don’t give a fuck about Christ or the Maccabees but I always loved getting presents. The family story is we stopped getting a Christmas tree when I was about 10 years old because my older sister “was afraid that the rabbi might drop by our house and see it.” But being older and looking back, I think that’s just what my parents told me to justify their ending the practice because it was very messy and took a lot of work buying the tree, decorating it, and then disposing of it. To this day, whenever I bring her “big mouth” up to my older sister she still vehemently denies she ever said that to end that treasured and very cool family tradition. *** KIER BYRNES(Three Day Threshold): Whenever we open up a bottle of champagne, all the kids (even now) have to run outside in a competition to see who can catch the cork. *** FRANCIS DiMENNO (The Noise/ Wrong Hero): When I was a teenager, my Uncle Bob was convinced that eating fish on New Years’ Day brought good luck, and so he always bought little bottles of herring fillets in sour cream and would insist that my cousins and I should sample them. Which we never did. *** MIKE PIEHL (Reverse/ Lyle Brewer Quartet/ Sarah Borges): We lived on a corner and my Dad was great at drawing/painting. Each year we’d pick an image (the 1st one was Santa sitting in a rocking chair smoking a pipe, boots off, jacket hanging off the back). My Dad would draw it on graph paper, then we’d transfer it 1”x 1” to 1’ x 1’ onto a sheet of plywood… cut it out, paint it and hang it on the house. He taught us how, and how to use a jigsaw eventually. By the time we were in junior high the property was covered. Tastefully too! Rita: That’s a wonderful tradition—imagine if every family did it?
THE BIGGEST PRESENT
Lolita: Okay, so we’re learned about some different family tradition, now who, outside your family, deserves the biggest present? LARRY BANGOR(Human Sexual Response/ The Zulus): Eileen Rose deserves something with a ribbon on it for agreeing to perform a borderline-offensive Christmas tune with me, even though we both know we’ll never match the raunch of the original. Lolita: Where and when will this tune be sung? Larry: If all goes as planned it will be at Club Helsinki in Hudson, NY on December 21. *** TOM MATTOS (Tavern at the End of the World/ Trusty Sidekick/ Red Quiet): I’ve been playing music since I was seven years old and nowhere in the 23 years that followed did I ever meet someone like the immortal Trick Wallace. What would I buy him? Easy. A 1965 Buick Riviera Gran Sport (jet black, to match his outfits) so he can finally travel in the style he deserves. Big-ass American car! *** JOSEPH BARJACK (Methadone Kitty): That would be my friend/band mate Greg. He’s a genius artist, designer, and guitar player who pushes our band’s creative, technical, and musical limits. Plus he’s a great guy. If the present is a Fender Twin Reverb amp, give it to him. If it’s an Orange amp, give to him and he’ll mod it to make it sound better. *** KEITH ASACK (Keep the Edge Studios): Kim Pfluger, my business partner, deserves the biggest present of any one of my music friends. I own a recording studio and LOVE vintage gear. Three Christmas’ ago she surprised me by buying a set of Auratone 5cs, in the original wood. It was not only unbelievably thoughtful, but super cool! *** MARK KAYE (Hear Now Live): Shoney Lamar deserves the biggest present because since he has broke into the local music scene he has always done things his way. He is a rock ’n’ roll troubadour and ambassador to up-and-coming musicians, and he continues to reinvent himself over and over again. I’ve heard more musicians cover Shoney’s music live than they have covered any other local or national musician, and that has to count for a big-ass present. *** KRISTEN MILLER(Kristen Miller): What Time Is It, Mr. Fox? deserves the biggest present. There are about 10 people in that band; they are so unique, so hard-working, so intensely magical. What they deserve is a tour bus. If money was no object, I’d buy them one. They rock, and the whole country should know it. ***BRIAN YOUNG (WMFO/ The Thigh Scrapers): Bill Bracken of Age Against the Machine and chief engineer of WBCN. He got me my first radio gig and it was at ’BCN! *** VALERIE KAHN-DORATO (Time Tunnel): I’d give Linda Viens anything her heart desired! We barely knew one another when the Mikey Dee nightmare began, but we had an instant connection that first time we cried together. I had other musician friends outside of Mike’s circle take good care of me, but she was the one inside his circle who I could always count on for truly altruistic and loving support. Linda has continued to be a positive force in my life throughout the years and I’m forever grateful to have her in my life!! So that pony is all yours, gal. Lolita: She really wants a trip around the world for two—hope you can afford it. *** RAY MASON (Ray Mason Band/ Lonesome Brothers): Definitely the guys in my band (Frank Marsh, Stephen Desaulniers, Tom Shea). These same three have been doing this music thing with me for close to 20 years now. I’m a very lucky man. Guess they will be collecting that pension after all! *** JASON DUGUAY (Project Sound): Andy Arsenault. Sometimes it’s not one big call to glory or event that makes someone special, sometimes it is developed in many smaller actions over a long period of time. Andy deserves the biggest present we can offer him because he would never think to ask for one for himself. Through the years he has been a beacon of true kindness and accepting friendship no matter the situation. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying my life, in and outside of music, would be completely different without him. Rita: Now remember to be thankful—a number of advertisers answered this last question—Tavern at the End of the World, Hear Now Live, Methadone Kitty, Keep the Edge Studios, WMFO, and Project Sound—making note of them is the first step. Lolita: Have a wonderful holiday season. Remember that giving is not about money—homemade cookies, decorated pinecones, ground seashells, frozen mulch, and FaceBook likes are all appreciated. Rita: I have no idea what she does with the ground seashells and frozen mulch—but keep your spirit high, share your love, and remember those who normally get forgotten.
RIP: CHARLIE CHESTERMAN (Scruffy the Cat)
Boston rock musician Charlie Chesterman died Monday after a long illness. He was 53.
Born and raised in Des Moines, Charlie was lead singer of The Law, one of Iowa’s first punk bands, in the late 1970’s. He moved to Boston in the early 1980s when he started Scruffy the Cat, writing songs, playing guitar and singing most lead vocals. The band was at the forefront of a budding roots-rock movement, touring the U.S. relentlessly, sharing bills with the likes of The Replacements, Yo La Tengo, and Los Lobos, while releasing two full-length albums and two EPs on Relativity Records. The video the band’s best known song “My Baby, She’s Alright” entered rotation on MTV and the band was later profiled in Newsweek magazine. Charlie once quipped about Scruffy the Cat’s appearance in a Rolling Stone fashion spread, “We were going to get into Rolling Stone one way or another, so we figured we might as well get pictures of us with someone else’s clothes on.”
In the early 1990s, Charlie formed The Harmony Rockets, a jangly, British-pop-rock-influenced band. Popular and critically-acclaimed, the band played around the New England region, and released one record. In 1993, he recorded a few demos as a solo artist that resulted in his signing to Slow River/Rykodisc Records, with whom he recorded three albums—From the Book of Flames, Studebakersfield, and Dynamite Music Machin—that formed a sort of tragedy-to-redemption trilogy. He later put out three more albums with his band The Legendary Motorbikes, often known simply as Chaz & the Motorbikes. After stepping away from music for a few years to focus on raising his family, he issued a collection of unreleased and rare recordings entitled Solid Gold Electric Chestnut Dispenser.
Charlie’s longtime producer Pete Weiss said, “I feel incredibly lucky to have had him as a close friend and collaborator. And I’m very grateful to have been invited into his amazing musical world. I love, love, love how uncompromising he was with his music, and how he looked at rock ’n’ roll through a visual/conceptual artist’s lens.”
Charlie loved Rickenbacker guitars, motorcycles and Vespa scooters, and collected mid-century American graphics. He studied and cherished the songwriting finesse of Buddy Holly, the raw grit and creativity of the early Beatles, the bombast of Little Richard, the twang of Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent, and the ageless pop-rock of Chuck Berry, all of whom factored into his own style of songwriting and performance. In addition to his musical career, Charlie worked for many years at Boston’s PSG Framing.
Charlie died peacefully at home surrounded by family. He is survived by his wife, Juliann Cydylo, his daughter, Clementine, and son, Woolsey, his sister Nancy Covington, his brothers Ted and Dan Austin, and his mother, Carolyn Chesterman.