T Max: Welcome to the March online-only edition of The Noise. You may wonder why this issue is online only—it’s because March is our month to show everyone how fantabulous our website is. Plus the print-issue distributors need a break at the end of the winter when all that gray snow takes up too much space and masks the beautiful, titillating spring that is right around the corner. I can almost smell it now. So without any further distractions, let me introduce to you the most famous gossip columnists who leave their scent wherever they go—the fabulous Flange sisters: Rita and Lolita! Rita: Thank you T Max, now please exit quickly before Lolita gets here… Lolita: Too late! Thanks to you T Max, I got friggin’ chilblains on my toes because you forced me to shovel the snow when all I had was sandals on my feet. T Max: But… Lolita: Luckily my doctor bandaged me up head-to-toe like a mummy and put me in a sensory deprivation tank for two hours every day for two weeks. I lost 10 pounds and the chilblains are gone—so that’s the only reason why I’m still talking to you—check out my belly—I’m back to a size four. Rita: Okay, this magazine isn’t about the care of chilblains—I thought they were something people ate in the South—why don’t we talk about music in New England? Lolita: Right—let’s get to work. We’ll start off kind of normal with a question of the month, but then we’re going free–style, and we’ll end with a debate where you can add your two cents.
OLDEST THING YOU OWN
Rita: WAYNE VALDEZ (Store 54) once told me that old things, whether that be a pair of jeans or a desk, have more soul in them. I think he’s right. Lolita: So we found all these people gathered around a fire and asked them what was the oldest thing they owned… RICK BERLIN (…with the Nickel & Dime Band): My hippie belt. Bought it in Philly in ’73. Drove cross-country. Festivals. Bell bottoms. Acid. It’s still with me, the lone survivor of many weaker versions. Knicked with cuts and grooves that get caught in belt loops. Hope it won’t crack and split and be gone forever. Every day I dream back up quiet hitch-hiking hippie days gone by. *** KATE TAYLOR (Kate Taylor): The oldest thing I own is a several- million-year-old fossilized clam washed to the beach from the Gay Head Cliffs. I drilled a hole into it and sometimes wear it around my neck strung on a necklace with swan bones and clam shell beads. Maybe it’s such an old thing that I don’t really “own” it, it belongs to itself, but it’s hitched a ride with me for a while. *** RANDY BLACK (Randy Black & the Heathcroppers): My father’s father came to America from Poland when he was nine. Later he worked at an automotive paint factory in Somerville until moving to New Hampshire where, the doctors said, the air was better for his ailing wife. It certainly was better for him after years of breathing paint fumes. He always wore an onyx ring that he eventually gave to my father. It’s a flat, oval, black onyx set into a gold band that has striations around it and through it. Toward the end of his life my father gave it to me. *** WILL DAILEY (Will Dailey): My grandfather’s drunk stories. Shooting an apple off a friend’s head, having his jaw smashed in a Jeep accident on his way to WWII, quite possibly saving my life. *** KIER BYRNES (Three Day Threshold): I have my grandfather’s old chair from the ’30s. It was an art deco piece and looks really cool. Unlike the furniture they make today, it was made to last in addition to being super comfortable. One of my favorite parts about having it is that I like to imagine my grandfather, who also was a singer, sitting in the chair hanging out with me and my friends as we talk about music. *** RICK BARTON (Continental): The oldest thing I own is a baseball from ’67 autographed by Yaz, Lonborg, and Tony C! It was a gift to me as my cousin was dating Jim Lonborg at the time. I have no idea how the hell I could possibly still have that ball. After a thousand moves, serious drug addiction, and most recently four years of homelessness, it’s very bizarre! It’s gotta be worth some dough by now! Ha ha ha. *** LARRY BANGOR (Sapphire Martini): I have my birth announcement card (“It’s a Boy!”). Although it came into my possession only a few years ago, my father showed it to me when I was about 10 years old. He kept it in a souvenir box along with a commemorative cigar (with an “It’s a Boy” band), which he promised to smoke with me on my 21st birthday. We never had the smoke, but about a year before he died I asked if I could have the cigar. Sadly, he didn’t remember what had become of it. *** BILLY CARL MANCINI (Bird Mancini) It’s not quite the oldest “thing” I own, but the oldest instrument I own is my Guild D35 acoustic guitar. I bought it new in 1974 with tax rebate money. It was my first “real” guitar. It’s traveled across country, been on camping trips, sing-alongs, and gigs. Almost every song I’ve ever written was done using this guitar. Now it looks a bit weary and weather-beaten, but it still sounds sweet and still inspires me. It’s my main recording acoustic too. Time to write another song. ***KERRI POWERS (Kerri Powers): The oldest thing I own is an old oak child’s rocking chair given to me by my great Aunt Viola. It dates back to 1880. She lived with my great Uncle Bob in an old house out in the country. She was the most amazing cook and gardener. I’m not sure as to the origin of the rocker but will always cherish it. Lolita: So you’re a rocker at heart? Kerri: For sure, for sure. Lord knows I don’t fit in that lil’ chair no more!
NEW ENGLAND MUSIC NEWS
Lolita: Here’s the news that somehow gets by all those talking heads on TV… PIONEER VALLEY PIONEERS, a Boston-area supergroup, are a new traditional country/rockabilly band showcasing CHRIS DeBARGE (Lenny & the Piss Poor Boys), LYNETTE LENKER (the Stumbleweeds), and PHIL LENKER (Barrence Whitefield & the Savages/ Lyres). *** KENNY CHAMBERS (Moving Targets) leads a new band into 2014—Kenny Chambers & the Electric Ears. *** JENNY DEE & THE DEELINQUINTS have picked up guitarist BRIAN MARTIN (Muck & the Mires) and have new songs to share. Sounds like the band is moving chronologically from ’60s girl group songs to bands of the ’70s. *** MISC (Musical Instrument Service Center) has moved less than a block around the corner from their old location across from Berklee School of Music. They’re now at 4 Haviland Street, Boston, MA. *** Out in Natick, MA, there’s a similar move in the process—Music Go Round has purchased property across the street on the inbound side of Rt. 9 and plan to move in April. *** HUBBA HUBBA has moved too! They are now at 2 Ellery Street, around the corner from the new Cannondale bike shop at 1001 Mass Ave between Central and Harvard Square. *** The Iron Horse in Northampton, MA, celebrates it 35 anniversary. *** The Salem Jazz and Soul Festival was awarded a $10,000 grant from the W. Bradford Ingalls Charitable Foundation, which the nonprofit will use to expand its music-education programming and purchase equipment needed for this effort. *** Black Cloud Productions helps artists with music placement in film, TV, and video games. They recently placed music on TLC’s 17 Kids and Counting and Oxygen Network’s Bad Girls All-Star Battle. *** Another Channel reunion is in the works—Sunday, June 22, at Royale (279 Tremont St., Boston, MA)—bands to be announced. *** CHELSEA BERRY turned one of her cancelled snowstorm gigs into a live online pay-for-concert. Pretty clever there, Chelsea. *** CLAY N. FERNO (Middle East) is running a Social Media Workshop for bands, DJs, artists, comic creators, and more, on Friday March 21 at MMMMaven (614 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, MA). *** Boston music journalist legend STEVE MORSE‘s son NICK MORSE exhibits his artwork on April 26-27 for Cambridge Open Studios at the former Ice Cream Loft at 93 Harvey St. *** STINGRAY BODY ART (384 Cambridge St., Allston, MA) is hosting Portals: Insanity 2014 Show, featuring new works by INSANITY as well as collaborations with OWEN LINDERS, SEAN WALKER, and ADAM O’DAY. The show is up throughout the month of March. Lolita: Art and music go hand in hand. Support all the different kinds of artists you know.
NEWS THAT IS A QUARTER OF A CENTURY OLD
Rita: Set the way back machine to 1989. Here is what going on… On the national stage, MICHAEL JACKSON‘s Moon Walk video becomes the biggest-selling video to date. *** Christian fundamentalists force Pepsi Cola to drop a controversial $8 million MADONNA commercial, in fear of a boycott on their fine product. In the commercial a black Christ cries tears of blood after kissing Madonna—whoa—better not let the kids see that! *** GUNS & ROSES get kicked off an AIDS benefit due to their anti-gay lyrics. I think they homophobically refused to kiss Jesus. *** McDonald’s presses 45 million records of their hamburger ingregients set to music. “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame bun”—sounds pretty sexual—better call in the Christian fundamentalists. *** DEBBIE GIBSON‘s single, “Lost in Your Eyes,” dominates the charts. Can’t say I remember this one—must have something to do with the qualifications on reaching gold record status being lowered at the time. ***ANNIE LENNOX, PETER GABRIEL, U2’s EDGE, and CHRISSIE HYNDE go to Moscow to promote a Greenpeace charity there. *** PAUL McCARTNEY promises to do something that every band does when the play in Russia—play “Back in the USSR”—but will he sing “Choba B CCCP”? *** Lolita: In Boston, March 1989, bands that are on top include THINK TREE, who are on the cover of The Noise, THE BAGS are headlining at The Rat and Bunratty’s, SLEEP CHAMBER is at the Cage, GIGOLO AUNTS at Johnny D’s, GALAXIE 500 at Green Street Station, THE NEATS at T.T. the Bear’s, and XANNA DON’T is at the Middle East (with a story in The Noise). *** WMBR starts an all-local show called Pipeline (yes it’s still airing today). *** Bunratty’s buys a new sound system and sells its old one to Green Street Station. *** A.J. WACHTEL is telling his now-legendary story of riding on a camel in Casablanca led by two beautiful naked natives while being wrecked on Moroccan hash. *** Manager AL LORENZO DRAKE complains about the last photo of WILLIE ALEXANDER in The Noise being 11 years old. Lolita quiets the guy by running an up-to-date, but fuzzy, shot of Willie tearing up Green Street Station. Rita: Lorenzo, even in 2014 we still aim to please you (see the photo above).
MORE OLD THINGS
Lolita: Let’s continue with more of the oldest things that our friends have… CORIN ASHLEY (Lion in the Bedroom): My oldest and most prized possession is a 1964 Hofner Senator bass—very similar to the model Stuart Sutcliffe played when the Beatles were in Hamburg—and I’ve had the pick guard autographed by Kaus Voorman. In moments of despair, I stare at it for comfort. *** KAREN DeBIASSE (Girl On Top): I have a Telefunken microphone from 1947. For decades this microphone was the most sensitive ribbon microphone ever used. Very small, very sensitive. They were used to guide the V2 rockets that bombed London. This microphone was used by the Grateful Dead who bought it from the Beatles. The person I bought it from bought it from Bob Weir. Bob Weir got it from someone that worked at Apple. It’s the best vocal mic ever made. George Martin was so fanatical about these microphones that he used them on the drums and probably broke ribbons doing so. *** PAUL ROBICHEAU (The Improper Bostonian): Probably this big fishing rod from my high-school days (or nights) casting off the rocks along the Cape Cod Canal, hoping to catch a big striped bass. Wish I’d had an iPod then. The rod’s hanging in the basement, unused for decades, and I never caught a single fish in the Cape Cod Canal. *** JON MACEY (Fox Pass): Not really sure but, I have this 1960s Ludwig wooden tambourine I used in Fox Pass in the mid-1970s. The only surviving instrument from then. I used to hit it so hard on my leg I would have big welts at the end of the night. We played lots of shows, so lots of bruises. I left it behind when I moved to NYC in 1979, in my parents’ attic. Found it again many years later and now I use it on my recordings. Reminds me of my life in music. *** MARK BRYANT (Seasound Studio): I have a pair of rhythm bones that my dad gave me and even showed me how to play, while on his deathbed. He got them before he went overseas to fight WWII. That would make them at least 70 years old. *** WOODY GIESSMANN (Right Turn/the Del Fuegos/ the Embarrassment/ Laurie Geltman/ Woody Giessmann & the Silverbacks): I own a 1943 Slingerland radio king snare. I remember getting into a terrible van accident on black ice in the middle of winter across the Ohio state line with the Del Fuegos. All of our equipment (and me) were thrown from the van and splintered all over the highway. One of the first things I thought of was “my snare”—the only part of my drum set that survived the crash. *** MACH BELL (Macomber Center): My father recently handed down to me the Bell family grandfather clock. My great-grandfather Herman purchased it 150 years ago. Both the grandfather clock and Herman’s accompanying Waltham gold pocketwatch (used to set it on Sundays) still tell nearly perfect time. ***BRIAN KING (What Time Is It, Mr. Fox?): The oldest thing I own is a broken piece of pottery that is approximately 2,000 years old. Nathan Cohen (violinist of What Time Is It, Mr. Fox?) brought it back for me from Jerusalem. It’s about the size of a saucer. It’s almost impossible to fathom really. Who used it? Who made it? It’s so old! It’s quite simple and incredible. *** MIKE PIEHL (Reverse): I own a 28″ Ludwig and Ludwig bass drum from 1931 …and it still sounds the balls! Lolita: Did you leave a word out of your answer? Mike: Ha! Ludwig was originally called “Ludwig and Ludwig.” Two brothers who then parted ways and the other started (I think) Slingerland. *** CHRISTINE BAZE (Christine Baze): Mr. Muccigrasso handed it to me as I walked into his living room for my piano lesson. It was January 29, 1980—my 11th birthday. I remember looking at it and saying, “Oh my gosh thank you SO much… wow… 19 Sonatas by Moe Zart… cool!”—having no idea whatsoever who the heck Mozart was, let alone how to say his name. Mr. Muccigrasso corrected my pronunciation and said “Crissy, I think you are really going to love classical music… it’s all about expressing emotion through the keys. You will love it.” He was right. Rita: Christine, if you had trouble pronouncing Mozart, imagine if he handed you the works of Rimsky Korsakov—because I always thought it was “rinse your old corsets off.”
ANSWERS TO LAST ISSUE’S BEAT’L QUIZ
Lolita: The question in the previous issue of The Noise (#338, February 2014) was, what song finally knocked the Beatles off the top of Billboard’s U.S. singles chart in 1964, after “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “She Loves You,” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” collectively held that position for 13 weeks?
Here’s the winning answer… though it took two tries…
BILLY CARL MANCINI (Bird Mancini): Of course it was Dean Martin who knocked The Fabs off the charts in 1964. I have a couple of original charts (from my hometown station WKBK-AM) from March of ’64 that show the Beatles in the top 10 positions. Also have a July 26, 1964 chart showing Dean Martin in the #1 spot with “Everybody Loves Somebody… Sometime.”
T MAX: Sorry Billy but we’re going by the U.S. Billboard chart.
BILLY CARL MANCINI: Mr. Max, Ahh—yes, you are correct sir. It was Louis Armstrong that first knocked the Beatles out of the #1 position with “Hello Dolly” on Billboard charts. Dean Martin did the same thing but it wasn’t until Aug. 15 on Billboard Charts. Check out the chart that I attached. It’s from July 26, 1964. Dean knocked the Beatles out a couple of weeks before Billboard’s national chart in my hometown of Keene, NH. I may get a Beatle overdose before this week is through….
T MAX: That’s right, Louis Armstrong’s “Hello Dolly” was the correct answer. But Dean Martin wasn’t the second act to knock the Beatles off their most comfortable position. They regained #1 with “Can’t Buy Me Love” for one week, then one week of “Love Me Do”—then the Dixie Cups’ “Chapel of Love” did the knocking and stayed on top for three weeks. Six weeks later the Beatles’ “Hard Day Night” found the sweet spot, and that was when Dino’s “Everybody Loves Somebody” took over. After that it took the Beatles 19 weeks to regain #1 with “I Feel Fine” in December of 1964. If you do the math—the Beatles held the #1 spot on the singles chart for 16 weeks during that year.
EVEN MORE OLD THINGS
Lolita: From old trivia to plain old things… Line up and tell us what you got… BOBY BEAR (Bear with Me): A handmade war club that has traveled down through my family for generations. I can only imagine the damage it may have done to a long-ago opponent. *** EVAN GAVRY (Three Day Threshold/ Evan Gavry & the Tin Stars): I have this 1930s marching snare drum; I think it’s a Ludwig. It has wood hoops and tarnished hardware. My mother bought it for me in some rural junk shop. I remember pretty vividly sitting in the backyard at age 6, trying to make sense of how to play it properly. I’d play the sort of slow marching rolls they play in Westerns when they’re walking the condemned man to the gallows. I used to leave it in our garage, which was almost a barn, because I could make noise in there without bothering anyone. One day I came in from playing in the woods and found that hornets had made a nest inside the drum and I never played it again. But it was all I could do not to give it one more WHACK to hear the sound of a nest of angry hornets inside a drum! *** RAY MASON (Ray Mason Band/ Lonesome Brothers): Definitely my birth certificate. Not much of a story there! *** TIM MUNGENAST (Timworld): Well, it’s a toss-up. I collect rocks, and those are obviously damned old. I have an inexplicable spiritual connection to some of them, and I don’t care how New Age that sounds. My fave is this mango-sized rock that I found on the ground in New Hampshire in the ’80s. It’s flat on the bottom but dome-shaped on top, intriguing striations, and very smooth. It feels great in your hands. Not nearly as old but still damned old is my ancient Greek coin with goddess Artemis on one side and a goat on the other. *** PETER CHOYCE (KXLU): The oldest thing I DID own was my stuffed yellow man in the moon that I’d had since I was three in 1963. The woman who I will never forgive in LA, had that, and almost everything else I owned, thrown out when I left my house in Echo Park. I was so high, I didn’t know what was going on. “They’re only THINGS,” she would say as the Cholos came into my house and helped themselves to EVERYTHING of value and things that only had personal value. Good thing I still have all my radio airchecks from 1977 through to this day, even the Cholos didn’t want them! *** ELI POLONSKY (WMBR/WBUR): I own a very old dial telephone. It may be from the 1940s or or early ’50s. It has better sound quality and clarity for both hearing callers and for callers hearing me than any modern landline phone that I’ve tried to replace it with. *** BONNIE BARRISH (The Dynamic Duo): I have a collection of figurines that has been with me since my early childhood. I have taken them with me wherever I moved. Then before coming to Gloucester, I left them with a friend on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as that was the last place they were before my husband and I separated. Then I was in contact with that friend for a long time, moved to where I am living now, and then Hurricane Katrina struck the area, and wiped it off the map! After things stabilized a little, I contacted her, and heard that her home was the only place on the whole coastline that was intact, where the other to parts of their property were destroyed! So she and her daughter shipped the figurines up to me, and I set them up in my living room on the windowsills of Sheedy Park, and they are all intact! *** FRANCIS DiMENNO (The Noise/ the Wrong Hero): The album Jan and Dean Meets Batman and Robin dates from 1966 and although it’s not the oldest thing I own, it’s the thing I’ve owned the longest. My mother bought it for me after what I presume was a bout of querulous whining. Somehow my cousin Jeff got hold of it and it was part of his scant collection until I finally reclaimed it back around 1980. I seem to recall that Billy Bacon was very impressed that I owned such an artifact. The songs on it are pretty repetitive and idiotic–which, of course, made it perfect for a 9-year-old. *** IAN CLARK (Razors in the Night/ Flick Knife Flicks): My dick—it’s lived a hard life and it looks about 200 years old. Lolita: You really have such an inventive a way of luring the women in. *** PETER WALSH/PETE DEPRESSED (Meat Depressed/ the Gobshites): I still have my tonsils. Does that count? Lolita: Well Pete, I hope you also still have some other body parts that are just as old.
UNDERSTANDING THE JOB OF NOISE REVIEWERS
Rita: Here’s some recent correspondence about how things are done at The Noise… weigh in with your opinion by leaving a comment at the end of this column.
Anonymous musician: What is Kevin Finn doing starting his review of my band by saying he doesn’t like that kind of music, and then doing the review anyway? He certainly did us no favors, even with his very grudging “they won me over” line late in the piece. If you don’t like a type of music, then don’t review it just to show off how snarky you can be. How can you possibly be objective when you loudly proclaim a bias to start?
At least I have the integrity to tell you what I can do and what I can’t. That guy? Not so much. He acted like he was pissed at us that HE lost the CD for five months and then took it out on us.
T Max: Sorry you didn’t like Kevin’s review—he’s one of the best writers with The Noise. I try to place CDs with who I think will enjoy them, but if they don’t, I still expect them to review the music. You don’t have to love a genre of music to be able to review it. I know that personally I can hear heavy metal that is done well, even though I don’t appreciate the genre. I often tell people that a plumber should be able to review music. They don’t need to know the details to know whether or not they enjoy what they hear.
Kevin has more integrity than almost any of my writers. He tells it exactly like he hears it, and the fact that he came around to enjoy your music makes the review even more generous than someone raving about it that loves the genre. In time I bet you will look at it differently.
Kevin Finn: Thanks for sticking up for my integrity!
I think whoever wrote this is off the rails a little bit. First of all, what does the band do when they get an actual bad review, which this clearly is not? Second, if you’re making music in Boston in the 2010s that has any combination of Irish, punk, pro-Boston and pro-working-class elements, then you are absolutely setting yourself up for someone to say that what you’re doing is a little clichéd at this point, and I’m saying that as someone who is of Irish descent, loves punk, feels incredibly lucky to live in this city and thinks the working class is constantly getting screwed over. Blame the Dropkicks, Southie townies and a billion other things for that one, not me. I’ve written countless positive reviews about music I don’t normally listen to. Third, I didn’t know that my job was to do anyone any favors. I’ve been bummed out about the great Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death and just today I watched a clip of him as Lester Bangs in Almost Famous telling his young protégée that a critic’s job is to be “honest and unmerciful.” That, not being snarky, is what I was doing. Fourth, I will be more than happy to provide anyone in the band a list of what I can and can’t do, although I fail to see its relevance here. Fifth, there is nothing begrudging about me saying they won me over. I was just stating a fact, and a complimentary one at that. Lastly, my having lost the CD really had no impact on my mood at all, but I certainly understand how that reflects poorly on me.
Anonymous musician: I will once again state for the record that our ONLY real issue with Finn’s review is that he began and ended by very bluntly admitting he shouldn’t be reviewing it. He spent nearly as much space talking about his distaste for the Celtic genre as he did discussing our music. I simply don’t see how that makes for a good review, either favorable or unfavorable, in The Noise, or anywhere.
I didn’t necessarily expect a lavishly loving review, but can you at least see why it’s questionable to have someone who admits right up front that they don’t like clams, lobster, and scallops to review a seafood eatery?
I know not every CD deserves lavish praise. But whether ours does or doesn’t isn’t the point. It’s that the reviewer’s very up-front disdain that bothers us. His disdain kills the review early on, and the modest albeit grudging praise later on is too little, too late.
Rita: So, reader, what do you think? There are valid points on both sides. What do you want out of reading reviews of music? Lolita: Leave your comments right here…