Rita: April is full of a good variety of holidays, from the trickster’s delight of April Fools’ Day to the solemn Passover and Good Friday. Easter can get confusing when chocolate bunnies and hunts for colored hard-boiled eggs meet a spiritual leader returning from the dead. And then the days devoted to nature: Arbor Day (don’t forget to plant a tree) and Earth Day (please lay down on the ground – asphalt and cement doesn’t count – and give a big hug to the grandest momma that continuously takes us on a trip around the sun.) Lolita: I’m glad to see you’re doing your homework on holidays, and yes, I will hug Mother Earth on her day (April 22) as long as there is a space that is not covered with dirty gray icy fluff.
WHERE IN THE WORLD
Lolita: I’m going to find out where others will be going this spring. I’m sure everyone will be looking for non-snow areas to celebrate a new season. Hey Dave, where will you be going this spring? DAVE BAILIN (Dave Bailin & the Bailouts): I always like to take a trip to Provincetown to see the right whales in the spring. The majority of their endangered population visits in March/April, and you can see them right from the beach! *** SHEA ROSE (Shea Rose): I’m gonna pack my car with homemade sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies, and a beverage with bubbles (knowing me, San Pellegrino). I’ll throw on a playlist that includes Stevie Wonder, Rihanna, Jeff Buckley, Frank Ocean, Eva Cassidy, and some Bob Marley. Then, I’m rolling down the windows to breathe in the fresh, spring air and driving to the Berkshires. It’s a trip I’ve always wanted to take! *** LARRY BANGOR (The Zulus/ Human Sexual Response): As soon as the ice melts from the steep paths, I’ll resume my morning strolls through the cemetery behind our house. *** AD BOC (AfterFab—The Beatles Solo Years): Yuyuan Garden (Garden of Happiness), Shanghai in April. Lolita: Now that sounds exotic, but it may be outside of my traveling price range.
Rita: I know a lot of musicians would rather spend money on equipment than on traveling. Hey there Billy—yes, you Mr. Mancini. Tell me, what vintage instrument would you like to own? BILLY CARL MANCINI (Bird Mancini): The first real electric guitar I bought with my own money was a 1974 Gibson SG… red of course. I wore the frets out twice and decided it was time to trade it in. But I wish I had never done that. So I want my vintage ‘74 SG back! I wonder where it is and who’s playing it now. *** KENNY CHAMBERS (…& the Electric Ears): Vintage gear? John Bonham’s 1971 green Ludwig drum set. My good friend Pete Gordon (who I played with years ago) was nice enough to give me a set of drums last fall. I’m trying to make them sound like a Bonham kit for recording, but I’d love to have the real thing. *** FRANK ROWE (Classic Ruins): I already have enough guitars to get me committed to a nuthouse. I wish I could get back the Fender blackface Pro Reverb I was foolish enough to sell to Chris Flavin of The Varmints back in the day. Best amp I ever played, and nearly indestructible. *** FRANCIS DIMENNO (Wrong Hero/ The Noise): Back in the late ’80s the now-defunct Jack’s Music Shop on Mass Ave. was selling a vintage bowl-back mando-cello. I think they wanted 800 dollars for it. It is one of my great regrets that I didn’t purchase it. Nowadays it would probably sell for nearly ten times as much. *** ERIC BAYLIES (Baylies Band): The Mellotron is about the last cool instrument that I have never owned. I have a new moog and had an old one, had a sitar, theremin, bagpipes and all sorts of musical flotsam and jetsam. The Mellotron is both expensive and hard to fix, but is a beautiful instrument, relying on old-fashioned technology with real tapes rather than digital manipulation. Lolita: I know they have a Mellotron over at Zippah Recording in Brighton if you think you can give BRIAN CHARLES an offer he can’t refuse. Or go the cheaper route that T MAX discovered—the Electro Harmonix organ effect C9 (for guitars) has a “mellow flutes” setting that sounds surprisingly like a Mellotron.
NE MUSIC NEWS
Rita: Here is the news that you won’t hear on your TV or any other place for that matter. The dynamic duo of BIRD MANCINI will be double in size for some upcoming gigs. BILLY CARL MANCINIand RUBY BIRD have picked up bassist JOEL WHITE and drummer JOE JAWORSKI. THE BIRD MANCINI BAND will debut on April 11 at The Blackthorne Publick House in Easton, MA. *** MASS AVE MUSIC and STUBBLEBINE LUTHERIE have moved from Porter Square to 487 Somerville Ave. in Somerville, MA. *** CHELSEA BERRY now offers singing telegrams, where you let Chelsea know what songs you like recorded and sent to someone. The initial idea started with Valentine’s Day greetings. It was such a hit that birthday, anniversaries, and you name it, is now offered. Contact Chelsea through her website of the same name. *** KIER BYRNES & FRIENDS delivered 17 songs in March—all Celtic tunes leading up to St. Patty’s Day. Quite an Irish feat! *** The Boston Compass newspaper celebrated its fifth anniversary—another feat in these days when digital media is exhausting itself. Do I sense a rebirth of books, newspapers, and magazines? *** On April 17 in Little Rock, Arkansas, JOHN POWHIDA will be playing with UTOPIA, in effect standing in for TODD RUNDGREN. Also joining in will be JESSE GRESS (Todd’s longtime guitarist) and MICHELE RUNDGREN (Todd’s wife) singing background. Sounds like a case of identity theft! *** LIZ LONGLEY has put a full band together and is in the midst of a high-end U.S. tour. *** ASA BREBNER (The Modern Lovers/ Robin Lane & the Chartbusters) has a new band THE DREAMS, along with JOHN PFISTER, SEAN STAPLES, MARNIE HALL, and PAT WALLACE. Lolita: Make sure you let us know of any worthy New England music news.
THANKS FOR THE MUSIC
Rita: Most people have someone introduce them to performing and playing an instrument. I asked some friends who they would thank for their involvement in music. JOEL SIMCHES (Watch City Studios): My uncle played drums in a dance band. He was all about Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich and used to tell me tall tales about playing gigs and such. He gave me my first drum kit when I was 13. *** JIM SULLIVAN (jimsullivanink.com): Stephen King. Seriously. He wrote a smart, funny, sometimes acerbic, rock column called “King’s Garbage Truck” in The Maine Campus, the University of Maine student newspaper. My dad was a professor there and he brought the paper home. I read King in 1969 and 1970, as I was beginning to pick up Creem, Fusion, Rock Scene, Rolling Stone and the others. Being local, and being good, he planted the idea of writing sharp rock criticism in my brain and made me think, perhaps, this is something I might do down the road. He also hated the band Chicago, as did I. When I got to the University of Maine in 1974, I too wrote for the paper, before going on to Sweet Potato, the Bangor Daily News and, later, the Boston Globe and others. I’ve met King and told him that story and I think he was chuffed. *** MASON VINCENT (Cannibal Kings/Happy Campers): I have to thank my early music teacher Mr. King for getting me involved in music. But before that at about 5 or 6 years old I found myself singing in the Children’s Choir in the church my mother belonged to. At 8 years old in fourth grade I started playing trumpet, and it was always second or third trumpet and not first because I didn’t play or read that well, but eventually got better. I played trumpet until I graduated from elementary school grades one to eight. Mr. King led the school band in high school. He taught EVERY instrument from woodwinds to violins and brass and percussion and everything else. With no trumpets available I started playing sousaphone and hated it. I hated learning the dreaded bass clef and the new fingering as well as the weight, with me being only about 120 pounds at that time. When I quit playing it he got me playing drums with bass clef anyway, and that was fun for a while. That was the beginning. *** JON MACEY (Fox Pass): Ironically it would be my father. He wanted me to take accordion lessons when I was about 8 years old. Little did he know it would set off a chain reaction in my total being that led me to be a lifelong musician. I started hearing music in my head right away and found I could hear the similarities in song structures and melodies across many types of music. Also playing the old standards gave me a great foundation as a writer. I say ironically because by the time I was 12 I was playing guitar and wanting to be in rock bands. My dad was against the music life because his father was a pro country and western guy and had a hard life doing it, and now I understand he was trying to spare me that. It set up a huge struggle between us. He was right about it being a hard life though. But true artists don’t really have a choice. *** KIER BYRNES (Three Day Threshold/ Kier Byrnes & Friends): I would have to thank my parents. They used to make me sit and listen to Bob Dylan whenever I got in trouble, which was often. At the time, I hated it; I couldn’t stand his voice. However, many years later and I’m a musician, with Dylan being one of my biggest influences. My parents still have a laugh about that, but I say the joke’s on them, because now they have a musician son who they can’t get rid of because he can’t afford to move out of the house. *** TONY SAVARINO (The Savtones/ Mission Creep/ The Dixie Sinners/ Garvy J): My mom. She scraped tooth and nail to buy me my first guitar! Lolita: Tony, do you remember what kind of guitar your first one was? Tony: It was a Ibanez Rs440, sold to me by Reeves Gabrel at E.U. Wurlitzer’s on Newbury Street.
30 YEARS AGO INTERNATIONALLY AND LOCALLY
Rita: 30 years ago in 1985 THE BEATLES stopped the release of Sessions, an album of unreleased tracks and outtakes recorded between 1963 and 1969. *** STEVIE WONDER dedicated his Oscar “Best Song” award to NELSON MANDELA, and the South African Broadcasting Corporation immediately announced a ban on all of Stevie’s records. The plan backfired when an independent radio station played Stevie heavily and his sales in the area increased dramatically. *** PRINCE announced his retirement from all live performances, while THE POLICE denied press stories of their break-up. *** “We Are the World” ruled the Billboard charts during April 1985. The group that recorded the song was collectively known as U.S.A. for Africa and included lead vocalists LIONEL RICHIE, STEVIE WONDER, PAUL SIMON, KENNY ROGERS, JAMES INGRAM, TINA TURNER, BILLY JOEL, MICHAEL JACKSON, DIANA ROSS, DIONNE WARWICK, WILLIE NELSON, AL JARREAU, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, KENNY LOGGINS, STEVE PERRY, DARYL HALL, HUEY LEWIS, CINDI LAUPER, KIM CARNES, BOB DYLAN, and RAY CHARLES.
Meanwhile, April of 1985 in Boston: CHRIS MEANS (Holy Cow) had a cocktail glass punched in his face before a gig and was rushed to the hospital where glass was pulled from his face for over an hour before 20 stitches were set. *** SUSAN MERRIUM (Salem 66) punctured her index finger (all the way through) with her sewing machine needle. *** WILD KINGDOM changed its name to THE SCREAMING MIMIS, then quickly changed it again to GOSPEL BIRDS. *** THE DREAM changed their name to EXTREME, even though there is another band with the name X-DREAMS. *** JOHN GARABEDIAN got V66 rolling, airing a lot of local bands’ videos on TV. *** T.T. the Bears opened its doors to entertainment, and success looked imminent—the police showed up on the first night due to the volume. Who played? MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and THE OUTLETS. *** The opening of The Underground is delayed because of a measles epidemic on the BU campus. *** DEL FUEGOS’ producer MITCHELL FROOM had music credit for the soundtrack on the art-porn cult classic Cafe Flesh. Lolita: Where else can you get important history lessons like this?
MORE MUSIC THANKS
Rita: Back to present day information, here are more artists offering their thanks to the ones that helped them get involved with music. CHUCK U. ROSINA (WMBR/ WMFO): I would have to say my dad was most responsible for getting me involved with music. He was not a musician, but rather a record salesman for RCA. He loved listening and had an eclectic taste—from Italian opera and classical to Elvis Presley and pop. In my childhood, he signed me and my older brother up for accordion lessons. It was the Italian thing to do. In high school I evolved from accordion to Farfisa organ, and played many of the hits of the day in various neighborhood rock bands. When rock music progressed in the ’60s into psychedelic, my dad didn’t care for it much. He felt it was a lot of noise, but he recognized my generation thought differently. The Jefferson Airplane were on his label, and he saw they were selling well, so he brought Surrealistic Pillow home and gave it to me. I instantly loved it and followed that band’s career until the Starship. In college I studied classical piano for a couple of years, but ultimately left the performance side of music for the love of recording and radio, which is where I wound up today—at least as a professional hobby. *** RAMONA SILVER (Ramona Silver): My folks, Otis and Glennis Russell. Thanks, Dad and Mom, for driving me to lessons and coming to my shows! I love you. *** CORIN ASHLEY (Corin Ashley): When I was 16, my best buddy and I has spent over two years in his barn as wannabe hesher metal dudes, shredding as best we could through every Van Halen, Scorpions, Ratt, and Maiden tune we could suss out. The one overwhelming problem with our quest was the lack of a bass player in our rural farm community in Pennsylvania. One day, I came in to practice and there was a ’70s P bass and Peavey TNT amp in the corner. I got so excited: “Wow! who’s going to play bass?” I asked. Everybody just kept smiling at me. I am sure I looked behind me, like in the movies, as I had recently acquired a very pointy red Ibanez Destroyer and surely nobody would expect me to switch over to the more primitive instrument. Our guitar player’s dad had bought them at a yard sale and a pre-rehearsal meeting had determined that I should move over to bass. *** CARLENE BAROUS (Eric Barao): Other than my parents who were avid car radio listeners, I’d say my brother I would have to thank the most for getting me involved with music. He was in high school when I was in junior high and was always bringing home the best vinyl. The Ramones, The Who, Elvis Costello. I’d play those records a million times and talk to him about how good they were. He got me listening to ’BCN and I’d listen to the New Year’s top 100 (500?) countdown and write down each song on a list as they played them, eagerly waiting for number one. He also took me aside when I was 12 and tried to convince me I was a talented piano player for my age and that I should be proud. Special stuff. Thank you Roger. *** JAY DIBIASIO (Three Day Threshold, Spacecramp): I definitely have my mom and dad to thank most for getting me involved in music. My dad is talented lifelong musician who plays banjo, dobro, and guitar amongst other instruments. Hearing him practice are some of my earliest memories. My mom is a English and Mass Communications professor with great taste in music and the arts. I grew up with everything from Mozart to Monroe and Robert Johnson to The Cars playing on the stereo. They made a deal with me when I was nine that if I took piano lessons for a year, they would buy me a Casio SK-1 keyboard. I quit a year to the day. Immediately upon hearing Stevie Ray Vaughan in the car with my dad a few months later, I was hooked. Guitar for life! My parents were both extremely supportive of my passion, payed for and drove me to private lessons, and have always believed in me. They only yelled at me to turn down on a few occasions! Thanks Mom and Dad! *** JON BUTCHER (The Jon Butcher Axis): When I was a very young boy living in Alaska I used to watch old black-and-white TV re-runs of singing TV cowboys Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. I’d see these guys on early Saturday mornings on our dinky little black and white set and be transported, the perfect companion to a bowl of Captain Crunch. I’d faithfully watch Gene and Roy ride the horse, shoot the gun, play the guitar and get the girl, all while wearing the fanciest studded singing TV cowboy regalia I’d ever seen—wow, sign me up! By 10 years of age I became aware of The Beatles, The Stones and the ’60s British invasion generally. It was clear that there was something very cool about this, something wild and reckless and… they got the girls too. Long story short, I soon lost the six-guns, the cowboy hat, the spurs and the rest. But the guitar—the guitar was here to stay. Somewhere between Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Keith Richards, and George Harrison my life was changed forever.Lolita: It’s fun to hear these personal little stories. Rita: We’ll see you again in print the beginning of May. Meanwhile check out the Noise Live Picks and catch some great live music all over New England.