Rita & Lolita




Rita: In the old days it was much simpler. Any chubby drunk could dress up like Santa and get a part-time job at Macy’s in Downtown Crossing letting little whining brats sit on their laps and demand holiday gifts. Lolita: I resent you calling me whining and demanding. It was always you the security guards were after… Rita: Be that as it may, for our last call of the year we asked musicians who would make a good Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus or one of their elves?


Lolita: Hey Jon, get in the holiday spirit and let us know who reminds you of St. Nick? JON BUTCHER (Jon Butcher Axis): Santa: Dan Larson (The Dan Larson Band) because Dan’s personality is larger than life and he has a laugh like a bowl full of jelly. Mrs. Santa: Christine Ohlman, the Beehive Queen,  is the perfect Mrs. Claus because she’s festive, merry, and styles tinsel and mistletoe like nobody else. The Elves: John Anthony and Chris Martin of the Axis because they get into trouble without supervision and have had questionable relationships with Rudolph, Donner and Blitzen. *** JAMES MONTGOMERY (The James Montgomery Band): Santa Claus – Short’y Billups  (also politically correct) – second place: Woody Geismann (The Del Fuegos). Mrs. Claus – I’m sticking with Holly Harris. I think David Hull (The James Montgomery Band/ Joe Perry Project/ Aerosmith) would make a good elf. I know he was very mischievous when he was younger. *** HOLLY HARRIS (Spinning the Blues WUMB):  I think Sugar Ray Norcia as Santa and Michelle Willson as Mrs. Claus. They both have great smiles, can sing like hell, separately and also make great music together that is a ‘gift’ to all of us. They sang, “You Got What it Takes,” previously and that was memorable. On Anthony Geraci’s new CD, Fifty Shades of Blue, they sing the title track and it’s killer – slightly naughty and fun. I think the Boston Blues All-Stars should be/could be the Elves. *** REV. KERRY KEEFE (Rev. Kerry Keefe & the Good News All-Stars):  Here we go, the local musician that would best play Santa would be me.  The Right Rev. Kerry Keefe. I am the same size and shape.  I’m jolly and often generous, at least with my time and talents. Besides I look good in red.  Mrs Clause… hmmm… Toni Lynn Washington comes to mind.  She would add some flavor and soul to the Santa story and she’s not afraid to belt out a spiritual or two even in blues clubs.  The elves would have to be my good friend and virtuoso drummer’s group, The Gaslight Tinkers out of the Northampton area.  They combine reggae rhythm with celtic melodies which are impossible not to dance to.  That could keep me rockin’ in the workshop till Christmas Eve. ***ALIZON LISSANCE (The Love Dogs): Santa would be Nate Dow. I have no concept of Mrs. Santa, every side person in every band would be an elf. 


Lolita: Let’s see if I can track down Rita by yelling “Ho Ho Ho” so we can tell you what’s happening on the music scene. JON BUTCHER’s new CD 2 Roads East has 15 new and original songs. It should be out before Christmas. Guest artists include JOHNNY A, TOMO FUJITA and LEE SKLAR. *** Folkie ELLIS PAUL is celebrating his 24th annual New Year’s Eve show at Club Passim. He’ll also be there on December 30. Don’t miss it! *** Another great New Year’s Eve gig is at The International Golf Resort in Bolton with THE JAMES MONTGOMERY BAND and Friends. The friends include The Beehive Queen CHRISTINE OLHMAN, THE UPTOWN HORNS (The Rolling Stones and The J. Geils Band), MITCH CHAKOUR, CLIFF GOODWINN, GEORGE McCANN, DAVID HULL, and JEFF THOMPSON*** THE CARS were nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What about THE J. GEILS BAND? *** LOVEWHIP recently opened for English Beat at The Brighton Music Hall. *** SWINGING STEAKS joined Denny Laine (The Moody Blues/ Wings) onstage for a romp through Abbey Road. They did “Band On The Run” for a few gigs with him last summer in New Hampshire. *** TED DROZDOWSKI (The Scissormen) was featured in Guitar Player magazine with “Unconventional Blues – The Psychedelic Juke Joint of Ted D’s Scissormen.” *** Guitarist MIKE BIERYLO (Berklee/ x-Body Politics) back from a week in Shanghai, China, performing with colleagues at The Shanghai Electronic Music Week Festival. *** Famous local honker SAX GORDON is back from a month tour in France, Belgium, and Holland playing with European star Jarekus Singleton. *** Former DEL FUEGOS guitarist WARREN ZANES is now a Professor at NYU. He also wrote a new book – Petty: The Biography. The Del Fuegos once opened up for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in the ’80s. *** KENNY CHAMBERS has had the first official MOVING TARGETS practice with J. ARCANI and QUINN DRISCOLL.  J. bought Pat Brady’s old kit from Pat’s family. We can’t wait. *** HEATHER RICE FAHEY (The Lizzie Borden Band) sings backing vocals on 23-year-old Rhode Island singer/songwriter Aubrey Mable’s beautiful song “Blessings.” *** DUKE ROBILLARD‘s 2016 B.B. King Memorial Calendar is now available. He will even personally autograph it for you. Go to his Facebook page to order. He is successfully healing from recent shoulder surgery and MONSTER MIKE WELCH has been sitting in with his band on guitar while Duke sings. It’s been a long time since DAN ACKROYD gave little Mike Welch the nickname Monster. And Mike sounds great with keyboardist BRUCE BEARS, bassist BRAD HALLEN, and drummer MARK TEXEIRA. *** Funkster DANNY BEDROSIAN is taking time off from his gig with George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic to bring his band Secret Army to The Electric Haze in Worcester on December 17, Penuches in Manchester, N.H., on December 18, Hinge in Northampton, MA, on December 19, and Opus in Salem, MA, on December 20. *** Rock diva CASEY DESMOND opens up a few gigs for Nat’l band The Security Project with Trey Gunn of King Crimson and  Jerry Marotta of Peter Gabriel and McCartney’s bands. She will also join them onstage for a few songs. Check them out December 10 in Natick, December 11 in Fall River, December 13 in Londonderry, N.H., and December 18 in Northampton. *** THE GROWNUP NOISE has temporarily (?) transformed into the solo act of PAUL HANSEN. *** KINGSLEY FLOOD is a hard-rocking folk/punk band that it’s been said “makes you want to dance with the person standing next to you and then punch them in the face. In a totally good way.” Check out their new release The Good Fight. Bandleader Naseem Khuri writes his music about his his two cities – Boston and Washington, D.C. and you’ll love his tremelo guitar driven music. Check them out on December 3 at Cafe Nine in New Haven, CT. *** Rita: Wake up Lolita it’s time to get back to our question of the month. Lolita: I’m not sleeping. I’m just thinking about my favorite band The Dogmatics. I’m on the lookout for an upcoming show in Feb. Jerry who do you think looks good in a red suit with a white beard?


JERRY LEHANE (The Dogmatics):  I’d have to go with Dave Unger (White Dynomite) as Santa – he’s got that look down, maybe Michelle Paulhaus (Andrea Gillis/ Other Girls) as Mrs. Claus, just because, and Pete, Jimmy and Danny O’Halloran (Dogmatics/ Black Cheers) as the elves because they are indeed elves. *** SATCH ROMANO (Pete’s Grill Blues Jam God-emperor): Ricky “King” Russell would be Santa because he has given so many guitar lessons to virtually every viable blues man in NE and continues to spread the good word of the blues with all minions and fans worldwide. Mrs. Santa is my #1 fan and friend Kathy Vassalotti who helps me spread the good word about my jams and shows at Pete’s Grille in Quincy and attends every single show! Santa’s helpers are the jammers who show up to perform over the years and the count would be in the thousands. *** JESSE VON KENMORE MAYER (Shake the Faith): Mr. & Mrs. Clause – Alvan Long and Gail Rush. Elf – Tony Savarino because he’s small, creepy and never stops working. Print that… he will laugh his ass off ’cause I called him creepy. He’s a very, very good guitar player who plays tons of sessions and gigs with lots of people. He is also Ruby Rose Fox’s lead guitar player. *** JEN D’ANGORA (Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents/ The Downbeat 5): Okay, here goes – Tad Mckitterick as Santa, because he makes kids and fans everywhere go bananas. Mrs. Claus would be Andrea Gillis, because she’s got a heart of gold and enough balls to keep everyone on track. The elves are the Petty Morals, of course, no explanation needed there! Lolita: Rita I am dragging you along with me to catch her when she sings with Chandler Travis at his Christmas Cavalcade at Johnny D’s on December 10. The Downbeat 5 also play with Tim Gearan at Atwoods on December 18.


JULIANA HATFIELD and Paul Westerberg from The Replacements have formed a new band called THE I DON’T CARES. Their debut album is gonna be called Wild Stab. *** SATCH ROMANO celebrating 20 years hosting open mic nights at Pete’s Grille, in Quincy. He’s run over a thousand jam nights since 1995. He also blows the harp in his own jump blues band MIGHTY HOUSE ROCKERS and his classic rock band LICKETY SPLIT. *** Connecticut harp player JAY STOLLMAN (Debbie Davis Band) has a new CD Room For One More that has been nominated for a few blues music awards. The release is from Vizztone Label Group who’s head honcho is also legendary blues harp player ROSY ROSENBLATT from ERIN HARPE & THE DELTA SWINGERS. *** BIRDSONGS OF THE MESOZOIC played a rare gig with founding member Roger Miller’s (Mission of Burma) new group The Trinary System. *** GOV. BAKER gave JAMES MONTGOMERY a shout out on TV show On the Record(WCVB Channel 5). In a musical trivia quiz the Gov. mistakenly attributed JONATHAN RICHMAN‘s “Roadrunner” to James. Funny. *** THE KNICKERBOCKER ALL-STARS CD release is at the legendary Knickerbocker Cafe in Westerly, RI, for theirGo Back Home to the Blues. The very talented WILLIE J. LAWS sings four killer songs on it too. *** Congratulations to JERRY KLAVANS (The Fans/ Mirror Mirror) who married Shannon Farrington in November. *** MAYOR WALSH announced the selection of 11 artists for Boston’s first Artists-In-Residence program, Boston AIR, to highlight the city’s dedication to finding different ways to incorporate innovative ideas and creative thinking into the local arts and entertainment scene. Check it out and get involved! *** News from Maine – recently, pianos popped up outside in parks around Bangor for anyone’s use as part of the city’s “Artober” month-long event. Pretty cool! And plan ahead for The Winter Blues Bash on January 17 in Portland with SUGAR RAY & THE BLUETONES (with Monster Mike Welch and Anthony Geraci, Mudcat Ward, and Neil Gouvin), MIKE & THE MOJO, THE JUKE ROCKETS BLUES BAND and POKE CHOP & THE OTHER WHITE MEATS (with Ron Gill, Marc Perez, Thom Hanes and David Engel). *** MATT FARLEY has released around 1500 songs in 2015. He broke it down to his top 20 songs and believes he has the best album of the year. Find it on Spotify – Motern Media Songs. *** Drummer MIKE LAMMfrom Axminster has a rocking son SHANE who pounds for Saugus band RYSE. Their debut single “Bigger Than You & Me” is loud and full of attitude. See them on January 15 at The 3065 Live club in East Wareham, MA. *** Congratulations toLIVINGSTON and GAIL TAYLOR on Martha’s Vineyard for their recent wedding. Siblings James, Sister Kate and Hugh were all in attendance. *** MORPHINE drummer BILLY CONWAY plays Cuisine En Locale (Somerville, MA) on December 5 with CAITLIN CANTY of Vermont opening. She sings like Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris and you can also catch her at the Harwich Junior Theatre in West Harwich on December 6. *** ERIC BAYLIES (Eric Baylies Band/ The Noise) is the newest member of PETER PRESCOTT of Mission of Burma’s MINIBEAST. *** AERONAUT DOWN brings a crowd to The Middle East on Friday, December 4. *** RIGHT TURN’s annual holiday party is planned for Thursday, December 10 (5-7:30pm) at their new location in Watertown, MA (440 Arsenal St). Their weekly Artist in Recovery Meeting will follow the festivities. *** Plan ahead: The Cape Cod Resort and Convention Center in Hyannis is hosting the New England Blues Summit in May 2016. A mini-blues weekend bender with SUGAR RAY & THE BLUETONES, THE LOVE DOGS, and RACKY THOMAS are scheduled already. *** HUMMINGBIRD SYNDICATE is a new band featuring JON MACEY and LENNY SHEA (Fox Pass), MARYJAYE SIMMS, LYNN SHIPLEY, CHRIS MacLAUGHLIN, and TOM HOSTAGE. *** MARINA EVANS brings her sexy and talented style to the Cat in the Cradle Coffeehouse in Byfield, MA, on December 12. *** On that same night THE NICKEL & DIME BAND FEATURING RICK BERLIN shows off at the Midway in Jamaica Plain. *** Noise publisher, T MAX holds his CD release party for The Portal’s Rhyme: Undoing the Secret of Time at the Tavern at the End of the World in Charlestown, MA, with ERIC MARTIN (Neats) on Thursday, December 17. *** Jazzmen EITHER/ORCHESTRA celebrate their 30th anniversary at Johnny D’s on December 18. *** CHRIS SMITHER plays the Spire Center for the Performing Arts in Plymouth, MA, on Saturday, December 19. *** SHINY BEASTS  is a new band that includes members of Triple Thick, Mente, and The In Out. They’re at The Midway in Jamaica Plain, MA, on December 28. *** BONNIE SPERZEL from Wallignford, CT, is releasing her first single at the end of December. She is also busy working with harp player MARK ZARETSKY (Cobalt and The Rhythm Kings) on new music. *** THE NTH POWER with NIKKI GLASPIE on drums and NATE EDGAR on bass will be releasing Abundance at the end of December. Nikki learned how to play funk at Wally’s in The South End. She arrived as a kid and left as a woman. Nate is from the North Shore and played in John Browns Body and Dub Apocalypse. Lolita: Thinking of the apocalypse always gets me thinking about you, Rita. And since it’s the end of the year and near the end of this month’s column, let’s finish up with the final answers to our question about Santa, Mrs. Santa, and the elves.


LOUIS ST. AUGUST (Mass): Mr. & Mrs. Tom Scholz (Boston) get my vote for Santa and Mrs. Santa for they made this boy very happy a few Christmas’s ago by inviting me to appear as a special guest on the latest  BOSTON release “Life, Love & Hope”  I sing on the opening track called “Heaven on Earth”!

They are truly an amazing couple who give back to many organizations publicly and privately year round!  The elves get a shout out to all my band members in MASS as we have donated thousands of dollars each year to the Toys for Tot’s organization! *** CHRISTINE OHLMAN (Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez/ Saturday Night Live House Band):  Santa… Sal Baglio, Mrs. Santa… Grace Curran. No real reason but they look jolly! Elves… Charlie Farren and Jon Butcher of course. And I nominate Cliff Goodwin (Rebel Montez guitarist), with his silver hair and impish grin. (See Christine on the SNL yearly Christmas show on December 19). *** JON MACEY (Hummingbird Syndicate): Santa would be Mr Curt but each present would come with some sort of advice. Mrs. Claus would be Marty White. I know what you are thinking but shame on you. The elves would be me and Lynn Shipley, stealing everyone’s guitars from under their trees. *** MARIAN FERRO (Rock Under The Radar WCAC): To play Santa, I’d say Des (The Bentmen) – he’s a jolly fellow and he’s got the look that would work. I’m not sure about Mrs. Santa, maybe Erin Harpe. As for Santa’s elves, I’d say Jeremiah, Nicole and Ryan from The Devil’s Twins – they’re all quite creative and they work so well together! *** RUSS GERSHON (Either/Orchestra):  Santa and Mrs. Santa should be played by Wayne Viens and Janice, his lovely significant other. As for elves, I’m taking any six-piece or larger band that can fit into the window of the Middle East Bakery. *** HIRSH GARDNER (New England): Who I would like to see as Santa? Me! Cause all my musician friends would get free shit… guitars, drums, basses and more. Who would I like to see as Mrs. Santa… ahhhh, Angelina Jolie?! And my elves would be AJ and T Max. Talk about, “Oh look how high Santa’s sleigh is up in the sky.” Rita: Like usual, Hirsh gets the last word. Lolita: Not this time, Rita. To all our readers we wish you a happy and healthy holiday. See you next year!


Richard Nolan from Third Rail.
Christine Luther
from Lady Luck and Skin Tight.
Ziv Gidron from The Vinny Band.
Dan Boutchie aka Georgetown Fats..
Joseph Steinberg (Elliot Easton from The Cars’ dad).
Chet (Richard J. Rooney) of Chet’s Last Call.
Adam Roth of The Del Feugos.

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