Rita & Lolita

RogerMiller-webFIRST THINGS LAST

Rita: February is my least favorite month of the year. Lolita: Because you never pay your heating bill and freeze during the winter? Rita: Well that too, but February 3 is The Day The Music Died and was Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, and pilot Roger Peterson’s last day on earth alive. Lolita: Oh Boy, Rita, I wish you’d just Fade Away already. Time to ignore you and ask our Question of the Month. Where was the first gig in Boston that you either played at or went to? Tell us a little about the venue and the show. Hey Robin, can you tweet us your answer? ROBIN LANE (…& the Chartbusters): The first gig I played in Boston was on Newbury street at one of those concert type events they used to have back in the ’70s. I arrived in Boston one day and I was playing the next.  Oh and the show… hmmm, probably some local shows at the Inn Square Men’s Bar.  The first big show with a national band was The Paradise to see Cheap Trick three nights in a row.  Got to talk to Robin Zander, who told me his father knew my father… so cute was he and such an amazing band, so exciting… hit me over the head.  It was at that show that I met Alpo from Real Kids, just reminded me I had a dream with John Felice in it last night… something to do with where we were going to moor our perspective boats because we knew we’d need them because soon the end of the world was coming.  I digress.  Alpo introduced me to all the new music coming from New York, Boston, and London. Introduced me to guys who would become my band mates.   He helped open a new chapter on my life. *** ROGER CLARK MILLER (Mission of Burma/ The Trinary System): In January 1978 I’d just arrived in Boston, thinking I was gonna drop out of rock music forever.  Then I saw a poster that read “Girls.  La Peste.  Movies.  MassArt.  Human Sexual Response.” in a very hep punk graphic style.  No way in hell I was gonna miss that.  The Humans played a capella, so I couldn’t figure out what they were up to.  La Peste struck me as being too Black Sabbath (though I liked them a lot later on).  But the Girls blew me away, totally.  Anarchistic punk-art rock.  Chaos in the best sense.  I thought “Hell, if these guys can get a gig, I’ve come to the right town!”  A year later Burma was sharing bills with the Girls. *** JED GOTTLIED (The Boston Herald): Moving to a city with a legacy as deep and wide as Boston’s can be daunting. Where do you start? The ’Dise? T.T.’s? Wally’s? For me it began in 2005 at the Abbey Lounge in Inman Square. I didn’t have to wander far from my door to discover the scene. A few blocks away from my house, the Abbey Lounge boomed nightly with the clatter and caterwaul of punk, garage, hard and noise rock. My first night out in my new hometown featured – as should be expected – a four band bill. I dug every one of the acts even if I can’t remember three of them. The fourth was Cocked N’ Loaded. Back in 2005, rock bands didn’t always rock. As delightful as the indie pop overthrow was, bands like the Shins and Postal Service lacked a certain something. That something: loud, lusty Gibson guitars. Cocked N’ Loaded weren’t serious. But they were no joke, and they played with rock ‘n’ roll thunder and lightning. It takes loads of talent, hard work and Narragansett tallboys to write songs that pack in Angus Young’s riffs, Vince Neil’s sneer, and L.A. Guns’ sleaze. And it demanded moxie to push this music in a world dominated by tween pop, earnest punk and hipster rock. That Cocked N’ Loaded bill was my gateway into the scene – later I would discover my Boston favorite Mellow Bravo. It was a night of spilled beer, dripped sweat, possibly a little blood and loads of great rock. The Abbey Lounge closed a year or two after that. It’s now Trina’s – a great bar for great cocktails. At first I was bummed about the closing but I soon saw that the scene is immortal. As places close, new rooms always take their place. The end of the Abbey, Radio, T.T.’s and soon Johnny D’s has meant the beginning of the Sinclair, Thunder Road, and Once at Cuisine en Locale. Rock endures. The scene lives. And I love covering it. *** JOYCE LINEHAN (Mayor Walsh’s Chief of Policy): I don’t even remember the first show I saw in Boston. *** DUKE ROBILLARD (The Duke Robillard Band): I believe the first show I remember seeing in the Boston area was the James Cotton Blues Band at Club 47 in Cambridge. Another early memory was The Colwell-Winfield Blues Band at I believe the Boston Tea Party. A few other shows around ’68/’69 were Cream’s first US show at the Psychedelic Supermarket and Fleetwood Mac at the Tea Party. Which one I actually saw first I’m not sure, I was probably stoned at the time. *** CYNDIE BARONE (Lizzie Borden & The Axes):  My recollection is our first gig was at Streets which I think became Club Soda. And we knew maybe eight songs. This was before we added Kathy (Perry) on keyboards and Daria (Smith) with the two tone hair – who is now a vet in Lexington MA was our lead singer. She was I believe in 12th grade at the time! We rehearsed in Rita’s parents basement and pretty much took over their house and ate the cupboard bare! Rita (Lavaccia) was the only one with a car so she had to come get us all only to drive us right back to her house! Liz and I lived in Boston at the time.

FAB FEB FACTOIDS

Rita: While club hopping during the past month I was guilty of partying to the max and abusing myself while listening to all of my  patrons  talk about their current events. By patrons I mean whomever paid for my drinks. *** GOV. CHARLIE BAKER and CARTER ALAN (CBS Radio) showed up for THE STOMPERS/ BRIAN WASHBURN and JOE FELONI Celebrity Series night at Johnny D’s.  Gov. Baker was overheard saying “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my first year in office than going to see The Stompers.” SEAN MCNALLY‘s Cringe Productions put this great gig together. The club is now planning on staying open until the end of March. *** CAPITOL MUSIC GROUP has hired lead guitarist NATE ALBERT (The Mighty Mighty Bosstones) as it’s new executive VP of A&R. Albert will sign and develop new talent as well as oversee recording projects for roster artists. Nate is also a longtime exec at Republic Records. *** MOVING TARGETS had a killer New Year’s Eve gig up in Salem. KENNY CHAMBERS and the guys blew the roof off the club when they played “Coming Home.” No shit. Fast and furious. *** DIGNEY FIGNUS still on the scene. More acoustic folk/Americana than new wave, he still does some of his ’80s hits in his set. Go see him, TIM FIEHLER, JIM TREACY and “FESS” CHRIS NEMITZ and see if they play “The Girl With The Curious Hand.” *** Happy Birthday February 6 to blues diva GRACIE CURRAN (Gracie Curran & The High Falutin’ Band). *** At the 2016 Hot Stove Cool Music benefit at The Paradise last month JENNIFER D’ANGORA (Downbeat 5) shared the stage with female all-stars BOTO (Band of Their Own). FREDA LOVE SMITH, JEN TRYNIN, KELLY HOGAN, TANYA DONELLY (Throwing Muses), CHRIS TOPPIN, HILKEN MANCINI and GAIL GREENWOOD and entertained the packed house. Former Sox players Jake Peavy, Bronson Arroyo, Lenny DiNardo and Sean Casey were in the crowd. *** B 11 is a three-piece jazz trio that play surf! BOYAN HRISTON is a Berklee grad from Bulgaria who now lives in Brighton and plays like Dick Dale. The band is currently working on two original full length albums due out in the next few months. *** Progressive quartet DOPAPOD is going on a cross-country spring tour. They will be back in Boston at The Sinclair for three nights at the end of April. “Trapper Keeper” and “Burning Down The House” show the crafty songwriting of ROB COMPA on guitar/vocals and ELI WINDERMAN on keys/vocals. *** AIMEE MANN and 23 other music notables will be judging The Unsigned Only Music Competition. With $100,000 in cash prizes and industry mentor-ships, this competition is worth entering. Put your songs in the running at unsignedonly.com. *** North Shore band OL’ BROWN SHOE had a cool show at The Spotlight Tavern in Beverly. They are a rock ’n’ roll jam band and when you are at the club say high to the fabulous WARLAND MARK HERSEY at the bar. *** MIKE PRESS from Velocity has a new group and a new album coming out at the end of this month or next. Their moniker is Sunscream and RIP CARSON is in the band. *** BRIAN BAILEY & THE CHANGE UP’s ALEX COHEN has an even heavier project called FATHOM FAREWELL. They are going into the studio to record two singles. One of which will have an accompanying music video. We dig The Change Up’s old tune “Puzzle” and their new reggae jam “Bowtie.” *** The Lemmy Dies/Long Live Lemmy Department surely includes Mass Ave Music/Berklee professor TONY SAVARINO. His first solo CD Guitaring has a tune called “Christine’s Song.” If you go to the end, the ghost track starts with a cover of “Dancing on Your Grave” by Motorhead. Recorded at Q Division’s B Room by RAFI SOFER and SEAN MCLAUGHLIN. Tony’s band includes KEITH BURNETT singing, TOM CARNALI on bass and local legend JESSE VON KENMORE pounding. *** The first time we saw Berklee professor TOMO FUJITA was onstage tearing down the house with JON BUTCHER. He has 11 already recorded/mixed cuts with no release date yet. He is also busy on a few other recording projects. Fun Tomo Fact: he has signature pedals, speakers, and Strat guitars out in stores that are so popular they fly out the doors. *** Blues guitarist PETER PARCEK has a new album coming out soon with the working title Every Drop of Rain. Overdubs and mixing done by DUCKY CARLISLE. We can’t wait to hear his cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Waiting For The Man.” *** RICK HARTE (Ace of Hearts Records) working on another Real Kids record, The Wasted Years Vol. 2. *** ROGER MILLER currently finishing up a five song EP for his new rock trio THE TRINARY SYSTEM. *** A recent glam night at The Tavern At The End of The World in Charlestown had THE HANDYMEN shaking the walls. Their pop vocals with driving electronic beats is killer. JEFF LARSON on guitar, JACK HOWARD on drums, RYAN PERRY doing percussion chores, and JEFF RAJCHEL playing bass really rock. *** Great folk gig at The Cat In The Cradle Coffeehouse in Byfield the other night. The double bill included singer/songwriter/local farmer HAYLEY SABELLA. She has a honey voice with a little rasp. This short 5’ 2″ artist  was overheard saying: “I’m big on the inside.” But she ishuge onstage. Also playing that night Newburyport resident  LYNNE TAYLOR who has been performing bluegrass on the local scene for 30 years. He also plays bass in punk band HALO & THE HARLOTS.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

Lolita: In case anyone’s interested the first gig I ever went to was seeing Unnatural Axe at The Rat. I went home with Mitch the doorman that night and I made him speak. I made him scream. I made him cry. Let’s ask Richie Parsons what his opening act on the local scene was. RICHIE PARSONS (Richie Parsons Band/ Unnatural Axe): First gig I went to was The Runaways at the Rat in March ’77. Thundertrain opened! I was underage and called the club ahead of time and promised I wouldn’t drink. I got Marc Bell’s tambourine, Jackie Fox’s shirt and Iggy Pop’s autograph… my high school English teacher loaned me his camera and I got some pretty great pics! *** ROBERTO MIGHTY (Kathryn & Roberto): Wow, let’s climb into the wayback machine for this one. The first gig in Boston that I vividly recall was seeing a large funk band in a basement cafeteria at Tufts University for one dollar… that’s right – uno ducats! It was, by far, the best band I’d ever seen in my life. One of the members played what looked like a solid gold clarinet, but somehow he make it wail like a high-pitched saxophone. They were TIGHT, the horn players did steps and the bass player, who was a monster musician, was WILD on stage. Unforgettable. I remember thinking that these guys were gonna go far. It must have been between 1972 and 1974. They had an unusual name – Earth, Wind & Fire.  Ha ha ha ha. That solid gold clarinet was, of course, a soprano saxophone. I’d never seen one before. I was at that time the leader and lead guitarist of a ten-piece funk band based at BU called Hypertension. We had some killer players from BU, Berklee, and Tufts. We played all over the Boston area and had a ball. Another memorable gig, also in the ’70s, was seeing Rick Berlin’s Orchestra Luna. They had an amazing guitarist named Randy Roos who played jazzy stuff on an Ovation acoustic-electric that blew my mind. *** LINDA SHORE (Muck & The Mires): My first Boston club experience is more fun from the perspective of a fan. My uncle took me to an all ages show at The Channel. I was probably about 13 at the time. John Butcher Axis was playing and I just got the WCOZ album with their song “New Man” so I loved them and was in awe the whole time they played. Jon came into the room and he was larger than life. I was also pretty into drums (worked hard to figure out that drum intro on “New Man”) and I watched Derek play drums and just fell in love with the thought of being in a band and playing. That was it for me. It was the moment I knew I would be in a band. *** SUNNY CROWNOVER (Sunny Crownover Band/ Duke Robillard Band): The first gig I can remember I played in Boston was probably at Harper’s Ferry with my band 2120 South Michigan Avenue in 2002 or 2003. We were part of a three band lineup that night (can’t remember the other bands) and the crowd was great. I hadn’t been there before, but had heard a lot about it and it was cool to perform at a place with such a great history.

INSIGNIFICA

Rita:  A new generation of musicians is at our doorstep. If you ever see my sister Lolita at your doorstep call the cops. Check this out! Pounder SHANE LAMM‘s band RYSE is in the studio working on a six-song EP with no title yet. The son of AXMINSTER drummer MIKE LAMM tells us that his band will bring a fresh sound to the metal scene around Boston with heavy guitar tones, brutal screams, beautiful singing and aggressive drumming. *** JULIANA HATFIELD has teamed up with PAUL WESTERBERG (The Replacements) to form the duo THE I DON’T CARES with a new single “Born for Me” and a 16-track album, Wild Stab, released days ago. *** Another next generation performer is BAXTER HALL who is the young guitarist son of MARNI HALL (Robin Lane/ Rick Berlin). He plays in two bands CLYDE BROWN and MONTY’S LOBSTER. CLYDE BROWN is currently working on a four-song EP at BlueBox Studios in Acton, MA. Members of this young band include bassist WILLEM THUM (17 years old), his little brother NOLAN THUM (15 years old), 16 year old BAXTER, and 18 year old lead singer ERIC WELOTH. They play contemporary blues. Willem, Nolan and Eric were previously in local alternative band THE VIBES.  MONTY’S LOBSTER is a blues trio that has headlined The Middle East, Copperfield’s, and The Hard Rock Cafe. BAXTER is now taking guitar lessons from DUKE ROBILLARD. *** Speaking of the Duke department, his highness is working on three different new albums while rehabilitating from his shoulder surgery. One of them is Duke And His Girlfriends that features his band, four horns, and a host of local fantastic female vocalists – MARIA MULDAUR, MADELAINE PEROUX, KELLEY HUNT, ELIZABETH McGOWAN (of Downton Abbey fame), CATHERINE RUSSELL, and SUNNY CROWNOVER. It will be  music from the ’20s through the present. Also, The Van Vessem Gallery in Tiverton, RI, will be presenting a show of his photography with an opening extravaganza at the end of March. 30 images of many legendary musicians is included plus shots of his worldwide travels. THE DUKE ROBILLARD BAND will also play a special concert right after the art show next door at Sandywoods. Duke’s last release The Acoustic Blues And Roots of Duke Robillard has just been nominated for this year’s BMA (Blues Music Awards) in Memphis for Best Acoustic Blues Album. On it SUNNY CROWNOVER sings “Evangeline.” She and Duke are in the middle of working on the followup to their last release Tales From The Tiki Lounge. *** ROBERTO MIGHTY and KATHRYN HOWELL (Roberto & Kathryn) are working on their third album. She sings like Sarah Vaughn meets Ella and he plays guitar like Joe Pass meets Jose Feliciano. *** Best wishes  to music scene vet CORIN ASHLEY (The Pills) who suffered a stroke last month and has a prognosis for a full recovery. *** JULIET SIMMONS DINALLO has a new release called Dream Girl. We really dig the song “Tennessee.” Her first album No Regrets is great. She can sing and her Americana music is first rate too. *** Our new favorite band from Maine is BLACK CAT ROAD. They play blues based original Americana and are looking to get into a studio soon to lay down tracks for their next release. Members include JESSICA HINES (vocals/ washboard), KATE SEAVEY (bass/ vocals), SLOWPOKE JOHNSON (keys), CHRIS HARLOGH (drums), and STEVE BAILEY(guitar). *** Since Johnny D’s ‘s is closing at the end of March they have ended their legendary Sunday blues jam that’s been around since the ’80s. GRANT KELLY is looking for other venues to move the jam to, with Carla’s blessings. He will keep it as the Johnny D’s Legacy Jam and we’ll let you know where the music lands as soon as we hear. *** Happy birthday to RICH GILBERT (Human Sexual Response/ The Zulus) who turned 60 on January 7. *** North Shore guitar ace GARY HOEY will be spending The President’s Day weekend of February 11-14 at The Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp in LA (not Lower Allston) with Steve Vai, Warren Haynes, Tony Iommi, and Zakk Wylde. *** Local Weymouth rapper MARC VINCENT is working on finishing up and mixing his next project entitled Words From A Heathen. He is influenced by Tupac and Big L and his music is a new twist on an old school sound. We dig “Flyin’ Soul” and “The Fight” both cuts produced by CHRIS DOE aka RIZN and DEREK GILBERT aka DRG. *** Best wishes to local legend BERNIE WORRELL(George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelics) who is now battling fourth stage lung cancer. He helped popularize the sound of the keyboard/bass. He went to New England Conservatory during which he played with a group based in the area known as CHUBBY & THE TURNPIKES who later became known as TAVARES, who still plays today. Last month’s Noise cover story was on DANNY BEDROSIAN who replaced this founding member of Parliament Funkadelics more than a decade ago. *** Saturday Night Live band Beehive QueenCHRISTINE OHLMAN (Rebel Montez) and guitarist extraordinaire and band mate CLIFF GOODWIN recently joined THE JAMES MONTGOMERY BAND for a killer cover of Freddie King’s “Tore Down.” Local keys great MITCH CHAKOUR also joined in. Yeah baby! If shit like this happened in New York it would be on the cover of Rolling Stone! *** Manchester, NH, based band BEST NOT BROKEN has been selected as Dreamscape Records artist of the month for January. Guitarist STEVE FARRO (Pharaoh Entertainment) tells us their song “I Won’t Stop Loving You” is on the soundtrack of the Indy flick Most Likely. They are also nominated for a few awards in the upcoming New England Music Awards. *** An interesting duo of duo gigs at Third Life Studios in Somerville was RUSS GERSHON (Either Orchestra) on sax with drummer CHARLIE KOHLHASE and saxman PHIL NEIGHBORS with bassist AARON DARRELL. They finished with a quartet finale. It reminds us of the legendary jazz lofts of NYC when you could hear giants like Lester Bowie, Julius Hemphill and Arthur  Blythe play solo or duo in intimate spaces. Do you think they have performances like this in Duluth? *** Happy seventh anniversary to DENNIS BRENNAN (The Dennis Brennan Band) and DIANNA WILDE. At their actual wedding  PETER WOLF officiated and gave the couple an elegant ceremony. *** Mighty Mighty Bosstone DICKIE BARRETT (Jimmy Kimmel Show) jumped onstage at the Hometown Throwdown with UNNATURAL AXE at The House Of Blues. They gave a shout out to The Rat and large framed photos ofMR. BUTCH and doorman MITCH were on the stage’s back wall. Highlights included when THE QUEERS played THE REAL KIDS’ “All Kindsa Girls,” with RICK BARTON (The Outlets/ Continental) and his son STEPHEN BARTON (Continental) on guitar and RICHIE PARSONS (Unnatural Axe) singing. On the last night, Dickie brought up JAMES RYAN from The Hoodoo Barbeque at The Rat to thank him onstage for feeding the homeless in Kenmore Square as well as starving musicians. To paraphrase Dickie, James took care of the homeless and hungry before it was popular. *** How’s this for a fun NEW ENGLAND (the band) anniversary? Thirty-five years ago this winter during a tour with Molly Hatchett, all members of the group and crew were arrested by the Arkansas State Police. They were charged with lighting a federal interstate highway on fire. The band was in one bus with the crew in another speeding down the highway together. The band members started firing roman candles at the crew’s vehicle. Fines were paid but the plan to make last call in Dallas was compromised.

FINAL FIRSTS

Rita: That band is still on fire on stage. Lolita: And it’s reassuring to know they are still dangerous off stage as well. Let’s ask Rick what he remembers from when he was red hot. RICK HARTE (Ace of Hearts Records): That was a long time ago now. Do you mean Paul’s Mall, The Jazz Workshop, the Boston Tea Party, The Unicorn, The Psychedelic Supermarket?  Or seeing the Beatles at Suffolk Downs or The Rolling Stones at the Manning Bowl in Lynn?  Or the music period from 1976 to the present when I went to shows and then started to record my own records for Ace of Hearts? Lots of memories starting in 1964. Saw Jimi Hendrix twice also. Led Zep, The Who, and the Yardbirds at The Tea Party. Also Velvet Underground and the Jeff Beck Group. The Who and Cream at RKO and 58th Street Theater in NYC when both bands alternated playing 20-30 minute sets. Lots of fun back then. Regarding local bands it was either The Real Kids at The Summit or the Infliktors at Cantones. *** MICHELLE “Evil Gal” WILLSON (Michelle Willson & The Evil Gal Orchestra): One of the very first times I sang in Boston was when I was about 16 maybe just turned 17. Some more experienced friends had a band and let me sit in. It was at Copperfield’s!  My dad had to come pick me up afterwards and the entire band mocked me mercilessly about that for years! *** RICK PAIGE (ATOMIC DIMESTORE): The first gig I went to? Well technically, it would have been The Cars at The Paradise, which would have been the spring/summer of ’78? I had been to shows at The Garden and The Music Hall and The Orpheum before that, but those don’t really count. And then I went to The Rat for The Real Kids in the fall of ’78, maybe with The Shane Champagne Band? But I think it was seeing The Girls at The Rat a few weeks later that got me hooked. *** JEFF LAWRENCE (WRKO/ WNBP/ CBS Radio): First gig I ever played in Boston was a Richard Nader Rock & Roll Revival show at The Boston Garden. I was a drummer for The Belmonts (of Dion & The Belmonts fame), and it was a package tour with Fats Domino, Freddy Cannon (also from Boston), The 5 Satins, The Shirelles and Bill Haley & The Comets were the headliner. Rita: Great answers! Sounds like a good time to end the column. Lolita: See you in March.

Send your band or music business news to wachtelaj@gmail.com.

Comments

Rita & Lolita — 2 Comments

  1. Hello. Do you have info about early Boston’s Music Scene? Beginning in the very early 80’s I was a bartender at the Channel, J.J. Flash, Narcissist. During the eighties I also helped out at local rock shows handing out COZ t-shirts and memorabilia, with MC Mike Daley and Rudy, using the COZ van to get show to show.

    • Patti, The Noise started in September of 1981 so those early issues would a lot of info about what was going on at the time.
      T Max