Rita & Lolita – May


Rita: Take a big whiff of that great New England springtime fresh air! Lolita: Big Whiff should be on your gravestone. This time of year always reminds me of that lullaby Mother Dearest used to sing us to sleep.  “Hooray. Hooray. It’s the first of May. Outdoor &^@*# – ing starts today.” Rita: Get your mind out of the gutter and let’s ask our question of the month – What local act should have made it to a national level? And state why? Hey Kathei! KATHEI LOGUE (Killer Children zine): Isn’t the answer to this obvious? The Outlets should have made it nationally.  As their manager for years we were moving in the right direction.  But, as with most bands, once success was looking possible every leech in the world wanted a piece of them.  I wanted to find them a serious “music lawyer” and a “booking agent” with a national track record, but too many people told the band that they could do it “all” for them; so everything began falling apart. Plus, again as with every other band, the in-fighting began about who should make decisions and where all their money was going, etc.  Money is always an issue.  Try paying band members, roadies, a lighting guy, etc, AND pay the club owner (out of my own money) for the toilet that one of the members had smashed to pieces because someone in the audience (who was waiting for the headliner) yelled out “we want the Ramones.”  That’s difficult to cover out of the $500 fee. *** STEVE BAXTER (Dudacus Basses):  I always liked Johnny A’s band The Streets back in the late ’70s. Great guitar interplay between Johnny and Gregg Towers and some good tunes. The fact that they were trying to break out in Boston probably limited their chances as the city was deep into the punk thing. *** RICK BARTON (Continental):  Well my favorite Boston band of all-time (strictly based on being moved by their songs) is LaPeste with The Real Kids coming in a very close second. However, the band that should have been huge was The Neighborhoods! Not to veer off the topic too much but it was kind of strange that the original punk rock scene exploded on a national level and paid little attention to the Boston bands which were clearly the equal of any of the big bands of that era. Back to The Hoods! They were fucking thrilling live! They had the look, the style, the sound, the cool as fuck basic little three chord catchy pop songs! When you went to one of their shows it was like being at a big concert – not a nightclub. We’d pack up front and I’m telling you I don’t think I’ve ever felt that feeling of anticipation for a band to take the stage more than I did for those guys! I know David Minehan is a contented and beautiful man and maybe it was better off that he never became a household name, but man was he deserving! *** JOHNNY A (The Yardbirds): The Streets.. .why not?! *** BILLY BUD (Live Nation/ The Paradise): Letters To Cleo.  Great musicians, great songs, and always put on a good show.  Should have gotten a break.


Rita: Now is the perfect time to spread the word about what’s going on in the New England music scene. Lolita: I just hate it when you make sense. *** JIM FITTING playing in The Northeast Blues Harmonica Showcase at Blackeyed Sally’s, in Hartford. The showcase also features DARRELL NULISCH, CHERYL ARENA and DAVE ROBBINS – The Kosher Kid. *** Congrats to ROBERT HOLMES  from ‘Til Tuesday and Ultra Blue for his marriage to Sheridan Jones in England. *** BRUCE MARSHALL just started an open-mic night at Beef and Ski in Bridgton, ME, the first Thursday of every month. *** BELLA’S BARTOK just released their first full length album Change Yer Life with 14 tracks. This seven-piece Northampton, MA, band plays Balkan, Bohemian, folk, punk rock. *** HUNTER from southern New Hampshire is a great alt folk rock band (see the feature on them in this issue). Congrats on winning The Hippo‘s Best of 2016 award. The Hippo covers bands in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire. *** Bassist P.J. JUSTICE is leaving MEMPHIS ROCKABILLY after 11 years. He was in FAT CITY for 25 years before that. Hillbilly guitarist BILLY COOVER also in THE SOUL SHAKERS playing r&b /soul /funk /rock/ pop. *** SWEAT CHEATER bassist MARK RAHILLY recently suffered a heart attack. Hoping for a speedy recovery. *** RICH GILBERT has a great new release called Stereo Action Music. Check it out. Thirteen tracks of wild guitar playing mixed with creative compositions. ***DENNIS BRENNAN‘s new album Into This World’is really OUT of this world. He is now also in THE WHITE OWLS with JESSE WILLIAMS, STEVE SADLER, TIM GEARAN and ANDY PLAISTED. *** The 11th Man Ray Reunion is set for the end of the month at The Paradise. *** Boston singer/songwriter MARK ERELLI is releasing For A Song with introspective ballads and celebrations of love. *** BRAD HALLEN (Duke Robillard Band) has a new jazz group THE EVENFALL QUARTET. His new CD is out this month. *** Progressive quartet DOPAPOD closed out 2015 with their biggest New Year’s Eve show yet at The Palladium in Worcester and are just back from a five week spring tour. Members include ELI WINDERMAN, ROB COMPA, CHUCK JONES and SCOTTY ZWANG. *** Nineteen-year-old NATALIE JOLY from Wakefield is taking her mostly pop/country folk rock sound down to Nashville this summer. Natalie has released three albums in four years. She also has a band NATALIE JOLY & THE TWO CENTS. On her way for sure! *** R.I.P. MORGAN HUKE WMFO dj and long time scene supporter. *** JOEY BARRON tells us he has raw recordings of the final DRUNK NUNS album but is leaving the group to work on a solo project with an electric uke. Check out American Phantom aka turning whine into water. His dad RICK is in The Quavers. *** KATHEI LOGUE also answered last month’s Noise question of the month – What’s the wildest thing you ever saw on the local scene? a few weeks late. Her response: “I saw G.G. Allin pee off the edge of the stage.” *** Local Deadhead band BEARLY DEAD has a Wednesday night residency at Thunder Road in Somerville. *** Boston and New York City based Honduran-American violinist MARISSA LICATA is a star soloist with over 15 years of classical violin training, a Master’s Degree in Bach from the New England Conservatory and a touring resume with Ian Anderson and JETHRO TULL. 2014 brought the completion and release of the violinist’s Game of Thrones music video. Drawing on world music from Eastern Europe, Latin America and The Middle East, Marissa’s unique gypsy fusion is incredible. *** Fiddlin’ Around Department: BRITTANY HAAS and LENA JONSSON were nominated for a Swedish Folk Award in the cross-over (tvarspel) category. They didn’t win but it’s a real honor just to be nominated. *** MA. GOV. CHARLIE BAKER was a bit surprised and laughed when we approached him at a press conference for GE and told him we saw him celebrating his first year in office at THE STOMPERS gig at Johnny D’s a few months back. Who doesn’t love The Stompers? General Electric is building its new headquarters on Necco St. where The Channel once stood. The company’s CEO said there would be a commemorative plaque on the site to honor the location of the legendary venue. *** BILLY COPELAND (Billy Copeland Music) turned us on to a great Brighton artist JAMIE LYNN HART and her new release The Let Go. According to Billy it’s vocal-driven pop-rock with a natural flair for writing hooky songs. The hit is “Bad.”   *** THE GROWNUP NOISE is back in action now as a trio. YURIANA SOBRINO on drums, RACHEL GAWELL on cello and PAUL HANSEN on guitar and vocals. *** THE CHANDLER TRAVIS PHILHARMONIC has a residency down on the Cape this summer on Thursdays at the beloved Bubala’s in P’town.


Rita: Enough gossip. Let’s ask another local legend who he thinks shoulda, woulda, coulda. SAL BAGLIO (The Stompers): Ed Morneau. Look him up. Genius supreme songwriter, good soul and has absolutely no interest in being a national act.  (Editor’s note: Ed Morneau has been a public high school English and film studies teacher for many years in the Boston area. His song “Read to Me” is used by several organizations and school districts to promote early childhood literacy and can be seen on YouTube (as well as his locally popular “Godfather’s Christmas Song”). He has composed hundred of songs, most of them light-hearted. *** JULIE KRAMER (RadioBDC): One of my all time favorite Boston bands is/was The Titanics. Nat Freedberg’s growling vocals and Dave Fredette’s incredible guitar playing and awesome live show should have made them worldwide superstars. To me and my friends they were superstars. Always playing to packed houses of fans singing along to “High on Drugs,”  “Man’s Inhumanity to Man” and “Turn Around on a Dime, songs that still hold up all these years later, they were local legends to club goers of the ’80s and ’90s. If you have never heard of The Titanics  you can still get their 1991 CD from Taang! records and indulge in some amazing Boston music, you too will become a super fan. *** RUBY ROSE FOX (Ruby Rose Fox): There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s one gem in this town and his name is Dennis Brennan. I’m not sue if he will ever go national, but I also don’t think it matters. He has a special connection to his fans and they have a special connection with him. I think he sort of twists the whole question. So yeah, go see Dennis Brennan. Pretty sure he’s releasing a brand new album very soon! *** JAMES MONTGOMERY (The James Montgomery Band): Bruce Marshall. He’s so well-known regionally he should be considered a national act.  You can almost consider him one already but in terms of touring across the country with his own band, and not with Toy Caldwell (Marshall Tucker Band), he hasn’t done that. He’s the most talented singer/songwriter in New England. If he had moved to Nashville years ago there’s no question he’d be nationally known. But he loves his family. Loves winter sports. He’s living his dream. He never moved. He wrote a song about 911 called “Engine 54 Battalion 9” that’s one of the most powerful songs ever written. 


Lolita: Back to blabbing.  DINOSAUR JR. opening two shows for fellow ’90s alt-rockers JANE’S ADDICTION.  LIVING COLOUR will join the tour in July in Boston. *** North Shore guitar ace GARY HOEY onstage playing a double neck guitar singing and dueling it out with Lita Ford at a recent gig at the Hampton Beach Casino. They are good friends and maybe she’ll be on his next album. *** A great Abbey Lounge reunion at Sally O’Briens included THE RUDDS, ACROBATS, ASA BREBNER, DIRTY TRUCKERS, THE CHARMS, THE DOWNBEAT 5, THE DRAGS, THE CLASSIC RUINS, THE DENTS, THE DECALS, JAY ALLEN & THE ARCH CRIMINALS, THE SWINDELLS, FRIGATE and HEAVY STUD. *** Jazz giant RUSS GERSHON from THE EITHER ORCHESTRA now working on a David Bowie related project. It’s part of a Boston Rock Opera production and Russ is in charge of the material from his last CD Blackstar. ELEANOR RAMSAY is the person behind this. *** FOREVER YOUNG is a Neil Young tribute band from Rhode Island. The group consists of the small state’s most prolific and best known songwriters MARK CUTLER (THE SCHEMERS, MEN OF GREAT COURAGE), JOHN FUZEK and DAN LILLEY. Other members include JOHN AMITRANO, AMY BEDARD, GARY ST. GERMAIN and PETE VENDETTUOLI. *** The Johnny D’s Legacy Sunday Blues Jam is now at The Causeway Restaurant and Bar in The North End. Great music. Great food. Great gig. Check it out. *** MASS opening for STRYPER the second week in June at Mixx 360, in Malden. *** One year ago Mayor Walsh proclaimed a day to be known as Riot Grrrl Day in the city. Mayor Walsh’s Chief of Policy JOYCE LINEHAN introduced Kathleen Hanna from BIKINI KILL who appeared in Boston to lecture and perform and presented her with the proclamation. Do you think stuff like this happens in Duluth? *** This year the Mayor made a day in April as PETER WOLF DAY. Wolf was honored for his historic contributions to rock ’n’ roll at a very special event at The New England Center and Home for Veterans. After Mayor Walsh presented the proclamation there was an exclusive and private performance by Wolf for the veterans. *** Plan ahead for The Green River Festival in Greenfield, MA. the second week in July. It’s their 13th anniversary celebration and an essential summer festival. PETER WOLF AND THE MIDNIGHT TRAVELERS, NRBQ, and THE TEDESCHI TRUCKS band are among the many artists scheduled. Parking/ camping/ food and BALLOON RIDES. *** Don’t miss the second show of CHETSTOCK at Once in Somerville the third week of May. HARLEQUIN, THE REAL KIDS, XANNA DON’T, THE CLASSIC RUINS, THE HOPELESSLY OBSCURE, THE CHOIRBOYS, CHELSEA CLUTCH and LINDA VIENS will be onstage. *** Congrats to RUBY ROSE FOX for winning Best Female Performer of the Year at NEMA the New England Music Awards held at the Blue Ocean Music Hall on Salisbury Beach. RONNIE EARL won for Blues Act of the Year and HUNTER from Southern New Hampshire earned Best New Band. *** SUGAR RAY & THE BLUETONES just back from gigging in Florida at The Tampa Bay Blues Festival. *** BARRENCE WHITFIELD just jumped onstage with THE SMITHEREENS at The Larcom Theatre, in Beverly. *** DAVID HULL starting a residency with THE STORM CATS every week at The Full Sail in Plymouth. *** Maine guitar-slinger ARLO WEST is in a guitar super group with DENNY BREAU and MARK MILLER called BREAU MILLER WEST for a few shows a year. Fasten your seat belts, folks. *** FRANCE has a couple of new songs out. Listen for “Always,” “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” “Church of my Heart.” and “Girls of Paris.” DOUG SUTLER, JEFF LINSCOTT and DANNY ARCHAMBEAULT are back.


Rita: And now for the last of our answers. KAREN DIBIASSE (Girl on Top): Lou Miami! Of course!  Lou had come to me for vocal lessons in the ’80s and we became best friends and were until the end.  He definitely should have made it to the BIG TIME, but I do believe he has become a cult classic.   Lou Miami with Jack Rootoo (former guitarist of Girl on Top) is an all time favorite of mine.  Lou was a genius and I saw it first hand when before he died he recorded his finest cover ever with our band in our studio: “Play With Fire’ by The Rolling Stones on Boston Gets Stoned  the local compilation from the early 2000’s. He sang it an octave below in a dark, ominous voice and instead of Lou Miami called himself Lucifer Miami.  A classic to say the least. Everyone should check that out on Youtube.  RIP Lou. *** CHANDLER TRAVIS (The Chandler Travis Philharmonic/ The Catbirds): So many – without obsessing about it completely, both PJ O’Connell and Pete Labonne come to mind, both genius singer songwriters, disturbed and really disturbed respectively, love ’em both dearly. Cuddle Magic is fun, too, ditto my buddy Alastair Moock… sure I’m leaving out lots of folks from the good ol’ days – Real Kids, Men & Volts, etc. *** JAMIE SHALER (Jamie Shaler): Would you consider Human Sexual Response as having made it nationally? Because that’s who I was thinking of. Greatest band to ever come out of the area to me, but I’m not sure they really made it out of the region. Zulus did, but I don’t think the Humans did. *** JIM WOOSTER (Club Passim): The person I think most deserved to reach the national level was Steven Paul Perry.  He was extremely musical, an incredible guitarist and singer, and looked great.  Unfortunately he passed recently… I’m just sorry more people didn’t get to see and hear how great he was before he left us. *** DAVID HULL (The James Montgomery Band): My pick for the Boston band that should have broken nationally was Ready Teddy. Here’s how I remember them: In 1975 my band, the Dirty Angels, was based in New York City and had a song called “Tell Me” that was getting a lot of airplay on WNEW, which was like the WBCN of New York City. One weekend we headed North to play at the infamous Rat for two nights, splitting the bill with a Boston band we’d never heard of, called Reddy Teddy. The Angels were pretty hot. We had a high opinion of ourselves and were not real intimidated by Boston bands in general.  I’ll never forget the wild ovation we got from the Rat audience when we took the stage, before even playing a note. We played a smoking show that night. When we finished, I grabbed a drink and went out to take a listen to the other band on the bill. Right away I realized how good they were. These guys came out rocking. They reminded me of a cross between Aerosmith and The Who, except more punk. The guitar player/songwriter was a guy named Matthew Mackenzie, who was all over the stage. Leaping around and windmilling, making crazy dive bomb noises. But at the same time he was framing their songs with these really focused, well-constructed riffs that made everything sound like a hit. The singer, John Morse completed the picture at center stage. A classic rock front man who looked and sounded great. Scott Baerenwald played bass and in addition to playing really well, he, John and Matthew were singing these effortless three-part harmonies all over the place. I don’t know who the drummer was but he sounded great too. These guys had it all – stage presence, good musicianship, good looks, but most of all. really good songs!  Everything sounded like a hit. Strong titles and melodies, gnarly riffs, memorable choruses and the band could really put them across. “Baby Cycle,” “Partners in Crime,” “Goo Goo Eyes” were some of the titles I remember, all great hard rock pop guitar songs, you remembered them after hearing them once. I was amazed that they didn’t go farther than the local scene, they really should have.  Reddy Teddy – my pick for the local breakout band that didn’t break out. Jeez they were good, though. *** Rita: Great answers. Sounds like a good time to end the column. Lolita: See you again in June !

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