Rita & Lolita


Rita: Whenever this time of the year comes by I always remember getting picked up for aiding and abetting by the staties involving the riot you started setting off fireworks on City Hall Plaza the day before the event was scheduled. Lolita: What are you exploding in anger over now? Didn’t the police report refer to you as a “beneficial benefactor,” “accommodating artist,” and “helping hand?” Rita: And you were cited as a disastrous dud. At any rate let’s get to our Question of the Month. “Besides yourself and your own projects, who has helped you the most in furthering your music career in New England?” Hey, let’s start off with a bang. Here’s our favorite fool MIKE GIRARD (The Fools/ Mike Girard’s Big Swinging Thing): Everyone has people to thank, but after all these years, we might not have got on to the map without the late great WBCN. They had the genius to put good local bands into their mix, which connected the whole community… Oedipus first made the connection but Charles, Ken, Carter, and Mark were household names in Boston who were very kind to us… maybe Mark Parenteau most of all… after Charles launched us, Mark put us in heavy rotation. At the time we had no label, so there was nothing to be gained… except street cred… ‘BCN was all about that… so with Mark’s passing we are all mourning the loss of a dear friend… but yeah ‘BCN helped us. *** JON BUTCHER (Jon Butcher Axis): There have been individuals both here and elsewhere without whose faith, love and support I would not exist. To name one would be to disregard many others but I’ll say this; no artist or musician prospers in a vacuum. The loving energy of family and the undying faith of friends is the life blood for someone like me. Looking back on a long career almost gives me a sense of vertigo, since none of it has been straight lines or smooth transitions. Still, New England is and has been home for me and mine for a long time. Some of my biggest career moments have happened with The J. Geils Band/ Boston Garden NYE 1982 gig, and were I to assign credit I’d have to give it to every single person whom I’ve loved or who has loved me. That’s the secret sauce. *** HEATHER BALCHUNAS (Somerville Arts Council):  Since I have been in the Boston area for some time now, I have been very fortunate to have worked with many wonderful organizations and creative individual. Some of my career evolution has been a combination of interesting collaborations and pure serendipity. I graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. They have a very dedicated alumni department that works to engage and support students after they graduate. In addition, I spent about a decade working in the theater community, primarily at the Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline. Of course, you know my connection with Smoken Joe’s BBQ and the blues. My current position now is with the Somerville Arts Council. The common thread through all of this is with the internal networks and the individual relationships at each of these institutions. Networking and getting to know about what people are working on is key. It is in that magic moment that things click and your work resonates with another individual. In a best case scenario, it can lead to other projects. If not, it will simply expand your network base as an artist. I firm believer that partnerships can arrive in the most unexpected packages. That is what can make it so exciting. I have seen sculptors connecting with engineers, dancers collaborating with filmmakers, and poets working with musicians. As artists, we have a tendency to isolate our selves and our work. If we look beyond ourselves, we realize there is the potential to expand those possibilities. The only limit is our own imagination. *** JIM COUNTRYMAN (Erin Harpe & The Delta Swingers): For over ten years Erin and I have been booked by Phil Simon of Simon Says Booking based out in Western Mass. Phil and his team have consistently booked us at over one hundred and fifty plus shows a year for many years in a row. Workin’ IT TOGETHER is easier than going it alone, BIG UPS to Simon Says Booking!  Coming up: forty two gigs booked so far between now and Labor Day including a three week Delta Swingers tour to Chicago and back, as well as many festivals all over New England. *** SHIKIBOO BOSTON: I credit everyone that I have encountered (good or bad) because at some point they are, or were, part of my journey.  Kudos to so many people on the music scene from jam hosts, bar owners, and  some incredible fans who not only support me but live music! I have to give a shout out to my family for being so supportive especially my mom and daughter.  I have to give props to Brad Faucher and The Muzik Makerz for exposing me to live music.  Brad took it to another level by making me sing impromptu!  That experience made me want to learn how to sing with a live band – I was a karaoke diva. I also would like to thank Steve Oundo and Christian Kennedy.  They are not only musical mentors but have really been there for me when I felt like walking away. I lost one of my greatest supporters and dear friend, Mirtha Federico on Valentine’s Day this year.  She encouraged me to enter singing competitions. In fact, I actually qualified to compete in Las Vegas but the weekend I was scheduled to sing, I ended up singing at her funeral.   I was hurt for a while but they helped me find my song again. This and the loss of my cousin shortly afterwards made me realize that God is in control. His support and grace allows me to learn, grow and share my voice and I need to make sure I never forget that!


Rita: Now is the perfect time to spread the word about what’s going on in the New England music scene. Lolita: I hate when you make sense.  RICK BARTON (The Outlets/ Dropkick Murphys) and his band CONTINENTAL spent the month of June touring the mid-west and down south. Garage punk is loved below the Mason-Dixon line. The Home On The Range Tour included son STEPHEN BARTON on bass, DAVID DEPREST on guitar and CONNOR COLBERT pounding. *** DINOSAUR JR. has a new album Give A Glimpse Of What You’re Not. Singles “Tiny” and “Going Down” are the hits. *** Look for JIM JONES and MARK FERRANTI from BIM SKALA BIM in a new band THE MARTIANS. *** RUSS GERSHON (Either Orchestra) plays on  a few tracks for the new release by  WILLIE ALEXANDER titled I’ll Be Goode and says “Willie is a treasure, a poet, an original, and a helluva nice guy.” *** North Shore guitarist extraordinaire GARY HOEY has a new album Dust And Bones due out on the 29th. We can’t wait! “Who’s Your Daddy?” is a killer cut. *** The Chet’s documentary is due out in October. *** JESSE WILLIAMS just joined JOHNNY A‘s band on upright and electric bass. Former four stringer EVAN CONIGLIO has relocated to Nashville. Johnny is currently in his other group THE YARDBIRDS touring Canada and gigging in Ottawa, Toronto and Ontario. *** BARRY CRIMMINS is a satirist, writer, comedian and advocate and was busy filming a new comedy special in Lawrence, Kansas at their Arts Center  last month. Where is Kansas? Take a left at Missoura.*** RUBY ROSE FOX has her first full length album release. Check out Domestic right now. *** DUKE ROBILLARD‘s next project Blues-Full Circle has three special guests on it- SUGAR RAY NORCIA, KELLEY HUNT and Texas gunslinger JIMMY VAUGHN who goes back with Duke since the mid-seventies and both share a love for organ shuffles and bluesy soul/jazz. On a recent session in Rhode Island they cut some tracks together for a Texas/R.I. blues connection that will be on Robillard’s next KNICKERBOCKER ALL-STARS CD. *** Get well wishes to WOODY GIESSMANN (The Del Fuegos/ Right Turn Counselling) who suffered a cerebral hemorrhage but is on the road to recovery. *** THE MENOTOMY celebrated their third anniversary with BARRENCE WHITFIELD shaking the roof. Great food. Great music. Great people. Right on the Cambridge/Arlington line. *** Check out the new EP from BROOKS YOUNG that was just released. What The Night Knows has his trademark killer blues licks all over the place. We really dig the appropriately named  tune “We Were Young.” *** MAYOR MARTY WALSH announced Boston’s premier performing arts festival Outside the Box showcasing local, national and international performers in all arts genres including music, theater, dance, spectacle arts, magic and arts education. This event will be on Boston Commons the 13th to the 17th. The BRA in conjunction with the Ft. Point Channel Operations Board has awarded six grants totaling forty large to art, education and community groups including ARTISTS FOR HUMANITY AND CONDUCIVE, INC. and the FT. POINT ARTS COMMUNITY GROUP for their permanent and floating public art. *** New JON BUTCHER release 2Roads East out the first week of this month and it’s the best new music from a local artist in a long time. BRAD HALLEN does a great job on one of the cuts too. Hallen was on the cover of The Noise last month. *** TOKYO TRAMPS recently released the first single  “Flowing Water” from their upcoming album If I Die Tomorrow. Catch them every sunday at the RAYNHAM FLEA MARKET at GEEZER’S GARAGE NIGHT MUSIC STAND. *** EMILY GROGAN tells us “to those of you asking what bands I’m playing with, I’m introducing YESAI. We’re fairly new to the scene.” JANET HOYLER is on trumpet and backing vocals, ROGER COLELLA is on bass, Emily plays sax, uke and vocals, KEVIN O’BRIEN is on drums, KEVIN FRASER sings lead, DOMENICO LACOLLA strums rhythm guitar and DAVE HENRIQUEZ is on lead guitar and does background vocals. *** BONNIE SPERZEL from Wallingford, CT. tells us she’s in a real cool eight-piece band these days with three singers. Stay tuned. *** THE REVOLUTIONARY SNAKE ENSEMBLE’s KEN FIELD with guest musician JASON PALMER performed at this year’s Cambridge Arts River Festival. They were on the jazz stage and the event was held in East Cambridge along the Charles near the Museum of Science. The band included DAVID HARRIS, TOM HALL, BLAKE NEWMAN and PHIL NEIGHBORS. *** Low rock band VAPORS OF MORPHINE recently released their latest A New Low at Atwoods, drummer JEROME DEUPREE tells us. Check it out!


Rita: Enough gossip. Let’s ask another local legend about who has helped them the most in their careers. SANDY MARTIN (Gretchen Bostrom Music): I’d have to say Girls’ Night Out and John Lincoln Wright probably influenced my bass career more than any other projects.  For singing? That would have to be Patsy Cline!  I really got a huge break when I was tapped to play her at the Charles Playhouse; it’s the closest I’ve ever been to experiencing what it would be like to be a “star”.  Funny story: GNO was on a road trip to the midwest, and when we arrived at the airport, there was a long limousine waiting for us at the curb.  We waited inside the limo for our luggage, and suddenly there appeared a couple of young faces pressed against the smoked glass, trying to see in. They squinted and saw us and exclaimed, “YOU’RE NOT FAMOUS!” and walked away in disgust. I still get a belly laugh out of that!  I’ve been so fortunate to have played with so many great musicians who all have played an important part in my development as a player.  I would definitely want to mention Tom Eaton up in Newburyport; he’s seriously one of the most creative engineers and producers, and brought the best out of me every session. ***PAUL “Big Bam Boom Boom” DIONNE (Ed Moose Savage & His Litany of Complaints/ Siamese Triplets/ The Givens/ Firecat): The Boston Phoenix was the source to network and to stay up on the scene, seconded by The Noise. It’s where I found bands, gigs, all the news and best of all, friends.*** LIANNE GOLDMAN SCHAFFER (The Soul Shakers):  Thanks for asking. This is tough, because I’m really just starting out! But of course Facebook has been a huge help in getting the word out about the Soul Shakers and other groups I’m involved with. Personally, I credit the All-Newton Music School, which ran a band class with Wendy Sobol (Girls Night Out) that got me into this crazy mess to begin with. Also Craigslist has been instrumental in connecting me with like-minded musicians, which has led to great friendships. *** VINNY SERINO (Boston Baked Blues Band): As for who has helped me further my career in New England – recently, my dear friend Rabbi J (Jonathan Hausman). We have collaborated for the past five years on an event at his temple, Ahavarth Torah in Stoughton. The event is called the Legends of the Blues and features national, local and regional acts and Boston Baked Blues as support band and many times for headliners as well. They have been terrific and get better and more well received. I do the booking, music co-ordination, and budgets for the show – Rabbi J provides the support. We work really well together. Also Frank Walsh (and staff) from SMAC Cable TV in Stoughton – these guys are our biggest local advocates and supporters. They cannot say or promote enough about us!


Lolita: Back to babbling. THE BOSTON SCOTTISH FIDDLE CLUB hosted a fundraiser at the Canadian/American club in Watertown featuring Scottish and Celtic music. The newly formed BSFC conducted by NEIL PEARLMAN played a few sets. After the show dance music was provided by BARBARA MCOWEN, ANNE HOOPER, RACHEL REEDS and TERRY TRAUB. A great opportunity to catch many of N.E’s finest Scottish Celtic fiddle players while supporting the preservation of this fine, traditional music. *** CHANCE LANGTON overheard passing a chancism to somebody; “Everybody knows somebody who knows somebody.” We’re hoping somebody explains this to us soon. *** R.I.P. WBCN jockey MARK PARENTEAU. He was funny, charming, creative, smart, exciting and intense. *** THE DOGMATICS play THE MIDWAY for FRANK ROWE (Classic Ruins)’s 60th birthday August 13. *** Surf/rock guitar ace BOYAN HRISTOV is at HULL’S KITCHEN on Nantasket Beach every Tuesday during the summer. How appropriate is that? *** PASSIM news: Three annual Summer Concert Series performances have been planned for Kendall Square, Harvard Square, and Danehy Park. Kendall: runs through September 6. Danehy Park: runs July 12 through August 16 featuring artists like NOAM WEINSTEIN, THE NOVEL IDEAS and HONEYSUCKLE. Harvard Square: Runs through September 8 with Berklee students and alumni. For the second straight year CLUB PASSIM will host the Summer BCM Fest on July 3. Celebrating the area’s richness of music song and dance from Irish, Scottish, Cape Briton and other Celtic traditions. A free afternoon concert in Harvard Square with a ticketed event at the club later that night. Taking over Palmer Street sounds like fun! The 14th annual winter BCM Fest will take place in mid-January and artist applications are open until the middle of July. *** SNUFF FILM SOCIETY has a new song called “Julie’s Karma” from their latest album Millennials. It’s about RADIO BDC’s own JULIE KRAMER. Julie: What do you do when someone writes a song about you? You PLAY IT! I’m very honored. *** BERKLEE is dealing with artist royalties in the digital age issue by leading a broad-based effort to make it easier for artists and musical rights owners to be identified and paid for their work. The effort is led by the school’s Institute For Creative Entrepreneurship and called the Open Music Initiative. It seeks to make a uniform, open source database that will link artists and rights holders to individual music tracks whether they are purchased for download, streamed, sampled or used in personal projects, performances or mash ups to make sure everyone gets paid what they are owed for the usage of their music. It’s about time. Also Berklee’s “Summer in the City” department and The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston present free shows on the waterfront every Thursday in July and August. *** Check out THE SPOTLIGHT TAVERN in Beverly’s “Deck Therapy” acoustic music free every friday night with STEVE BAGLIONI and DAVE MORETTI. *** The Marblehead Festival of The Arts presents Me & Thee Night on the third to start the holiday right at Crocker Park. *** THE CANTAB in Central Square has monday nights with GEOFF BARTLEY upstairs and bluegrass on tuesday nights. Wednesday has a poetry slam downstairs and Thursday, Friday and Saturday MICKEY BLISS presents CLUB BOHEMIA. Sunday has an all-star jam hosted by FULL CIRCLE, LEE LUNDY, CANDY DELGADO, SIR CECIL  and THE CHICKEN MAN. *** JEREMY HARMAN is a cellist/singer/songwriter and his new band is called LONG IS THE WALK. They will be releasing their debut album Spirits and Ghosts in early July. Listen to “Your Shine” and “The Brink” which we think are the hits.*** Go see RICK BERLIN and his NICKEL AND DIME BAND at the Porchfest in Jamaica Plain on July 9. In August the band begins recording their next record The Courage of the Lonely at Dimension Sound with JOE STEWART behind the board. Rick is also going on a short southern tour down to Virginia Beach to promote his upcoming book Paragraphs. According to Rick: “In order to have new song lyrics hit the page like bullets I began writing ‘memorabilia’ word bursts. Pictoral. Honest. Moving. Funny. And ridiculous. I call them paragraphs and the collection metastasized over time so I thought it would make a good book.” *** ANNABELLE LORD the mega-talented daughter of MARY LOU LORD has a real cool Americana/ folk/finger picking tune called “Oxytocin, Seratonin and Me” from her new release Polaris. Check it out. *** BILL JANOVITZ (Buffalo Tom) and TANYA DONELLY and special guests to play a september twenty-fifth concert to end gun violence at the BRIGHTON MUSIC HALL.*** Northampton’s unique art rock band BELLA’S BARTOK has a new album just out called Change Yer Life. We really dig the opening cut “The Strigoi Waltz” with its honking horns. A dance tune that sounds like it’s out of Fiddler on the Roof. *** WUMB dj HOLLY HARRIS got no respect when her photo was printed in The Salem News without crediting her name. Hell hath no fury worse than a blues dj scorned. *** Plan ahead folks, SUGAR RAY AND THE BLUETONES coming to THUNDER ROAD september ninth. MIKE MUDCAT WARD will be playing upright and electric bass. This four string local legend also performed with BOB MARGOLIN‘s return home gig to promote his latest release My Road on ROSY ROSENBLATT‘s Vizztone Records. The walls of THUNDER ROAD were shaking as MIKE AVERY on drums, Mudcat on bass, Rosy on harp and Bob on growling guitar played two incredible sets. DAN RABINOWITZ on trumpet, ILANA KATZ KATZ on her appalachian blues violin and north shore guitar ace BOB LEGER jumped onstage to join in on the fun. Between sets artist PAUL LOWE and his wife KATIE presented his stunning painting of Johnny Winter, Bob and Muddy Winter onstage to him. Paul and Katie recently presented PETER WOLF with a fantastic painting of him at the Somerville Theatre during a recent gig there of Wolf and his band THE MIDNIGHT TRAVELERS. Another great local portrait painter is BILL DAVENPORT who concentrates his tremendous talents on painting artists like RICKY KING RUSSELL, SHORT’AY BILLUPS, WILLIE J. LAW, ANTHONY GERACHI (Sugar Ray & The Bluetones) and STAN BLUES JR. (Throwdown Band). What a cool feature of our local music scene!


Rita: And now for the last of our answers. CHANCE LANGTON: The organizations that have helped me the most are Happy Madison, Joe Chiccarelli, and Chance Langton. (editor’s note: Happy Madison film and TV production company is owned by Adam Sandler. And Joe Chiccarelli is a grammy award winning audio legend who is a producer, mixer and engineer). Martin Guitars, Twinvision, Moonlight Music and BMI have also helped me. *** RUBY BIRD (Bird Mancini): So many people have helped us, it’s hard to choose one, but when I give this any thought at all, the “Six Degrees of Mr. Curt” always comes into play.  Virtually every person who has been significant in our Boston career can be traced back to him.  T Max for example has been a huge help to us.  Mr. Curt introduced us to the Peace Chorus, and before too long we were playing with T Max in Urban Caravan, solidifying our musical friendship. Sal Baglio has been a generous friend, inviting us to open for The Stompers many times, and to play with him on special shows.  We were introduced to Sal via Marty White, via Mr. Curt.  There are so many we can’t name them all Chuck U, Glenn Williams, Tim Casey, on and on… all incredibly openhanded people, and all met one way or another through Mr. Curt, who is Mr. Open Hand himself!  Even our two current band members, Joel White (bass) and Joe Jaworski (drums, Latin percussion) can be attributed to knowing Mr. Curt.  So… the short answer to your question I think has to be…Mr. Curt! *** GARY HOEY: That’s a great question and glad you asked, since I came back home to New England after 17 years out west, I had to almost start over, playing small bars. The ones that I think helped me most to rebuild my name was Lowell Sun News paper did a Full Page story on me, I grew up in Lowell. All the local sports teams, I played The National Anthem for the Boston Redsox. What an honor.  I later performed for the Patriots 60,000 people, crazy and amazing, and very cold that night.  I can’t forget the radio stations,  Rock 101 Gerg and The morning Buzz, WHEB radio, WAAF, WZLX, Frank FM and on and on, TV FOX 25 Morning news –is that too many? I’m so grateful. *** GREG SARNI (WBRS): For me, it all goes back to family. My dad put me through school (BU/ Emerson/ Northeastern School of Broadcasting) and supported all my endeavors, including my radio career, the non-profit Blues Trust Productions and Boston Blues Festival. If people want to thank anybody for 12 years of a free two-day Blues Fest at the Hatch Shell the last weekend of September, it should all go to my late parents; Ralph and Lorna Sarni. You can find out more info about the Blues Trust and BBF history online. *** CHARLIE FARREN: I’ve been fortunate In my career to work with some of the very best and brightest artists and business people in the world. Writing, recording, and touring with The Joe Perry Project, Farrenheit, being signed and mentored by Ahmet Ertegun on Atlantic, working with Keith Olsen in Los Angeles. But apart from my own projects, I feel my life and career has been profoundly influenced in several ways. After my experiences with Joe Perry, Farrenheit, and Ahmet, I went to work in the corporate world, first at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), then Compaq, and finally a global business development role at Hewlett Packard (HP). In my 23-plus year career at these firms, I enjoyed the opportunity to be influenced by many extremely capable and effective colleagues. I learned to focus my efforts, polish my communication skills, and work with and lead teams across geographies and disciplines.  I have been able to leverage those learnings in my current efforts to re-ignite my musical career. I’m nearing completion of my 17th release – a collection of new songs performed and recorded on simply one classical guitar and one voice. This concept approach is designed to shine a spotlight on my songs, my voice, and my unique approach to guitar playing. I call it Full Band Style Guitar… with the idea being that it’s easy to forget there is not a full band performing on the recording. Finally, I think my role as a father and parenting partner has been a key influence in the way I’m moving ahead with my career. Being a husband of 35 years, and a father of three happy, talented, confident and capable adult children, and now a Grandfather of two girls, has been a hugely influential education, providing a level of insight and compassion that has been, and will continue to inform my songwriting as I move ahead with my third career as a solo rock show performer! *** Rita: Great answers. Sounds like a good time to end the column. Lolita: See you with our new column in August!

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