Hi. This is T Max, the founder, editor and publisher of The Noise – the guy who held this ’zine together into its 37th year. And though it’s been a wonderful trip promoting the talented musicians of New England, it’s come time for me to let it go. Lately I’ve been feeling like a second-class angel, waiting to get my wings. And after completing the December 2017, issue #382, I’ll be doing just that. If you asked Leo Fender (RIP) what he thought of musicians… he’d tell you they were angels. By being a musician and supporting local musicians through The Noise I feel like I’ve earned my wings. I hope each and everyone of you will be able to talk to me in person about your experience with The Noise and the community we have called a scene. I want to thank all the writers, photographers, copy editors, distributors and especially the advertisers that supported The Noise which in turn helped thousands of musicians in New England. The website thenoise-boston.com will continue to exist and morph into my own personal music site. You may even see a story or review on another band or artist to love. It will be a major downsizing, a new beginning of sorts. Music is my medicine… and I’ll never stop taking it. Thank you, thank you very much. (T Max)
PS: If you haven’t seen Ed Symkus’s story in The Boston Globe on the ending of The Noise… look in the November 30th edition of that newspaper.
Here now, a few words from the longest contributor of The Noise, the senior editor, Francis DiMenno…
A confession: I haven’t always liked rock ’n’ roll. The first song I latched onto in a big way was a 19th century Haitian song, “Yellow Bird” performed by the Arthur Lyman Group, which peaked at #4 in July 1961. I was 4 1/2 years old. I also remember my classmates at the Immaculate Conception school raving about The Beatles. Ever the contrarian, I wasn’t very impressed by them. To be fair, I was only seven years old when they first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. I largely grew up in Bloomfield, the Italian section of Pittsburgh. As a teenager, my father played the clarinet, and performed Souza marches and military music in his school band. Later, from 1954 to 1957, he worked as a sound engineer for a local hillbilly combo, the Allegheny Ramblers, as they toured Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. He alerted them to a fellow named Elvis, and his new single, “Heartbreak Hotel.” They weren’t interested. He was also fond of Little Richard, and, especially, Fats Domino. To this day, he doesn’t really like The Beatles. Old-time rockabilly and hillbilly music is more his thing. My dear departed mother loved the pop and country standards of the day; I remember her walking around the house singing “Hey, Good Lookin'” by Hank Williams, and “I (Who Have Nothing)” by Terry Knight & the Pack. My baby sister Mary was much more interested in rock than I was. She would walk down Liberty Avenue, the main thoroughfare of our neighborhood, and prattle, in a childish sing-song, an inadvertent medley of “Bang Bang” by Sonny & Cher, and “Diddy Wah Diddy,” by Manfred Mann. I also remember, in the third grade, forming a group with a skinny consumptive Jewish kid who lived over a dry cleaning shop named Jackie Aphid, and a rather beefy Italian immigrant kid named Vinnie, who lived over a drugstore, and who had a guitar. The “band” was called Vinnie & the Green Berets, and our entire repertoire consisted of one song: “The Ballad of the Green Beret” by Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler. When I was in the eight grade, during lunch period, over the P.A. system warring factions of black and white students would play “War” by Edwin Starr and “Blue Velvet” by Bobby Vinton.
The first contemporary rock record I ever listened to over and over was David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World.” I was about 14. From there, there was no turning back. In high school, I got heavily into rock. In college, I was an English major, but I also developed a voracious interest in music of all kinds: notably, mountain music, old-timey folk music, jazz, blues, R&B, and gospel. I also took courses in jazz, ethnomusicology and Afro-American studies and fell under the influence of a gifted teacher named Josephine Wright, a protégé of Eileen Southern, who headed the Afro Am department. Ms. Wright urged me to write about music, and I’ve been at it ever since. For the past 32 years I have written for The Noise. I have had the rare opportunity to write about artists such as The Girls, Mission of Burma and Throwing Muses (and too many other bands to mention), and to champion early on the likes of Ed’s Redeeming Qualities, The Pixies, The Lemonheads, Bullet La Volta, Galaxie 500, Dinosaur Jr., Anastasia Screamed, Green Magnet School, Gingerbutkis, and The Magnetic Fields, as well as Baby Ray (who wrote a song about me called “Superbutch”) and The Well Babies (who recorded a song I wrote, “Alcoholic Psychosis,” which was also covered by Tire).
I am sorry that The Noise is to be no more. Since 1985 I have written something for every issue, and I have never missed a deadline. My thanks for T Max. for putting up with me – 99% of the time. And for publishing my stuff. Going forward, I will be glad to continue to receive recent releases by New England area bands, and, when appropriate, review them in my weekly blog The Information. Send (CDs only) to: Francis DiMenno, 20 Ascham Street, Providence RI 02904. And Happy Trails. To all. (Francis DiMenno)