Music TV Art Books Fashion Interview A to Z Film Politics Calendar Gift Shop Motherlode.TV Home Page


History of Boston Rock
     History of Boston Rock & Roll - Chapter 28 - 1979 - Overview


Jon Butcher was doing time with Johanna Wild ; Charlie Farren was with Balloon (who did the wonderful Political Vertigo), Andy Beaubian, who led WCOZ to Arbitron ratings that made 'BCN shriek, spent his free time trying to get the Johnny Barnes Group off the ground. The Nervous Eaters , led by ex-Rhythm Asshole Steve Cataldo, were edging toward their signing with Electra. The Estes Bros., driven by brother Alan, played Joe Kennedy's wedding festival. Human Sexual Response was named Boston Magazine's Best Band In Boston. Tami Heide and Bruce Houghton worked over at Howie Cusak's Pretty Polly Productions, booking Shane-Champagne. Ken Scales still had hair as the gentleman with the overcoat that fronted Pastiche. Rick Berlin dropped the Orchestra and became LUNA. Willie Loco released Meanwhile Back in the States, his second and last LP for MCA. The Cars drew a half million people to New York's Central Park, and drummer David Robinson coaxed artist Vargas out of retirement at age 83 to do the album cover of Candy-0. As Sass, Revere's Dana and Vernon West promised to save rock 'n' roll from the evil throes of disco. Robert Ellis Orrall won the Real Paper's songwriting contest. The Neighborhoods won the 1st annual WBCN Rock 'n' Roll Rumble at the Rat, and released their Ace of Hearts classic, Prettiest Girl, which moved 11,000 units. It featured the famous Paragon Park roller coaster on its cover.

Aerosmith lost lead guitarist Joe Perry, who was replaced by Jimmy Crespo. Aerosmith, as a result, went for a slump and Perry's Project never quite made it off the ground. Vocalist Ralph Morman of Daddy Warbux , bassist David Hull (ex-Love, ex-White Chocolate and ex- Buddy Miles) and drummer Ronnie Stewart all appeared on the Joe Perry Project's 1980 release, Let the Music Do the Talking.

January's WBMR Top 10 looked like this:
1) Willie Loco Dirty Eddie"
2) Unnatural Axe They Saved Hitler's Brain
3) Third Rail It's Over Now
4) Mr. Curt Write Down Your Number
5) Rentals Gertrude Stein
6) The Paleys w/Ramones Come On Let's Go
7) Hot Dates I Can't Stay
8) Lord Manuel Sci Fi Lover
9) Reckless When I Drive
10) Bruce Bad Jealous

Private Lightning

Quick was a 6 piece outfit formed in 1975. Twins Paul and Patty Van Ness, guitar and violin respectively, were its nucleus, along with Eric Kaufman (keys), Steven Keith (bassist) and 19-year-old drummer Scott Woodman (who joined in June of 1978). The band added Adam Sherman on vocals and rhythm guitar and took form as Private Lightning. With their epic compositions and violins they drew comparisons by more than one critic as a cross between Bruce Springsteen and It's a Beautiful Day. Private Lightning had the good fortune to give private performances to both Clive Davis (President of Arista at the time) and one Jerry Greenberg (President of Atlantic) at the Cambridge Music Complex. Soon after a Paradise gig in 1978, Fred Heller, manager of Lou Reed and Mott the Hoople, signed them on. Levine and Thai, one of the biggest N.Y. entertainment law firms, was retained. Each of the six received $1,000 personal advances and a vacation to the Caribbean Isle of Montserrat with producer/engineer Robin Geoffrey Cable. All songs were written by Paul Van Ness except Heartbeat, by Adam Sherman. The results were mixed, with 3 songs receiving minimal national airplay. When the band was asked for a preview of their next LP's material, they were quickly dropped. The band tail spinned and eventually broke up. The songs Physical Speed and Song of a Kite remain as classic local hits. Sherman went on to form The Souls and marry Patty.


Bruce Wilkinson and Tom Hauck attended Tufts University, Hauck majoring in art and philosophy. Bobby Marron spent a childhood auditioning for Broadway roles and T.V. commercials (he convinced America that Wonder Bread helped you grow 12 ways) and attended American University in Washington, D.C. He then came north to court Bruce's sister. Guitarist Jeff Locke and drummer Bobby Bear rounded out the quartet in 1976. By mid-1978, Bear was replaced by lounge act skinman Ray Boy Fernandes and Locke by ex- Automatic Slim (with John Horvorka), ex- Bonjour Aviator Fred Pineau. ABC Records signed the act off a hot demo in July of the same year. They were set to do three 45s in N.Y. when the man who produced some Cowsills on MGM, Steve DuBoff, arrived; When You're Young/Big City Rock was shelved. By the time the act was ok'd for an LP, producer Ed Stasium was unavailable, so an L.A. staff producer, John Stonach, with ears unable to judge low end, was called in. In the first week of March 1979, as the LP Big City Rock was released, ABC sold to MCA, a truck strike, sabotage, and the old disappearing warehouse trick. MCA financed a tour to promote the LP, but big stations couldn't play it for it had no low end. Very sad, because the record was loaded with the catchiest pop tunes ever. Premier booked a Roxy Music tour with dates with Cheap Trick and Graham Parker. Then the boys returned to Boston, where Fernandes was replaced by Sass' Paul Caruso. The band played the Northeast for the next few years and gave Boston the classic, Lonely Hearts.

New England

Hirsh Gardner arrived in Boston via Toronto in 1969 to play drums at Berklee. As of 1973, the nucleus of New England had gelled in Crossfire, which featured John Fannon on guitar and vocals and Jimmy Waldo on bass. With keyboardist Gary Shea, they toured Canada in 1976 as Target. Come 1977, Hirsh and John raced up a $25,000 spec bill in a Philadelphia studio, with 11 songs which got the attention of Kiss management, aka Bill Aucoin. Industry bigwigs Clive Davis, Al Corey (RSO), Lenny Petze (Epic) and Chris Wright (Chrysalis) all made bids, but on Aucoin's advice the lads went with industry veteran Ron Alexanberg and his new Infinity label. Michael Stone and Kiss Paul Stanley produced the first effort, which yielded the Top 40 hit, Don't Ever Want to Lose You. Their first gig as New England, June 6,1979, at Seattle's Fox Theatre, was sold out. Tours followed with Journey, AC/DC (with Bon Scott), Cheap Trick and, of course, Kiss. Their fame and fortune seemed to elude the interest of Bostonians, however. Since they were hatched here, they returned to raise the flag at lntermedia (now Synchrosound) Studios, for their second effort.

With bad judgment, Alexanberg decided to put out an album of Pope John Paul rhetoric that threw the company into bankruptcy.

The band soon found themselves in the arms of MCA, but split quickly to Elektra. Explorers Suite had no singles to repeat the success of Don't Ever Want to Lose You. Their third and final EP was produced by Todd Rundgren and gave us Be My Dirty Dream Tonight to remember them by. Fannon and Waldo are with Alcatraz today. Hirsh Gardner has produced over 300 Boston bands to date.

This article originally appeared in The Beat in 1985
(c) Charles William White III

The Motherlode Directory From A to Z Motherlode Music Motherlode Art Motherlode Books Motherlode Politics Motherlode Politics
Motherlode Films  Motherlode Fashions Motherlode Interview ../Motherlode Television 

Searching For The Motherlode
(c) 2016 Motherlode.TV