The original Rat sign
For all the photos and story CLICK HERE.
We all know that the Rat’s reputation is part of Boston
history and definitely a big part of our history. Twenty years
after its closing we can see that it was the nexus of all the
punk energy in town. Just by saying, “The Rat,”
you evoke the whole era.
The event at the Commonwealth Hotel on Thursday
was another confirmation of its iconic status. It was actually
a way to mark the release of the Live at the Rat Suite
CD and DVD. These will be given to anyone who stays at the Rat
Room. They also took the occasion to raise money for the Right
Turn charity which was laudable. link
to Right Turn It was also declared
Rathskeller Day by Mayor Walsh. What really drew the large
crowd, however, was the Rat aura. People want to get that old
Rat vibe any way possible, and the night did that.
Onstage they had Willie Loco, the Nervous Eaters, Emily
Grogan, The Dogmatics and Richie Parsons and
that right there was a huge draw as well. There were blow up photos
of Rat performers. Some by Richie Parsons looked better than ever
super-sized. They passed around hor d'oevres like pork sliders,
fish tacos and chicken wings but drinks were crazy expensive and
there was grumbling about that.
The hotel was sleek and modern. But we noticed things like a
piece of chicken on the floor,HA!! a sign that the Rat crowd could
turn this high class operation into a dump like our old "home"
being celebrated...given enough time.
Willie Loco Alexander
Things got real when Willie started to play.
He was accompanied by David McLean on drums and
Mark Chenevert on sax. Everything about Willie is so
idiosyncratic; the singing, the piano playing, his looks. It felt
good to take it all in again. It was a Rat flashback – big
time. We’ve been Willie deprived anyway for so long. He
did a short set. He played "Melinda".
The ender was “Let’s Go To The Rat”. How could
it not be? This is what we were all there for - a good hit of
Willie and wallowing in the memory of the Rat.
The buzz was still going on as the Nervous Eaters
took the stage. We’ve seen them regularly but we had the
feeling that many haven’t. The Eaters were in good form.
People voiced enthusiasm as each song became recognizable: “Last
Chance, “No More Heroes”, “Girl Next Door”,
and “After Your Good Times Gone”. The last song was
“Talk to Loretta” which was released on Rat Records
all those years ago. It’s another song that represents the
era. There were multiple solos to keep the favorite going a while.
Emily Grogan used to work in the kitchen at
the Rat. On stage she told the story of staying with Mr.
Butch on the street when she stayed too late at the Rat
and the last bus was long gone. She also played a set with Mr.
Butch at the Rat. They opened up for Steve Albini’s
Rapeman. We never knew that. Emily is a songwriter’s
favorite songwriter. She played a song about Mr. Butch. Another
song she did called “Weathervane" was a gem. That song
is on the Live At the Rat CD. She had a top notch group
which included drummer Larry Dersch.
Things were wrapped up by the Dogmatics. They
are a rarity - a party band with depth. They want you to have
fun but they also bring emotion into the mix with songs like “Thayer
Street” that mourn the loss of a lifestyle.
Their songwriting allows them to have the best of both worlds.
They did “Drinking by the Pool” and “Gimme the
Shakes”, all the while spreading a celebratory spirit. They
are made for nights like this.
Dogmatics with Richie Parsons
Richie Parsons joined the Dogmatics for the
final few songs. They were practicing the songs earlier up in
the Rat Suite. Can you believe there is such a place? The Rat
Suite in a fancy hotel? $800 a night. The memories and the legend
lives on but it’s an odd turn of events for sure.
Dogmatics, Richie Parsons and Jimmy Harold
And of course we have to mention the man who made the Rat- Jimmy
Harold. Without him all this wouldn't even exist!! Jimmy
did a great job back then and is well aware of the importance
of the Rat. He is also thankful to all of us who helped make that
place called The Rathskellar The Rat. He truly feels it is OUR
Rat because in his mind and heart it was all of us that made it
the great place it was. Thank you Jim Harold - he 's someone who
deserves a lot of thanks from a lot of people. We love
CLICK HERE FOR THE STORY WITH MORE PHOTOS
And for even more photos of the great night check out Matt Lambert's
FB page Trebmal
Going back now to Sunday a week ago….
It took a while to finish the Boston Groupie News so we didn’t
get to the Out of the Blue Gallery extravaganza
to celebrate Curt Weiss' book Stranded in the Jungle
till 5p.m. That was good enough to catch Tiger Bomb
from Portland, ME. They have those shows at the Bayside
Bowl which seems like a cool venue.
Tiger Bomb played a set of classic garage rock. They have the
sound in their bones. Everything can’t help but come out
that way. The phrases they have and the way they say them press
all the buttons. They have the look too. It’s was all originals
as far as we know. The best was one called “Turn it Up and
Dance”. We’re so glad we did catch their set. They
are a must see when they come around again.
One True Gods
MOTO’s drummer was stuck in traffic. Paul
Caporino recruited Cal Cali on drums
and Tony Kaczynski for bass and did a set of
covers. The band was instantly named: One True Gods.
And they covered Kinks, Who, Buzzcocks, Ramones, Nick Lowe and
whatever they could muster. That was fun.
Glider played their usual set with the original
Anorexia and Child Abuse. They did Joey Ramone’s "Maria
Bartiromo" and then a great cover of "Red
and Grey" by the Neats.
By the time the Lyres came on they had the most
people in the audience. Though there wasn't a lot of people at
the show in general.
Lyres put in a set in primo Lyres form. They
continue to set the bar high. They don’t run through songs;
they put their heart and soul into it. You can see and hear Jeff
getting inside the song, riding on its rhythm and giving an inspiring
vocal. He’s still got the fire. Catch the first video below
The only time we ever recall paying attention to a tambourine
is when Jeff plays it. Check out the first video
below. You can see and hear how Jeff gives fast splashes of symbol
sound as he simultaneously raises the tambourine. It's such a cool and sublte thing. It's between :50 and 1:03 seconds into the video. Who else ever
has done that?
Then the crew behind him never fails. Paul Murphy
on drums would get a Lifetime Achievement Award if such I thing
was given. Steve Aquino owns those classic chord
changes that mark the Lyres song book. Dave Kowalachek
has stepped into a demanding spot and not only does the bass job
but adds so much in the background singing.
Half the material was Lyres classics and man
are they food for the rock soul. The other half are the songs
we assume are covers that are unknown to us but welcome. Each
one is a treasure Jeff unlocks with his vocals. Many have cheating
or lying as subject matter.
Here are videos of: a
new song, "I'm
Your Guy", "How Do you Know?", and "Help You Ann".
As the set was ending people from the night show were coming
in and listening. The night show was heavy metal but they listened
respectfully. It was 8:30 and the show started at 2 p.m. That
was Cal Cali’s last show before he takes off to Fla. for
For a pop fan a night at the International Pop Overthrow
is a must. We only got there once this year but every night of
the four day stretch was worthy.
Crunchtime was the first band we caught on Friday.
Peter Parcellin from the Brigands is
in the band. They have a seventies punk sound. One song that stuck
out was “Situation: Out of Control”. The opening line
was, “He just got out of the joint./ He didn’t make
any friends./ What’s the point?” That sounds like
the opening of a Jim Thompson book. The whole song kept the atmosphere
of that. The lyrics were half sung, half talked.
was playing the crunch toned chords but when it came to the leads
his playing was sharp. He made those solos count. The bass player
was previously in Hell Toupee. He sang an impressive
“She's Cracked” from the Modern Lovers. He had
that flat declarative style down. Their other cover was “Sister Serina
” by the Dogmatics (who we had seen perform it the
They played “Ask the Globe” from the Brigands
set list. The rest of the songs were well done original punk.
They have the ability to put together a chord progression that
makes a good punk song. They're just starting to do shows recently
but will be playing around more. They are at the Tavern at the
End of the World in February and there’s a Middle East gig
at some point.
1.4.5. have a long story. Some of the members
were in the Flashcubes, a NY band fondly remembered
for their pop single "Christi
Girl" in 1978 . In the 80s 1.4.5. were
playing around town a lot. Now Paul Armstrong lines
up a crew and plays the IPO every year. This year he had Judd
Williams on drums. He was in another group with Judd
that played David Minehan’s 17th birthday party at the Space
way back when.
The great thing about Paul is that he plays punk with power
and heightened energy. His idea is to transmit the life force
of punk and he does that. Sometimes it feels like he can barely
keep himself on the ground he’s bounding with so much excitement.
All this makes for a great performance. The songs are punk with
melody and slices of guitar punctuation. They ended with “Born
to Lose”. The Heartbreakers are on everyone’s mind
lately with that book by Curt Weiss.
Big City Rock
Big City Rockers has played maybe a half dozen
times that we know about. It’s a vehicle lead by Fred
Pineau to keep the music of The Atlantics
alive. The IPO was the perfect place for a gig. The Atlantics
are well regarded in pop circles. Like the Flashcubes they were
fighting the headwinds of the punk hurricane. By 1978 the clamor
for punk drowned out lots of the pop movement that was parallel
The line up on stage was talent heavy - Smitt E. Smitty
on drums, T.B. Player (ex Third Rail)
on bass, Fred Pineau on guitar, Kim Ackland
and JoEllen (Cold Expectations) on vocals,
and Jim Melanson on guitar/vocals. We’ve
talked about Jim being the go-to guy for many groups. We’ve
seen him in those line ups as well as his main group Pop
Gun but he outdid himself with this group.
Bobby Marron’s singing for the Atlantics
was very distinctive and that is a big hurdle for covering the
material. Melanson has an unaffected mid-range voice. He was able
to amp it up to faithfully deliver the high strung vocals of the
recorded material. Not only that but he was riffing nonstop guitar
work while he did it. Neither the singing nor the guitar work
is easy. It was awe inspiring work.
All the members of this line up are in other groups yet they
all nailed the playing as if they had been playing it for years.
They also made the heart of the music beat again. Kim
and Jo Ellen's background singing was almost lead singing
with its strength and its importance to the song.
David Bash and Smitt E. Smitty
“Pop Shivers” is the name of an Atlantics song but
also what Big City Rock delivered with “When You're Young”,
“Wrong Number”, “One Last Night”, “Can’t
Wait Forever” and “Lonely Hearts”. They even
had one up their sleeve with “Weekend”; one we’re
not as familiar with. That had a jerkiness to it that seemed like
it needed precise timing by all involved. In the end it might
have been the best performance of the whole set.
There was an act after Big City Rockers and three before Crunchtime
- an amazing night and just one of four for the International
And in other news.....
We haven’t seen Shiny Beasts play in a
while but ran into Mitch Murphy at the Out of
the Blue show. He said that they'll be recording in December.
They have 20 songs lined up. Some of those are from their live
sets that we hope get recorded...like “Doing
All the Drugs You Can Find” and "I
Feel Like a Baked Potato”. We look forward to that recording!!
We talked to Rick Harte at the Out of the Blue
show also. He’s finished on the re-release of the
Nervous Eaters’ Hot Steel and Acid.
The original 8 song effort will be expanded to 14 songs. This
was released after the first Electra LP which disappointed fans
and Steve wanted it to be all hard rocking material and it was.
Now the less incendiary material will be added to give a full
album experience as it was meant to be. Added songs are: “Today
and Tomorrow”, “No More Idols", "Red on
White”, “Want Me Back Again”, “Have It
With Your Coffee” and “After Your Good Times are Gone.”
The cover will have the original artwork.
Finally what you have really been waiting for – the new
EP by Screwcart called Wet Blanket.
It features the mighty lungs of Mark Kennedy.
Sample lyric: “Need a salt lick/ Cause my soul's sick /Need
a new kick/ Cause my soul's sick.” It’s mood music
for the Pinhead Hellraiser guy. Check
it out here.
Here's some good shows coming up .....
November 22 (Wednesday) Stray
Bullets, The Radiator Rattlers, Cactus Attack, Art Thieves, Coffin
Salesman at OBrien's
November 25 (Saturday) Andy
California will be on Brian Young's A Crash Course
for the Ravers 91.5 WMFO 1-4Pm
November 25 (Saturday) Cocked
N' Loaded, Hey Zeus, Il Mostro, Z-28, Responsible at
And further out we have...
December 1 (Friday)
The Monsieurs (LP Release Show),
Nice Guys, Earthquake Party at Great Scott’s
December 1 (Friday) The
Dream Syndicate, The Richard Lloyd Group and DJ
Carbo at Once
December 2 (Saturday) DJ
Easy Ed presents: The Cranktones plus
Easy Ed's Record Hop! 4-8PM matinee at The Midway...followed
December 2 (Saturday)
Watts (45 Release), Diablogato,
Duck & Cover, A Bunch of Jerks at The Midway
December 8 (Friday) Rumbar
records is throwing a HUGE record release party of the
new Justine and the Unclean record Get
Unclean....It's at Once and there will be bands
in the ballroom and in the Lounge. Check out this list!: In the
Ballroom- The Upper Crust, Hey Zeus, Tom Baker and the
Snakes, Justine and the Unclean ....In the Lounge - Cold
Expectations, Roy Sludge Trio, Pinecone Teeth and Jay
Allen - doors at 7:30 show starts at 8:15.
December 9 (Saturday) The
Raging Teens are turning 21 this year.. and that's "Drinkin'
Age!" There's releasing a 45 called "Drinkin' Age"
on Swelltune Records to celebrate their 21 years as a band! AND
that means The Raging Teens Holiday Shindig Record Release!
With The Raging Teens, Nate Gibson, Bloodshot Bill, Sean
Mencher at Great Scott. FB
December 9 (Saturday) Radiator
Rattlers, Brix'n Mortar,Lipstick Boys, The Grubs at The
Chit Chat Lounge in Haverhill FB
December 10 (Sunday) Loser's
and Special Guests are at The Midway 4PM show
December 10 (Sunday) Horton's
Holiday Hayride featuring Reverend Horton Heat
& Junior Brown with special guests The
Blasters & Big Sandy at The Sincalir
December 11 (Monday) Rock
and Roll Tacos & Trivia at ONCE Lounge 7-10PM...always
December 14-16 (Thurs-Sat) Bowery
Boston presents Street Dogs Wreck the Halls Thursday
12/15- with special guests The New Darkbuster
& Taxi Driver at The Sinclair -
Proceeds benefit Massachusetts Fallen Heroes
December 14 (Thursday) The
Hi-End, The Peasants, Trusty Sidekick at Sally O'Brien's
December 15 (Friday) The
Evil Streaks, Muck And The Mires, The Downbeat 5, The Black Cheers
at O'Brien's Pub
December 15 (Friday) Tragedy,
The Scrooges, Rawstrum at The Middle East Up.
December 15 (Friday) Street
Dogs Wreck the Halls with special guests The
Pinkerton Thugs & The Abductors at
December 16 (Saturday) Street
Dogs Wreck the Halls with special guests A Wilhelm
Scream & Michael Kane & the Morning Afters
at The Sinclair
December 16 (Saturday) Bent
Shapes with Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion
@ Great Scott- this is Bent Shapes' FINAL SHOW
December 17 (Sunday) Thrash
N Bang's Annual Xmas/Pizza Party Show! with Crimespree,
CAC, The Grommets, The Sewer Buddies, and Jenn
Lombari & special guests (Matinee 4-8PM)
December 30(Saturday) 3
Parts Dead, Z28, Test Meat at Koto in Salem
January 6 (Saturday) Nervous
Eaters, Watts and David Age & The Regrets
at ThunderRoad FB
January 6 (Saturday) Fur
Purse Album Release Party with Whore Paint, Shepherdess,
sister at The Midway
January 13 (Saturday) Lyres,
Paul Collins Beat, Boston Cream at Thunder Road FB
January 17 (Saturday) Red
Mantis, Silver Screams, Wrought Iron Hex & Greylock
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