Interview with Dan "Bootleg" Anklin
BGN - Your name is starting to come up in conjunction with a lot of
local - and beyond - band booking. Before we talk bands let's take a step back
and talk about how you got to this. How did you get the Bootleg moniker?
DA- It came from Justine (Covault, Red on Red honcho) at a
Cheap Trick show. After having a drink or two Justine declared that I needed
a nick name. She came up with Bootleg Dan. That fit me because I've collected
bootleg recordings for 40 years. I have thousands of the things. When I meet
people, we talk music, and they tell me the bands they like and I burn a "bootleg"
for them. They always appreciate it and it became a sort of calling card for
me. It was a great way to meet people and talk music.
BGN - What turned you on to Rock?
DA- Mom. It was 1964 and she gave me Meet the Beatles.
From there she gave me every Beatles album until I bought my first, the White
Album, with my paperboy and lawn money. I went from a transistor radio
to a shitty turntable. I hit up Columbia Record Club's 'a penny for 12' deals
and I was off to the races. For my teenage years my buddies all played high
school football. I ended up hanging out with their older siblings and getting
into Hendrix, Family, Doors, Zep, Stones, Who, Moby Grape, Humble Pie, and early
Santana - whatever they liked.
And then there were concerts. I saw a few hummers like Slade, Tull, Uriah Heep,
Zappa, and Bad Company. I had a thing for English bands.
BGN - Where did the road take you on your way to Boston?
DA- I grew up in the underrated rock town of Syracuse, New
York. I left for Columbus and Cleveland after high school. I spent a lot of
time at the Agora and other dives digging Bowie, Roxy, Tubes, Devo, ELO, and
Mott the Hoople. I left Ohio and returned to Syracuse. Then I discovered how
easy it was to fly to NYC.
BGN - What drew you NYC?
DA- My best friend lived there and he was working all the
five star restaurants in NYC. He was the powder keg and I was the match. He
knew the people, the clubs, the scene and next thing I knew, so did I. We hit
all of the classic, late 70's early 80's joints, like CBGB's, Hurrahs, the Peppermint
Lounge, Mudd Club, Bonds, and the Ritz. NYC was still the Wild, Wild, West back
then. I remember the 14 night run at Bonds when I caught the Clash with Grand
Master Flash and later - also at Bonds - the Plasmatics blowing up a car on
stage. I caught the Ramones at CBGB's, and vaguely recall going from Joan Jet
at the Peppermint Lounge to Kid Creole and the Coconuts on NYE at the Ritz.
I left for Boston on NYE and met my future wife at Axis. I've been in Boston
ever since. I have to admit that I don't think I would be here to tell this
story if it wasn't for the past 35 years of sobriety.
BGN - How did you move from attending shows to booking shows?
DA- I got to Boston in '91. I always saw a shitload of shows.
I met my buddy Dean Milite of Black Crow Productions (who now books the Worthen
House Attic in Lowell) and Dean hooked me up with The Darlings who I started
booking in early 90's. I got a taste for booking back then. Fast forward a quarter
century or so and I met Malibu Lou who introduced me to Justine Covault on Rumbar
Records. Shortly after, Justine started Red on Red Records. I had recently retired
from my IT profession and I was looking for a way to do something with my love
of the Boston scene.
Justine had her hands full with running the label. I offered to help do something.
We landed on distribution. From there it became clear that the Red on Red stable
could use some help with booking outside of Boston. I had the not exactly brand
new idea to reach out to regional and, potentially, international bands and
clubs to play shows with Red on Red bands. Timing is everything.
BGN - Who are the local bands and clubs that you are currently working
DA- I've been booking the Square Root in Roslindale, the Burren
in Somerville, and the Worthen House in Lowell. Heading out of town, I've been
working with Geno's in Portland, Electric Haze in Worcester, The Bull Run in
Shirley, the Divine Theater in Holyoke and the Parkside Lounge in NYC. The Divine
is a new place with a large (500- capacity) room and a smaller (120 capacity)
room. I have Robin Lane out there in July and Mach Bell Experience there also
in July. I'll have Speedfossil, Kid Gulliver, the Chelsea Curve and the Stigmatics
at the Parkside Lounge in NYC with the help of Kipp Elbaum booking shows.
BGN - It sounds like things are heating up. That's for sure! You are
not just working with local bands and local clubs. What do you want to accomplish
from a regional perspective?
DA- We have a great, vibrant local scene. I'd like to help
local bands expand that network. As for regional, I want to help bands get gigs
and create relationships outside of the metro Boston area and visa versa. I
am getting positive vibes from Rochester, and Troy, NY Erie, PA, and NYC, So
we'll see how far it can go. The flipside of that is getting some of the great
bands from other cities to spice up local bills.
BGN - We hear you have some out of town and international talent coming
to Boston. Who's on deck?
DA- I'm working with Chelsea Curve's man behind the curtain,
Calvin Ill, to bring the English mod rockers Sharp Class to town in May. Also
from the UK I have the fabulous Len Price 3 coming in for rare US gigs in October.
Both bands will do short tours. Sharp Class will be rocking Providence, Portland
and Boston. Len Price will be doing Portland, Boston and NYC.
I'm working with Zuzu from Soraia, Red on Red Records, and Wicked Cool Records
to bring the ass kicking Diamond Dogs to town sometime in November.
BGN - We sense a growing buzz around town. Bands and audiences want
to get out their Covid imposed isolation. How do things feel to you?
DA- I don't have to twist many arms. Bands and clubs in the
region want to see more action and opportunities. Boston, Worcester, Lowell,
Troy, Providence, Portland, Albany, Erie, and NYC all seem to want in on it.
I'm psyched to part of helping pull it together. I've been in love with the
Boston scene since I came to town in '91. To play a role in spreading the Boston
Rock gospel is a dream come true.
BGN - Anything we didn't ask about that you want to mention.
DA- I want to thank Justine Covault and Red on Red Records
for this amazing opportunity!!!!!