Here In 1975 - here in 2004    
Why didn't they become the BIGGEST thing ever?
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The Neighborhoods 1979


Black and white photos are by Denise Donahue; color photos are by Blowfish.

Cover.jpg - 25.15 K BGN- You guys have been in the studio this week?
David Minehan- Yeah, we spent 4 days at Soundtrack. It's a very obscure studio only used for commercials for the Telephone Company and McDonald's and stuff like that. No rock & roll has been there.
John Hartcorn - The Vinny Band recorded "Mama Mia" there though.

BGN- How many songs did you do?
John- We did five.
David- We'll pick two for the 45 and add a third for a 12 inch promotional disc that'll be given to our friendly record company people and radio stations.

BGN- I can't imagine you're playing at your volume in the studio. Isn't that a problem?
David- You have to play at your regular volume because you don't want what you're doing to have an unreal sound.
John- We tried a lot of miking techniques too. David had three mikes on his guitar at all times. I had two on my bass.
Neighborhoods David- We had Ray Boy Fernandez helping out too. He was bringing in surprises for bigger and better sounds for Michael everyday. See, we're doing this right. No quick, half-assed things. All the way through, the package'll be great.
John - Rick Harte, who's producing it, is very sticky. He doesn't want anything out that he's not proud of. That's what he's into.
David- He just got through producing The Infliktors' single which was only two tracks! That's amazing!

BGN - Does this studio time have anything to do with what you won at the Rock & Roll Rumble at The Rat?
Michael Quaglia - We didn't get any studio time from that.

BGN- Well, you got a thousand dollars. Where'd that go?
David- To our roadies. We have the best roadies in the world.
Michael- We don't touch a thing. They take care of everything and we never worry.

David BGN - How do you pick the songs for the studio? By what goes best on stage?
David- Well actually we were really aiming for airplay.

BGN- So you're doing it that way, huh?
David - You really have to.
John - Otherwise no one's ever gonna hear you.
David- We're not making any sacrifices or changes. I mean, we like the songs.

BGN - Does the tape sound like you live though?
John - It's getting there. We haven't done a remix or anything yet.
Michael - It actually sounds like shit!
John - Actually Michael fell asleep the first day in the studio. We had a lot of fun too. We put matches in his toes and lit them.

BGN - You've had a lot of difficulty as far as your recordings go. You're on Live At The Rat II and The Boston Bootleg and Third Rail's single, none of which have ever been released! The only thing you're on that's out is Lord Manuel's second single.
David - Oh God! That single was done in half and hour! We learned it in ten minutes then went into the studio and did it.
Michael - He kept saying, "I paid for this! Let's hurry up!"

Mike BGN- What about the big name producers? How'd Andrew Loog-Oldham's name and Nick Lowe's name come into the picture?
David - Oldham's name was something brought to us by Bruce Patch.
John - He was mentioned to us, at one point, as a feeler type thing. He was supposed to come and see us in New York and be introduced to us but both times he was out of town.
Michael - He sucks!

David - Michael had a great night last night.

BGN - Michael, would you like some Pepto-Bismol or something?
Michael - No, I haven't decided what I want yet.
John - But you know, it's a funny game. They tell you they've got somebody and you never get to meet them.
David - Unfortunately nowadays we are getting to meet those people and it's no different. The game still goes on.

BGN - So, you're leery of that?
David - Oh! (EVERYONE NODS) We aren't quite jaded though. We've heard something from almost every major label. We're not gonna wait forever but we can wait another 6 months. The band is only gonna get better. And we're in a changing sort of thing right now. The Neighborhoods ARE growing up!

John BGN - Since winning The Rumble have things really exploded? Do people act differently toward you now?
David - Since the Battle we can't make too many moves without someone saying something about it. But I guess it's a better position to be in than total obscurity.
John - A lot of people you don't know will know your name.
David - And then they start touching you!
John - These two guys (POINTING TO DAVID AND MICHAEL) were getting grabbed at last night. I got touched on the knee.
David - I tell ya, I was concerned about my genitals last night! Some girl was LATCHED on to my crotch!! But yeah, you know, we're not walking around like "Hey, we're the BIG WINNERS!" But it was a good boost.
Michael - The best night was the second Monday. We played with Thrills and The Axe That was so intense.

BGN - Did you doubt yourselves or did you say 'Hey, we'll be OK tonight."?
John - We weren't really nervous.

BGN - How did you feel the last night, up against La Peste?
John - That was…strange. We got stuck with two sets and we don't really have two.
David - Yeah, we're rather short on material and two sets really spreads it thin. The way we were winning, actually, was because we have one good set in us and we knew that. So that last night we were worried 'cause La Peste has so many more songs than we do.

Neighborhoods BGN - Why don't you have more songs?
David - We had to stop and start all over again to re-learn the songs with John.
John - Then all of a sudden we had a couple gigs right off the bat, and then we had the battle. Since then we haven't had the time either 'cause we got kicked out of the place we practice in.
David - We don't even have anywhere to live! We're just scattered around.
Michael- Scavengers!!

BGN - For a long time I thought you guys were underrated. You still are! You are booked under other bands. Is it a problem for you?
David - Its been a continual problem but it makes us work extra hard and people always said we were wimps.

BGN - How's that?!?
David - Because we didn't want to fall into the local genre of material. We didn't want to come off as just another Boston band. We try to aim for more universal things.

BGN - So where's it coming from? Who writes the songs?
John - Right here! (TAPPING DAVID'S HEAD)

Neighborhoods BGN - Now let's go back to the beginning. How does it start?
David - Well, I was in a wretched cover band; Starliner. We played with The Real Kids one night and I said "Oh my God! Have I got to change my style!!"

BGN - Then how'd you meet Mike?
David - Mike moved to Upton. One day in school I saw this kid walking down the hall with a leather jacket on, tight jeans and just slinkin' along. I thought "Geez, there's something with this kid." Something connected. Then of course he turned me on to Third Rail and Willie.
Michael - I kept sayin' "You gotta start doin' your own music."
David - If Michael never moved to Upton I can honestly say I'd be very frustrated by now.

BGN - When did the three of you get together?….you two and Jimmy, the first guy?
David- Jimmy asked Michael to jam with us. I said "What are you asking HIM for? He can barely play his drums!" and he barely could. We had just given up a very prograssive drummer.
Michael - The drummer almost shit when he found out I was his replacement.

Neighborhoods BGN - I always thought you people could play, even the first time I saw you. But you ditched all your early songs.
Michael - Oh thank God! We ditched every one but "Roxanne" and "Teacher's Pet". At one point we had twenty songs then we were down to, like, eight!

BGN - The early stuff had a lot of meter changes and stuff. Now, like Michael's drumming, it's right in the groove. Your drumming has changed, Michael. Was that conscious?
Michael- No, it's just comin' out that way. I'm still learnin'.

BGN - People always mention your ages. What about it? Is it gonne be your image?
Michael - I suppose it will be 'cause there's nothing we can do about our ages.

BGN - Do you want to tell us your ages?
David - Michael's 18, I'm 20 and John is over 20.

BGN - How do you define your sound?
John - Loud, fast and pop.

Neighborhoods BGN- Do you have a thing about slow and fast songs?
David - Yeah, as a matter of fact the only one in-between is "Flavors".

BGN - A big hit, too. What's it about? It's weird.
Michael - Very silly.

BGN - And sexist too I might add!
David - Yeah, it is but I worked in a Dairy Queen for years and all we had was chocolate and vanilla and that's all in the song.

BGN - What's "One Day Older" about? As if you have to worry!
David - It's about the fear of getting older, the doldrums of everyday life. Like somebody who gets up everyday and puts on their clothes, catches the bus, reads the paper. Exactly the same thing everyday yet everyday they are one day older.

BGN - Tell us about "Think It Over".
David- It's about some people where I lived. Sometimes I don't have any hope for them. I'm trying to slap somebody in the face, sort of, to say "Think it over! Don't be so dumb, so passive." There's a line in there that goes "You're steady boyfriend knows more than I do, he's thinking FOR YOU" You know?

Neighborhoods BGN - You do a lot of three chord songs.
David - Sometimes, yeah. Some songs surprise me when they are done 'cause they're not in the same key they were in when I started and things like that.

BGN - You know your melody lines are your hooks?
David-Right. You have to draw attention somewhere.

BGN- When you write songs you are thinking that way?
David - Eh, no, it just is the way it is.

BGN - When you write songs what comes first?
Michael - The rhythm. That's how most of 'em have started.

BGN - How come you only allow yourselves one cover song?
Michael - We have three! "Ready Steady Go", the Generation X song, "She" by the Monkees and "Once Before" a Barry & The Remains tune.

BGN - So John, let's get your story.
John - I was down in Connecticut. There's no scene down there though. I was in a band that was playing in Northern CT and Long Island called The Great Buns. I lived here in '72 and '73 but went down there to play with The Buns. Then last year I got together with Third Rail.
David- He was in Third Rail for eight months.
John - I learned a lot from it and could have learned more if we had played out.

Neighborhoods BGN - When was the first time you saw The Neighborhoods?
John - The first time I saw David play was in the studio for Lord Manuel's single.
David- We had never met. We said "Hi. Hope we have a good recording session." And never thought we'd see each other again.

BGN - So David when did you start playing guitar?
David- At the tender ago of…13. In fifth grade, how old would I be then?

BGN - What was your first guitar?
David- A Stellar. And I worked in my Dairy Queen and got up 150 bucks, got a Want Ad and bought my first electric. It was a Mustang. Then I got a Les Paul, but it was stolen at The Club.

BGN - That's when you had your benefit there?
David - Wasn't that a wild benefit though?!
Mike- Willie had just gotten signed and hadn't show up anywhere in a long time. So a crowd showed up to see if he'd be there to play with us.
David- And that was the first time we had ever played with Willie .
Mike- Yeah, we played with Willie , Mach Bell, Lord Manuel and ourselves as the Muffin Band.

Neighborhoods BGN - Did you know you would end up playing with Willie before hand?
Mike- Well, after The Boom Booms broke up we asked him. We'd ask him every time we would see him!

BGN - So how did you start playing with him?
David - Richard Nolan set that up, also with the idea of exploiting the name of The Neighborhoods behind Willie. It was a good idea and it worked. We like Willie and he likes us. We did a few choice gigs out of state and we might do a few more…. out of state. And there might be a surprise gig in a little while at The Space.

BGN - How did Willie feel about the fact that when you got on stage together you'd just naturally steal the show?
David- He didn't mind. I asked him once and said I was kinda sorry. He said it was all right.

BGN - Why did you stop playing with him?
Mike- Ah, it was heavy. We each just had to lay back for a while.

BGN -David, where'd you get you stage moves?
David- Aw, it's just a natural thing.

BGN - It's like you're double-jointed….everywhere!
David- In fact, I am. I'd never seen myself before 'til Jan Crocker videotaped us for The Creeper. I said "Oh geez!! This is outrageous!" but I loved it.

Neighborhoods BGN - I was watching a TV show on rock'n'roll greats. There was Elvis and his legs were going. It was a big thing. Then it was Chuck Berry and it goes all the way up. Buddy Holly and now Elvis Costello has it and you have it!
David- It's so natural for me. It's like you just can't get close enough to that mike! You're absolutely on your toes! I don't do it on purpose and I'm sure they didn't either.
John - We call him Gumby.

BGN - You said in an article I read about you, something that interested us; you'd like to see more women and blacks in the scene and the music.
Mike- We'd like to do a show in Dorchester or something, to get it to the people who never hear it.

BGN - Like you say different types of people bring new stuff to the scene. Like Patti Smith….a woman who brought a lot to the new wave.
John - Well, Patti's a vocalist. What I'd like to see is more women musicians. It's a different concept, a different feel. Back in the '60's those English kids were just learning to play guitars and it was totally fresh. Now women, for the most part, are just learning to play the guitar too.

BGN - Just imagine if someone like Jimi Hendrix were to come along now.
David- Look at the blacks who started it for us!! Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Little Richard. It was rock'n'roll!

Dave with Fans
Dave Minahan with fans
BGN - What about you're playing at Norfolk State Prison? Was that your idea?
David- Gilda Brasch from WBRS introduced the idea to us and we picked right up on it. It's gonna be filmed so they can sell it to PBS, too.
Mike- We'll play in front of 600 prisoners.

BGN- We'd love to go with a camera!!
David- No guests. We can't even bring in speaker cabinets that can hold somebody on the way out! The security is really tight. They checked our records but all our records were wiped clean when we came of age.
BGN- If you weren't playing rock'n'roll, what would you be doing?
John - Stealing out of Goodwill boxes.
Mike- We'd all have minimum wage jobs.

BGN- Do you have anything to say to your fans?
David- Our fans are the greatest, they know who they are!

BGN - Thos genital grabbing semi-adults!
David- UGH!! Just don't' grab during a chord change!!

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Copyright © 2004 Paul Lovell. All rights reserved.