|On impulse one Friday night, we slapped some sandwiches together, bought a couple quarts of Ballantine Ale, grabbed our Radio Shack cassette player and tapes, loaded into our little ’65 Mustang and tore down the Mass Pike headed for NYC. Well, we had a great weekend slumming around, club-hopping, and got some intense musical inspiration, but the best we could afford for living quarters was a gritty fifth floor walk up in Spanish Harlem.
Coming back to Boston we were disappointed, but I soon got a gig being a super at a renovated building in the North End, so we had a great one-bedroom apartment for free and were able to rent a huge studio loft on Bromfield Street. We hired a fine looking artist’s model and held drawing classes to make a few extra dollars. A couple perverts showed up of course, but as long as they weren’t too obvious, their money was as good as anyone else’s. Lorry and I even managed to get them from just drawing stick figures and salivating to being fairly decent draftsmen. Hell, for all I know they may have gone on to make a few bucks off their artwork. Better than we ever did. At any rate, now we had a place where we could really let loose with our painting and play our music without complaint. The paintings got larger and larger, and the music got louder and louder. 29 Bromfield Street became Blue Door Studio where we would have some of the wildest and best times of our years together in Boston.
Up to this point, writing music and thrashing about on guitars was really only to amuse ourselves and serve as an outlet for built up aggression. Although Lorry and I had already been together for a few years and we were both very passionate and opinionated individuals, we had rarely argued. And then only over artistic tastes. I think blasting our music was the reason for this. Who needs to shout at each other and slam doors when you can blast a 100-watt, floor shaking, window shattering power chord across the room? Then an event changed our direction from just fooling around with music to making it our new medium of expression.
|At around the same time, we got to thinking that New York might be more conducive to getting our artwork shown. From what we could see, Boston’s art scene was about the Newbury Street galleries and outdoor art festivals, period. Besides, Lorry had come from New York to go to school in Boston, and although I grew up in Connecticut, my family was originally from Queens and I had spent a good deal of my teens and later years hanging out with my cousins or other friends in Manhattan. Now that I was done with school, and Boston was soooo dead, it was really where I wanted to be.|
|Mustang Lorry: Pre-Tracks but still ready to put the brakes on you.|
|You will quickly notice that my writing on this subject may be very personal and opinionated. While I take the stance that this account is pure historical fact, keep in mind that I am relating these events through the eyes of someone who lived this life as Lorry’s co-songwriter, lead guitarist, lover and soul mate. Believe what you want, but this is the way I saw it.
- Jeff Rey, NYC November, 2001
|1975: Seemingly innocent, but armed with her new Strat, Lorry was about to launch Tracks on an unsuspecting staid, old Boston.|
|Tracks...the Wild Ones|
Chapter 1. Boston, in the beginning ...
Tracks first gig was a prime time Saturday night at the infamous Rat on August 28, 1976. It couldn’t have been more of a disaster.
I had first met Lorry in 1971 at the Art Institute of Boston where we were both aspiring painters. Soon after we were living together in a tiny studio apartment at 22 Buswell Street. Of course, since we were starving artists we didn’t have any money to go out and party, so we entertained each other by banging around on our guitars. Lorry had an acoustic 12-string and I had my old Kay electric from high school days. We jammed mostly on Stones and Dylan with Lorry providing the vocals. Every once in a while we’d add a song that one of us had written. These didn’t sound too much like the Stones or Dylan. Since painting wasn’t feeding us, eventually we had to get real jobs (I had been subsisting on my GI Bill benefits while in school). But although we now had a few bucks in our bellbottoms, aside from the occasional decent show at the Garden, there wasn’t much to go out and see. Along with the other Kenmore Square clubs, the Rat(hskeller) was featuring show bands. Bunratty’s and the Groggery for the most part had bands playing uninspired covers of blues and rock. The Cambridge clubs had flaccid folk. At least Father’s had cheap drinks which Lorry and I took full advantage of.
We stayed home a lot, got high, painted and played our guitars. Soon, saving every nickle we could and to the horror of our neighbors, we each got Stratocasters and decent Fender Twin amps. I guess it’s hard to believe now that Boston had such a poor local music scene, but with few exceptions, it was absolutely dead for good original music up through the first half of the 70s. An art school friend of ours turned us on to The Other Side. A gay dance club that was pretty much underground, the DJs spun a lot of Bowie and a lot of stuff nobody knew what the hell it was - but it was all very entertaining. The Other Side was about 80/20 gay/straight. At the time we knew for sure of eight, maybe nine cool people in Boston. They were all hanging out there. Lorry got along fabulously with the gay men. A lot of straight guys always seemed to be threatened by her aggressive persona, but these boys ate it up with gusto. Tracks would eventually chronicle this scene in the song "Love Is (Bondage & Leather)". A short time later, another highlight of the social scene was the New York Dolls at the Armory. I had already seen the Dolls for three straight nights at K-K-K-Katy’s playing to an audience of very blasted and very belligerent college jocks. Now, a couple of years later Boston’s underground music fanatics turned up en masse to catch the Thigh High Boogie. We never knew all those crazies were out there. We became a little more serious about writing our songs.
|I took this snap shot of Lorry on the front steps of our apartment building at 22 Buswell Street right after I talked her into moving in with me. The apartment was just down the street from the Art Institute of Boston where we were both students.Tracks was still several years down the road but we immediately started jamming on our guitars. Lorry wasn't even old enough to go to bars yet. But that didn't stop us. That's Lorry's pack of Kools on the steps. The only other people I knew who smoked Kools were slick black dudes and jazz musicians, so I figured she had to be pretty cool. I was right.
|All photos this page - J. Rey|