|Between injuries from the car wreck and revamping the rhythm section, Lorry and I had been out of the Boston scene for a solid three months. And changes were happening really fast that season. New Wave, as opposed to Punk, was now the thing. Record companies knew they could sell this poppy new sound. And the latest flock of bands that were emerging reflected that commercially driven beat. Unless we were either playing or someone we really enjoyed was, we found ourselves going to the Rat and The Club and Cantone’s less and less. For entertainment we mostly went to the Paradise and saw bands from out of town. Our opinion of Boston’s newer bands of the time doesn’t really matter. I guess they were talented groups. They were popular enough, but few shook my ass. True, a whole new batch of suburban kids were showing up at the clubs – but these new fans couldn’t quite figure out what Tracks was about (“They got a chick singer - why don’t they sound like Blondie?”). So while New York was raving, the Boston response to our antics had waned. We became very selective of who we would play with, making sure that the shows made sense. But that was okay, by then Lorry and I knew that our future was in New York. It wasn’t just the music either.
Neither of us were natives of Boston. We had each moved there to go to art school and I think we always felt like outsiders. Maybe that mutual feeling of alienation contributed to initially bringing us together and surely led us to identify with punk so strongly. Few of the local people we met understood the all consuming passion Lorry and I had for doing art. Even fewer could fathom our obsession with music, especially punk. There was no money to be had in either of these pursuits and that’s all they understood. So mostly we hung out with artists, musicians and other ‘losers’ of our ilk. Boston was a big enough city, but in those days it had a small town attitude. Not all that different from the small towns we'd grown up in and couldn’t escape from fast enough. Anything outside the conservative norm was considered weird, immoral and even dangerous. There was also an undertone of bigotry, racism and social intolerance that infected many aspects of daily life. The attitudes and events manifested could not have taken place in the culturally diverse, multi-ethnic environs of the Lower East Side of Manhattan where nobody fucked with nobody unless they were being fucked with.
This isn’t an indictment against all of Boston. For the most part Lorry and I had a great time there and we met and were supported by a lot of very cool people as mentioned throughout these pages. It was an experience I wouldn’t exchange for anything. Still our time in that city was basically a love/hate relationship and we had reached a point where we felt emotionally drained and artistically restricted. Maybe we just weren’t brave enough, but some nights it was a real challenge just to get up in front of some of those audiences and be Tracks for a set or two. We never felt like that in New York.
So the move was inevitable. In the meanwhile, we shuttled between Boston and New York on little mini-tours playing several gigs at a stretch. Sometimes we had to work around Pat O’Neill’s Aerosmith schedule or we would pick up a drummer from another band for a show or two. One of the highlights that summer was Lorry Doll’s Birthday Bash at The Club. This was an event that had started the previous year and would continue as an annual party through our band years in NYC. Lorry would talk a club into running just a cash bar and having free admission in exchange for having three or four bands play. We would invite everyone we knew and our band friends would do short sets and jam sets. Lorry, and anyone who could, would do up a great spread of food and the night would be a real bacchanal. Lorry was in her element being the Mistress of Ceremonies (and the center of attention). See below for some snap-shots of the '78 event. As the night progressed, the quality of the photos was a direct reflection of the amount of fun we were having.
So we were still enjoying Boston, but at the same time we were also plotting our escape to New York.
For yet another episode of Rat Moments, showcasing events at Boston's palace of punk in the 70s, GO HERE for a peek at Tracks' backstage encounter with a mystery rock star.