jeff rey's
Tracks...the Wild Ones
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.

Chapter 15. A Tale of Two Cities
Bill Pitcher was a successful photo-realist painter Lorry and I had originally met as a fellow student at the Art Institute. He was also an accomplished photographer and acoustic guitar player. By the summer of '78 the scars from the auto wreck were fading and Lorry was feeling comfortable with her appearance again. So Bill did a photo session of Lorry that would be the model for a painting he exhibited at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. These photos are a few out-takes from the shoot. The actual painting shows Lorry playing my Les Paul guitar. I’ve only seen a photograph of the final work. Sure would like to have the original painting. Bill, if you’re out there, get in touch.
For the 1978 event, the bands were billed as Tracks, the Zoo Types and the Boulevards . I had initially thought the Boulevards were a jam band started up specifically for that occasion, but  Micky Metts recently let me know that this band was actually called Little Frankie and the Boulevards which was an early version of one of our favorite Boston bands the Phantoms, featuring our very strange (and very talented) new friends Shelly and Tony (AKA Micky Metts and Angelo [Vice] Aversa). Little Frankie was the Zoo Type's Frank Gerace who joined Micky on guitars for this one-off gig. At left is Lorry's party invite (courtesy Frank Gerace).
The Phantoms - Above, Angelo on drums with accompaniment of TV set. At right, Micky steps up to the mic. Along with bassist Debbie Packard, a punk runaway, they were billed as Little Frankie and the Boulevards but were an early jam version of the Phantoms. A while later Micky and Angelo would form the Organ Donors.
The Zoo Types - Right, guitar wizard Frank Gerace (now of the otherworldly Dreamchild). Below, Tas Calo on bass and Lenny Shea (the Stompers) behind the drum kit. The original Zoo Types single continues to be a big buck item on eBay.
Bob Colby - Frenzy's  publisher (and the man who introduced us all to 'The Boob') shares a pensive moment with Lorry Doll (left)
La Peste - Peter Dayton and Roger Trip (right). In the background is Lorry's chum since childhood, Susan Regan (aka Susie Doll).
After that initial CBGBs gig in 1978, Tracks immersed itself in the New York groove, returning there whenever we had the chance: promoting the band, playing and setting up gigs, meeting people and taking it all in. And Lorry and I quickly became addicted to the energetic pace and electric atmosphere. Sometimes we’d stay over, but more often we made the bleary-eyed commute back and forth to Boston. Lorry played it cool, but I’ll admit to being a bit star struck. All the early icons of punk were still hanging out and being seen at CBs. We’d finish up a set at Max’s Kansas City, head downstairs and see Deborah Harry and Chris Stein sampling the late night fare (couldn’t tell if Debbie was munching on the sandwich named for her). A call to the men’s room found Johnny Thunders leaning on a sink, trying desperately to stay on his feet and keep from hurling his dinner (he managed only one of these objectives). But it wasn’t only in the clubs. I’d pop into a bodega for a six-pack of Ballentine and have David Johanson standing in line in front of me getting a pack of Luckies. I’d be checking out boots at St. Mark’s Leather and Cheetah Chrome would be trying on fringed leather pants. Down on Lower Broadway, Lorry would be perusing the latest fashions in a funky jean shop and Lou Reed would be next to us going through a stack of Levi’s. And there were various and sundry other artists, actors and notables we encountered on the streets of Manhattan. But nobody in the aloof downtown crowd seemed to take much notice of any of this. They all had the attitude of being stars in their own right. It was all the norm. For an up and coming punk rocker from outa town it was impressive. Besides, Lorry Doll and Tracks were getting a very strong response to our hard-edged stage act. And the bands we were playing with and seeing were ever so cool. Boston was a different story.