|Chapter 5. TRACKS Meet the Boston Strangler
So with a really solid rhythm section to back us up, Lorry and I jumped back into the fire and got Tracks a gig at The Club in the fall of 1976.
|Again my memory fails me. I remember very little about that gig. It was probably a mid-week night because I know club manager John was still a little wary of what we’d pull after what happened at the Rat. I know we dragged all our friends down there and filled the place up pretty good. I have no idea who we shared the bill with or if we were any good. I guess we were okay, because we started playing there on a regular basis afterwards, soon graduating to weekend shows.Throughout our entire time in Boston, I think I remember just one or two tussles at the Rat, The Club was a different story. There seemed to be at least one major fight every other time we went there, usually caused by some liquored up local bumping into another drunk’s girlfriend. It seemed that tables were always being overturned and chairs sent skittering across the hall. You simply tried to stay out of the way and not get hit by flying debris. None of these altercations lasted very long before The Club’s troupe of bouncers moved in to sort things out. In keeping with the tradition of the joint, Tracks of course had to start their own brouhaha.
We had been playing at The Club for several months and it was another case of a bad billing. We had booked ourselves with the Stompers. We knew Sal Baglio through our old friends Carlo Dano and Frank Gerace (Dreamchild), a couple guitarists who were playing original rock fusion stuff at the time. Sal’s band played bluesy rock which was pretty mainstream. Lorry and I liked the heavy guitar sound and we liked Sal and preferred to play with people we liked. They were having some difficulties getting accepted on the Rat/Club scene so we invited the Stompers to play with us. But we should have known it wouldn’t really fit in with the hard punk rock we were pumping out. We lost the Stomper’s following early, but we had a few gigs under our belts by then (it must have been all of at least ten or eleven) and we were pretty comfortable on stage. Plus we were more mature than that first gig, right? We were getting some polite applause and a lot more of audible audience conversation and laughter between songs but it was no big deal. We’d finish the gig and get paid. Not a lot of fun, but one of those cases where you basically get paid to rehearse.
|At one point during our last set, Lorry took a quick break for a sip of the tequila & ginger she had on John Lewis’ drum riser. So as Paul Kross and I took the opportunity to have hits off our Buds, I caught a twinkling out of the corner of my eye. It’s Lorry’s drink glass floating through the air (in what seemed like slow motion) making a perfect arc onto the table of a group sitting in front of the stage. The almost full glass explodes (loudly) on contact, completely drenching one of the guys sitting there. He looks at his wet self in total bewilderment. Then I follow his gaze to Lorry. She’s got her guitar off and her fists are clenched at her sides and she’s glaring at him. Oh, oh. “Not so funny now, is it?” she barks. The guy rises up. Sweet Jesus, he’s big. “I just got this shirt!” he shouts as he steps up to the low stage. “And you’re gonna pay to clean it!” Lorry leans over and viciously rips the shirt right off the guy. I mean all that’s left of it is a few satiny shreds in her hands. Gone. “It was ugly anyway,” she snarls, “like you!” The guy looks down at his naked torso like it’s the strangest thing he’s ever seen. I think about taking a swing at his meaty head with my Stratocaster before he comes to his senses and goes nuts, but instead I just put the guitar down. I tackle him just as his hands reach Lorry’s throat and all hell breaks loose.
I’m on the stage floor with this big galoof on my back, his beefy arm around my neck. But, I’m small and quick and know I can slide out from under him, position myself for a couple hits to a kidney and get this under control. (At least I think I can.) Adrenaline slows things down and sharpens the senses so I remember seeing Paul holding off the guy’s buddies from joining in. But Lorry looks like she wants a go at these guys, too. Paul’s pretty big himself and a Florida redneck to boot so they’re taking heed of his advice. I’m just about to make my move when the pressure against my throat increases dramatically. This guy suddenly seems to have the strength of two. As I struggle to simply breathe, I realize that Wild Johnny has jumped off the drum riser and is trying to pull the guy off me. In doing this, he’s also putting more strength behind the stranglehold and my world starts turning to gray. As blackness creeps in and I can no longer move my limbs, I think that this is a really, really ridiculous way to die.
|The next thing I know, I’m stumbling back to the dressing room, gasping for air. I flop into a chair next to Lorry and try to ask her what happened, but my throat hurts much too much to get any words out. Wild Johnny thinks the whole thing is hilarious and Paul is guarding the doorway where the Boston Strangler is still complaining about his fucking shirt. “My Mother gave me that shirt,” I hear him whine. I’m really tempted to get up and have another shot at the jackass but instead I pull a ten out of my pocket and throw it in his direction. He goes away. Club manager John comes in and asks Lorry what happened. “They laughed at me!” she says indignantly, through tears. John chuckles. “Try to control yourself next time, Lorry,” he says and pays us. I got the feeling he enjoyed the show immensely. I wanted to ask him where his bouncers were during the melee, but I guess they thought it was all part of the act.
You know - punk rock.
|Paul "Kid" Kross - the redneck voice of reason in an otherwise chaotic storm of anger
Photo - Frank Gerace
|Tracks..the Wild Ones|
|Poster illustration - Lorry Doll|