|Chapter 6. TRACKS - Call the Cops
I figured it was probably not a good idea to use the clash at The Club for publicity the way I had the rumble at the Rat. Our reputation was getting bad enough as it was. But there’s nothing like a good fight to bring a band together. Tracks became a pretty tight unit after that.
A little about the boys in the band. I’ve been calling Paul “Kidd” Kross a redneck here, and we used to goad him by calling him a Florida cracker, too. But those derogatory terms were just a friendly tease and really don’t fit him. Paul was neither a stereotype of the Southern bigot nor a dim backwoods farm boy. He was a very intense and intelligent guy who played a great bass and was forever concerned that we weren’t taking the music seriously enough. (A source of many heated discussions during our weekly band poker games.) I guess he was also a bit eccentric. He kept a very large python in the bathtub of the very small apartment he shared with his girlfriend and also a pet skunk. Lorry and I always tried to make sure we wouldn’t have to use the bathroom when we visited. Although he left Tracks right before the release of “Brakes On You,” he remained a friend up until the time we moved to New York. I heard somewhere that he had worked with John Felice after the Real Kids broke up, but other than that I lost track of his doings. Our drummer was a punk from Southy (South Boston). I really don’t want to write about him so I just deleted three or four paragraphs of venom and vitriol. He was a shit. End of story.
In all our bands, Lorry had the knack for whipping drummers into proper shape with initial comments like, “Put a little … you know, balls into it” which progressed to the sarcastic and intimidating “You know it’s O.K. to sweat when you’re doing this” whenever performance dropped off. These words were delivered in the context of a good natured ribbing, but still didn’t sit well with guys that had insecurities about their masculinity.
|But at the time we were sounding good and everything was pretty cool within the band, except for the fact that we could only play at The Club. So we started scoping out other places that might book original music. It was a joke. I remember one oily club manager somewhere on the shore that insisted Lorry wear a miniskirt and do Stevie Nicks covers. That was one of the better reactions we got. Dummy’s was a new club on Commonwealth Avenue that used to be the home of the Boston Club which had catered to the beer and barf crowd of college students. Now it had been remodeled into two separate clubs: an upscale front lounge with large portraits of recording artists on its walls, and a big back room that was going to feature hard rock. We weren’t the first new music band to play there (I think that honor goes to The Count, if I’m not mistaken) but we were one of the first to open up the venue that would eventually become the Paradise. They booked us for three nights and we talked JJ Rassler into joining us with DMZ. Well DMZ was great as always and Tracks was better than usual, but nobody showed up to see. I think Blondie was playing at The Club and of course the Rat had its own following for the weekend and there just weren’t enough fans to go around in those days. If anybody big (especially a New York band) was playing anywhere else around town your gig was dead – guaranteed. But we made up for it a few weeks latter when we teamed up with DMZ again for a weekend at The Club. Good solid show this time with a big crowd, but an even better party following the show back at Blue Door.|
|I don’t remember how many bands showed up at our loft and played, but I sure wish I had taped it. Lot’s of jamming between members of all of Boston’s premier bands of the time. In those very early days, before airplay and record contracts and all the bullshit, petty jealousies and psychotic drummers, all the bands were friendly and actually had a good time hanging out. Amazing, huh? It was just great up until the early morning hours when the cops showed up. Now Blue Door Studio was on Bromfield Street which was about half a block from Filenes and the rest of downtown Boston. It was also about a mile from where anybody actually resided (legally that is). So who called the cops?|
|The cop sergeant was an Irish faced heavy who had the smell of whiskey on his breath. “What the hell is this place, a night club?” he wanted to know. “An art studio,” I said, pointing to our huge oil paintings on the walls. He looked around trying to focus on just what’s going on while his partners moved about the room peering into trash cans and studying ashtrays. The place reeked of beer and marijuana. By this time of the morning, girlfriends are passed out on couches (except for Lorry Doll, who’s still the life of the party, of course) and most of the guys have eyeballs that are going in different directions. In his thick Boston accent, the cop announced to everyone, “Aaaahrt and music don’t mix.!” I guess he thought it was a clever twist on oil and water not mixing. I didn't find it witty or accurate. He ordered everyone to clear out saying he’s had a number of complaints. So the guys gather up their guitars and girls and split. Meanwhile the cops are starting to open drawers and cabinets. And I’m pretty buzzed and starting to get pissed off so I tell them they better get a search warrant if they want to do that. I don’t have anything to hide, but I don’t want anything planted either (an old Boston Police trick). “I should run you in for having an illegal club,” Sarge says as the storm troopers leave, “Don’t let me get any more complaints.” Well it was a good party anyway.
So this whole thing gets me and Lorry thinking about starting up our own club to play in. Then we realize that we want to do music not run a business. And how would we fund it anyway? Which leads us back to our big problem. We’ve got to get back into the Rat.
|Tracks..the Wild Ones|