|We had played with the Atlantics at The Club a few times before and although our music was very different from theirs, we got along with them great. With their cute looks and designer suits they had a very strong female following. Maybe our music didn’t mix that well, but we certainly weren’t a threat to steal their fans away, and I think all those little girls they attracted enjoyed seeing a woman tearing it up on stage for a change. We both knew who was bringing all those straight kids into the door and rather than doing the usual 60/40 (or whatever it was) headliner/opener gate split we got their manager to go for 100% of the door for themselves and a guarantee for us. Our fee just happened to be the cost of recording.
So on May 7, 1977 all the recording gear was set up during our sound check and we decided to record the second of our two sets, figuring we’d be looser then. And we were. We kicked off with our usual opener, “Brakes On You,” immediately knew we were on top of things, and tore through an inspired set before closing out with “Bombs Away”. Lorry was on her game that night and Tracks sounded as good as we ever did. There were the usual flubs and miscues, but we figured we could fix all that in the mix. At least the people recording us said we could. We were really happy about our performance and knowing the pressure was off, we sat down had a drink or three and watched the Atlantics close out the night.
|Poking her finger into his chest she told him, “We had a gentleman’s agreement! Are you going to honor it or not?”
Fred was taken aback, but not enough to shake loose any more money. They bantered back and forth with Lorry getting madder by the moment. Me, too. I could tell that we were going nowhere and I really didn’t want to start yet another ‘major altercation’ in a club. (We tried to be good, we really, really did.) Then I saw our drummer coming over to see what was going on. I got up and told Wild Johnny we were getting shafted, but I didn’t want him to get involved. He took a seat next to Fred anyway. I thought it best that Lorry leave and when she did we got down to serious business. Those of you who knew our drummer also know he had serious personality flaws (to put it mildly), but he was a very persuasive negotiator. When I got back up a few moments later, I had the full cash amount in my hand. I bid goodnight to a very pale and shaky band manager who just wasn’t too talkative anymore. John had told him that I would be leaving with one of two things in my hand. I think Mr. Munao chose wisely.
|The Atlantics' ABC album, "Big City Rock" looked like it was about to break out when we saw their NYC show down the street from us at Irving Plaza in 1979. The designer suits had by then given way to a cooler new wave image, but the music was still pretty much the same power pop.|
|I guess by Boston standards for those days, the Atlantics had a pretty sophisticated organization. At any rate, they had real roadies that moved their stuff and tuned their guitars for ‘em so they wouldn’t muss themselves up and a real manager, Fred Munao, who wore a suit and everything. When the night ended, me and Lorry went over to Fred’s table to collect our bread. From Tracks beginning, we always set it up so only Lorry could receive payment for a gig. That way no one else (including a disgruntled band member) could pocket the take. We weren’t the most trusting couple, but with good reason.
As soon as we sat down at the otherwise empty table, he began giving us a line about being disappointed they didn’t get the people they had expected. If he paid us what we wanted and took out the club’s share then Tracks would be making more than the Atlantics. I told him that I really couldn’t see why us getting paid more than the Atlantics was a problem. But his boys were the headliners. He said he was willing to give us a hundred bucks for the night and even that was better than the usual split. I said not only did I suspect that the door had done much better than that, but that we already had an agreement over what we would be paid. Well, he said, there were a lot of freebies, you know industry people and assorted V.I.P.s, besides we didn’t have a real contract or anything. On the words real contract, Lorry jumped into our quiet little discussion.
|Chapter 8. TRACKS – Putting the Brakes On
Once Tracks got back into playing the Rat, we really started exposing our music to a wider audience. There were quite a few Rat fans that didn’t go to The Club and vice versa. Also Boston’s new music scene was definitely getting bigger. Not only was Oedipus’ radio show at MIT (WTBS) still going strong, but other college stations were starting to pick up on punk and new wave, too. Clean-cut suburban kids were coming to shows in ever increasing numbers and new bands began popping up bringing their friends and fans into the scene.
After a short period of cautious booking, Jim Harold and Lorry established this kind of pseudo adversarial relationship and he started giving Tracks some pretty attractive gigs at the Rat. Sometimes I think he did this just to see if Lorry was up to the challenge or not. We were also seeing some great music there. The darker and harder New York bands like the Johnny Thunders/Richard Hell Heartbreakers and the Robert Gordon fronted Tuff Darts really connected with Lorry and me and we started thinking about making the move to New York again. But of course, money was still a problem and it was beginning to look like the Boston scene was just about to take off. So if we were staying, we wanted to make a bit more of an impact and figured a record would help us. To keep costs down and not have to pay studio fees, we figured that a live recording was the best way to go. We found some guys who did mobile recording and began to think about the right gig to do it at.
|Tracks..the Wild Ones|
|The set list Lorry wrote up on the back of the flyer for the show Tracks recorded May 7, 1977. At the end of the gig she checked off the songs she thought sounded best that night.|