As I mentioned recently, it’s impressive to see newcomers to the Halls of Rock dig into the rich archive of rock discussion threads on Rock Town Hall. To help facilitate that process, I’d like to kick off a FRIDAY FLASHBACK! feature, where I’ll pull a possibly once-more relevant post out from the deep recesses of our archives and bring it back to The Main Stage for review by veterans and possibly first exposure for newcomers.
This first FRIDAY FLASHBACK! is relevant to me, at least, because I’m heading to Boston this morning and because Townsman KingEd‘s reflections on a recently deceased journeyman rocker from my own pathetic rock ‘n roll hometown have been on my mind. A local rock scene is a terrible thing to waste. Enjoy!
This piece was originally posted on 7/27/07.
As documented long ago in the original Rock Town Hall listserv, historically, Boston is the major East Coast city with the worst output of soul artists. Recently a friend and I were discussing the fact that Boston, for a city teeming with enthusiastic rock bands, rock clubs, rock press, and college radio stations, has produced a dearth of great rock bands. The original Modern Lovers were great, but they were gone in a flash. Aerosmith…a poor man’s Rolling Stones crossed with a poor man’s Led Zeppelin. Good stuff, but not mind-blowing. The Cars, Boston, J. Geils Band, and other heavy hitters of ’70s FM Rock were all solid, but they didn’t expand anyone’s consciousness, at least not anyone with a consciousness worth expanding. Then you’ve got the great ’80s scene. Everybody loves some band from that scene. I love Big Dipper. Someone else loves Mission of Burma. Someone else thinks Throwing Muses was the bees knees. The Pixies are a Boston band, right? Big whup! Is The Pixies the best Boston could do?
I know what you’re thinking: “Mr. Moderator, how dare you – a native of Philadelphia, a large, East Coast city with far lesser claims to rock ‘n roll greatness – criticize Boston! All you’ve got is your stinking TSOP, Todd Rundgren, and The Dead Milkmen.” You’re right. Philadelphia is a terrible rock ‘n roll town, but my point is not to say that this is the case for Boston, just that Boston, for as rich as the city is in solid, journeyman rock bands, has not produced a downright dominant band in either rock or soul music. Are they gonna blame this on the curse of the Bambino too?