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Grateful Ted / SMUGGLER The Time Machine CD
Dinky Dawson produced the band SMUGGLER who appeared on
Boston Rock & Roll Anthology Vol. 3. 58 minutes and 52 seconds of their
music is here, released in 1999, recorded between 1982-1999
|Review||by Joe Viglione|
As musicians from the past get the urge to release new music, many are finding the additional space available on compact disc to be just the place to put previous efforts. That is a blessing for fans of good music, and Ted Solovicos of Boston's Smuggler does just that, giving the world six songs from one of Smuggler's three major recording sessions in the '80s and eight new productions for almost one hour's worth of sound. Going under the moniker Grateful Ted, the CD features a ticket stub on the back cover from when the band opened for Bon Jovi at the Paradise Theater in Boston. This was when "Runaway" was just breaking for Jon Bon Jovi and Smuggler had a bigger following than the guy who would go on to sell millions of records. Having the legacy documented on this fine release makes it that much more of a treasure. Solovicos is a more-than-competent songwriter, and with Mach Bell of the Joe Perry Project releasing Last Man Standing in 2002 and more music being recorded and released by Hirsh Gardner of New England and Rick Berlin from Berlin Airlift/Luna, as well as another Joe Perry lead singer, Charlie Farren, the then-and-now approach not only preserves these great sounds, it gives those who appreciate these honest efforts all the more to listen to. "Sweet and Innocent" has a nice swing with the jazzy piano from Richard Meader and some shocking lyrics: "Your sweet and innocent love/I hear your friends are all queer," and something indiscernible about lesbians; not very politically correct and not very nice, but that's part of the product. Musically it is Bachman Turner Overdrive-lite, catchy tunes from the major songwriter of an important suburban band from the Boston area's early-'80s scene. "Don't Burn the Witch" has that punch Smuggler was all about, and it is one of the CD's best tracks, a thumping, snarling cruncher. The vibe-infested "Love Is Strange" is also a highlight. Interesting new and old music makes up The Time Machine and it's a decent time capsule preserving the work of a group who made some noise by making noise. Fleetwood Mac engineer/producer Dinky Dawson recorded a Solovicos tune, "In the Long Run," released on Boston Rock & Roll Anthology, Vol. 3 in 1984, not included here. It was the only other bit of Smuggler material in release at the time of this release.
ASA BREBNER Biography Answers.com
BiographyJourneymen with diverse resumes like Mick Taylor,Peter Green, Rick Derringer and Larry Knetchel of Bread - elite rock & roll side players and artists in their own right - have a certain lustre apart from the popular work they participated in. Asa Brebner is in that league, though the records he performed on didn't invade the Billboard Charts or reign too long on MTV with gold/platinum status to become tunes recognizable to the masses. But as a rock guitarist he is a most intuitive player, able to go from premium Johnny Thunders' style slashing leads to Keith Richards' innovative rhythms.
Born on November 21, 1953, the only child of Winston Brebner and Ardell Cogswell Brebner, his father wrote the highly acclaimed book Doubting Thomas garnering interest from film director Ingmar Bergman. His official biography on www.asabrebner.net states that "he attended progressive high school and learned guitar from listening to R&B, The Rolling Stones and oddball blues records." That bio also includes a strange story of Asa hitchhiking through Central and South America after graduation at 17 years of age, getting arrested and charged with being an American drug smuggler, tried and sentenced to twenty years in prison. Escaping prison, U.S. diplomats from the American Embassy smuggled him home.
His vinyl debut was on a 45 RPM by Mickey Clean and The Mezz, a favorite of Boston '70s/'80s hotspot The Rathskellar. "Hillside Walking" b/w "Drifting" was released on Asa Records and was one of those Boston indy singles which opened the floodgates for tons of new bands who would make their own discs in the decades to follow. Friend Leroy Radcliffe produced "Voodoo", a Mickey Clean and the Mezz single on the French Co-Pilot label. When Asa and Radcliffe, along with soon-to-be Cars drummer David Robinson, joined local legend Jonathan Richman for that singer's second recorded wave of Modern Lovers' music, Brebner's place in rock & roll legend was secured. Richman was at his most eccentric during this phase, a non-commercial battery of tunes about the "Ice Cream Man" and other such nonsense, Jonathan playing the Alfred E. Newman game on the record industry, and his loyal fans. Years from now Richman's idealism may prove to be brilliant. Brebner told AMG how that he feltRichman "would have made a lot more money if he'd stayed just hard core but he went his own artistic way and I respect him for it. Jonathan stuck to his eccentric guns and remains a true artistic oddity...you probably won't see him on "behind the Music" "Ice Cream Man" type stuff was a slap in the face to all that Macho/punk posturing and was a much bigger risk than stepping into line with the rest of the leather jacket/safety pin poseurs. You have to have been there to see what a shock it was to the people whose music he helped spawn as the "godfather of punk" It was truly scary and at times we feared for our lives."
This tenure resulted in two albums on Beserkley Records with some titles distributed originally by CBS, the Richman classic Back In Your Life, Modern Lovers Live, and a few tracks on a compilation Beserkley issued entitled Spitballs. "Egyptian Reggae" from Modern Lovers Live is a brilliant track and went gold in England, France, Germany and Holland.
In 1978 singer Robin Lane had a deal with Private Stock Records and went out to recruit a band called Robin Lane & The Chartbusters. Asa was one of the guitarists in a group fronted by a chick who could hold her own with Chrissie Hynde and Stevie Nicks. After two EPs and two albums, Brebner and the group without Robin recorded David Knopfler of Dire Straits' Warner Brothers demos. In 1982 Asa launched The Grey Boys, the first band in which he sang and wrote all the songs. He also did cartoons for High Times and other magazines. He formed Asa Brebner's Idle Hands in 1986 and recorded a tape which included the song "Last Bad Habit". It appeared on Warner Brothers' Best Of The Unsigned Bands CD compilation in 1988. He released three solo albums between 1996-2001 on three different labels and a compilation of his music entitled Time In My Way on the Windjam imprint. Along with production work for Mickey Clean's Unsung Heroes, the Bloodshot album for Peter C. Johnson and Severance for Kendra Flowers, Brebner can be found in the clubs of Boston performing, and helping other musicians through benefit concerts. 2002 has him working on the long awaited reunion album of Robin Lane & The Chartbusters. ~ Joe Viglione, All Music Guide
I WALK THE STREETS Asa Brebner
TIME IN MY WAY 2001 ASA BREBNER
ADAM SHERMAN SONGBIRD 2001
ADAM SHERMAN SONGBIRD
As the Swinging Steaks abandoned their slick 1980s pop for country-rock when the 1990s came around, Mark Cutler's Raindogs did the same, but got it out of the starting gate a bit earlier on this Atco debut, Lost Souls. The album leans more to the rock than country side, with standout tunes like "Cry for Mercy" and "This Is the Place" among the dozen offered here. "I'm Not Scared" owes much to Gregg Allman and is decent, while "Phantom Flame" is extraordinary, up there with the best of the Swinging Steaks, Johnny Cunningham's fiddle and Cheryl Hodges' backing vocals bringing it that nice Rolling Stones feel when the greatest rock & roll band in the world gave its style a Flying Burrito Brothers flavor. "The Higher Road" and "Too Many Stars" are competent rockers though they don't burst out like some of the other tracks, and that's the downside here. Cutler's voice isn't distinctive enough to elevate some of the more pedestrian numbers and like another "critic's darling" band, the Tragically Hip, the lesser songs in the repertoire -- say "Nobody's Getting Out" -- weigh the other selections down like an anchor. Lost Souls is perfectly played material and an interesting debut, but there's not enough personality to send this over the top. "Cry for Mercy" sounds slightly like a harbinger of what Gregg Alexander and his New Radicals would bring to the world in 1998. Problem is, there's no "You Get What You Give" here, and that's what this singer/songwriter and his band were in dire need of. Nice to see Myanna Pontoppidan of Girls Night Out as part of the Hubcap Horns employed on this outing. ~ Joe Viglione, All Music Guide
SHELLEY WINTERS PROJECT
By Joe Viglione
Medford's Lenny Scoletta is drummer in the psychedelic band "The Wayoutz" and has lived in this city all of his forty eight years. A former board member of Medford's TV3, Scoletta is known in collector circles for bringing music to various conventions like the
Merrimac Valley Music Collector's Show in Chelmsford
and the Randolph Music Record & Compact Disc expo.
The former proprietor of a Malden record store, Instant Replay, from 1977 until about 1982, Lenny moved the enterprise to another Malden Square location in 1984 naming the shop "Grooves". " I got robbed and had no insurance so i had to close" the musician told The Medford Transcript.
In between his work as a videographer and record retailer, Scoletta has another life - that of a rock and roll drummer. He played with Boston folk/rock legend Ron Scarlett, but is better known as member of his own group, the very 60s influenced Wayoutz.
The Wayoutz are a real find - a true diamond in the rough. Their only album, "Something Now", features titles like "Baby It's Raining Millionaires", "Last Remaining Girl In Massachusetts", and the exquisite science fiction epic "Galaxies Away", which has
garnered some airplay on 91.5 FM, Medford's WMFO. The
record mysteriously slipped under the door of the radio station back around 2000 also features an excellent version of the Lennon/McCartney classic "And Your Bird Can Sing".
Bassist Tom "Spanky" Abbott lives in Woburn while "spacey" rhythm guitarist Scott "Scooby" Damgaard is from East Boston. Lead guitarist Richard Mirsky used to live in Medford beford heading out to the Norwood area. The group formed around 1981 when Tom and Lenny's previous group dissolved. "I saw an ad in the Phoenix that a band was looking for a bassist & drummer so I told Tom about it & we did the audition" Scoletta notes on The Wayoutz' formation. "I got my first kit when I was in middle school around 1968" the drummer told the Transcript. "I had a fractured collarbone at the time so it took awhile for me to actually learn how to play them. Then I learned mostly by ear." On his stint at TV 3: I was on the board about (sometime around) 1988-1989. I did a lot of public access TV shows in those days - many are
still repeated on TV3, so i still get recognized around the city from the "Frankie Fabulous Show" or whatever."
When asked about one of the band's most fun nights Scoletta replied: "One night we were playing in a club in Cambridge that's no longer there & the former guitarist Sam was going nuts onstage. He knocked the vocal mic off the stand onto the floor. The guy who owned the mic was pretty upset and almost jumped onstage to strangle him." On the making of their disc: "The band had been together a real long time with a bunch of recordings but not an actual record or cd, so we decided it was time to record our little piece of history. We recorded it at Kissypig Studio in Allston, Massachusetts because we knew the owner and got a good deal!"
The Wayoutz released a "bonus" cd with "Something Now" before the concept was in vogue. "We talked a log about how to add the extra stuff on there. I don't know if anyone has found it but it's there! An extra song, pictures and stuff. I think it's only accessible by computer." A review on All Music.Com notes that "
Psychedelic is the mantra here on this very cool recording by Boston area band Wayoutz, from the glorious eight-page photo booklet drenched in pastels to the 16 selections of explosively fun garage rock." The band should be reuniting May 13 for a gig
in Malden at Avenue C, 166 Eastern Ave.
Their website was: http://www.gis.net/wayoutz/ but no longer functions
On Saturday, April 16, The Rampage Trio performed at The Honey Fitz in Malden. The band consists of Brian Owens on vocals/guitar, Eric Yanaway on bass and singer-songwriter-drummer, Medford's own Kevin "KC" Crowley (who was profiled in the February 2004 issue
of Modern Drummer Magazine). The Rampage Trio has released their fourth album "The Silvertone Sessions". A full profile on the band will be in The Medford Transcript soon.
Scott Damgaard's website links to the Wayoutz review from AllMusic.com
Psychedelic is the mantra here on this very cool recording by Boston area band Wayoutz, from the glorious eight-page photo booklet drenched in pastels to the 16 selections of explosively fun garage rock.
Scott Damgaard's "Galaxies Away" is the longest song at seven-plus minutes, and is one of the CD's highlights with its pop aggression and spacy sounds. The beauty of this collection is that these clever guys are never redundant, and the material comes off with a freshness and an "I don't care" attitude that is the opposite of what is really going on.
The fact that they do care is displayed by their in-tune backing vocals, Lenny Scoletta's solid early-Charlie Watts' drumbeat, and their ability to take a topic that seems unbelievably silly, as Rich Mirsky does on "Donuts R Life," and make it work.
It's quite a bit of material to tackle in one setting and keep the listener's attention, but as they shift alternative rock genres from sunshine to British pop, the music here keeps reinventing itself.
The smart guitar riff of bassist Tom Abbott's "Clover" is a contrast to the driving cover of Lennon and McCartney's "And Your Bird Can Sing," while his "Path of Wire" sounds like a second cousin to Patti Smith's "Dancing Barefoot."
With bubbling precision they somehow keep the fun quotient up, "Memories of the Future" another science-fiction epic from Damgaard, again injecting that happy-cosmic element back into the mix.
There's a hidden bonus tune not listed in the tracking on the CD, Tom Abbott's "Drag Race in Outta Space" in MP3 format, and also a CD-ROM portion that includes photos, lyrics, bios, and related items. Something Now is an ambitious project that is light years beyond what many Boston bands were releasing at the end of the 1990s, and is highly recommended.
~ Joe Viglione, All Music Guide
Scott Damgaard's "Galaxies Away" is the longest song at seven-plus minutes, and is one of the CD's highlights with its pop aggression and spacy sounds.