Wednesday, January 18, 2006

70's Boston Rockers Return!

Here is my article for

I intend to include this information in a book I'm
writing on the Boston scene - pitching to my editors
at AMG first.

70's Rockers Release New Albums

by Joe Viglione

The old guard of the 1970s Boston Music Scene appears
to be having a harmonic convergence of sorts, with an
amazing array of new discs finding simultaneous
release by the end of 2005. Sure, there have been
sightings that a resurgence was about to take place,
The Varmints - Frank Rowe of The Classic Ruins and
Billy Borgioli of The Real Kids - releasing their
music in 2002, Robin Lane & The Chartbusters putting
their reunion on record with "Peace Of Mind" in 2003,
and the group "New England" reforming for a live show
in 2005, with an appearance on Hirsh Gardner's 2003
disc, Wasteland For Broken Hearts, released on Marquee
in Japan (as well as all their discs including a new
album of out-takes finding new life on the GB Music

Yes, there have been sightings, but never before have
had pretty much an onslaught of name local bands
putting their art out to the world again - all at
once. Back in the day it was home-made vinyl 45s and
E.P.s, but as the new millennium is well underway, and
with recording techniques far more accomodating, the
CD and digital downloads have replaced those smaller,
charming formats.

The verdict on this music by these veterans? The
production values and song selection - across the
board - proves that these artists are not only getting
better, they are aging like fine wine. If only these
discs were released in their heyday!

So here's a nice year end wrap-up and look to the

Willie Loco Alexander & The Boom Boom Band
13 tracks of very powerful music from this important
Boston institution. Co-produced by David Minehan of
The Neighborhoods and The Boom Boom Band, it is
sonically superior to the two MCA releases from 1978
and 1979 and proves what a creative and essential
group this was and still is. Man, if they had
released an album every year since 1979 - the
possibilities are endless and their stardom would have
been assured. "Ogalala", "AAWW", "Telephone Sex"
and "Who Killed Deanna" have been recorded by Willie
in the past, but this is his most revered ensemble
putting their stamp on the material. Grade A+

Jon Butcher's Barefoot Servants 2

Get it? A line from the Jimi Hendrix hit written by
Bob Dylan, "All Along The Watch Tower" - "...princes
kept the
view/ While all the women came and went, barefoot
too." The band features veteran Boston rocker Jon
Butcher who has done so much soundtrack work - from
Star Trek The Next Generation to HBO's "Deadwood" and
Showtime's "Hendrix" film. As with Willie Loco, this
music is sonically superior to his two releases on
Polydor from 1983 and 1984 (though Jon was in the 70s
group Johanna Wilde, which puts him in this club of
70s rockers).

Barefoot Servants features Ben Schultz, Neal Wilkinson
and legendary bassist Leland Sklar. The music runs
from acoustic to clever pop/rock with driving guitars.
Real craftsmanship and - again - if only this
material had the power of Uni Music behind it this
time around... "Love You Too Much" is a harp-laden
sequel to The Fine Young Cannibals "She Drives Me
Crazy", a powerful pop, as is "When The Day Comes".
Grade A.

Fox Pass

Through the years Jon Macey has evolved, releasing two
albums on Mercury with Tom Dickie & The Desires in
1981 and 1982, putting a push behind Macey's Parade in
the 1990s, returning thirty years later with the album
debut of a band who had released a single in 1976 - "I
Believed" and "Prized Possession". Unlike Willie
Loco, the band opted to go with all new material
(saving the old classics for an upcoming live album),
but like The Boom Boom Band, this group is superb
onstage. Produced by Barry Marshall (with LaVern
Baker and the Dick Tracy and Shag soundtracks to his
credit), Mike Roy, John Jules and Jon Macey's power
pop has never sounded better on record. Veteran Steve
Gilligan (who appeared on Stompers' Boardwalk album)
replaces David Godbey on bass. 13 tracks of their
Byrds meets R.E.M. style - just keep in mind - this
band was opening for Roxy Music at The Orpheum years
before R.E.M. released their first single.
Excellent. Grade A

Duke & The Drivers "Harder Than Before"

With a release date of February 21, 2006, Arts Media
Mag got an advanced copy of "Harder Than Before" from
the group that released two albums in the mid-1970s on
ABC - the first of which included the minor hit "What
You Got". Here the band has refined its formerly edgy
R & B sound delivering solid gospel as on "Angel",
mesmerizing dance-rock with the first expanded single,
"Funk All Over The Place", even calypso/ska on
"Loco-Loco" (probably not written for Willie "Loco"
Alexander, but a cute coincidence). This album is
stunning. Grade A+

Sal Baglio of The Stompers as "Rock E Rollins"
Rock E. Rollins' second release is the complete
opposite of what you'd find on a Stompers album -
though it would be interesting if Baglio's veteran
band included this excellent Triple A space-age pop in
their Modern Electric blues shows. Sal is a highly
creative songwriter with a great voice and it is no
coincidence that, like all of the aforementioned
discs, this is among his finest work. "Lost Marbles
Revolving Head" is The Yardbirds meets The Electric
Prunes. British rock and psychedelia are explored
throughout the disc. "45" rips The Clash as surely as
Jon Butcher took liberally from The Fine Young
Cannibals, but it veers off into a total pop
direction. Again, if only if only this had come out
on Boardwalk when The Stompers had their chance at the
brass ring. Grade A - and a real find!

Mach Bell of Thundertrain with MACH 5

Though his Thundertrain released "Hell Tonite", a live
WCOZ broadcast from 1979, on Gulcher Records in 2004,
the last lead singer for the Joe Perry Project has
never sounded more raw and vital. He too has gone
through mutations, from the Mag IV in the 1980s to
Last Man Standing in the 1990s, Mach 5 continues the
Thundertrain mantra of "I Gotta Rock" on opening track
"Get It Up", a tune Mick Jagger could utilize (as
David Lee Roth copped Mach's riffs on "Hot For
Teacher" in 1984 - years after Mach had a single by
the same name. There's a credible cover of Alice
Cooper's "Under My Wheels" and the heavy pop of
"Kandyland", "Quincy Girls", ten tracks in all. It's
quintessential Mach Bell. Grade A.

RTZ - Brad Delp, Barry Goudreau, Brian Maes, Tim
Archibald, David Stefanelli

First a little history - Delp and Goudreau are, of
course, from the 70s band BOSTON, David Stefanelli and
Brian Maes performing and recording in the 80s with
Robert Ellis Orrall, Maes later playing onstage with
the band Boston's spinoff group, Orion The Hunter,
opening for Aerosmith prior to the formation of RTZ.
Bassist Tim Archibald performed with New Man on their
Epic debut in the mid-1980s and, with Maes and
Stefanelli, an integral part of The Brian Maes Group.
As RTZ they hit the Top 30 in February of 1992 with
"Until Your Love Comes Back Around". In 1999/2000 a
Japanese label, Avalon, released "Lost In America",
which Brian Maes has re-released in 2005 on his own
Briola Records. They've also issued 11 more tracks on
a second CD entitled "Found In America". The stuff is
brilliant! Though demos produced and engineered by
Barry Goudreau in his home studio, they have more than
charm - there's more power and excitement in the demos
that sought - and found - the deal than the work
released on Irving Azoff's Giant Records in 1991,
which led to the hit. The millions of fans of the
band Boston need to own these discs - and at the risk
of sounding redundant - boy, if only RTZ like The Boom
Boom Band, The Stompers, Fox Pass, Jon Butcher Axis
and Mach Bell's Thundertrain had only had the
opportunity to release a dozen or so albums - there
would have been hits galore. All the tracks are first
rate, "Someday" a potential pop classic. By the way,
4/5ths of RTZ - everyone but Barry Goudreau - appeared
on Peter Wolf's 1996 Reprise disc "Long Line".

Stonecrazy with Danny Klein
Danny Klein of The J. Geils Band put together
Stonecrazy (a term taken from the legendary Buddy Guy)
prior to the J Geils reunion tour. It's been an
extremely slow process, original drummer Steve Shaheen
cutting the initial tracks with the group, which also
features Babe Pino and his brother Ken Pino (of Johnny
Copeland fame). This writer got a phone call from
Duke and The Drivers drummer Mark Highlander who was
in search of a band. A rock journalist, of course,
thinks about "dream bands", so the rhythm section of J
Geils and Duke & The Drivers made perfect sense. Add
production by Jay Geils himself and keyboards by Seth
Justman and you have the closest thing to a new J
Geils Band disc on record that you'll have to a Geils
reunion on record till that band finally records.

ITMB with Mick Spiros & Norman Bloom
Mickey Spiros worked with the legendary Adrian Barber
(producer of The Velvet Underground's last studio
album and Aerosmith's first, along with engineering
Cream) and Norman Bloom has been a fixture on the
Boston scene perhaps longer than anyone as booking
agent and multi-purpose drummer. Modeled after Lee
Michaels and Frosty, ITMB - the Incredible Two Man
Band - is a Boston institution. Listen to "Martha" is
see if you think Aerosmith's "Dream On" might have had
its beginnings elsewhere! Adrian Barber, after all,
produced both acts. It's a great little live disc
available only on the ITMB website

And there you have it - ten new albums by veterans of
the Boston scene - artists who still have something to
say - and know how to articulate it on record. All
ten discs are a truly inspirational listening
experience and a statement on the purity - and
survivability - of the original Boston music scene.

Joe Viglione is a rock critic for and
producer/host of Visual Radio, a ten year old
television program which interviews recording artists,
authors and other personalities. He too is a 70's
rocker who has released a compilation "Lifeswork: 2005
and Counting" available on Discoveries
Magazine contributor Joseph Tortelli has said about
Lifeswork: "This compilation certifies The Count's
reputation as a songwriter who composes pop/rock tunes
that are both catchy and enduring."

Joe Viglione
p.o. box 2392
Woburn, MA 01888
mobile 617 899 5926


Barefoot Servants 2 with Jon Butcher

Fox Pass by Fox Pass

Willie Loco Alexander Dog Bar Yacht Club

Rock E Rollins / Sal Baglio

Duke & The Drivers Harder Than Before

RTZ Lost & Found


Mach Bell's Mag V















This site sponsored by Var International Recordings

Wayne Wadhams article by Joe Viglione

October 18, 2005


by Joe Viglione

Though his group, The Fifth Estate, found fame in June
of 1967 when a hit version of "Ding Dong The Witch Is
Dead" (Jubilee Records) from The Wizard Of Oz circled
around the Top 10, Wayne Wadhams is better known in
Boston circles as a Berklee Professor who has produced
rock and jazz for major labels as well as re-releasing
classical music forgotten by some of those same major
recording companies, successfully packaging and
selling that important art on his Boston Skyline

Professor Wadhams has many great stories - recently
discovered footage of his pioneering 60s band
capturing the spirit of their mission. It should do
much to insure their legacy alongside Peter Wolf's
Hallucinations, Barry Tashian's Remains and Victor
"Moulty" Moulton's Barbarians as the guys who helped
build the vital New England music scene. But as
essential as that work was and still is, the
foundation it created is equally important, if not as
visible. You see, Wayne Wadhams is the man who
developed six recording studios at the Berklee College
of Music in Boston - which constitute the Music,
Production & Engineering Department. Studios where
producers from the late Jimmy Miller (Rolling Stones)
to George Massenberg (Linda Ronstadt) and many other
artists have lectured and held master classes while
working on their own projects.


Wayne Wadhams founded Studio B, a commercial Boston
facility, before his work at Berklee, and Arts Media
Magazine asked him how all this developed back in the

A.M.M.: Wayne, what gave you the idea for Studio B?

W.W.: "That was really just an accident. The Orson
Welles Film School, of which I was one of the founders
and Vice President, had a recording studio in it,
which I put together for narration and music
recording - just a 4 track room at the time. At some
point in the early 1970s we bumped it up to 8 track,
which was pretty good for that time. In 1974 the
school itself went out of business, so the owner of
the complex said "Make me an offer". I did. I bought
the entirety in one lump and put it in a van, and it
sat in my backyard for a year, till we decided what we
wanted to do.

During that time I met Allen Smith, who became our
head engineer. We rented the space on Boylston Street
- between Arlington and Berkeley (the street, not the
school) in Boston, where we were for more than a

During that time the studio upgraded from 16 track and
then 24 track at the end. Studio B's business
consisted of commercial clients doing ads, tv work,
the kind of projects now mostly done by the facility
known as Soundtrack (where Allen Smith has worked
since Studio B), and other clientele such as local
artists and regional bands.

In mid-1982 Berkelee College hired Wadhams to do
research and consultancy and decided to go ahead with
the new MP&E department later in 1982. Towards the
end of 1983 Wayne effectively closed Studio B taking
most of his staff and putting them all to work at
Berklee installing the studios and developing
curicculum. "Even Allen Smith became a teacher
there," Wadhams explained, "but he didn't like
teaching much. That's when he got an offer from
Soundtrack and took it in 1984."

Wayne also explained the Berklee philosophy at the
time: "the core was always the performance division -
people teaching players to play, that was the central
part of it - arranging, songwriting, film scoring and
other things of that sort.

I designed the recording studios, not all of them,
because there are eleven. I designed the first six."
The work included basic acoustic design, layout...
"they've been renovated since then, I've had little to
do with that. They are still in the same
configuration, the basic design for Studios A - F (is
the same)."

What happened was that Berklee asked Wayne to write up
a report. "They asked me "should we be teaching
recording techniques or anything related and if so,
what - and how should it be oriented?"

"I interviewed students, a lot of faculty, alumni here
in NY and L.A., interviewed the heads of CBS studios,
Atlantic studios, you name it, to ask if they thought
it viable and worthwhile for a college to be teaching
engineering and/or technical areas of recording. They
said "Absolutely" because recording itself was getting
so much more technical" and so said my report."

Wadhams was in the middle of a motion picture audio
mix with the famous screenwriter/director John Sayles
in New York, the 1983 picture "Lianna", when he was
surprised to receive a phone call (within a month of
his turning in the report) asking "How quickly can you
get all this up and running?"

He replied "If you want this done within six months
you have to give me full control of the whole thing."
They said OK. "They set it up so that I was working
with the Provost, and the new president, then Lee Berk
(the school was, in fact, named after Lee Berk), who
was just taking over from his father, who had founded
the school in 1945. Everything was done in direct
concert with the president's office."

This accelerated the closing of Wadhams' own "Studio
B", helping them make the decision not to move, but to
work on the Berklee project.

"This was also a time when the industry itself was so
rapidly increasing in technical detail and complexity"
Wayne told Arts Media Magazine. Moreover, at this
point in time, an "audio" version of the "Oscars" was
created by Mix Magazine - the "TEC Awards" for
Outstanding Technical Achievement. Berklee won the
first, second and third "TEC" Awards. The AES (Audio
Engineering Society) also awarded Berklee top honors
as an educational institution, and held their
executive meeting at Berklee, which they had never
done at any school before. This signified to the
industry that the school had done the right thing.

Although Wayne intended the Berklee job to be a
turnkey operation in his career, the college had
different ideas. They said "Now that you've built the
MP&E department, don't you want to teach?" Wadhams
reflected: "The next thing I know, I'm a full

Today Wayne is still busy, currently producing a CD of
Bach organ music with organist David Carrier at the
Wellesley Congregational Church. He's written a
number of books including a three volume set called
"Sound Advice", and most recently "Inside The Hits", a
wonderful exploration of what makes many well-loved
Top 40 hits tick. It is published by Berklee Press
and is worth seeking out.

Peter Calo Article


By Joe Viglione

Peter Calo was born in a small town in Alberta Canada
and moved to Boston with his family when he was in
high school, 9th grade. At that point in time he took
up the guitar and within two years or so was invited
by the MIT Classical Guitar Society (founded in 1971
by Vo Ta Han) to perform a concert at Kresge
Auditorium in Cambridge. "I started out playing
classical guitar, that was my first love along with
the blues and funk" the guitarist said from his home
in Croton on Hudson, New York in an interview
mid-October, 2005.

By 1982 his jazz band Bellvista released a six song
E.P. followed by his own "Spoonerism" in 1983 and a
track, "Fine Line", on 1985's "Boston Rock & Roll
Anthology Vol. #7" (Varulven), the first real look at
Calo on record performing rock & roll.

With Sarah Caldwell and Leonard Bernstein in
Bernstein's masterpiece, "Mass", Peter Calo was the
only person to have performed both the singing role of
the rock musician in that opera as well as playing the
guitar. "After the performance Leonard Bernstein came
up and gave me a hug as I took my bow - I'm looking
for the photo of that" (in Calo's personal archives).

A mainstay of the Boston scene, Calo was involved as
an original member of both Down Avenue (the band which
had Charles Pettigrew of Charles & Eddie "Would I Lie
To You" fame) and The Heavy Metal Horns. After his
stints with both groups Peter moved to New York where
he began doing session work, producing and eventually
hooked up with Carly Simon, beginning what is now a
ten year relationship with the legendary

Calo noted, on his work with Carly: "we've been
off and on for ten years...the first tour was 1995. I
met her in August - we did an impromptu gig." They
also did a concert taped exclusively for "Lifetime"
and Calo's datebook filled up quickly. Over the years
he's performed on shows with Dobey Gray, Debbie Boone,
Lesley Gore as well as "The New York Voices", a four
piece vocal band which toured with Peter as part of
the backing trio, performing on their 1993 GRP album,
"What's Inside", as well as their 1998 RCA disc "New
York Voices Sing The Songs Of Paul Simon". He also
worked on Carly Simon's 1994 disc "Letter's Never
Sent" (Arista" and her Grammy nominated 1997 disc
"Film Noir". A long-time member of the Broadway show
"Hairspray"'s orchestra, he is on their Grammy winning
2002 cast album on Sony. "He goes to bat for the
artist when he's producing" said well-known Boston
vocalist Pamela Ruby Russell. "He's very inspiring, I
learned so much from him. He's kind, professional,
very organized, great producer ...and a
guitarmaster." Russell also feels that Calo's
musical vocabulary is phenomenal "because he plays in
so many genres, in so many types of music." With so
many accolades a second opinion was needed, so Arts
Media Magazine contacted New York chanteuse Ingrid
Saxon, daughter of Vaudeville star David Sorin-Collyer
- the man who was vocal coach to Bette Midler, Barry
Manilow, Paul Simon and so many others. "It was
awesome recording with him, he's brilliant" said Saxon
- echoing Pamela Russell's sentiments from hundreds of
miles away. "Before we even went into the studio he
came to my voice studio with his equipment, recorded
my rehearsal with Paul Trueblood so that we could hear
it back, and started giving us input. His ears are so
(and) he directed both of us. He really directed us
musically like the third set of ears, it was
incredible." Saxon knows show business, having
appeared on "Ryan's Hope" and "Days Of Our Lives"
soaps, continuing with " He's very encouraging, really
suportive. Peter knows so much about the recording
process - he's been on so many sessions; he knew how
to work with the engineer, work with the pro-tools. He
had every angle covered."

Along with involvement soundtrack to the 1999 Robert
De Niro film "Flawless" and other movies, Calo's
recorded output is becoming voluminous - work with
Linda Eder,
Rosie O'Donnell, Joe Pesci, David Osborne, Kate
Taylor, Kate's nephew Ben Taylor, and, of course,
Ben's mom,
Carly Simon. Which brings us back to Boston and the
Orpheum show, November 19, 2005. Peter Calo will be
performing with opener Ben Taylor - son of both James
Taylor and Carly Simon, as well as with Carly. The
songs, of course, will truly move the audience along
with Simon's presence (her star-power cameo in 2004's
"Little Black Book" made that movie so extra special),
but Calo's signature guitar lines can't be ignored. In
a concert with Mary Gatchell in Epping New Hampshire
in May of 2005 his guitarwork fit with Gatchell's
keyboards so hand-in-glove. Mary Gatchell's "Indigo
Rose" album was produced by Calo, who may tour New
England in 2006 with a number of his acts including
opera singer Adelmo, Ingrid Saxon, Mary Gatchell,
Pamela Ruby Russell and others.

With all this output his own work gets somehow lost in
the shuffle. It shouldn't. Peter Calo's "Cowboy
Song" album is historical and an instant classic that
should be in libraries across the country. The artist
recorded contemporary arrangements of songs from the
American West including "Shenandoah", "Red River
Valley", and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." A big
departure from his instrumental tribute albums to The
Eagles and The Beatles, two separate discs, on the
North Star label, and his own "Wired To The Moon" and
"Cape Ann" albums. For more information on this
influential and important artist who worked many a
Boston/Cambridge nightclub and theater, go to
1995-2005 Our Tenth Year on Television!
P.O. Box 2392
Woburn, MA 01888

Danny Klein Stone Crazy article written in August, 2005

STONE CRAZY for Arts Media Magazine
(60,000 issue bi-monthly; largest arts mag in New

The story of the musical group Stonecrazy and the
creation of their album, "Stone Crazy", is a snapshot
of just how hard it is to record and market important
art as the new millennium rambles on. One would think
the pairing of blues guitarist Kenny Pino - sideman to
the legendary Johnny Copeland - and J. Geils bassist
Danny Klein - would be the kind of combination major
record companies would snap at. You've got two
players who toured Europe with Debbie Davies, giving
these professionals time to find their own groove,
along with seven to eight years to carefully put the
pieces of Stonecrazy together.

Factoring in the collective longevity and ability
to track solid music efficiently and effectively,
signing the group to one of the J. Geils Band's old
homes - EMI or Atlantic - should have been elementary.
But we are talking about the nuttiest business in the
history of the universe, and important art doesn't
always get its due.

With a torturously slow incubation, the initial
Stonecrazy tapes - much like J. Geils starts and stops
when Jon Landau was producing the early 1969 or so
sides that never made their way to vinyl, Danny Klein,
Ken Pino, harp-playing brother Babe Pino and drummer
Steve Shaheen put some music together in the studio.
With Shaheen's drumming they had a good, laid-back
style, a live show in Chelsea caught on video back in
the late 1990s documenting that part of their
evolution. The first CDR of studio material had a
special charm in a world where the blues market is
just glutted with material. No label picked it up,
and though it got aired along with a Danny Klein
interview on Mark Snyder's AM radio show on WMSX, and
with college radio play recognizing there was
something here, the early Stonecrazy demos became
casualties of record label indifference, and sought
after collector's items by hardcore Geils fanatics.

Enter Mark Hylander of the groups Sass and Duke
and The Drivers. Hylander phoned this writer up and
asked if there was a band looking for his talents.
Knowing Shaheen was about to leave Stonecrazy, the
thought of Geils' bassist playing alongside Duke and
The Driver's drummer made perfect sense - "Duke",
after all, was a band that idolized the Geils attitude
and mystique. The union worked, and despite an
interruption when Geils got back together to tour in
1999, the group has stayed intact with Babe Pino,
Ken Pino, Danny Klein and Mark Hylander.

A little background on the concept's development:

Danny Klein is a Boston rock & roll pioneer and
legend. When Peter Wolf and Stephen Jo Bladd were in
a 1960s band called "The Hallucinations", Danny, John
"J" Geils and Magic Dick were taking classes at
Worcester Poly Tech and playing in their ensemble -The
J. Geils Blues Band. When they all joined forces and
signed to Atlantic, their unique brand of blues/pop
fusion started taking hold, especially with the
classic "Homework". The band eventually recorded with
the great duo Buddy Guy and Junior Wells on Atlantic
in 1972. A decade later Buddy Guy went on to release
an album on Alligator entitled "Stone Crazy".

Circa 2002 John "J" Geils produced the band at
Wellspring Sound in Acton, and recorded some guitar
on tracks with Stonecrazy, as did keyboardist Seth
Justman. It's actually the first time three members of
J.Geils' band are back together in the studio. The
group was offered a contract with Gerry Beaudoin's
Francesca Records around this time, a label that
issues John Geils own material, and four of the
tracks, "Fooled Myself", "Buttercup", "Mr. Blue"
and "Woulda Coulda" made the rounds on radio and
cable tv.

Come 2005 the band finds their music released on
Al Cocorochio's Black Rose Records - a label that
boasts Sal Baglio's Stompers, Tom Hambridge, Boston
Rockabilly Music Conspiracy and others. That it took
over eight years for the fourteen tracks to finally
see the light of day is a good indicator of how tough
it is to get the formula just right when major labels
are too busy buying each other up to get behind the
work of musicians who have already paid their dues.
Musicians who are the real deal.

joe viglione
1995-2005 Our Tenth Year on Television!

Creating Content since 1995!
featuring Joe Viglione - host of TV EYE, established in 1979.