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History of Boston Rock
     History of Boston Rock & Roll - Chapter 23 - 1974 - Aerosmith and More

Nineteen seventy-four. The first year that Boston felt the effects of the 'Expanded Business'. Corporate dollars tightened channels as rock 'n 'roll made the metamorphosis to arenas, satin jackets, tax write-offs and groupies (from teenyboppers). Here, the year in review, AtoZ.


Steven (Tallarico) Tyler: b. Yonkers, N.Y. Vocals, harmonica.
Joe Perry: b. Hopedale, Ma. Lead Guitar, vocals.
Tom Hamilton: b. New London, N.H. Bass, vocals.
Joey Kramer: b. Bronx, N.Y. Drums.
Brad Whitford: b. Winchester, Ma. Rhythm Guitar.

Ex-Chain Reaction drummer Steven Tyler, Berklee dropout Joe Perry, future marketing coordinator Ray Tabano and Tom Hamilton jammed. When the dust settled, Tyler was stagefront, Tabano was replaced by Brad Whitford, and Kramer was brought in on skins. Under Aerosmith, they housed at the Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire club, The Barn. It was the summer of 1970. It was there they decided that no matter how long it would take, they were gonna make it ...

Boston became home in the days of glitter and Led Zeppelin. As WBCN was breaking Zep on the airwaves, Framingham's The Carousel, owned by Frank Connelly, had the foresight to book Zep for very little money. Mr. Connelly had keen foresight and, though not a big fan of rock, he was sold on Tyler's uncanny Jagger features. When approached to manage Aerosmith, he didn't balk. He took the band from starvation and the sidewalks of B.U. to New England tours. He then sold them to BIG New York Management Lieber/Krebs for a humble sum.

In August of 1972, after a New York showcase, Clive Davis (before the barmitzvah) signed Aerosmith to Columbia Records. By the beginning of '73, the band was in the studio with Adrian Barber, engineer of the Rascals and Cream, and producer of the Allman Brothers' first LP. When the record was released, the Columbia promo team of Ed Hynes and Sal Ingeme broke their backs to make Dream On become a reality. Their efforts and the excellent material made sales of over 35,000 units in the New England area alone. Tours with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Mott The Hoople and the release of Spread Your Wings were met by the first generation of teens post-Woodstock with fervor. By the end of 1974, the band was steaming toward LP 3, Toys In The Attic, and the re-release of Dream On, which would lift the band to superstardom.

J. Geils Band

Rumors of the band leaving Atlantic Records prematurely surface only months before the band scores their biggest song to date: Must Of Got Lost (11/23/74 - #12). Wolf's marriage to actress Faye Dunaway gets more attention than the incredible growth of Wolf's and Justman's songwriting skills. The band is touring non-stop for Frank Barcelona's Premier Talent.

Intermedia Studios

Intermedia Studios (now Synchrosound) becomes Boston's first studio of any national status as the Beach Boys, Jonathan Edwards, Timothy Leary, and all-girl sensation Fanny, buy time.

Jon Landau

Lexington native, Brandeis graduate, producer of the MC5 and Livingston Taylor , esteemed rock 'n' roll critic, sees the future of rock 'n' roll (for the Real Paper), and its name is Bruce Springsteen.

Don Law

To help stop confusion Frank Barcelona, owner of the world's biggest rock agency, begins selling acts to only one agent per city. Don Law, after playing his cards right with the Tea Party, is Boston's lucky man (you play in Boston, you play with Don Law). Don also managed Livingston Taylor, Reeve Little and the Pousette-Dart String Band at the time.

Mad Angel

Jim D'Angelo: guitar, vocals
Joe D'Angelo: guitar, vocals
Rob Zicaro: drums
Donny Thayer: bass

While in attendance at Burncoat High, Worcester, Ma., D'Angelo Bros, Jim & Joe, and friend Rob Zicaro, formed the band The Joneses. By 1972 the band transformed into the professional Mad Angel . Webster, Ma., native Donny Thayer was brought in as bassist. Two and a half years later, after gigs and more gigs with the J. Geils Band, Edgar Winter Group, the Byrds, Mountain and Badfinger, the act became the first American band to be signed to the German label BASF. Sweet Sleep, Sleep Sweet b/w Can't Run, Can't Hide brought the band critical acclaim. 'Twas followed by Magic In Your Eyes. The band broke up prematurely.

James Montgomery Band

From the Motor City, circa 1967, young James arrived at Boston University as an English major. During his summers he returned to Detroit, where he performed with blues outfit, the Gold Brothers, opening shows for the likes of Jimmy Osterberg, aka Iggy Pop. James was weaned on the blues of John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker and Jerry Goodwin's (The Duke of Madness) AM R&B show.

His first Boston dabblings came with the Colwell-Winfield Blues Band (a Bosstown Sound original and the Unicorn house band). 'Twas 1969 and James took on half the band's vocal & harp responsibilities. This marked the point where James began "making a living with a child's toy (harmonica) on a $20,000 education, " as his daddy once said.

As the Colwell-Winfield Band disintegrated, and James gave English seminars at BU, and members of the Gold Brothers came east, the James Montgomery Band evolved. Why the name? Because Billy Colwell said, "We're naming it after you, James, so if the band sucks, you'll take the shit." During the great Cambridge blues revival with Jack's as the headquarters, James rose to local notoriety.

What's Your Sign
Fellow harpist extraordinaire Mel Lyman knew that James was a Taurus with moon in Scorpio, but it was record exec Phil Walden who added in The House Of Capricorn. Phil Walden, president of Capricorn Records (Jonathan Edwards and Allman Brothers), caught James' act at JFK High School in Rhode Island on a bill that included Happy Traum, and laid the largest advance in Capricorn Records' history on him. The 1973 release, First Time Out, won awards for its outstanding cover art, but the vinyl, produced by Skip Brinkwater at Gamble & Huff's Philly studios, was deemed wretched by more than one critic (note: wretched refers to the production and not the material).

Lead cut Train received impressive airplay nationally. Great recording engineer/producer Tom Dowd, who was responsible for many of Atlantic Records' great releases, oversaw the 1974 effort, High Roller, which coincided with James' relentless touring. Tours with the Steve Miller Band, The Allman Brothers, Springsteen, Marshall Tucker, Black Oak Arkansas and Humble Pie showed James and company America.

Orchestra Luna

Scott Chambers: bass
Don Mulvaney: percussion
Randy Roos: guitar
Liz Gallagher: vocals
Lisa Kinscherf: vocals
Richard Kinscherf: composer, pianist

Remember when Rick Berlin was better known as Richard Kinscherf and was experimenting with psychedelics and pianos? Richard was, according to legend, overheard by a passerby on the street playing piano in his living room. Bruce Patch (of Spoonfed, Remains, Reddy Teddy fame) managed the ensemble. Rupert Holmes, the bubblegum rocker who always dreamt of being Barry Manilow, produced. the Epic debut, and Tom Dickie dragged around their equipment. Rolling Stone gave them two stars - "too theatrical for rock". The band boasted an ex-philosophy professor, an ex-tympanist and an ex-pornographer. (No! Scott Chambers is no relation to Billy Briggs.)

Orchestra Luna unabashedly explained themselves this way: "To experience Luna live is to take the first bite of a strange but delicious fruit; after your first taste you may not know precisely from whence the fruit came, but it's too late, you've already developed an appetite for more."


WEA opened New England headquarters in the early seventies in Medford, led by industry veteran Don Dumont. Paul Ahern and Charlie McKenzie, later of Boston (the band) fame, Fred Lewis (former Geils manager), later of Cars fame, Vinnie Campisi, of the legendary Rockin' Ramrods, and Roger Lifeset, coordinator of Alice Cooper parties, made up an all-star cast of WEA staff. Ex-WB-VP, Chelsea native, and Boston's first rock 'n' roll DJ, Joe Smith dropped in on occasion when in the area.

This article originally appeared in The Beat in 1985
(c) Charles William White III

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