Here In 1975 - here in 2003    
A personal view of public happinings.
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Middle East with DMZ- USM
Prime Movers - Nervous Eaters

MaryJo Felice
Sweet Mary Jo Felice
and Maria D'Innocenzo
9:10 pm 7/11/03 "C'mon honey, we gotta go, I think we're going on at 10:30." I shouted upstairs. I usually like to get to a gig at least an hour early, minimum, just to acclimate myself to the room, have a drink or two, talk to friends, schmooze a little. The actual playing part has become almost secondary these days. I can remember showing up for gigs practically mid-afternoon. Load in, sound check, and holing up in the dressing room just waiting to get onstage. My, how things have changed! Now I feel like I'm just another dude, seeing a band at a club, even at my own gigs! But somehow it feels more comfortable this way.

"I'll be right down sweetie!" was the, not so unexpected, reply. A few minutes later, down came the unapologetically exuberant and uncompromisingly loyal Miss Mary Jo Felice. All dolled up in black, and looking really great. Blondes always look so good in black, and "Jo" is a perfect example of this fact.

Denise Donahue - Woman with a Camera Boston
Mark Davis
I rolled my bass amp out of my closet. Luckily, I live in a building that allows me to roll The Beast right up the wheelchair ramp into the parking garage, right up to my pickup truck, the bed of which swallows up the Fender Studio Bass amp very nicely indeed. "O.K., lets take inventory;" I say to myself as I lock the front door, "Guitar, guitar cord, tuner, cheat notes, (very important, since DMZ hasn't rehearsed since sometime in 2002), camera, cigars, Girlfriend. Yup, I have everything. Lets roll!!!" Off we go, past the USS Constitution, over the Gilmore bridge, take a right onto Binney St. to Portland St. Hook a right onto Main St. past the darkened building that used to be called The Club(which always conjures up many sweet memories).

Mary Jo and I are reminiscing like crazy as we enter an extremely busy Central Square, Cambridge. No luck finding a parking space close enough to wheel my amp into the place. (I actually fitted this amp with special, large, heavy duty casters, making it 'roadworthy' enough to push it several blocks if I have to). I decided to pull my truck around to the back door and quickly schlepped the amp down the stairs. I could hear the opening band, The USM, blasting away on the other side of the door.

Airplane Woman - Martha
Martha from Mr. Airplane Man
on right and who on the left?
Rassler, Michelle and  Ric
JJ Rassler, Michelle Paulhus
and Rick Coraccio
The Cambridge Cops are decidedly not 'load in friendly' and they spend a lot of time harassing poor working musicians trying to get their gear into The Middle East or T.T's next door. In their defense, it is somewhat understandable, considering Brookline Street is a very busy one way street, that feeds directly into an even more busy Mass Ave. Basically, you have to double park, effectively blocking half the street. I circled around the area a few times, optimistically hoping to catch a good metered space. No luck. I switched on my 'creative parking radar' and came up with a 'semi-legal' spot about a block from the front door, which means that after this gig, I will be able to roll my amp out the front door, down the street to my truck.

9:45 pm The Middle East, downstairs
I put a few friends on the guest list, and we descended into what has got to be one of the biggest rooms in town. This place used to be a bowling alley. There are two long bars on either side of the room, and they are both in operation tonight. Mary Jo and I looked at each other, and simultaneously said the exact same magical words, "Let's get a drink!" The bartenders serve up a decent cocktail, but I just hate the plastic cup thing, don't you? I just don't get it, a drink should be served in a glass, I mean, this is not a baseball game at Fenway. If I pay five bucks for a Black Russian, I want it in a glass. Next time I'm gonna bring my own cocktail glass.

BGN Merch The Boston Groupie News has a nifty little merchandising stand set up between the two bathrooms. Very smart indeed! Sooner or later every person in this place will have to walk by. I personally walked by about a dozen times! "Do I get a staff discount?" I joked, as I admired the BGN posters and pins. "And who are you?" The wisecracking Miss Lyn fired back. "Well, I happen to be a close personal friend of the Editor." I retorted. But to no avail. "Don't handle the merchandise unless you're buying." Carl Biancucci chimed in on the fun.

10:30 pm
Much to my surprise, The Prime Movers began setting up their stuff onstage. I thought my band, DMZ, was going on next, so this is a pleasant surprise, because it seems that I now have more time to do stuff, like drink and talk to friends. The room is really starting to fill up nicely, and I am pleased because this place is so big, that 200 bodies barely takes up a quarter of the available space. Everybody's good friend, and fellow Wednesday Night Club-er, Michele Paulhus, quite literally lit the whole place up with her beautiful smile and charming demeanor. "I came here just to see Alpo play bass!" She beamed. (Alpo will be playing bass for The Nervous Eaters) Apparently, she has never seen the former Real Kid play, and being a former Real Kid herself, naturally, she was interested in observing the legend she replaced. Interestingly enough, she had never even met the guy, and simply bubbled over when Mary Jo offered to take her backstage for an introduction.

Many times when I go to a club, I get so involved in hanging out, that I neglect to pay any attention to the band playing, as was the case tonight,. But what the heck, you may have noticed that I usually spend more time blabbing about everything else anyway, so, business as usual!

Jeff, Cal, jack Hickey. The dressing room for the downstairs arena is way cool! A fridge full of cold Pabst longnecks, a clean bathroom, and comfy seating. DMZ guitarist Jack Hickey whipped out his famous Gretch Green Monster and proceeded to run through our set, referencing the aforementioned cheat notes that I printed out for everyone in the band. "Jeez Rick, these are the best cheat notes in the business!" I graciously accepted Jack's compliment because, well, it's so true!! Written in such a way, that even a complete IDIOT could step right onstage and rock out with DMZ without even a minute of rehearsal. All the chord changes, breaks, and nuances are noted in letters clear and large enough to be read onstage, even if placed on the floor. "WE could sell these things for five bucks a pop!" Jack gushed. "What do ya mean WE?" I smiled back. "OK, OK, I'll go 60/40!" Jack bargained.

11:00 pm or so
From the dressing room, I could hear The Prime Movers finishing up their set, and the realization of this, immediately set off that feeling, deep in the pit of my stomach, commonly known as 'butterflies".
There is no feeling in the world quite like being onstage, this feeling presented itself the moment I rolled my amp into position next to J.J's Fender Hot Rod Deville, stage left. There are two separate feelings involved here: (1) The feeling BEFORE you step onstage, and (2) The feeling when you're actually ONSTAGE. Its like standing on the edge of a pool, all dry and warm from the Sun, the pool water, cold and unforgiving. Refreshing and fun, all known factors, yet the possibility of failure is dangerous and exciting. (Take a deep breath Rick, and dive right in, you have swam these waters many times before.)
With my trusty Epiphone Rivoli in hand, I forded my way across the stage, and tuned the ancient instrument quickly and efficiently while I joked around with J.J., who was tuning as well, right next to me. A sea of faces were treading water right in front of me. "Good house tonight." I commented to J.J. "I hope they're all shitfaced." he answered, "It always helps."

DMZ on stage.
Steve Cataldo -Nervous Eaters

The Middle East has a separate sound man, just for the many onstage monitors. He sits offstage just to my left, behind a huge mixing console. I gave him a quick nod, and huddled up with Jeff, Jack, and J.J. in front of Murphy's drum kit. "Does anyone have a set list?" Jeff asked. J.J. pulled one out from behind his amp and announced, "We have about forty minutes."
Jack flipped off the standby on his modified Fender Twin Reverb, and stabbed the crowd with the familiar four chords that begin Your Gonna Miss Me. Conolly's opening screams "OHHH YEAHHH!!" punched its way out of the monitor in front of me, and really got me going. Then J.J. lit up his classic Airline guitar. The speakers very nearly flew right through the silver and gray grill cloth as he mimicked the 4 chords, completely bypassing my cochlea, and mainlining directly into my brain by pure sound pressure. A reverberating CRACK of Murph's snare and I was filling the room with sweet, smooth as butter, bottom end as I joined in with the same four chords. It sounded powerful enough to please Mr. Conolly, and for once, he didn't whip around to give me that all too familiar "Turn it up! glare.

Alpo of the Nervous Eaters
Alpo - legendary bass player.
Shirt from the Rat  1993
Shirt from the Rat

Jeff was looking damn good in his new security guard outfit. The set was going swimmingly, but at one point, during a lull in the action, while Jack was tuning his guitar, Jeff told an off color joke that caused Paul to stand bolt upright behind his drum kit. I held my breath and waited for Paul to storm offstage in protest to the blasphemy. J.J. leaned over and spoke into my ear. "I think he's gonna walk." Thankfully this wasn't the case, and after a few minutes, Paul sat back down on his throne.
We pulled off another DMZ set, unscathed, and happy to do so. Just like in the old days, I never knew what was going to happen up there with these guys. There could be bloodshed, or tears, sometimes both. I can clearly remember thinking, it's a shame that this band never got to tour, never got to roam the country, collecting fans, and recording great records. The circumstances of DMZ's demise is as unclear to me, as any of the mystery's of life. It just happened.

Richie Johnson 12;00ish
That is just about IT for me. I overheard my friend, Richie Johnson, talking to Mary Jo. "DO NOT let him drive!" Well, OK then, apparently the general consensus is that I, Rick Coraccio, should not be behind the wheel. I will accept this, and dutifully hand the keys over to Jo. A wise decision no doubt, I want to be around for a long time, to enjoy the wonderful clubs, bands, and people, that we have, right here in Boston. -RC

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Copyright © 2003 Rick Corracio. All rights reserved.