We are giving attention to the Ozone Shirley story because it shows a lesser known period and place of Boston rock. The Cambridge Common concerts were going on from at least 1968 with the Bosstown Sound groups. There were lots of them and they were free. You have to love the Peoples Republic of Cambridge. Johnathan Richman used to play there by just showing up and playing. He wouldn't have an offical concert per se. I never saw a picture showing the crowd and environs like these pictures.
From Fred Pineau...
I don’t remember most of the songs we did, but I had begun writing some decent songs for that time, and two of them we did were “Rock & Roll Shoes” and “Meat Eater”. I also wrote a lot of not so good material such as “T.J. Slaughter” that is deservedly buried, hopefully deep enough that it can never claw its way out of the coffin. In a bizarre twist, without his ever knowing anything about my having written a song titled “Meat Eater”, my songwriting partner in The Illegals, Mark Kennedy, wrote lyrics to one of The Illegals songs titled – you guessed it – “Meat Eater”. Ozone Shirley also did some covers such as “Roadrunner”, “I’m Waiting for the Man”, and “ TV Eye”. They may seem obvious covers today, but back then no one was going near material like that.
I had worked at the old Sears warehouse on Brookline Ave. and we had a softball team called The Knicks, named after Knickerbocker Beer, hence the tee shirt. I’ve never drunk alcohol, I just liked the colors.
I have fond memories of Richee. We rehearsed in the basement of his parent’s log cabin house in Burlington – they were patient souls. Richee had this really pretty girl friend with long blond hair, and she owned a VW Beetle that we used to transport everyone to rehearsal when my car was on the fritz. All of us in the Beetle with our guitars - it got REAL tight! He was always a really solid, hard hitting drummer, and he once wanted us to call the band Chrome Rat. In retrospect it couldn’t have been worse than Ozone Shirley! We didn’t hang out at all because I was leading such a different life – married with two little kids as opposed to being smart and single. We went on to do different things in the scene when it finally happened, but we had a lot of fun together then.
45 years playing this damn guitar and still rockin’ (and alive),
From John Havorka...
The 3 songs we did during that set (it is strange how one picture can bring back such exact memories sometimes) were all written by Fred. "Meat Eater", "Better Than Before" and "Texas John Slaughter". I saw "Texas John Slaughter" as being a simplification of "TV Eye" by The Stooges. I was big on minimalism so I liked that. Other things we did included a bunch of Alice Cooper songs, "Citadel" by The Rolling Stones and a song with lyrics by The Who called "You Can Join Our Gang" but there was no music provided for it so we wrote music for it ourselves. Also there may be a reel to reel Ozone Shirley rehearsal tape someplace but I dont know where. It probably contains "You Can Join Our Gang", "Heaven and Hell" by The Who, and "Citadel" by The Rolling Stones but I'm a bit hazy on that.
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