mr. mittens (akmed) wrote,
mr. mittens

do you want the truth or do you want new wave?

" who plays think tree in a club?"

everyone spinning industrial/ alternative/goth in boston in the 80's before man ray , before 2 generations of gothlettes and animewhores were born and/or out of their spiderman underoos and into big girl panties. and before we ended up with the tedium of resurfaced 80's songs done up as really bad cookie cutter house music- a pox on the nation and the backdrop of nearly every 'alternative' club in the area now. we all played think tree because we knew them and it's a great song- it took ohGr until the new millennium to come up with something similar( if you don't see the likeness to ' water' , you're tone deaf.). they were often at tuesday's boy night at dv8/axis- one of the prototypes for goth/alternative nights along with thursdays at the 1270 with linda lawrence. both existed long before manray, both were contemporary with the music they played not perpetual faux nostalgia nights and both were originally gay nights/ clubs that, because the music was so good and truly cutting edge and of the moment, attracted a wide audience across the barriers- more strictly apparent back then- of sexuality and gender.

by the early to mid 80's, linda lawrence's thursday nights at the 1270( boylston street. right next to ramrod/machine) was pretty much the best alternative dance night in the entire city- and one of the only ones. the curse of revisionist i.e. revival nights has always been that they tend to focus on the mtv version of the 80s rather than on the music that was actually popular in clubs, let alone in what were considered the more underground dance places which you may feel free to label 'goth' if it helps with your understanding. while this plays well to people now in their 20s, those of us who were out and clubbing in the 80s are highly aware of this dumbed down version of night clubbing. gay and straight clubs were generally focused on more hinrg music not new wave or alternative and certainly not industrial. the likes of prince, madonna, sheila e, nu shooz was the focus and definitely squarely in the middle of the road. major american dance clubs did not play siouxsie or new order or echo and the bunnymen as a matter of course and this is where linda comes in. because the 12 had several floors, one floor could be sacrificed to alternative music and on a weeknight instead of a saturday suburban hell night . i first heard 'cities in dust', 'situation 'by yaz, run dmc, the live drum jackknife mix of 'here to go'( "don't you fucking look at me!"- she's the first person in boston to play it as far as i can tell. it was pulled from sale the week of release for copyright violation.) and the klf there. she was a billboard magazine chart reporter and eventually the night and her floor got best of boston for dance night- not alternative dance, not gay dance. dance. period- unheard of as it was a gay bar playing alternative music. this exposure, of course, ruined the night in many ways as straight touristes flooded the place bringing with them their lowest common denominator tastes and homophobia. when i had the tar beat out of me outside the 12 (because i shielded a gay female friend from being mauled by some het neanderthal) while being repeatedly called a 'fucking fag' and had to be rescued by the leather boys from the ramroad, who picked me up off the sidewalk where i was being worked over with steel toed boots, i stopped going. we were being run out of a gay bar by straight people. oh, the irony because it is my contention that part of the problem with alternative clubbing is that man ray was the conduit for it to be taken over and destroyed by heterosexuals. the gheys made better nights with better music and a better vibe. they danced better too and weren't scared of the music.

i was always fascinated by the apparent gaydar demonstrated by' straight' irish boys from southie and dot ave- they always seemed to know where every gay bar and cruising spot in the city was and couldn't keep themselves away from us. it was always bad enough when the red sox played to be anywhere near the fens or kenmore looking like gothic freaks, let alone smelling of the ghey. groups of likely lads used to cruise the area with baseball bats. i don't recall any police presence stopping them. i lost count after the 10th time i got trapped and pounded trying to get out of a club. 3 of my close clubbing 1270 goth friends were fag bashed by boston city firefighters outside a station house walking home from a night out which shows the impunity people acted out of when fucking up those they thought were gay.

despite how things ended, i really have to stress that as someone who was always primarily interested in music and the dancing- not in the ' scene' or who was who or what anyone was wearing- linda still remains my favorite alternative dj- someone whose djing had a profound impact upon my life, eventually inspiring me to dj. she was a dancers' dj and seemed to have something to impart and an intuitive understanding of the music. i used to leave the 12 in a hazy, magical cloud thinking about the music played and how i had dance for an hour straight because it was that fucking good. she was later to leave the 12 and, already a dj at campus, become one of man ray's first djs before she was shamelessly purged-an action that has never sat right with me and marked the end of me frequenting man ray. it's funny how people that don't want to be fucked with had no problem with the fucking over one of boston goth's most pioneering, original djs, someone who, in effect, put that music on the dance map here. the loss of linda's skills and insight is a blot on the scene and a sad reminder that things could have been different if progression and talent had been embraced instead of ruthlessly eradicated. it marks the scene to this day and makes it less than what it could have been, should have been, should be. it also points to the raging misogyny in effect towards female djs, something that has not subsided much with time.

i learned more about djing one night of listening to linda spin than in over 20 years of hearing anyone else slap out the tedious ' hits' for clueless hets on girls night out or spurious background music for the wooden paddle and ball gag enthusiasts. mr. mittens, christina ladany, john and eric of sporters- all people playing goth and alternative during the 80s- are all linda's children, directly linked to her as she either gave us our starts or unselfishly encouraged and aided us. we all spun in gay bars. we all played think tree. and here's the reason why:

linda was linked to both the november group and thalia zedek as well as others on the "Boston Rock Scene", always said sarcastically. her sister was the drummer with high risk group. the november group and ann prim where among the only people in boston making electronics based dance music. linda spun at a frightful hinrg lesbian bar called somewhere else (dubbed' no where else to go' as the 1270 was called ' under 12, over 70') most of whose employees were in boston area bands . one was the guitarist for lizzie borden and the axes. there's an infamous picture of lizzie in da day in the bathroom of the rat with joan' 'i'm not saying i'm gay' jett. another one of these employees, another musician, went on to manage the wildly successful woman's night at campus(dj in main room= linda lawrence) and could quite possibly be the reason certain people who shall remain nameless started djing there on sunday to a largely empty new wave room.

one of linda's gal pals, caroline, used to dj at the notorious drunken scary ass butch bar the Marquee which would later become ground zero (we called it ' ground beef' or' the ground round'. way too ruthlessly straight for many tastes. everyone you knew worked there for about 10 seconds. danielle dax gave me a hug and a big kiss there. it's the only positive memory i keep of the place.) then a lesbian bar again( gertrudes, in an attempt to stem the success of indigo- once called nightstage- which wiped out campus/ man ray's women's night effectively.). caroline was fond of playing parliament funkadelic and the original of tainted love by gloria jones. kimberly, sister of patti smith and subject of the song of the same name, used to drink there and was familiar to the whole linda/thalia/ somewheres/november group set. the manager of both indigo and gertrudes was another boston musician who was always at thursday night at the 12. laurel was the drummer of lou miami and the kozmetics and the proletariat. it's at her behest and with the encouragement of mittens that indigo had an alternative floor. when she told me she was opening a bar and wanted an alternative dj , i drunkenly offered the services of christina who was then djing at doc's place for the bat cave. the management was opposed but it was hugely successful. it's one of the first places i dj'd.

i think it's safe to say most of us who came to the alternative dance scene came from the live music/ punk arena in one way or the other. regular local live venues were not always the safest places to be ghey in so when djs like linda started playing more alternative music in the dance clubs it was quite welcome. man ray never had the cache with most of the early goths because it was a notoriously racist, capricious, threatening and sexist environment nearly every one of us was banned from at one time or another. it was a very oppressive place to go in the late 80s, very negative vibrations and not the best place to work. the 'alternative' nights were largely straight. the night maggie managed was one of the less stressful times to go- mostly because of the fact that it was very busy in the campus room , maggie was a pretty cool person and certain people often chose to absent themselves from that night, a relief to all. the days of go go jojo ( friend of mittens and written about in pagan kennedy's notorious zine 'pagan's head') were early on, when linda was the dj and short lived. we mostly stuck to boy night and the emergency room . many of the gay men i knew from the golden days at the 12 would not go there as they refused to go to ground zero. i will say the words sausage fingers and leave it at that. speculate as you may.

parallel to thursdays at the 12 was boy night at dv8/axis on tuesdays. you needed the boy card as seen above to get in. the guys in think tree and manufacture ( were fixtures at boy night. i knew perry of manufacture from newbury street ( i worked at deluca's market and had big white fucked up hard to miss hair) and boy night- again, another band making some of the only local electronic dance music. the manager of boy night was bruce who was, in fact, think tree's manager and the dj, sean, was probably the first one we heard play' hire a bird'- think tree thank him on their albums and singles. sean is another dj along with linda who helped create the local goth/ alternative dance scene and once again gets absolutely no credit whatsoever now. boy night was harder than thursdays at the 12 but was certainly the place to go for good fucking music. sean was a great dj and there was another floor that had someone playing everything from the bollocks brothers( to whom the ' never mind the bollocks' is addressed to by the sex pistols) to raggamuffin hip hop to the theme from hawaii 5-0. the first place i heard 'the curse of voodoo ray', a landmark dance song people no longer know. they had up huge sheets of some sort of metal and people used to smash them about. the only place you could hear fad gadget's 'collapsing new people' and have two individuals randomly fly across the room at each other and end up crashing to the floor together. the first place to play songs from the smiths' the queen is dead' out.

the nights that most stayed with me as a dancer, the nights that captured the energy and spirit of the music and were most emotionally moving and compelling happened for me at the 1270 and boy night. period. nothing else in boston ever came close. i mention them to honor them and give voice to them and their near holy state- for the beauty they gave me- which makes their overshadowing by inferior latter day product both frustrating and damn unfair. linda did warn me- the policy of truth, she said. you tell the truth and you'll be hated and shunned. once people believe lies and do not recognize willful sins of omission, the truth becomes the deepest darkest most unhinging secret or it becomes the lie.

it should never be construed that every one i have mentioned in this post is gay- i don't really know for the most part and don't care if they were/are or not. the musicians went to where the good music was as did anyone who cared at all about such things. one of the guys in think tree worked at marlborough market and they always kindly walked my fragile, ethereal female roommate home from boy night. they seemed like nice enough guys. perry i always found amusing but i didn't know him particularly well. he seemed to forever be running around newbury street full speed doing god knows. i always preferred these sorts of chaps and their music to the man ray/ground zero/ straight s/m centric untalented and completely annoying sleep chamber of john cheezewiz. while i was trying to find anyone who may have written about boy night or the emergency room or the 1270 i was highly bemused to find the following post on the Noise board. cheezewiz has made a page in appreciation of his own patchouli soaked self! quel suprise! pass the mugwort and press the eject! it did my heart good to find that someone else also saw some people as the canned cheese product they always were:

so this is why thinking about think tree has brought me to all this- i couldn't recall eric of john and eric's name and then did. i had lapsed on all the local music scene connections to the dance scene (we also played throwing muses and tribe. tribe among many other both local and national bands played upstairs at one of the clubs i dj'd at). there is more- and i am still trying to sort it out. we haven't finished with boy night and haven't started on doc's place.

contrary to the noise post, someone from croatia didn't start the bat cave at the emergency room ie doc's place- at least not to my knowledge. i thought it was michael m. but i could be wrong. if anyone is able to correct any of my information please do! or can contribute more information- yes, please! i overdosed in 1984 and was hospitalized so some of my recall before and right after is a tad slip shod and could be confused- although i have strived to accurately describe my experiences of the scene. just be certain you do not confuse opinion with fact( being: who what when where). although opinion and alternate personal experience is welcome i really don't care if you don't like what djs i preferred or why being around oiled up out of sorts straight men gives me the hives. i've been called an angry little bastard before and i am sure it will happen again. i've been treated in a fairly craptastic manner by those who i thought were my friends mostly because it seems i do indeed know where the bodies are buried and have opted to shovel them out of their obscurity. i just have lovely memories of spot on fantastic music i loved dancing to and loved playing and have not experienced since the day. i see a sick sad club scene whose demise is grounded in it's refusal to acknowledge and embrace it's true and more complete, more varied past and the people who have so unjustly been obscured so that those who road in on their coat tails can reap the lopsided anemic crop that's been done to death- a crop that was once so carefully planted and so lovingly tended by others against the ugly backdrop of the politics of club owning and management.

there's much to be said for purity of intent but it's often continued success's, not innovation's, first victim. it's the purity i miss- the ' this is a fucking amazing song no matter what it is' feel of those days. fool's gold

would never go down in a club now in america( perhaps in europe) but it was the fucking bomb- you could trip your face off with it, all 10 minutes worth. it's superiority was obvious but the sort of song some djs would strenuously avoid while those that would play it and have a floor full of people off their heads to it that were cut out like tumors- leaving behind only those who seem to think, or whose audience seems to think, this general beat of house music and shitty second rate house music at that:

is industrial and darkwave . ( i am not the only one thankfully that finds that a lot of ElectronicBungholeMusic sounds like the fucking vengaboys). jumping? to that shite? more like this- motherfucker, jump!:

oh, but that's black people singing and we can't have none of that, can we now, unless it's some money grubbing gangsta halfwit woman hater rap pussy? goth aligned itself with black generated techno and house way back, seeing it correctly as the most innovative and underground of the dance music coming out. that modern goths seem to have associated themselves not with that tradition but with the dull soulless replicants- the top 40 whitie is rightie house of the 90's-fairly shows up where everything went wrong and got on the vengabus to suck.

this was techno. this was what it's all about not eurotrash bubblegum house:

or this:

we gonna have some:

hypocrisy is the greatest luxury- how often we forget.

we always played public enemy. they're fucking angry and live in the ghetto. i was fucking angry and lived in the ghetto. get up and get get get down- closer to goth and industrial in sheer spirit than 50 cent or any top 40 modern rapper:

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