Ten years ago we took over Ralph's Diner for a big two night party celebrating 30 years of Wormtown . People came from far and wide to support the scene, and catch up with old friends. Here are all the bands, unedited, as it happened.
The 40th Anniversary date has come and gone, but we're still celebrating. Worcester Mag finally weighed in after all the hype, coming out for it?, I guess? Hard to tell. Hank Stoltz had a poll on his "Talk of the Commonwealth" page, where the haters won by 14%.
Over the years, the detractors helped popularize the moniker just as much as the proponents did. Former Mayor Jordan Levy still doesn't get it, but we never thought he would. The Worcester Telelgram and Gazette thought it was over back in 1982 after the Centrum opened and that building was going to revitalize Downtown. How'd that work out for you?
Now with Worcester on it's latest rebirth, people want to move away from it screaming "WOO!" all the way. It may not be as prevalent as it was in years past, but shows no signs of going away. Thanks to all who fly the flag of Wormtown! And for those who don't, long may you squirm!
As you may have seen, our anniversary made the local media rounds this week. Even though there is no official celebration party planned as of now, the folks who inform wanted to know what the hoopla was all about. Well, most of them anyway, still crickets over at Worcester Mag, as it was when we celebrated the 35th, they showed no interest. For those who do care, here's the links in case you missed them.
As we continue to celebrate the Anniversary the City of Worcester never asked for, we remember a period of time when we had a friend in City Hall back in 2003 in then Mayor Tim Murray. He was dubbed "the Boy Mayor" by the media and being the young, forward thinking person he was he embraced Wormtown as a positive for the city, something that had never been done before at 455 Main St. Former Mayor Jordan Levy was known to have a distaste for the moniker, which only pleased the fans more. But Tim was different. He stopped down to WDOA for an interview without hesitation even though we were not perhaps them most legitimate radio outlet at the time. And when it came around to the 25th Anniversary of our scene, he had an Official City Proclamation drawn up to recognize our efforts. He stopped by Ralph's Diner later that night to read it to the crowd and join in the celebration. He mingled with the crowd a awhile and had a great time with everyone. After his term as Mayor was over, Tim went on to serve as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts under Deval Patrick, and now is the current President and CEO of The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. Things went back to the way they used to be with City Hall. I was once introduced to the current Mayor, Joseph M. Petty at a function held by Hank Stoltz, he seemed unimpressed. Wormtown, I'm sure, is not part of their current plan to revitalize Worcester.
It all started 40 years ago today when the Wormtown Punk Punk Press Issue #1 hit the streets. The delivery method was either at a gig at Circes Bar and Grill on Franklin St. or via Paperback Booksmith in the Worcester Centah. It was crude, hand written, 1 sided sheet documenting the burgeoning scene in Worcester, and the name stuck like a piece of ABC gum to the bottom of your shoe. The city hated it, the media shunned it, the kids loved it. Along the next 40 years we had our ups and downs, bands used it as a rallying point to further their careers, the rest of the world took notice and it turned up everywhere from the Boston Globe to Village Voice. It waned slightly in the mid 80's only to come roaring back with a new crop of bands in the 90's. Nowadays, it resides in nostalgia and a brewery that shall not be named. No matter what the powers that be tried to counter with, it has stuck around and is not going away anytime soon. So Happy Birthday Wormtown, go buy yourself a Narragansett Beer, the OFFICIAL beer of Wormtown!
This week we revisit a show 20 years ago at Ralph's Chadwick Square Diner, and this time it's LIVE video thanks to Mike Malone, head honcho over at WURN.net, our still functioning radio platform.
It features The Commandos, The Crybabies, The Time Beings, The Blue Moon Band, The Odds and The Prefab Messiahs, who, by the way are now back with a brand new album you can buy on their website!!! Although somewhat crude, the video it is nonetheless an important window into the scene as it was in 1998. So sit back, grab a beer and spend a few hours with these goodies.
Today installment in the History of Wormtown comes from a Benefit show for WICN 90.5fm held at Tammany Hall on Pleasant St. celebrating 15 years of the scene. Two of the bands at that time featured husband and wife teams along with Dave Kowalchek on drums. The band that started it all, The Blue Moon Band, Featured Bob and Cathy Peters (aka nowadays Cah). Next up were The Surreal McCoys, Jeff and Cheryl Cranes outfit, then The Link Bros, who featured Paul and Steve Aquino, their set is short due to the original file missing, and lastly the "Wormtown" debut of Angry Johnny and the Killbillies, who had played Worcester before at WAG I think, before we knew of him. The night ended with a bang and a boom as the Killbillies tore up the stage and could not play an encore. Follow the links below to experience it for yourself.
Another lost tape transmogrified for your enjoyment. The Nebulas were on the scene in the early 80's in Wormtown and soon built a loyal following wherever they played. This tape comes via a friend who thought he was recording one of my early WICN shows, but was actually tuned to Brian Goslows' "Wormtown on the Rocks"show on 91.3fm. A happy accident that allows us the opportunity listen to this wonderful group all these years later.
It was forty years ago when I first met Willie Alexander. I was heading to The Rat in Kenmore Square when he approached us looking for some spare change. "But you just came off tour for your MCA debut album!" I stated. "Yeah, but we already spent all the advance money." Willie replied. How could that be, I thought. When you get signed to a major label, you made it to the big time. That's when I began to learn about the major music business and why punk rock was needed. Things had to change. Over the years I saw Willie change too. From The Boom Boom Band, to playing with The Neighborhoods and Confessions backing him, and his solo recordings, he was the Godfather of Boston Rock n Roll for a reason. Now all these years later he still a vital artist who has maintained his cool throughout. Last weekend we saw a reunited Boom Boom Band performing in Beverly, MA for the screening of "Boys From Nowhere; The Story of Boston's Garage and Punk Uprising" by BFN Film and Chris Parcellin. Although the theater posted signs everywhere saying "No Video", I had to sneak in a couple, otherwise I wouldn't be me. That's part of the reason I was there as I contributed some Real Kids footage to the film. So, here you go. Enjoy!!!
While going through archives of Wormtown related things collected over the past 40 years, I came across this article published in The Echo, the Wachusett Regional High School newspaper, where a student visited the studios of WICN radio back in May of 1992 for a visit with Mike Malone during his broadcast. Also present for the interview were Myself, Mike Marley, and Joe Provo. An interesting look back at a time when WICN had a full staff of rock programmers seven days a week.
Yes, you read that right! We're back and ready to celebrate. Forty years ago the seeds were just starting to sprout. The scene was at Circes on Franklin Street, which is now a Noodle Bar?!? The music was blasting out of the radio tuned to WCUW and Brian Goslows Saturday afternoon program. We were younger, now older and wiser we will go forward while remembering the past. One way to start is to revisit the show put on July 26, 1992 at Tammany Hall. Wormtown Radio Festival:On That End 2! Follow the link and hear the best we had to offer back in those days, and stay tuned for more!!!
On That End 2