Friday, January 13, 2012

Flying to Boston to See the Rock & Roll - The Neighborhoods (Bonus Video Friday)

I have this matchbook.

It’s from the Terrace Motel, 1650 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts.  I used to stay at that motel on weekends all through the early 1980’s when I worked at Ross Laboratories in Columbus, Ohio. Ross Laboratories was simultaneously the highest-paying AND easiest job I ever had. It was so high-paying I used to fly to Boston on weekends just to see bands. I’d leave my stockroom job on Friday afternoon, go directly to Port Columbus, fly into Logan Airport in Boston, grab the Red Line subway, transfer to the Green Line, and settle in at the Terrace Motel, my home away from home. (In retrospect I find that extravagance and sense of motivation amazing. Nowadays I often find it INCREDIBLY difficult to get myself off the couch to see bands at clubs as close as four miles away. Sometimes I hate growing old with rock & roll.)


Fortunately, during that time an airline called People’s Express had one-way fares to Boston for $38. YOU COULD FLY ROUND-TRIP TO BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, FOR $76. ON THE WEEKEND! Life was good. Admittedly it wasn’t exactly luxury travel, more like Greyhound if buses could fly. One Friday night, and I swear to God I am not joking or making this up, a gentleman of middle-eastern persuasion tried to bring a live chicken on the plane. After much animated discussion he was dissuaded. He left the waiting area, went out to the parking garage for about two minutes, returned sans chicken and boarded the flight. I don’t know to this day what happened to that animal and I don’t want to know.

Wait, wait, I digress again. Once more; I USED TO FLY TO BOSTON ON WEEKENDS JUST TO SEE BANDS!  Most of those weekends involved a band called The Neighborhoods. How did I love The(e) Neighborhoods? Let me count the ways: I loved them musically, I loved them sartorially, I loved their attitude, I loved that they wanted to be rock & roll stars, I loved that they went out and toured in shitty vans where people didn’t know them. (As hometown Columbus favorites The Toll found out when The ‘Hoods blew them off the stage at Stache’s one night in 1986. The Toll were given the choice that night of opening for the out-of-town rockers or keeping their top-billed slot. They learned a little too late that you DO NOT want to follow The Neighborhoods on a rock & roll stage. Brad & the boys got taken to rock & roll school that night.)

I must have first read about The ‘Hoods (as they were affectionately known to their fans) sometime in ’79 in Doug Simmons’ New York Rocker column about the Boston rock & roll scene. Then when Boston Rock started publishing in 1980 and put The ‘Hoods on the cover of their first issue I sent away to Newbury Comics for the "Prettiest Girl / No Place Like Home" single and a rock & roll love affair began. The Neighborhoods spoke to me in a way that other bands didn’t. I loved The Clash when they sang about English youth’s lack of job prospects in "Career Opportunities," but in 1980 I was 28 years old and had already been working at one job or another since my Dairy Queen stint at age 12. I was dying for some unemployment. And yeah, The Ramones were great but lyrics about chicken vindaloo and pinheads only take a rocker who reads too many books so far, ya know? But when David Minehan hit the bridge of "No Place Like Home" and sang – "First grade, straight A’s, I was a good boy / Grade six, grade’s slipped, I was losing interest / Fun time, grade nine, fools for friends & cheap highs / Grade twelve, expelled, never learned my lesson." – I knew I had found my new favorite band.

I never saw the original Neighborhoods with John Hartcorn on bass, but did see a couple of shows in 1982 when Tim Green was in the band. That was the band’s "noise" period when it really seemed they were going out of their way to alienate the old fans. They almost lost me, but once bassist Lee Harrington came into the fold it seemed like they found the perfect balance of punk, pop, aggression and melody. For some rockers in the early-80’s it was The Replacements articulating the stories of their lives. For me it was The Neighborhoods.

After the band broke up in 1992, David Minehan went on to play lead guitar in Paul Westerberg’s first post-Replacements touring band in 1993 and you’d best believe that was that a dream matchup for this Ohio rocker.  I saw that band in Cleveland that same year and have a great bootleg of them playing at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey. You should hear it sometime.

The ‘Hoods reformed in 2004 and rock to this day. God bless The Neighborhoods, and all that they stand for.

The Neighborhoods on Boston cable TV in 1979, I believe neatly beating their most obvious influence (The Jam, at that point) at their own game. Inspirational verse in song two, No Place Like Home – "First grade, straight A’s / I was a good boy / Grade 6, grades slipped / I was losing interest / Fun time, grade 9 / Fools for friends and cheap highs / Grade 12, expelled / Never learned my lesson." – David Minehan, 1979. Easily the story of my life.

© 2012 Ricki C.


  1. Really enjoyed reading this Ricki C. I became a huge Hoods fan in 1979 when my high school boyfriend turned me onto them at a show at the Living Room in Providence. From that night on, I was a genuine "groupie", an underage, new wave/punk rock/ MUSIC loving girl -- sneaking into one club after another to see this new obsession of mine!! I did have the pleasure of seeing them when John was their bassist -- he was terrific and not to mention, a really nice guy. I did get to know the band on some level and hung out with them a bit after shows -- a very cool group of guys and very talented. It always amazed me that they didn't become allot more famous -- on a national level, as I felt they were far more talented than what I was hearing on the radio. I saw the reformed band two years ago in Providence again and it brought tears to my eyes hearing those songs and reminiscing about my carefree, band following, youth! Thanks for your account of our mutual memory! And please try to get off the couch to see a band once in awhile -- I just turned fifty and I still do it!! ROCK ON! Lorie

  2. Ricki C! Nice writeup on the 'hoods. I first saw them at ULowell in 81 or so opening for The Ramones and I was hooked. Used to go to a bunch of clubs in Boston to see them including my old favorite The Channel. Even saw them in a Chevy's once - strange venue for them, so they played a bunch of old songs they never seemed to play anymore at other clubs. I'd love to go back and see them but, like you, I'm old so traveling to a different city to see a band in a small club seems pretty unlikely these days. Take care man...

    Vic in A2.

  3. They always will be my favorite band!! Period end of sentence.

    Diane ( Come on)

  4. to purchase the 29 song, double live CD THE LAST RAT!!! This was the band's final show which was professionally recorded live at the lengendary Rathskeller in Boston, MA on 10.24.92. The 'HOODS have been playing shows again as of 2004 and will be playing in Albany, NY at Valentine's for WCDB's 34th Anniversary show on March 3rd. Tickets for the 2 night event are on sale now at:

  5. Thanks to all my fellow 'Hoods devotees for your inspirational comments. I gotta say, making The Neighborhoods Facebook page with my little rock & roll blog has made everything I've done this month worth it. Again, thanks.

    ps. My rock & roll Holy Grail, Boston rock & roll-wise, is material from The Sidewinders, Andy Paley's 70's band. I have the Lenny Kaye-produced RCA LP & "Streetwalker" from The Boston Incest Album, but I know they had at least two cuts on a WCOZ compilation cassette ("Telephone Relations" was one of the songs)that I owned in the 80's but the tape snapped soon after. (Damn you, cassettes.) Anybody have a line on anything from The Sidewinders, with or without Billy Squier?

  6. I love the Hoods! Dave kissed me one time while he was walking thru the crowd to get to the stage at ULowell! He is/was so HOT!!

    1. Dave Minehan kissed you and you STILL want to remain anonymous!?! You should be bragging about that stuff all over the internet.

  7. Of all of the bands ( many ) which I saw at Clubs, only The Damned and Miki Zone Zoo were in the class of The Hoods. Also liked Lou Miami & Kozemtix and dancing to The Dawgs, both Boston bands.