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.)
But I digress, let me repeat; I USED TO FLY TO BOSTON ON WEEKENDS JUST TO SEE BANDS!
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.
© 2012 Ricki C.