Friday, April 5, 2013

The Neighborhoods "Cultured Pearls" (Bonus Video Friday)

It's been awhile since I've regaled readers & fans of Growing Old With Rock & Roll with tales of my devotion to Boston's finest sons, The Neighborhoods (see blog entry The Neighborhoods - Bonus Video Friday, January 13th, 2012, among others), so let's commence.  But first, a few word about computers and the internet.....

I'm not a computer guy.  At all.  In the least.  In fact, it's a minor miracle I've managed to keep this blog going for as long as I have considering my lack of computer skills and/or knowledge.  Without the assistance and support of my lovely wife Debbie - my I.T. department, my editor, often my inspiration - Growing Old With Rock & Roll would not still be a viable entity.  (Also, special thanks to Will Kenworthy for setting all of this up for me, so all I have to do is type.)

I blame computers for a lot of things - for the marked lack of human interaction that has taken place since people pour more & more of their energy into staring at their Smartphones than they do into their lover's eyes; for the fact that children spend a lot more of their time indoors being lulled and/or over-energized by video games than they do outside playing in sunlight; for the decline in audience at rock & roll gigs as increasing numbers of people (young & old alike) prefer their music delivered by I-Tunes or YouTube more than they do by living, breathing musicians at a gig - because I'm old, so desperately old, so hopelessly old, and that's the way I'm wired.

At the same time, I must admit there are times in my existence that the internet has come in pretty handy.  So let me tell you about The Best Present I Ever Got From A Computer; access to The Neighborhoods Universe.  One warm Saturday night in 2006, Debbie and my good friend & fellow music aficionado Kyle Garabadian went to see Kenny Loggins appear with our local Columbus Symphony at the Orchestra's annual summer Picnic With The Pops series.  (You might have something like it in your town.)

Not being the world's biggest "Footloose" fan, I stayed home, downed a couple of Bailey's Irish Creams and bleerily played on the computer.  Debbie had just recently showed me how to use search engines and check out websites.  (Yeah, this was happening in 2006, people, I TOLD you how computer-backward I am).  While I was playing around I happened onto the fan-launched Neighborhoods site, which still exists, but I don't think has been updated in quite some time.  (It's still really cool, though, a bunch of REALLY great Neighborhoods back-in-the-day pics, circa 1979-2005.)

Anyway, that site led me to a host of other finds: YouTube videos of The 'Hoods from 1979, 1982 and onwards; tape traders who had literally dozens of live 'Hoods sets from 1979 right up through their "Last Rat" show in 1992 (which wouldn't see official release until 2010).  Two of those traders - Vic from Michigan and Mike from Tennessee - I consider friends to this day for the CD's they've provided to me over the years.  Thank you, gentlemen, from the bottom of my rock & roll heart.

See, here's the deal, it just WAS NOT EASY to come up with Neighborhoods-related material in Ohio in the 21st century.  The 'Hoods were not exactly a household name out here in the hinterlands of the Great Midwest.  I had the Ace Of Hearts "Prettiest Girl" b/w "No Place Like Home" single and the Fire Is Coming, "...the high hard one..." and Reptile Men triptych of LP's that I bought on rock & roll vacations in the 1980's (see blog entry Fighting With Ric Ocasek, February 2012) but that was about it.  (Okay, I also had that Brad Whitford-produced CD from the 90's, but I think we may all agree the less said about that the better.)

By 2006 it had been 19 YEARS since I had heard a new (old) Neighborhoods song.  And a lot of what 'Hoods chronicler Eric Van (easily my favorite Boston rock writer of the 1980's, see below) detailed as David Minehan's finest songwriting moments - "Mr. Reeves," "The Patriot," "Innocence Lost," "Electricity," "Fools," I Am The Witness," "Cultured Pearls" -  I had never heard AT ALL.  So when the live tapes began rolling into my mailbox with all of those tunes and many, many more ("Monday Morning," "Flavors," "One Day Older," "You Can't Go Home," "We Don't Do The Limbo") I was in Seventh Rock & Roll Heaven, my friends.

Later, while I was a roadie for Hamell On Trial, I was lucky enough to make the acquaintance of Mr. Eric Law - Boston rock & roll bon vivant, raconteur and personal friend of David Minehan - who further filled in some Neighborhoods gaps for me.  (Eric, I love ya.)  (By the way, readers, I've still never been able to track down a live set from the short-lived 1982 Tim Green bass-playing period of The 'Hoods.  Hint, Hint.)  

So is this the point in the blog where I'm going to start making extravagant claims regarding The Neighborhoods?  Claims like - 1) The Neighborhoods are the Best Band Ever Out of Boston (keeping in mind the likes of The Remains, Willie Alexander & the Boom Boom Band, The Real Kids, The Cars and 'Til Tuesday).  Yes, I am.  2) The Neighborhoods were the Best Band of the 1980's (keeping in mind The Replacements, REM, and Prince & The Revolution).  Maybe, but Prince might have just edged them.  (And I think we need to keep in mind, no less a rock & roll genius than Paul Westerberg had the good sense to hire David Minehan as his lead guitarist & onstage foil in his first post-Replacements touring band. See blog entry The Paul Westerberg Band, April 2012.)  (Am I stating in print that The Neighborhoods were a better live band than The Replacements?  I saw both bands more than five times each.  Yes, I am saying The Neighborhoods were better live, but that Westerberg MAYBE had better songs, if he just could have kept his band somewhat sober enough to do justice to them onstage.)

I owe all of this to you, my cybernetic internet friends, most of whom I will never meet face to face.  (Excepting Vic from Ann Arbor, with whom I got to have lunch once during a Hamell tour stop years ago.)  To all of you; my sincerest, humblest and most heartfelt rock & roll thanks.

inspirational verse; "It's obvious / Your intelligence / Has been insulted far too long."
- David Minehan, 1981

© 2013 Ricki C.

appendix; some great rock & roll writing about The Neighborhoods by Eric Van
(employ your zoom feature, readers)


  1. Mike in TennesseeApril 5, 2013 at 6:45 AM

    Most excellent blog entry Ric... one never grows tired of reading praise for our favorite band (and yeah, I like The Replacements too, just not quite as much as The 'Hoods!). Hope I'm not starting a rumor, but on John Lynch's website he lists on his resume he has done some recording (as "The Neighborhoods") at Woolly Mammoth Sound Studios and Woolly Waltham, both in Massachusetts. The producer and engineer is none other than Sir David James Minehan, and the release date is listed as TBA... so is there a possibility us old folks may see a new Hoods CD sometime in our lifetime?!? Hope this recording doesn't get buried like the Stardarts disc did. Although I haven't had the pleasure of seeing the reunited Neighborhoods in concert, thank goodness for videos. These lads are strong as ever in my book and seem to have found the fountain of youth. Thanks for your fine post!

  2. Hey Mike....the Hoods have in fact layed down new music and I hope it will see the light of day within the next few years. We also plan to release the '92 14 song demo that was never officially released, Last Of The Mohicans. 5 of those tunes are on THE LAST RAT - Want It Back, Diane, Crown Victoria, Salt and The Pipe. The problem with the HOODS and it's always been this way, is that we move at turtle like speed on getting things released. However, that's not the case on stage!!! Thanks for the support!!!

  3. Great post Ricki! I got to see the hoods about a dozen times, mostly around the time of Reptile Men, when I could finally get into the clubs in Boston. While you're mentioning great Boston bands, don't forget The Bags.

  4. Great blog I to am a huge "HOODS" Fan since late 1978 and have over 85 bootleg shows either cd or dvd. Im willing to trade for shows that I don`t have if anyone is interested in trading shoot me a email

  5. Mike in TennesseeApril 5, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    What a nice surprise to read the post by John Lynch above! Thanks John for the info about the Last Of The Mohicans material and the more recent studio recordings. That's all great information and we all appreciate your sharing it with us!

  6. Clips from our 4/27 show at The Met in Pawtucket, RI

    Pure And Easy

    Prettiest Girl / No Place Like Home

  7. Upcoming HOODS shows:

    Saturday, 7/13 at the Ocean Mist in Matunuck, RI. Tickets on sale now at:

    Sunday, 8/25 at the Casino Ballroom in Hampton, NH supporting CHEAP TRICK!!! Tickets on sale now at:

  8. Hey Rick - enjoyed your blog. I hope to post 4 songs on video with Tim Green (including : Limbo, Essence Rare, Real Stories, and Rhyme Rhyme) shortly. I also plan to post songs w Lee and Dave from 82 including Daydreams, Drums of Darkness, In the Corner, Cant Go Home, Electricity, very shortly. Stay tuned. ..Steve

  9. Hey Steve, this is great news on the video front. The Tim Green-era Neighborhoods and very early Lee Harrington-era are sorely under-represented on YouTube. (Is that where you're planning to post?) I'm really interested in that 1982 transitional period between the more purely pop/punk Hartcorn 'Hoods and the later bands that actually got records released. (Fire Is Coming, "the high, hard one," etc.) I saw the Tim Green-era band once, and just remember them as noisy, so I'm interested to see how well my memory serves, or if I just wasn't ready for a more mature Neighborhoods.

    Thank you for writing and please, please, please post a Comment here when you upload the videos.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Hey 'Hoods fans, for those of you scoring at home, Steve (I assume) has posted a 16-minute video of The Neighborhoods @ The Blue Wall 1982 on YouTube, comprising "Cultured Pearls," "In The Corner," "No Place Like Home," "Innocence Lost," "Drums Of Darkness" and "Electricity."

    Picture quality isn't exactly Imax, but for Chrissakes it's 1982 technology, and to me it's just a kick seeing Lee Harrington lookin' like he's 14 years old. Check it out - enter The Neighborhoods Blue Wall 1982 on YouTube.

  12. Quick update - The Neighborhoods at The Blue Wall with Tim Green on bass, 1982 is up & running on YouTube, featuring "Real Stories," "Rhyme Rhyme," "We Don't Do The Limbo," and the 'Hoods killer cover of Gang Of Four's "Essence Rare." (Which features a guest appearance by drummer Mike Quaglia's brother Ralph on second guitar & vocals.)

    We suggest you check it out at your earliest convenience. Thanks for posting, Steve.

  13. Hey, no problem Ricki. I also posted the full Blue Wall set from '82 with Lee, Mike, and Dave. New songs include "Can't Go Home" and "Daydreams". "Witness" is also buried in there! Steve


    If you go to the Hoods site Room for Change and Witness also are posted. I knew the Kaspar Hauser guys (UMASS Band) who shared a couple of their songs. It's on The Neighborhoods Facebook fan club page. Good quality...enjoy! Steve

  15. The Blue Wall set with Lee was recorded on October 15, 1982 by the UVC video team at UMass Amherst.

  16. to hear a clip of tunes from the long awaited new album. Click the sampler and ENJOY!!!