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The Boston Tea Party 40th Aniversary Celebration

    Plaque that will be on 53 Berekeley St    I got off the train, walked up the stairs and headed down Berkeley Street, just like I did 40 years ago. It's not hard to believe it's been forty years. It's harder to believe that I'm going to a ceremony to put a plaque on the building that housed Boston Tea Party. I know I care about those times I didn't know others perceived the importance also.
   The process began with Steve Nelson asking the Boston Historical Society to put the plaque on the building. The Society wants to add more buildings with artistic and social importance as well as the more traditional historical reasons. Steve is part of the Music Museum of New England - MMONE which has been organized to promote the history of rock music in this area. It's clear that if the MMONE didn't do this then the fortieth anniversary would have passed with little or probably no remembrance at all, never mind the great idea of a plaque and a get together. Steve was also successful in getting the story in all the local papers and NECN news. So, there's a load of thanks we owe them and support in all their future plans.

   The get together started at 4:00 pm. I got there a little early, but no problem because there were plenty of people there already. I was to find out these people were as fanatic as me and more so. Almost all were fellow club goers in 1967. So, these were them! We were in the lobby of the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology just across the street from the Tea Party building which is now a condominium who supplied the food for this soiree.
   Coming up the stairs I see Willie Loco Alexander. I relate to him so much from the punk era (1975 and beyond) more than the psych era that I always have to remind myself that he was in The Lost, Bagatelle and Grass Menagerie. The Lost opened the Tea Party and then played every weekend for a month. I showed him a Lost handbill I had and asked if he knew who drew it and he didn't. Some one from either the Lost or the Hallucinations did, I'd like to know.

Presentation    The people who were there that I know: Members of The J. Geils Band, the Legendary Helanie, David Swartz (that has a poster collection to die for). Harry Sandler from Orpheus, Miss Lyn of the Boston Groupie News, Henry Santoro of WFNX, Rayboy from the Atlantics, Nancy Neon, Billy Borgiolli from The Real Kids, Steve Morse (that guy takes a lot of notes), Gary Sohmers the well known collector, Sev Grossman from The Boom Boom Band, Johnny A, Michael Fondo, treasurer of the MMONE, David Beiber, and James Montgomery. The Boston Globe listed Woody Geissmann The Del Fuegos' drummer who I guess I didn't recognize and Ernie Bock Jr. .

   I was talking to Sev Grossman from The Boom Boom Band and it came out that he played with Freeborne. Their Peak Impresions is one of the more obscure and high priced Bosstown Sound LP's. He said he's not on the LP and thinks it's just stoned noodlings (but that's why it's liked). He also says he took some bass lessons from Wayne Ulaky of the Beacon Street Union. He then pointed out a woman and pulled her over and asked, "Did you cook brownies for the Kingsmen?". "No, cookies," she replied. That was a laugh. These people go back, way back.

   I talked to William Zachmann who ran the clothing store called Truc (French for miscellaneous junk) in Harvard Square. The store initially sold posters but found bell bottom genes were the big sellers so switched to that. He then got into a partnership with the Tea Party to advertise in conjunction with them. In this connection he used to go the Tea Party and have the run of the place. Sure enough the phrase "Apparel by TRUC" is on my Lost poster.

Listeng to    Doug Bell was an interesting person. He talked of the old days but currently plays guitar in a band called Bellevue Cadillac and he said his favorite back in the days was The Colwell Winfield Band and he had found the lead singer Charles Sorrento and recorded a version of Cold Wind Blues. He followed through on a promise and sent me an MP3 and sure enough it's fantastic. The version is a faithful arrangement done by top notch musicians recreating the feel and slow grove of that song and group and it's Charles Sorrento singing…yes! Bellevue Cadillac play a variety of blues styles and you can CLICK FOR THE BELLEVUE CADILLAC SITE.

   One woman (No name - I'm so bad.) was the phone answerer at the club. She was there for the busts they had. Steve Nelson latter explained that one of the Boston Licensing Commissioners, latter to become a Boston City Councilman had it in for the club, the club being the home of distastefull hippies. The councilors' name? Albert "Dapper" O'Neill. Dapper was a legendary ball buster full of cheep and entertaining shenanigans. He ruled for a long time and that's a book I'd like to write if I had the talent. Dapper died at age 87 - 12/2007. The cops would show up but the club would be warned before hand by some inside help and all bad substances would be gone. The cops would find nothing. Steve confirmed what I had remembered, that there was a small article in the Herald saying that the bust of the Tea Party had fizzled. It's all part of the legend.
   The MMONE was taking videos of people present relating some of their memories and these are going to be presented on the MMONE site in the near future.

Group They had a presentation of the plaque with some words form the Boston Historical Society, the condo association of The Tea Party building (This was a member who actually went to the club, which was nice.), Steve Nelson, Don Law and Charlie Daniels the "Master Blaster" who was The Tea Party emcee.
   Steve pointed out Willie Loco and the crowd gave him a huge round of applause, more than for anybody else. Willie deserves it. He has been a creative force for so long and I have seen him just months ago at Dodge Street in Salem giving a performance with The Boom Boom Band that was not just good but a solid, inspiring set. The kind that leaves you with a glow for days.

   Don Law gave a wonderful talk giving his personal side of being in the middle of the Tea Party and 60's experience. He told a story of his junky car breaking down in the middle of Harvard Square with The Jeff Beck Group inside. Beck jumped out and checked under the hood! Now, we know that Beck works on hot rods so maybe he knew what he was doing.

MissLynGroup.jpg - 22.70 K    He mentioned that word of mouth made many groups in those days. The first day a three day stand might have been light but if the group was good the word would go out and the club would fill up for the next two days.
   He told a few tales of Ray Riepen who started the Tea Party. Ray would dress by picking up various pieces of clothing from a big pile on the ground. Drugs and their effects, Law reasoned might have been responsible for some of his lifestyle behavior.
   One point he emphasized was that in 1967 we were in the middle of a change in society. It was a creative period, a time of change and a time of involvement because of the Vietnam War.

   Then they proceeded to unveil the plaque that will be on 53 Berkeley Street for anyone who passed by to see and I think that is fantastic.
   Then it was over. There were some more conversations for a while, it was a nice time. Steve isn't finished with this yet; he has other ideas so keep checking the MMONE site.

   A new update on this is the page of videos made that night. CLICK FOR LINK TO MMONE VIDEOS. There are videos of the speeches and the ceremony. Great stuff.    I then walked up Berkeley Street like we used to, unless our friend had his VW mini bus and we could take our time getting back to Brighton.

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