Monday, May 4, 2015

LOST AND FOUND: REM At The Living Room in Providence, RI

REM onstage at the Living Room, Providence RI
Photo by Laura Sylvester
I recently blogged about the first time I met the guys from REM. Within a day of posting, Laura Sylvester, an old friend and fellow WUSM disc jockey, reminded me of a couple of interesting things from that wonderful evening back in 1982.

Michael Stipe (r) and Mike Mills (l) of REM at
The Living Room in Providence, RI
Photo by Laura Sylvester
Firstly, she recalled that the band was so lacking in material that that night they actually played a couple of their songs twice. Probably Perfect Circle and Wolves Lower. In fact, the band likely had more material than the five songs from their debut IRS Records EP, "Chronic Town". But I'm guessing they just weren't used to playing all of their material in a concert setting at that point. Their full-length album, Murmur, would be released the following year, featuring Radio Free Europe, Pilgrimage, Perfect Circle, etc.

Then came the most shocking and pleasing news from Laura. She had taken photos of REM from that evening at the Living Room. However, she had misplaced the pictures and had forgotten about them for years until recently when she found them in some box.

These photos of Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills really put a smile on my face. This is how I remember them in the beginning. Look at how geeky Stipe looks.
Michael Stipe onstage at the Living Room
in Providence, RI 1982
Photo by Laura Sylvester

Back in the eighties, we didn't have cell phones and digital photos. I have lost so many amazing pictures over the years from my days in radio. I wish we'd had the technology of today back then. So I hope I will be getting more messages from my radio and music industry friends from back in the day that they have unearthed some amazing photo surprises from our eighties time capsule.

Lost and found.

Friday, May 1, 2015

That Time The Drummer From REM Told Me He Had a Dog Named Gerry

From the internet

Bill Berry, I learned early on, is a funny guy. It was October 4, 1982, the first time I met the four members of REM and watched them perform LIVE at what would become my all time favorite venue to catch cutting edge bands on the rise to super stardom. The Living Room in Providence, Rhode Island.

I was beyond excited to see REM perform, after being instantly hooked on their debut, six-song EP Chronic Town. Like most other fans, I was dying for more music than just those six songs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

That Time I Ended Up In The Ladies Room At Dancetaria With 3 Rock Stars

It was the winter of 1983. I was in New York City with a few of my college radio compadres for the CMJ Radio Convention. CMJ as in College Media Journal - the folks who brought us the monthly CMJ New Music Report magazine, which followed and charted the new music of the day being played on college radio stations across the United States. I think they called the convention the CMJ Music Marathon.

We were having a blast attending panels that were focused on the drastically changing music scene of the early 1980s. My fellow DJs and I were meeting all of the new artists, like Cyndi Lauper (Girls Just Want To Have Fun had just been released), Richard Butler of Psychadelic Furs (they weren't a new band, but Love My Way was new, and the song was quickly moving up the charts and

Saturday, April 11, 2015


Debut album cover 1982

One of my all time favorite bands from the '80s was Face to Face. Laurie Sargent was the lead singer. Stuart Kimball played lead guitar and is actually the one who formed the band in the '70s in New Hampshire. Angelo Petraglia also played guitar and keyboards (he also produced a Kings of Leon record for which he won a Grammy in 2010). John Ryder was on bass, and Billy Beard on drums. I

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bigger Than Ratt: The Time I Had a Moment With Jon Bon Jovi

(1985) It was one of those slap me moments. Or grab a piece of my arm and twist. A "shut up!" moment. Sadly there were no cell phones at the time. No Facebook or Twitter. There were car phones, but they were like clunky army field radios with wires and boxes, and they were super expensive. I suppose I could have pulled over and pretended to my passenger that I needed to make an important pay phone call to the radio station where I worked for some bullshit reason and then really call my friends and tell them I was driving the back streets of Providence, making my way toward the Civic Center with Jon Bon Jovi riding shotgun in my beat-up AMC Spirit.


The Clash onstage at SMU 1982.
Photo by Dave Warren

This is an amazing photo taken by my friend Dave Warren. We had the Clash play at our college (Southeastern Massachusetts University) in October 1982. Right after the program council booked them, Combat Rock was released. The day tickets went on sale, the campus center was overrun by fans who had traveled from across

Chrissie Hynde Was The First Rock Star I Ever Met

I had been doing college radio at Southeastern Massachusetts University's WUSM for almost one year when I met my first genuine rock star. Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders. The band played in our campus gymnasium on November 3, 1981. All of the members did radio spots for our station. We were playing the hell out of their records. MTV had launched only three months earlier and were already playing the band’s videos. I was just in awe of meeting and having the chance to speak with them and then watch them perform. Chrissie Hynde showing me for the first time that a woman could rock just as hard as a man.
Before the show, I was walking down the hallway toward the band's dressing room. I had

Thursday, April 9, 2015

GERRY'S GIGOGRA'PHY - Every Concert I Ever Attended (Almost Every...)

This is the history of the '80s concerts I attened. I've included the first few concerts I ever attended in the late '70s. Those were the few shows that I paid for and are marked PAID.  Those where I was on the guest list are marked COMPED for complementary.  And if I met the band, I write Met Band. I've also added concerts attended in my post-radio days.

A Few of My Actual Ticket Stubs

1978 through 1979

Thin Lizzy & The Outlaws – Cape Cod Coliseum (September 3, 1978) - PAID
The Cars, Eddie Money, Bob Welch, Todd Rungren – Hartford, CT (Summer 1979) - PAID
The Kinks – Southeastern Massachusetts University (1979) - PAID

1980 through 1989

The Allman Brothers, Bonnie Raitt – UMass Amherst (Sat. May, 10, 1980) - PAID
The Pretenders – Southeastern Massachusetts University (Nov. 3, 1981) – COMPED – Met Band
U2 – Orpheum Theater, Boston, MA (November 14, 1981) – PAID
The Police w/ GoGos – Boston Garden, Boston, MA (Jan. 15, 1982) - PAID
Human Sexual Response – The Metro, Boston (April 21, 1982) - $7.50 – COMPED – Met Band

Friday, March 13, 2015

Best Interview With Madonna Ever - With Howard Stern?

Photo by Kevin Mazur
It's not like I'm obsessed with Madonna. I just happened to be a radio disc jockey in the '80s when her first record came out. Then I went to a couple of her shows over the years. Shook when I met her. Always loved her. Watched her lucky star rise beyond what any of us could ever have imagined.

Maybe I am obsessed with her.

One thing I have done over the years is read, watch and listen to interviews with Madonna. She doesn't do a lot of them. I thought I knew all there was to know about Madonna, but then came this astonishing interview. And I have to say the best interview I have ever heard with the self-proclaimed non-material girl, which was just this week, AND with Howard Stern. What began as a laid-back, chill interview turned into 10 THINGS WE DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT MADONNA. Like the fact that she was trying to say she is NOT materialistic in the song Material Girl and how no one got that. But one of the biggest bombshells was that she dated Tupac Shakur.

Take a listen to the interview, thirty years in the making according to Howard Stern. It's awsome:


Monday, February 23, 2015

I’m Never Going to Another ‘80s Band Reunion Concert:

Attending One Takes Fans Back to a Wondrous Time Then Leaves Us Rotting Like Tomatoes in Our Reality

Spandau Ballet - Photo by Andrew Hurley via Flickr
I recently saw Spandau Ballet in concert at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles. Having seen them twice in the ‘80s, I went with the expectation of being transported back to a time when I swore I had the world by the balls. What I left with was a nightmarish image of my aged contemporaries and paranoid thoughts of erectile dysfunction.

Instead of the traditional opening act (maybe an ‘80s one-hit wonder like Kajagoogoo or Dexys Midnight Runners), the promoters decided to have a washed-up radio DJ from the ‘80s come out onstage and ask trivia questions (I, too, am a washed-up radio DJ from the ‘80s, so I get a pass here.).