Sometimes Love Doesn't Smell So Sweet

By: Neil Feineman

If you're on the outside looking in, Boston has always seemed like an overgrown college town with a union or blue collar bent. So maybe it's not so surprising that the electronic music scene from Boston hasn't made much of an impact on the national or global music scene.

For that to happen, you'd have to go back to Boston (the band), who helped usher in corporate rock, and, more interestingly, to the J. Geils Band, who became stars in spite of it. Back then, because rock was still inventing itself, there was a tradition of bar bands, raucous, talented ensembles that specialized in covers of "race" music that people would actually dance to. (Black singers or groups that sounded "black" couldn't be played on the "segregated" radio stations, hence giving people like Pat Boone and Elvis Presley careers just for "whitening" up the music.)

And none was better than The J. Geils Band, especially after Peter Wolf, a disc jockey on a popular Boston FM station with an extensive knowledge of r&b and the blues, joined John Geils (guitarist), Danny "Dr. Funk" Klein (bass), Richard "Magic Dick" Salwitz (harp), Stehen Jo Bladd (drums) and Seth Justman (organist). They performed an explosive, raw bluesy rock and roll, and was soon building a national reputation with underground hits like "First I Look at the Purse," "Ain't Nothin' But a Houseparty" and the perfectly obscene "Love Stinks" and a raucous live show.

Then, to everyone's surprise including their own, they released an album called Freeze Frame and watched the first single, "Centerfold," stay at number one on the Billboard charts for six weeks. That, plus the Rolling Stones' endorsement as their favorite American band and opening act for their inflatable penis stadium tour made the world J. Geils' oyster for a little while.

Exhibiting all the spunk of the city that made them, the golden moment didn't last long. Wolf fell in love with Faye Dunaway, then at the height of her fame, went to Hollywood, fed his ego a bit and left the band. The band tried, with diminishing success, to go on without Wolf but this was one of those "all or nothing" cases where the band only works when everyone is there. Since the last time they performed was at Dr. Funk's 60th birthday, don't expect a Spring Club Tour anytime soon.

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Show Details

The Estate

1 Boylston Pl
Boston, MA 02116

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Hours: 8:00:00 PM - 2:00:00 AM
Ages: 21+


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Paul Dailey, Boston, MA

A true veteran of the dance music scene in New England and beyond, Paul Dailey has been crafting his art and love for techno for more than two decades. Paul travels extensively, having played some in some of the best venues in the world and is a resident at RISE in Boston. With an impressive discography of original releases and a weekly mix show on XM called Hardwired, Paul continues to establish himself as a highly regarded performer, artist and respected industry leader.

1. What is the state of electronic music in your area. Is it growing? stagnant?

The scene in Boston is really no different than anyplace else in the United States circa 2008.

There certainly are pockets of electronic music enthusiasts, doing their best to promote the sound and throw parties and events on a regular basis. These events bring in some of the best names from across the globe, and when the planets align properly - some of these parties are spectacular. But in general, the interest in dance music is as low as I can remember it.

Boston is and always has been a college town. So while there are people on the fringe that are into grime, and techno, and drum + bass, and house - the vast majority of night goers are turning out to hear mash up DJs play Don't Stop Believing over and over again.

2. You have two hours before the show and one hour after to take Sasha and Digweed someplace that will give them a sense of the city and something that would make the stop memorable. What is it?

My favorite place in Boston, especially as the weather gets warmer - is Fenway Park. While I am sure Sasha and Digweed have experienced soccer matches at packed stadiums, I am not sure they have ever experienced anything like a Red Sox game at Fenway. Complete with all the sights and sounds, the frantic fans, and of course a Red Sox victory. Double the intensity and fun, if the New York Yankees are in town.

After that show, I would take them down to Chinatown - to have a late night snack, and then to an underground loft party, at some disused warehouse or manufacturing facility.

3. What local DJs should we know about?

While it is a small city in relation to many others in the US, Boston has always been more influential than its size. From the early days of Disco, many of the movers and shakers in the world of dance music started in Boston. Arthur Baker, Sonny Joe White, Hosh Gureli, Joey Carvello, and Armand Van Helden - all got their start in Boston.

Some people from Boston that continue to do great things and make waves include:

  • Joe Bermudez, who has remixed tracks from some of the biggest names in pop music
  • Craig Mitchell, who is a legendary circuit DJ and prolific producer that is always working hard.
  • Tanner Ross, a young Berkley student who is tearing it up with tracks on Dirty Bird and others
  • Randy Deshaies, the hardest working promoter/ DJ in the city - Randy has been brining house to the true heads in the city for years and years.
  • Eli Wilkie, has produced many tracks with Steve Porter and is an unwavering champion for funky, chunky, house music.
  • Chris Micali, one of the best young producers in the world, his tracks find their way into sets and playlists of many of the worlds best DJs.

4. What local charity should we know about?

There are many local charities of note, but one that stands above the rest is the AIDS Action Committee

5. What's the venue like? Any insider tips?

Estate is owned by the same people that owned Avalon and Axis, two rooms that Sasha and Digweed have rocked many times over the years. It is smaller than either of those two clubs, and can be hit or miss on an average night. However, I can say without question that the night Sasha and Digweed play - it will be packed and full of energy and positive vibes.

—Paul Dailey

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