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{July 14, 2012}   A Fan’s History of 80’s Boston Bands: O is for Outlets

Check out the guy on the right with his fingers in his ears!

The Outlets were one of our “staple” bands for a long time; we watched them through their many stages: from teenage punks to glam rockers. Their performances were always full of energy, and at some point the slam dancing would start. As I mentioned in my letter “B” blog, there was never really a “VS” in our minds when comparing them to Boy’s Life. “Knock Me Down” kicked butt! (There is a live version on YouTube, but it is from a reunion tour and the sound is awful.)

We often spent time talking to lead singer, David Alex Barton during their playing days (including one memorable conversation when we sang the theme to Gilligan’s Island). His infectious grins and upbeat personality were endearing; he was one of a kind. My favorite Outlets’ story however involves his brother, lead guitarist Rick Barton.

We were at the all ages daytime gig where the Outlets opened for The Neighborhoods (dream gig as far as Jane was concerned). There was piles of speakers set up in a “garage type” environment. In order to be able to see (and to stay out of the writhing sea of kids in front of the stage), I climbed up on a couple of speakers that were piled on top of each other. The slam dancing was in full swing. Rick Barton was standing by the speaker below me. Suddenly the dancing reached a frenzy; the speakers started to wobble. I panicked; I had nothing to hold onto. As I was starting to fall I reached out for the only thing I could grab to prevent me falling to the cement floor: the collar of Rick Barton’s t-shirt. The entire back of it ripped down to the bottom, but I was kept from tumbling to the floor. I was saved but horrified! I apologized over and over to Rick. He looked down at the rags he was now wearing, shook his head and smiled. I was so grateful to him for being such a cool guy.  He went on to be one of the founders of Dropkick Murphys before moving on to yet another band.

My second favorite Outlets’ story involves going to the movies. Jane and I heard that Dave Barton had a short appearance (as singer of the wedding band) in a movie called Hard Promises with William Petersen (later from CSI) and Sissy Spacek. They were having a premier at one of the big movie theaters in Boston; we had to be there! When the movie was over and we were leaving, we saw Dave, his wife, and his parents in the lobby. We went over and said congratulations and spoke to him briefly. It was probably the last time we saw him in person.

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[…] 80′s Boston Music Scene because of his age at the time (14 years old). Boy’s Life and The Outlets had been there before him (though they were not quite as young), but achieved more success at that […]

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