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Zulus. There really was a Boston band beginning with “Z.”  The Zulus were made up of former members of Human Sexual Response, the band I wrote about for the letter “H.” It took a while for them to settle on that name. Some might argue that they were more successful and more influential than HSR; their style of music was harder rocking than HSR, but I don’t think it was as creative. I would love to have posted a link to a YouTube video, but I think the quality of the posted videos is poor.

But I can’t let “Z” go without bringing up one of my favorite songwriters: Z is also for Zevon. Though he is not from Boston, Warren Zevon did have a Boston connection: he recorded “Life’ll Kill Ya” (2000) at Fort Apache studios in the New England Area. (I mentioned Fort Apache in my post about The Sex Execs.)

I was lucky enough to see him in Boston in the 1980’s at a club called The Metro. (I think I attended that club in at least 3 different decades when it had at least 4 different names.)

Warren Zevon at The Metro in 1980’s

Warren Zevon at The Metro in 1980’s

He looks like a “Excitable Boy” in these photos — so young and vibrant; it is hard to believe that he is gone. I still hear his songs on the radio: “Werewolves of London”, “Lawyers, Guns, and Money” and, of course, “Excitable Boy” — 80’s classics. And so I end this series with a pang of regret…




some of my XTC singles

some of my XTC singles

The letter “X” seems almost impossible, yet there were two 80’s bands I liked that I can mention here. Unfortunately neither are from Boston:  the LA band, “X” and one of my favorite bands of all time, the British band XTC. I agreed with a comment I saw posted on one of the web sites I visited with a discussion of XTC: a first listen to each of their albums would initially bring disappointment, which would then be followed by a liking of certain songs, and then a discovery of new gems, finally ending up with adoration and proclamations of “genius!”

In 1982, they were booked to play The Channel. I was so excited that I would finally see one of my favorite bands. But it was not to be. The gig (and tour) was cancelled due to Andy Partridge’s mysterious “illness’ that later turned out to be debilitating stage fright. I was SO disappointed; to this day, I regret I did not discover them early enough to have seen them.

I think Andy Partridge’s lyrics are some of the best ever written, though they can also be very offputting for some people (as he himself can be…read this 2009  interview and some of the comments”). The most “mainstream”  but controversial song they ever wrote was probably “Dear God.” It caused quite a hubbub at the time it came out, with some radio stations banning it. I have to say though, there a quite a few other gems that were “B” sides on some of the singles (“Love on a Farmboy’s Wages”), like “Toys” and deep cuts on albums like “Your Dictionary” (another controversial anti-religious song) and “Wrapped in Gray.”

I can’t recommend enough that you check them out. There are quite a few videos on YouTube (also their alterego, Dukes of Stratosphere)!

 



et cetera
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