Irish and Italian Associates Make Strange Bedfellows For Organized Crime In Boston in the 1990’s… [First Pass Edit]

This excerpt is inspired by true events. Some of the characters , names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been changed for anonymity purposes. Any similarity to the names, character or history of any person is purely coincidental.

 

The Conclusion of Part 2 – Canada Unleashed: Montreal to Vancouver…Is coming up in the subsequent post. Thank you for your patience!

 

With the universe as my witness, I write because I have to. It is just how writers do things, 48674493wkpand as we know it does not have to follow any sensible guidelines…it can be about some pretty fucked up shit. It does bother me sometimes that the focus is on the frailties of others, sometimes even of those we look up to. It’s further strange how we as people find ourselves fascinated by movies, stories…any medium where we can find ourselves sympathetic to the villains. Music, Cinema, Photography, Art…just about anything, especially when there were real lives connected and destroyed by monsters. We laugh, repeat and mimic lines (whole scenes even), over and over again…we reset the knife or a bullet to the head and chest. I’m not passing judgement, just making an observation. The way violence plays out in real life is worth a shit ton of money, only the victims loose any sleep over it…pretty messed up when you think about it. Dollars drenched with tears, there is blood on our hands. We don’t cause the accident, but we can’t look away either.

It’s very easy to romanticise the days of old in the ethnic neighborhoods of any city, you know before all the gentrification happened and ruined it all. The world governments saw a powerfully lucrative stranglehold of an oportunity to legislate control of their own brand of organized crime. In the past “problems” were handled locally along familial, ethnic, and cultural lines. Now these problems are handled administratively by jurisdictional governmental law through taxes, fees, and for profit institutions.

Go to the neighborhoods now and a fascade of the old country still exists but it does not have the same soul. If the violence was part and parcel of the family ties, part of what gave the neighborhood soul, then I guess it’s better that we have all moved on in the last few decades. Although it did not mean to start out that way, with the eventual corruption of “Respect” and the “Code of silence” by power and greed, with the responsibility placed rightfully on the perpetrators — as that “silence” evolved into sociopathy, this led to everyone singing like birds in last ditch attempts to survive. After all it was one of the most famous gangsters in modern history who said, ‘To get where I am today, I had to burn every bridge that I ever crossed to the ground’…clearly there must have never been any intention of going back. Just as black on black violence has become perversely acceptable, warehousing of the mentally ill and addicts in prisons tolerable, white on white ethnic violence being the only slight outlier, nonetheless all of it was and still is an unholy and unacceptable terror.

I must have had a lot of misconceptions about my environment at the time, but it was the 5766489mn“beloved” neighborhood. It’s only been in recent years that I have been able to fully understand what was really going on around me, things that I had no control over. You know how it is, one hopes to feel good about the neighborhood they choose to move into…it’s only natural to look the other way. There was so much bubbling under the surface that I did not know of, nor would I want to know for that matter. It’s just striking to think that in the middle of all this awesome culture and family and worldy seamlessness, that a large part of what held it all together was so dangerous. It was obviously a case of naiveté on my part, not in the sense of lacking street smarts, as I was aware of organized crime. I actually knew that some of my friends families (over many years) were involved in it, not any specifics…it just was just “unspoken knowledge” if you know what I mean. Gruesome violence was always overshadowed with, “they had it coming kind of vibe”. Catholics and Christians really have it lucky in this arena, you know “The Jesus Christ Option”, all you have to do is ask to be forgiven on your deathbed and whamo…heaven sent! No time at all in Purgatory, what a bargain (That is if you believe in that sort of thing), No!

In the Italian section of the city, there were no supermarkets or big box stores and it was wonderful. In the morning after a couple of espressos, I would head to my local butcher, who would hack the section of meat desired off a fresh carcass in cold storage. The cleaver would come out to section chops or ribs right in front of me. For burgers and meatballs he would grind, also right in front of me, 70% beef and 30% pork to order. The reason for mixing the pork (aside from it’s amazing flavor) was to add some fat to the ground beef. The beef was so lean, that it needed some pork fat to not come apart when cooking a burger on the grill. Assorted Dry Salamis, Sausages, Prosciuttos, and Cappocola hung from the ceiling for the taking. After a little bit of everything wrapped in butchers paper, it was time to move onto the cheese shop.

If I thought the butcher shop was great then the cheesemonger formaggi was divine. Here I would get the finest aged extra sharp Yellow Italian Provolone and while it was being sliced I would taste test the ripe Gorgonzolla, Fontina, Asiago, and Parmesano-Regianna. Grabbing a block of each as needed, the store also served as a local Latteria, so I would also get some local sourced Raw Milk, Mozzarella Di Bufala, and a bucket of Ricotta. After getting what I needed and tasting a world of flavors over a few minutes time, I would stop at the pizza shoppe right next door for a huge slice of Ricotta pizza…their specialty. The Ricotta baked onto the pizza shell was an inch thick and was cooked to exactly the right moment when the surface of the cheese would just start to thicken and brown into a carmelized slice of heaven. The pizza pulled from the oven at just that moment of perfection so as not to burn. The slice could be eaten without care from one hand as I walked to my next destination, the perfect balance between savory and sweet.

The Panaficio was right around the corner and I would purchase my desired breads and pastries. Some Scali, Focaccia, and Ciabatta for Panini’s (sandwiches) and occasional Lobster Claws and Pistachio Macaroons. Right next store to that was the Vegetable Market where I could get the best (just harvested and/or in season) Cilantro, Carrots, Onions, Broccoli Raab, Basil, Red and Green Peppers, Red Potatoes, and Romaine Lettuce. I would also grab assorted fruits: Plum Tomatoes, Olives, Peaches, Pomegranates, Green Beans, Bosc Pears, and Eggplant. Every year I would pine for the time of year, the arrival of the fresh and slightly ripened green whole figs to slice and eat the green gooey flesh…a whole bag sometimes until it gave me a stomach ache. That shit was some serious natural candy.

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Johnny Depp – “Black Mass” Movie [Warner Brothers Promotional Photo]

These days some might think, what a pain in the ass to go all these places for your food. I can assure you that it was not, and is one of the best experiences one could ever have in life. Exactly the way it’s still done in many parts of the world…you got to know and talk to the people, actually see the hands that helped you to gather and select your provisions. The proprietors would clue you in on a seasonal or new gem that had fallen into their hands. We the locals got first dibs and a taste test of everything bought, and more importantly might desire to buy. I have never bought a tomato in a supermarket or big box store that had that distinct heirloom tomato taste, NEVER. The nightshade family, oh an ode to the nightshades…did you know that Potatoes, Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant are all in the same family as Tobacco (Nightshade Solanaceae)? Did you also know that all of these nightshade varieties contain small amounts of nicotine, even more when unripe? This is why nicotine is known to be one of the most effective and safe pesticides. This naturally stable form of nicotine is what helps keep pests away from the fruit. Oh how do I long for those days again.

There were several execution style murders right in front and in the area of my butcher shop, within the stretch of only one or two years. It was very strange how when a shooting would happen it would blow over so quick. White on white gangster crime obviously not a big priority for the police. I remember walking down the street after the bodies had already been removed, the shop owners would be outside washing their sidewalks with pressure washers as the blood ran in the gutters to the storm drains. The incidents would not even make big news…like page six at best.

I actually did not know that some of these murders were literally right on the sidewalk directly in front of my butchers’ street facing store front window. I had noticed right after the killings that the butcher shop had drawn closed steel garage doors, but because it was afternoon I just thought he had closed up for the day. The next morning while getting some stocks he told us what happened. That he was tending shop and all of a sudden bap bap bap, three shots and three dead people right in the street in the light of the day. He said it was over before anyone even had the time to register that something this crazy had happened. Their were just dead bodies lying all over the street. At that moment, a lot of shop keepers including him closed up shop for the day. Precisely the reason why his steel safety garage doors were closed so early in the day.

My flat was in the direct cross roads of the North End, in between Prince and Charter Streets. Not far from my door stoop was the Old North Church, famous for Paul Revere’s ride (“One if by Land, two if by sea”, in reference to the British Invasion of the US). Looking South was Haymarket Square and Faneuil Hall. At the time Boston’s Big Dig Construction Project was in full swing and was a major demarcation point separating the North End from Downtown Boston. It was early in 1990 and I was working two jobs to make ends meet. One was at the Fish Pier by day and the other I had begun in 1989 working at all the clubs on Lansdowne Street. I was tasked with local concert crew and band/ stage/ venue security.

Coach was dealing weed out of the flat at the time, but we were small fish, just small amounts of green to people who we were friends with (mostly College Students…none of whom lived in the North End). What was strange though was that as anyone who smokes weed knows that at times there would be “dry spells”, meaning that for many possible reasons…that a city or a whole state (or region) would have times when there was no weed to be had. The suppliers higher up on the food chain would be completely out or “dry”, unable to supply the street level dealers. This would cause minor panic within the weed community because they were unable to get their daily high. I remember one particular dry spell which lasted several months because a major dealer had been pinched by the feds for trafficking cocaine and marijuana. The thing was that Coach’s dealer never hit this dry spell so we always still had weed, but again Coach did not sell to anyone in The North End. The word that was going around in the neighborhood was that it was impossible to find a dime bag of weed, but heroin was plentiful everywhere for a mere five dollars a bag (and it was extremely potent). I’m sure you can see where this was heading, right down the tubes, and fast.

I remember one day hearing commotion outside my apartment window, dogs were barking, kids and people were whistling and screaming. So I head over to the window overlooking the street and I see a young guy who I knew was a local. He was rolling and falling onto the hoods of cars, obviously extremely high on heroin. He kept nodding out and waking up again over and over falling on to the sidewalk. Next thing I know, I see his elderly mother come around the corner with a broom screaming at him about being a “Waste” and a “Junky”. Next she starts beating him with the broom, first with the brush part then the wood handle. I was thinking this is crazy…and as usual whenever something crazy like this happened in the neighborhood, you could feel the eyes of all the people living on the street focused on what was going on from the awkward comfort of their flat’s living rooms. It was very sad, someone must have called emergency services because a few minutes later an ambulance pulls up and scoops him off the sidewalk to take him to the hospital. That’s just one example, but incidences like this were happening with more frequency.

It was normal each day to walk past the old timers sitting out in front of their stores, homes, or social clubs located in the basements of the packed together row houses. There was one guy in particular that stood out…he was often by himself sitting out in front of his building and although he was almost always alone…he seemed to interact with everyone in the neighborhood from his sharp little corner. I always greeted him everyday and he was very cordial in response. One particular day I walked by him and after saying hello, I continued on as usual. Next I went down to one of the local haunts in the tourist areas of downtown to sit and have some pints of beer.

The bartender who I knew pretty well from my patronage at his bar, was complaining that day about back pain. Somehow we got on the topic of pills, percosets to be exact, saying he needed to pick some up when he got off work. I half-jokingly asked if I could get a few as well, he affirmed and just had to make a phone call. Like ordering pizza, the only difference was that they did not deliver and that I would have to go get them from someone in the North End. Hmmm…that’s a strange coincidence. Not only that but he said that I could go get them right away if I wanted. He explained to me where I had to go and as luck would have it…I was going to get them from the guy I passed every day on the corner and had been saying hello to for like forever. Of all places to send me in the city, the bartender was an Irish guy from “Southie” (South Boston) directing me to my own neighborhood in the Italian section, the North End to pick up the pills.

I quickly finished my pint and got on it. It only took about ten minutes to walk there. So I cautiously walk up to the guy and I say, “So and so” sent me to pick something up. Without pause he yells out the name of a woman, then proceeds to tell me to go inside the door behind him…to walk up to the apartment at the top of the stairs and just knock on the door and give her the money. So I did as he said and after knocking on the door, an elderly woman opened it up and said a kind hello. I then gave her the money and she gave me a plastic bag with all the pills in it. That was it and I left just as I had come, walked back to the bar and divided up the goods, all were happy.

Sometime in the next month we decided to do it again, he made the phone call and then said I could go, but this time he had different instructions for the deal. This time I had to go inside a particular store and ask for a specific number of pills using a particular “code word”, and that they would hook me up. So I again walk over in short time and walk inside the store as instructed. There were a number of people inside doing actual business as it was the middle of the day. Again I did as was told, said the number followed by the codeword and within thirty seconds or so I was handed my merchandise. As soon as I received the goods, I noticed everyone scrambling in the store…someone ran to the store front window and flipped the “Open” sign to “Closed”, just like you would see in the movies. I thought for a second was this a raid…no…I did notice a car had just pulled up that was double parked on the one way street. Then someone ran over to me and said “off you go”…ok, that’s odd.

As I walked out the store, I noticed I was the last one out besides the store workers, who stayed behind. As I’m walking out the storefront, just as I’m about to turn right out the front door, I noticed a man get out of the vehicle that was double parked. Another man was walking toward the store with him, however I could not take my eyes of the first man, he was creepy looking. I remember vividly thinking the guy looked like a psychotic leprechaun. He had shades on and was bald on the front and top with shiny grayish blonde crown of hair from the sides to the back. I could not get the look of that man out of my head, he was all business and projected the body language of person with zero fucks given. I don’t know why I got that idea or feeling from him, but I did. I also felt the sudden urge to get as far away from the area as possible immediately. In all seriousness I was not scared just a little creeped out, again I did not know who he was but his face is burned into my brain to this day. It was also not a big scare to me because I had walked amongst gangsters before. It was common knowledge that if you keep to yourself and show active - BULGER Wanted POSTER.PDFrespect you will “most likely” get the same in return.

Several years later, after I had already left the city and was traveling on tour with bands, I read an article in a newspaper and there were a few photos of a particular gangster who was near the top of the US Most Wanted list. The article was about, and photos were of that man (in a different incident and location), who I had cautiously passed that day near that store front. I quickly realized after some research on the internet, that it was the one and only “Mr. White” (J.J. “Whitey” B.). There is a lot more to the story for another time and another day. Not common for an Expat Icelander living in a US Italian neighborhood taking advice from an Irish Bartender in an Irish Town…while running into a famous Irish Gangster (who lived in the Irish part of town) in the Italian section of Boston. Go figure…fahget about it…what a tangled web we weave.

 

 

 

For those who want a larger overview, separate but surrounding this piece visit & read:

http://bostonmobscene.blogspot.com/2005/01/mob-in-boston-1990s-until-early-2000s.html

 

 

Thanks For Reading & All Your Endless Support. My Readers Are Awesome!

Cheers and Bless!

CM ☕

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What do Sharon And Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads, Def Leppard, Anthony Bourdain, And Deep Sea Fishing All Have In Common – Cape Cod Massachusetts

[FIRST PASS EDIT – July 18, 2015] I will add more to this Article & Edit in the coming days!

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

It’s that time of year, time to head to the beach, sand, water, and sun of your local beach haunts for vacation.  It’s my favorite time of year to sit by the shore and listen to the soft splash of tiny rippled waves on the shore of the inner bay of Cape Cod. Only one of two places for east coasters to see the sun setting into the water to the west from the arm hook of the outer Cape in Truro, MA.  I have spent a week or two here every summer ever since I can remember.  The cottages are rustic and look to be built of driftwood, and overlook the Cape’s inner bay from atop a huge cliff, where one can sit and on a clear day and see the the full length of the inner arm of land from Sandwich to Provincetown.  I can assure you that it is absolutely breathtaking.  The cliff is so high that adjacent to our usual cottage on the hill, all day long, hand gliders launch from the peak and wind back and forth over the water until they descend back onto the sun dried black sea weed laden beach.  There is a winding wood stairwell that allows beach goers to go down to the tepid sea, so long is the stairs that there is a rest stop with benches about half way down the winding stairwell.

My time is based on the tidal schedule for each day, two high tides and two low tides, each separated by a six hour push and pull from the moon.  High tides are for catching rays, swimming, and beach volleyball…and on occasion fishing.  Low tides are for exploring and catching dinner.  What makes the low tides so special is that the ocean retreats for a good mile leaving teaming tidal pools of fish and sandbars loaded with Steamer Clams, Quahogs, Scallops, and large Red and Blue Crabs.  Just grab the rake out of the boot and a five gallon bucket with floaters and go nuts.  You can get the famous Wellfleet Oysters and Cherry Stones a few miles up the beach at the local seeding grounds.  The beaches are private but not exclusive as anyone can walk the length of them all the way to the tip of Cape Cod’s Race Point in Provincetown.  The good thing about this is that the beaches are not crammed with people and allow for a healthy catch of the sea’s bountiful fruit.

Every other year or so we get an extra special treat when millions of baby White Jellyfish are born and as you swim, all around you is an electric ocean full of gelatinous glee.  The just-born Jellyfish are only an inch to two inches in diameter and do not have the ability to sting yet.  I tell you friends this is nature in it’s most infinite form.  Yes I was intimidated at first being surrounded by these strange creatures, but as you swim and a sense of wonder takes over, one realizes that Rachel Carson is alive and well beside these wonders of nature.  The woman who owns all the cottages (who is legally blind by the way), every day runs her medium size metal boat with a yacht sized Evinrude Outboard Motor onto the shore and takes anyone who wants to go out deep into the bay to go fishing.  When the Bluefish are running there are so many wildly whacked out fish, that they sometimes jump right into the boat. Can it get any better than that?

I remember my Grandparents and the rest of my family sitting on the beach wasting the days away.  My grandfather would have on his pork-o-pie hat and a frosty cold cracked Black Horse or Ballantine Ale.  With a cooler by his side, under his beach chair he would always have his beloved heartbreaking Sox on a single speaker AM transistor radio.  Finishing off the look, rocking a hand carved Italian Briarwood Pipe packed with Sir Walter Raleigh Tobacco.  The thick grey smoke curled locks into the air and left a nutty sweet aroma on the beach which along with the salty brine air left me with an impression that I can call forth any time I want to experience it with eyes closed and a sly wry smile.

At the end of the day we would head back to the cottage for dinner and my grandmother would boil and fry anything I caught and we would all partake. Usually we would be eating   plenty of Cod, Flounder, and Fluke, but one time I caught a six foot Bull Shark and I ate shark steaks for weeks.  The Quahogs I dug up would be chopped up for New England Clam Chowder set in a stew of Pork Belly, Sweet Vidalia Onions, fresh Cream, Salted Butter, and hefty amounts of thyme and tender chunked potatoes. Raw Oysters and Cherrystones (Littleneck Clams) would serve as appetizer for a chocked meal of Lobster, Crab, Scallops, fresh shucked sugar corn (on the cob) along with the daily catch.  My favorite though was always the Steamer Clams, with purified drawn butter dipped in Steaming Clam Broth which I would drink down by the cup along with my every meal…even cold as a chaser for breakfast with endless wild blueberry buttermilk pancakes and tons of hot coffee.

After dinner we would go out and fly kites off the edge of the cliff as the sun went down in the distance.  One time a plane flying directly over us clipped one of the kite’s lines and flew away with it trailing and flailing in tow for a short while and then after a minute or so we watched the kite let go from the plane and slowly drift it’s way down into the deep ocean.  We would sit on picnic tables and plan the most exciting part of the day which would come right before sundown.

As I said at the point of twilight we would have a brigade of vehicles drive the few short miles to the tip of the cape at Provincetown.  This eccentric little enclave would provide us plenty of hand packed home made ice cream loads of salt water taffy, fried dough, and an assortment of other treats ( I loved the fruit slices, no pun intended).  What was so great about Provincetown besides the food and drink, was the eclectic people who at the time were a rare crowd based on respect and tolerance of “alternative lifestyles” (silly moniker that) but I remember a day when people were afraid to go there, worried their kids might catch some of the “good vibes” eminating from it’s core.  This was decades before celebrities would come out of the closet and it became trendy to do so.  The drag queens and leather bears would be out in full force…but one would quickly learn they were only the nicest and coolest crowd ever.  They would have DJ’s and bands playing music in the streets with parades and floats overflowing with gay pride.  How wonderful that there was such an oasis at that time…when it was considered taboo and even criminal in many other places.  Oh and by the way I never caught “gay” or felt intimidated or creeped out even as a child.  One thing that has changed as of today is that the crowd at that time who was struggling to be accepted by society are all now professionals and as a result, Provincetown has been affected by gentrification, sounds familiar…pretty normal.

Provincetown was originally a Portuguese Fishing Villiage for hundreds of years and you only had to go through one blinking yellow light all the way, several miles from Wellfleet to Provincetown.  Although fishing has become secondary to the town economy as a result of catch limits and overfishing, there are still the fighting few who live from year to year on the edge of defeat.  Provincetown was and is also a place where some of the most influential artists, writers, and playwrights in America have come seeking solace and solitude to live in totem pole shacks amongst the voracious dunes on The Cape Cod National Sea Shore.

I was prompted to write this piece recently for a few reasons…first it was one of my feel good summer posts, the next of which will be about another of my summer getaways, Maine.  After that I’ll focus on my trek across Canada and the Northwest US, with a few tour posts in between.  Second I was recently watching one of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown Episodes (On CNN) about the Outer Cape, Cape Cod, and Provincetown where Bourdain began his cooking journey in the early 1970’s.  Standing on the beach in front of the yellow house he and friends rented for a summer, Bourdain talked about his first bag of dope and his foray into cooking and washing dishes, learning the ropes at a Provincetown restaurant.  I wonder if they ever hazed him and sent him to another restaurant to get “The Fry-o-Later Key”.

The funny thing was while he was pointing out the house…I knew exactly which one it was in Truro, right were I always vacation.  I used to walk by his back door almost every day during my long walks on the beach (he did say that he was only there for a summer methinks).  Trying not to be creepy or stalkerish here-as I am a fan…heheh!  I got to thinking will this house one day be a point of pilgrimage for aspiring foodies…don’t worry I will not post the address…saving the poor owners of that cottage a whole lot of headaches.  We all know what it’s like at Jim Morrison’s[sic] grave in Paris.  Silly to go there I know…I don’t know Bourdain although we were “friends” on Facebook (until I shut it down)  a few years back, but now as his legend has grown he seems to avoid me like the plague on twitter, although I have gone back and forth with Zamir (that’s just as good).  I just dig his writing and travels…maybe it’s the cavalier drug references I make with so many dying in it’s wake of destruction.  I know it’s a serious subject, drug addiction in MA, people are overdosing and dying all the time.  I have been there myself and it’s very sad the damage it’s causing, sucks. My writing is nowhere near as good as his so why would he notice anyway. His publicist is probably thinking in his hashtag feed, who is this douchebag who mentions his name. Note to self…do not go on tangents.

Ok…to get to the title of this article.  It was August 7, 1981 and I was staying at the usual summer cottage in Truro, Cape Cod.  Across the sand packed road from our humble abode I met another kid who was staying in the cottage across the street.  So we were hanging out listening to music in his room when his uncle showed up to stay with his family.  He comes in the room and says something to the effect ‘that they were going to have a blast this vacation, that he brought all his Warren Zevon, Boz Scaggs, and Journey Albums on Vinyl.’  After that announcement he tells us what we’re doing tonight, “going to see Ozzy Osbourne and Def Leppard at The Cape Cod Coliseum.”  At first I thought he meant just them, but he then pulled out four tickets and demanded that I go too.  I was a big Ozzy fan but I had never heard of Def Leppard.  Go figure, I did not know anything about Randy 810Rhoads either, except that he was the guitarist on the album.  For some reason I thought of the Blizzard of Oz band was all Ozzy for some reason…I was a big Sabbath fan as well.   It was the Blizzard Of Oz Tour and I did have the Blizzard of Oz album which my aunt had bought for me and I had listened to over and over a thousand times in the previous few months since it’s release.

The problem was that there was no way my parents were going to let me go to an Ozzy concert at such a young age.  I did not even know they were playing practically up the street from us in South Yarmouth, MA.  I remember seeing a flyer at the time for the tour in a rock magazine and it specifically stated “Do Not Come To This Show If You Have Mental Tendencies Because You Will Leave Even More Mental” which we all know now that was all just publicity fluff, but the word going around the neighborhood at home at the time was that it was true and Ozzy killed animals live onstage.  All silly hogwash (pretty much anyway lol). There were tons of rumors floating around at the time that Ozzy would throw live puppies into the audience and would not perform unless they came back onstage dead.  Oh and there where the Alice Cooper Vs. Ozzy gross out challenge rumors.  You get the picture…all a load of shit of course.

So when I said there was no way I was going to be able to go, my new friend replied …’Just tell your parents you are going to stay here for the night and then you can come.’  Ah ok…good one, I thought.  So I went to our cottage and went through the motions and the rents were fine with that outright lie.  I grabbed a sleeping bag and pillow and went back to my friend’s cottage…we cranked up some Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, one last problem, I had no money.  My friend’s uncle said ‘Don’t worry about it…the ticket is on me’.  So soon after, we hopped in the back of my his uncles pickup truck and took off for the 815show.  We got there a little early for the tailgate party and the air was ripe with dope smoke and everyone was pounding beers.  I think it was probably the only show I’ve ever gone to sober.  You know how metal shows are…everyone was screaming obnoxiously great stuff. Ozzy, Ozzy, Ozzy, ya know!

So we went into the show and I now know it was Def Leppard’s High ‘n’ Dry Tour.  They came out and tore the roof off the place…they fucking rocked.  My God, Steve Clark was something else, and Joe Elliot’s voice was hitting all the high notes solid! Remember I had never heard of them, so I got on them real quick.  Then when “Pyromania” came out a few years later and blew the doors of America…I mean wow, just wow.  They were no Clash or anything but they were a fun party band for sure.

I said ‘a’ WELCOME TO MY SHOOOOOOOOW!!!

Def Leppard Setlist at Cape Cod Coliseum, South Yarmouth, MA, USA Aug 9 1981
Venue: Cape Cod Coliseum, South Yarmouth, MA, USA
Tour: High ‘n’ Dry Tour

On Through the Night
It Could Be You
It Don’t Matter
Another Hit and Run
Lady Strange
Rock Brigade
High & Dry (Saturday Night)

Note: People were screaming “Ozzy, Ozzy” throughout their whole set…the band played on undeterred.

 

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

Then It was time for Ozzy…wait a second, it was time for Randy Rhoads.  Randy came out, this tiny figure with bushy blonde hair (he looked like a girl) and I was right in front of him about ten rows back in General Admission, and once he started to play no one in could take their eyes off him.  He was the star that night!  The sound, the phrasing, the tone (for the time) was massive and precise. I am a BIG Eddie Van Halen fan, and I was watching Randy and all I could think was this guy is at least as good, if not better (could it be true or contact high).  When I look back I think it was just a different style of playing as Randy wrote all his riffs in the vein of a  Classical Music Trained Musician…really EVH was still the technical king, I just preferred Randy’s style more, as I had never heard a guitar played that way in America (A few guitarists at that time in Europe Like Blackmore, Schenker, and Roth were blending hard rock with classical guitar, but it was new).  It was really cool to hear two tracks of Diary Of A Madman which had already been recorded but not released yet.  “Believer” and “Flying High Again” really stood out because they were awesome tracks but I had never heard them before.  I remember thinking where the hell did these songs come from…years later it would be common knowlege that both “Blizzard” and “Diary” were recorded right after the other, I think within the same year.

So I had seen Randy’s name on the album but it did not connect with me at the time at just 5970_1187535964119_7451457_nhow special he really was.  As a matter of fact it is common knowlege that Randy was talking of leaving Ozzy’s band because he wanted to explore new avenues of playing guitar.  It was also in his nature that he never stopped yearning to learn new ways of playing the guitar.  It was a running joke in the band the lengths he would always go to take lessons from other guitarists while on tour with Ozzy. Truth is he was just plain happy with teaching guitar to others as he had done for many years at his mother’s music school (Musonia) before joining Oz.  Sadly Randy was just on the cusp of shaking up the guitar world when he was killed at the age of twenty-five in a senseless plane crash on March 19, 1982.  He was gone way too soon but he left a legacy that shook the music world to the core, that can still be felt to this day.  Whenever I hear “Crazy Train” played at like every sporting event in the US, I say to the people around me, “That’s Randy Rhoads”…I get the usual reply “who is that”, and I think to myself he’s only the guy that wrote the guitar for that song and every other song on “Diary Of A Madman” and “Blizzard Of Oz”…and they subsequently insist that the song is by Ozzy Osbourne.  I say politely in return “No it’s not. He’s the vocalist.”

I love you Oz…no offense…I just use that twist to drive home a point. Bless!

Randy lives in spirit with His Mother Delores Rhoads, Brother Kelle Rhoads, Sister Kathy Rhoads D’Argenzio, & His Fiance Jodi Raskin Vigier. Bless!

Yes, I have had a good chat with his Sweet Mother Delores Rhoads several years back, it’s pretty cool…someday on an anniversary I will publish part of the text.  She is an Amazing woman and Music Teacher at the age of 95 years young.

 

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Ozzy Osbourne Setlist at Cape Cod Coliseum, South Yarmouth, MA, USA
August 9 1981
Venue: Cape Cod Coliseum, South Yarmouth, MA, US
Tour: Blizzard of Ozz (Second Leg)

O Fortuna (Carl Orff song)
I Don’t Know
Crazy Train
Believer
Mr. Crowley
Flying High Again
Revelation (Mother Earth)
Steal Away (The Night)
Drum Solo (Tommy Aldridge)
Suicide Solution
Guitar Solo (Randy Rhoads)
Iron Man (Black Sabbath song)
Children of the Grave (Black Sabbath song)

Encore:
Paranoid (Black Sabbath song)

 

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

 

These are a quick sampling of Randy’s Solo’s that I heard that night…I shall never forget!

 

 

 

How Randy Rhoads Passed…

 

Note:

The next day after the show on Cape Cod in August of 1981, Ozzy wanted to go deep sea fishing and as they had the following day off… Ozzy, Sharon, Rudy, & Ross +2, chartered a sailboat to go deep sea fishing in the waters off Cape Cod.  There are several photos of them that exist from this trip (I have them in my possession) but I could not get the go ahead from the photographer, Ozzy caught a small fish and passed out on the deck drunk. Everyone looked like they where having a great time…Mr. Bourdain knows a thing or two about catching live fish while taping for a show. Respect.

Anyway here’s a link to a few of the photos on the boat off Cape Cod from Rudy Sarzo’s Book – Off The Rails.  Rudy’s a great guy and his book is a great read…he was close to Randy and has the deepest respect for him. So here’s a link to his book as well. Bless!!!

Cape Cod Deep Sea Fishing Boat Photos:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/29751236@N05/

 

 

Rudy Sarzo – “Off The Rails”:

http://www.rudysarzo.com/book/

or @ Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Off-Rails-Aboard-Crazy-Blizzard/dp/097969289X

 

More on Randy Rhoads:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randy_Rhoads

randyr

 

 

More Interesting Articles and Reviews to come.

Cheers and Bless!

 

CM ☕

 

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine

Photographer Doc…Doc’s Shots #16 [Sample Gallery Mega Post]

Today Up On Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server :

 

Time for another Doc Photo Post! I want to welcome my new followers from Twitter and the interwebs. As I said before we have so much amazing history to show in photos. This 745632jjpost is only another sampling of the 1000′s of amazing and rare photos I have from the Doctor which he has bestowed upon us! If you see a photo you know already, the doctor had his hands involved in it or at least through his friendship with the great Ross Halfin and other of our generations greatest music photographers. It’s going to take me years to post the best and I’m honored to do it here. One day Doc will be known more for his art than his real job, lead rigger for “The Monster”. So here we will publicly post and archive his Art of Photography.

 

fnmhkkhhr

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You’re welcome to join me on Twitter if you want and I’ll follow you back as well.

https://twitter.com/Christ_Machine

Thanks For Reading and as always for you’re support…Now we can get down to business!

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You ain’t seen nuthin yet!

Thanks Doc your the bestest.

 

Thanks, as always, for your support.

Cheers and Bless Bless!

 

CM ☕

 

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine