Category Archives: Jack’s Bootleg o’ the Week

These are some of Jack’s favorite board mixes throughout the years. Some of these haven’t even seen the light of day… until now.

OBN IIIs – Rockin Spins / Worries (Live at Beerland, 7/25/14)

OBN IIIs – Rockin Spins / Worries (Live at Beerland 7/25/14)

Our friends the OBN IIIs have gone through a bit of a personnel change during the past few months. Orville Bateman Neeley III is now fronting the band behind his guitar and Monster Marley is still pounding on the best tuned drum kit in Austin. Lead guitarist Terror Tom has added a whole new dynamic as he intermeshes guitars with Orville. And Young Michael is now picking up the bass and back up vocals.

So we went down to the always cool Beerland Texas on July 25th to cover live sound and help kick things off for the new ensemble’s record release party in true ass kicking style. If you think the new album Third Time to Harm is good, just wait until you hear these two live songs from it. What you are about to hear is proof that great bands can belt it out live just as well on stage as in the studio. Now I’ll just shut up and let the OBN IIIs music do the rest of the talking. Turn it up and enjoy.

The Lyres Spit on the Local Scene, 7-18-80

Lyres – Don’t Give it Up Now – How Do You Know

This is a live room mic recording I made of a Lyres mix I did at Spit back in 1980. Unfortunately the low end there always sounded like you were mixing sound in a subway tunnel. Spit never advertised its bands. We’d simply put a black curtain up in front of the stage every Friday night; and come midnight, you got whoever we got for you. THIS night, we played the Lyre’s single over the DJ system, then I faded Jeff’s organ up through the PA, as Oedipus faded down the single and someone dropped the curtain. The crowd response was actually surprisingly good. I also threw in that night’s mix of my fave Lyres song, “How Do You Know.” Like I said, pardon the room acoustics and the mix. But in my opinion, the band’s performance was great. So kick back, turn it up, and enjoy!

A Thanksgiving Surprise

Thanksgiving Surprise

So I’m writing this on Thanksgiving Day 2013. And I am just SO thankful I’ve been able to live my life the way I always wanted, as a Rock and Roll Soundman. I’m thankful I didn’t spend my life working at a job I hated, or worse yet, married to some poor girl I no longer loved. I’m also thankful for the many great bands I’ve had to honor to work for, to help bring their music out to the masses. This, in my opinion, is real rock and roll public service. What you’re about to hear is very special to me. I had just finished mixing one of the best sets of one of the best rock bands I’d ever worked with. I was then confronted by every sound guy’s worst nightmare. The band walked back on stage and I had just dumped the mix! Luckily I hadn’t normalled out the board. So the band began to play once again and, I threw up the faders. Everything was totally out of control. I was out of control behind the board, the band was out of control on stage, and most important, the crowd was out of control all over the club. Then it ALL came together perfectly, just like REAL fawking rock and roll SHOULD. Yeah, I let the backing vocal get away from me. But knowing the back up singer as I did, I’m SURE he had no problem with that. And once the singing stopped, I rode those instrument faders right up over the top, red lining the system well into limiter land. Thank God Allan, the house engineer, kept the recorder running because mixing this song had to be one of the best seven minutes in my life. I am very THANKFUL for that. For any REAL Boston rocker, neither this band or this song needs any introduction. And for all my young musician friends down here in Austin, all I can say is; “Listen and Learn kiddies!” HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!


Boys Life – Man I Once Was – Person I Wanted to Be CBGB’s 01-29-82

Jack CBGBs

So it was January of 1982, just a few months after my disaster partying with Iggy down at Spit/Metro.
By then, I’d been going to AA for several months trying to stay clean and sober. On August 5th 1981 I was mixing Iggy’s opening act, The Dark. What happened after the show was historic for me. Iggy and I broke out together and were each involved in separate car accidents on the way back to his hotel from Landsdown Street. Iggy’s accident was minor; mine was not. I totaled a Hanley Audio company van, almost killed myself and another person, and got charged with Driving Under the Influence. Because I already had two open cases resulting in Probation, this spelled BIG legal trouble for me. Now The Neighborhoods and some other friends had done a benefit for me down at The Rat a year before, a “legal benefit” to raise funds for our lawyer to represent me. My lawyer stuck with me on this new case, but my old friends did not. Spit offered me a date for a NEW legal benefit, but I had to find a good headliner if I was going to be able to pay my good, but expensive, lawyer enough money to stay out of prison. This was no joke. My lawyer actually collected the money right off the Spit door with John Tasse, Jerry, and Tommy Nicoletti.

But before all of that could happen, I had to find a headliner. That was when 18 year old John Surrette called me up and offered Boys Life up to headline IF I would do a show with them up at some High School in New Hampshire a week or so before. Of course I agreed; Boys Life was getting pretty popular. Then John told me that if things worked out, they just might be able to use me as their regular Soundman. Now THAT really insulted me. What BALLS I thought! I remember replying with something like; ”What makes you think that a sound guy of MY caliber would even CONSIDER working regularly with a bunch of kids like you?” His quick comeback hit me like a sledgehammer right between my eyes. He said; ”Listen, Jack, the word on the scene is YOU’RE all washed up. You totaled a truck, you’re a drunk, you can’t stay sober, and no one on the scene wants anything to do with you anymore. Now we don’t drink, we don’t do drugs, we’re the only totally SOBER band in Boston. And quite frankly, working with us would probably be your last fucking chance at Rock and Roll!” After I recovered from his brutal honesty, I humbly accepted his offer. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The Dark and The Phantoms rounded out the bill. My lawyer saved my ass for the third time, I never went to prison, I eventually kissed goodbye to three Probation Officers, spent several years working with Boys Life, and I’ve been 100% clean and sober since August 7th of 1981. Fact is, I don’t know if I had been able to do it without Boys Life AND our young roadie, my then little brother, John Bionelli, those first few years. Even if I HAD managed to stay clean and sober, I probably could not have stayed sober working in Rock and Roll. I will be forever grateful to those guys.

Anyways, this recording is of my first trip down to CBGBs as soundman for the boys of my then new life. I mixed and recorded it at about five and a half months sober. As we were loading out in Malden, Johnny B told me about a new song John wrote called The Man I Once Was. He told me John wanted me to know the song was about some drunk he and his girlfriend met in a move theater. I preferred his song Person I Wanted to Be instead, so I’m including both.

I’m also including a pic someone took of me behind the CBGBs board drinking a huge mug of coffee. I drank a LOT of coffee in Rock and Roll bars back then. After 31 years I noticed something in the picture I never noticed before. There is a sign on the wall saying it would cost you $5 to record your set there. That house soundman at CBGBs must have seen me coming; he always charged ME ten!

A Giant Dog – Dammit Pomegranate + Pins and Needles – Live at Beerland

A Giant Dog – Dammit Pomegranate – Pins and Needles

A Giant Dog

After I first moved to Austin, it took me awhile to find the best little rock club down here. Then one night, my friend Jake Garcia convinced to pay a $7 cover to check out some friends of his who were playing down at a little club called Beerland. It turned out to be the best $7 that I ever spent down here.

Inside that little “box of rock,” I saw a band called A Giant Dog for the first time. I knew Sabrina, the lead singer, from her earlier job at Casino el Camino, a poplular 6th street bar famous for its burgers and having “the best rated juke box in town.“ Sabrina belted out vocals which reminded me of Janis Joplin while guitarists Andrew and Andy kicked ass with respective leads and rhythms; a solid tight powerful rhythm section comprised of Graham on bass, and Orville on drums, drove the band forward like a Mack truck. And THAT was just the half of it, Beerland instantly reminded me of the old Cantone’s up in Boston. You could instantly feel the excitement of new rock and roll literally being born right before of you! The club had the same type of small intimate stage we all enjoyed back on Boston’s Broad Street. But unlike the Cantone’s of old, Beerland actually has its own little, but quality, PA and lighting systems.

Subsequent trips down there introduced me to a whole new and exciting punk scene happening here in Austin. Simply put, Beerland is a great little club down at 711 Red River Street, the heart of Austin’s live music scene. And just like old Cantone’s, it’s THE cool little club where most of the town’s BEST bands get their start. It didn’t take me long to meet the key people down there, a great crew of people who reminded me greatly of the old Cantone’s family of musicians and fans. These are the same kind of people who put the music first by going out of their way to take care of each other, the bands that play there and all those who support them. In MY experience, its not big radio stations, big chain clubs, or big money “Battle of the Bands” competitions that make a strong and healthy rock scene somewhere, it’s small independent clubs like Cantone’s and Beerland that do. This is basically what I moved down here to be a part of. For me, this is like reliving 1977 all over again!

All that being said, AJ and I will be posting a lot more live music captured down there at Beerland, the heart of Austin‘s local music scene. But for now, turn up the volume and check out our friends A Giant Dog recorded live right off the board down at Beerland, here in “ The Live Music Capital of the World.”

The Outlets – Whole New World – Live on WERS

The Outlets – Whole New World – Live on WERS

I know it was Thanksgiving Night; I think it was 1984. I had just finished having dinner with my family down in Brockton. My Aunt Mary and Uncle Don had driven me all the way back into Boston and were dropping me off in front of the Emerson College radio studios on Beacon Street. My family never understood the importance of making it to a gig on time, even IF it was a family holiday like Thanksgiving. Any truly pro musician or tech knows exactly what I’m talking about. This is what separates us not only from the amateurs, but from all of our nine to five working world friends who still don’t understand us and unfortunately never will be able to. This is who we are and this is what we do.

I had been working with a band called Boys Life for the past 3 or so years then. Their bassist Joe McCormick had recently left the band and had been almost immediately recruited by a band called The Outlets. Joe replaced previous Outlets bassist Whitey.

Now Boys Life and The Outlets had been engaged in a long lasting competition with each other. They had put out a single together back around 1980, after which things had gotten a bit touchy. They say it started when Boys Life’s singer, John Surrett, lost his girlfriend to The Outlets’ rhythm guitarist Ricky Barton. Joe was a young father and had formed a friendship with Ricky who had just fathered a baby boy with John Surrett’s ex. John always seemed to find it amusing how he had “missed that bullet.” 

Anyways, things got even weirder when Cathy Logue took over management duties for the Outlets and asked me to come on board as their temporary Sound Engineer. This did not please Boys Life. The way I saw it, Joe McCormick was my friend and I wanted to support him. I also liked The Outlet’s music quite a lot. So we did a few gigs, some actually with Boys Life, me mixing both bands on the same bill the same night. At some point later, I left Boys Life and eventually brought our roadie John Bionelli onto the crew.

So this Thanksgiving night gig was pretty interesting. WERS had just got a new board they wanted their engineer to mix them through this big new console they had just set up a new studio with. I basically steam rolled over the radio station crew telling them that >I< was The Outlet’s soundman and that was it. I blew off their big new console and set the band up through a little 12 channel Tangent board and did the mix through a set of Beyer headphones. Johnny B wasn’t with us yet, it was just me, the band, and our then roadie and friend Springa. This may not be the best quality recording I have of The Outlets, but it’s certainly one of my favorites because it captures my friend Joe singing and also shows the band’s collective off mic personality. More important, it’s a snap shot in time, a time when the Outlets and I were simply out there just having a good time together. This was back before everything got so serious, back before Springa led Boston’s Hardcore scene with his SS Decontrol , before Rick Barton co-founded The Dropkick Murphys, before I went to work for the Governor ‘s Office running sound at The Hatch Shell, and well before Johnny B went on the become Aerosmith’s Assistant Tour Manager for two decades. This was back when we were all true professionals, but were still having fun at it. This recording captures a period in my career which reminds me a LOT of what I’m seeing down here in 2013’s Austin scene, lots of talented professional musicians literally having the times of their lives. Oh yeah, this is one you might want to turn up to catch the beginning chatter. Then just let the volume stay up there. Enjoy…… Jack

Jack’s Bootleg of the Week – 3

OBN III’s – “No Enemies

So this young bass player came to intern in the shop one day and told me about one of the bands he played in, a band called The OBN IIIs. Well one thing led to another and I found myself down at The Mohawk Club mixing an outdoor show for them. The band and I fit like a glove, what a great talented group of guys. So now I work with them pretty regularly. Anyways, this was my first show with them and this was my pick of that mix. I’ll dedicate this one to anyone who I have ever managed to piss off; yeah, I guess there’s been a few over the years 😉 But after all is said and done, truth is I don’t need NO ENEMIES.