Monday, June 19, 2006
The Woodrose Ballroom
I have my story. You all have yours. The time, place, and band that was your first musical religious experience. It was 1969. I was 17 and living in a rural town in western Massachusetts. The only live rock bands I'd ever seen were my chronological contemporaries performing pale imitations of the songs of the moment at high school dances. Around the same time, two guys from Boston bought an old roller skating rink in a town even smaller than Shelburne Falls, 15 miles down the road in South Deerfield. They called it The Woodrose Ballroom. I walked in there and saw The J Geils Blues Band. (pictured above) They turned on a dime. The Ballroom shook. Sparks flew. Lead singer Peter Wolf had to have springs in his sneakers. He sang and jumped all over that stage like a wolf on Acme Crank in a Chuck Jones cartoon. Magic Dick's harp sliced us all in half. The Woodrose must have had connections because they had some kick ass bands in there including James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, and even The Velvet Underground.
Things change. In 1970, I went in the Navy for 4 years, and when I returned The Woodrose was gone and there was an auction house in it's place. Whatever that magic was, I believe it's happening somewhere to some 17 year old, in some small joint right now somewhere in the world. Thanks to J Geils and The Woodrose Ballroom for making it happen to me.