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Advice Crush: Dear Boogie

December 22, 2010
Disclaimer: the advice provided by Brendan Boogie do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Boston Band Crush management. It should also be noted that Brendan sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake, mostly with his high-powered binoculars from the tree outside your window.

Dear Brendo,
Everyone on BBC is doing their 2010 lists. Where’s yours, lazy?
Dick Clark’s Balls Are Dropping


I’m glad you asked. Just to piss off the people with OCD, I present the “Official Brendan Boogie Top 11 People/Places/Things That Made My 2010 A Better Year:”

11. Ad Frank – With Your Secrets Are Mine Now, this annoyingly talented son of a bitch came out with my favorite record of the year [editor’s note: this album was released in 2009]. Again. Damn him and his witty, heartbreaking, and effortlessly melodic tour de force. Ad is the only guy I know that croon a lyric like “Are you really going to Spain with that humorless amazon?” and make it simultaneously hilarious and also the most obvious, heartfelt sentiment in the world. How does get away with it? The prick.

10. The Rosebud – In what seems like a mere few months, a forgotten Italian restaurant that no one knew about behind a dining car has turned into one of the neighborhood hubs of local rock. Armed with nothing but the sweat on her plucky Irish brow, bartender/booker Amy McGrath has built us more than just a thriving local music venue for bands of all draws to shine. She has built us a home. Despite the Rosebud’s upstart status, many more “venerable” venues around town could learn an important lesson from Amy: treat the bands that work hard for you right and everybody wins.

9. This Blue Heaven – When I saw their CD release show at the Middle East, I remember posting something along the lines of “It’s incredible to watch a band ascend to the next level right before my eyes.” For me, This Blue Heaven stands out among our peers because of their pure, sincere strive for transcendence. In my book, it takes a hell of a lot more guts to go for the perfect uplifting pop song than some ironic art-rock (and ultimately risk-free) bullshit. With TBH, there’s blissfully no artifice. MacKenzie can’t help being sincere – she’s from Iowa (or Idaho or something like that). And did you hear Stu shred the Eddie Van Halen solo at Mixtape 1984? Holy smokes.

8. Kickstarter – While some very smart people with some very ridiculous moustaches rightly question whether it is a great model for bands, the bottom line is that Kickstarter helped a lot of musicians make records this year. Time will tell whether the Kickstarter approach will burn us all out as dozens of bands at a time hold annoying individual PBS-style pledge drives all over our internets. But in the big picture, the realization that the “getting signed” fantasy is gone and that we have to fund music ourselves is a positive development. In the past few years, bands have lamented the demise of the big time music industry. This year, we started to do something about it. Plus, Kickstarter gave us great records from Aloud and The Rationales (coming soon), so it’s worth it for that alone.

7. Roy Orbison – I’m going to come clean. I usually never let ‘em see me sweat, but singing as Mr. O at the Traveling Wilburys Cover-Up this year made me nerrrrrrrrrrrrrrvous. Those high notes with that soft, controlled tone and subtle changes – playing the songs of Roy Orbison quite frankly took me and my band to school. But pulling it off was one of the single most enjoyable performance experiences of my life. I’m so lucky I get to do it again on New Year’s Eve (plug plug plug).

6. Rejecting promoters – For a while there, I was a little worried. It seemed like the writing was on the wall. Promoters who short-sell the scene by with their myopic booking decisions and predatory payment schemes seemed to be taking over some of our most reliable and important music venues. All of a sudden, established mid-level bands were being eschewed for first-time bands who could fill the room with friends and relatives for one (and only one) show. Marketing people were trying to morph us into them, their practices encouraging bands to spend more time on their “draw” than their actual “playing.” So this year, many of us just simply stopped booking with them. We found our own venues to play (like the aforementioned Rosebud and a handful of others) that treated us right and didn’t take huge cuts of our door for “promotion.” And the shows continued to do well and audiences continued to go home happy. We finally realized that as the talent, we are the ones with the balls. And if we don’t like the way you’re treating us, we will take said balls and go the fuck home.

5. Ashley Willard – I know, I know… it’s a little indulgent to sing the praises of the Boston Band Crush editor-in-chief right here ON Boston Band Crush, but it’s the holidays and I’m full of egg nog and good cheer. Beyond just having the perilous duty of overseeing a group of loose cannon, passionate, probably alcoholic bloggers on this space, Ashley Willard is simply a force for good in the universe. Her CV speaks for itself – she helmed a second successful One Night Band and the amazing Friends of Emilia benefit concert this year. Moreover, she has an amazing gift of bringing people together. My favorite thing about Ashley is that whenever I come up with a ridiculous, hair-brained scheme, her first reaction is always “Yes! Do it!” In a world of negativity and doubt, Ashley is that voice that tells me (and a lot of other people) “Let’s do this. We’re going to work our asses off on it and it’s going to be awesome.” And then she does. And it always is.

4. Collaboration – If you’re reading this, chances are that at some point this year I have written a song with you. What’s more, the spirit of collaboration is spreading around this town like so much sweet, collaborative herpes. Through events like Mixtape, One Night Band, and (if I may humbly brag) The Cover-Up, Boston bands are getting more and more chances to interact with each other in unique non-competitive environments. This year, musicians seemed more willing than ever to jump into side projects, one-time bands, and fill-ins just for the pure fun and joy of sharing music. Collaboration has finally trumped competition. It’s like we all realized that we’re all we’ve got. And this, my fellow music makers, is a very good thing.

3. Nate Leavitt – Speaking of collaboration, I hesitate to write about the awesomeness that is Blizzard of ‘78’s Nate Leavitt because you’re all going to want to steal him away from me. This year, I’ve played in Nate’s band (Parlour Bells) and he’s played in mine (The Best Intentions) plus various and sundry other projects we have done together. Besides being an absolute shredder on guitar, Nate is a consummate pro, a true gentleman, and a good hang. I’d take him into battle any day.

2. Magen Tracy – What can I say about my music wife? Besides her stellar work with St. Helena and Low Static Romance, Magen has been busy with all sorts of projects this year (Sophie from Highly Personal Trash joked “Magen will say yes to everyone’s band… musically speaking”). No matter what she’s playing, Magen’s performance is always infused with wisdom, wit, and sensuality. Writing music with her is an absolute gift. During almost all of the most meaningful moments of my year, Magen was on my right side behind her keyboard. I can’t wait til next year.

1. My 3-year old niece – When we were playing house last week (“playing house” usually means “order Uncle Brendan around”), I asked her what she wanted me to do. She said, “You lay down and go to sleep. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and go downstairs and wreck the place.” And THAT, my friends, is rock and fucking roll.

Soundtrack to your misery: Ad Frank “A Note On the Type”

Need some help with that Christmas fruit cake? Shoot Brendan an email at or fill in the frosty anonymous submission form below:

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