Posted on Thursday, Jan 31
Charlie McKenzie’s dream was to manage a successful rock group.
He spent his days working for a record company and his nights, every one of them, in rock and roll venues searching for that group.
In the world of rock and roll professionals, Charlie McKenzie stood out for his warmth and generosity.
He loved people.
Wanted everyone to thrive.
His business decisions always blurred because of his dread of another getting hurt or even just losing out.
And he stood out by virtue of his size, towering over most people, with a bulk that made him formidable.
Not a force that one wanted to piss off.
But with Charlie that was hard to do.
Although the volcano did erupt from time to time, usually because Charlie thought someone was trying to screw him over.
His ears, which could detect a hit song in recording studios, on demo tapes, or playing live in funky bars.
For a long time, Charlie was one step behind, investigating a song and its makers only to discover they already had representation.
Then came the tape that chattered his teeth.
A local rock group that had been turned down by the music labels and unrepresented by other management.
One night Charlie rushed into Dom’s restaurant asking to use the telephone to call Los Angeles.
He reached Paul Ahern, farther advanced in the industry than he, and played the tape for him.
Paul also loved it.
The two agreed on a partnership and approached the group’s founder and musical force, Tom Scholz, with a management offer.
In a stunningly short time the group moved from unknown to internationally famous, setting records for debut albums, theirs entitled eponymously, Boston.
Charlie was now himself famous and rich.
He bought a boat, a Mercedes, a home on Beacon Hill, and a home on Squaw Island, adjacent to mine, we, two of the ten homes on the island off Hyannisport, Ma, Jack Kennedy’s summer White House one of the other ten.
Sorry. Couldn’t resist dropping that name.
I mean, come on.
Charlie was famous and rich for all of ten minutes.
But what a ten-minute.
Running through million of dollars.
Spending much of it on unsavories.
Including a raft of low-life hangers-on and dropouts.
And losing some of it in bad investments.
And losing his position as the band’s co-manager.
And lost, himself.
But ever charming.
Sub rosa, he.
Running from the police one night.
Loving his daughter whom he rarely saw.
Sorry for not being a better father.
Not sorry for much else.
Charlie McKenzie achieved his dream.
And he lived his dream.
Not a long life, but the one he chose.
I loved Charlie.
And tears comes into my eyes as I write.
Thursday, January 31, 2019
My 294th consecutive posting, committed to 5,000.
Time is 12.01am.
On Thursday, Boston’s temperature will reach a high of 16* with a feels-like temperature of 0*.
But according to the Blog’s Winter Calendar, Jan2 to Feb13, we have only 13 days remaining to our winter.
Then our ‘shoulder season’ calendar starts; although no great shakes it.
Dinner is huge rib eye steak from Eataly, presented well and sale-priced so attractively that I had to indulge.
Wish now that I had bought some of their mushrooms: again, so well presented.
Question of the Day:
Who was the rock group ‘Boston?’
Love your notes.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have begun reading your book about the assimilation of Italos into American culture. Love the stories! I hope I will learn, by the end of it, how you happened to become a culinary wizard from such humble, unlikely beginnings. Of course, every paragraph I read about the delightful dishes and their preparation and presentation just makes me salivate.
Speaking of food (again!), Phillip and I enjoyed a most pleasurable culinary treat on Saturday evening. ….Phillip said, “Let’s go down to Route One and see what we find,” knowing that there is quite a variety of restaurants there. Doing so, we spotted The Continental, which has been there forever, of course, but which neither of us had ever set foot in. I’ve always heard great reviews about it. So in we went.
No wait at all. The place was busy but not mobbed, the ambiance comfortable without being ostentatious. I figured it was likely quite a bit more highly priced than what our budget usually allows for, but what the heck – it was my birthday. But looking at the menu, I could see that the prices were noticeably higher than our usual haunts, but not outrageously so. Already the atmosphere and attention to detail proved the worth. One of the wait staff was immediately at our table, placing a doughnut-hole-like pastry on a small plate for each of us, and poured a spoonful of a sweet cherry sauce over it. Tasty! Then (what I now know are famous) hot popovers arrived, followed by a small basket of crackers and a small bowl of a simple but tasty bean dip – tartar sauce with a touch of horseradish and red beans. Phillip really liked that.
We ordered the calamari for an appetizer, and it was fall-apart tender. We like it a lot, and are not surprised or put off by the usually rubbery texture, but this was very tender. I got to thinking that they may pressure-cook it for a minute before breading and frying it. The marinara sauce was strongly infused with a sweet onion flavor, which made another good impression on Phillip, who is partial to onions in any form, cooked or raw. The salads came with fresh-baked dinner rolls and cubes of pumpkin bread, followed shortly by Phillip’s bone-in 16-oz. prime rib and my broiled swordfish steak, which must have weighed in at at least ¾ pound. Most restaurants will fill you up on carbs so they can skimp on the main course – not this place. Phillip’s prime rib was a glorious piece of beef. My swordfish was very lightly breaded, and butter just barely dripped from it. I asked for it cooked medium-rare, and that’s how it came. It was all we could do to clean up our plates – there was no room for dessert, but we enjoyed perusing the dessert menu. We may go back sometime just for dessert!
Web Meister Responds: Thanks for your kind words re: the book. And happy that you had such a nice time and are willing to share it.
BTW: Sally’s book reference, “Dom’s, an Odyssey,” is available for sale on this site or by using the email to contact me.
Answer to Question of the Day:
Go to Wiki and get the full details of Tom Scholz and the rest of the group.
Permit me to add a personal take.
One night, Charlie McKenzie walks into the restaurant towing a bunch of very young men.
He calls me aside.
This is his band Boston, and tomorrow they are leaving on a one-year tour as opening act for, and here I forget who the main act was. In any case, Boston was their warm-up band.
Charlie wanted to launch the tour in style, by taking them out for an elegant dinner.
But he had no money.
Charlie knew there was no way I would refuse an accommodation.
Over the past two years he had become a steady customer of the restaurant, often as part of the entourage of other performers and managers.
He was one of the boys.
So they stayed and the young men were duly impressed, leaving with more than a feeling that the future so bright they were gonna need shades.
I did enjoin them: “When you become stars, don’t forget this …dinner.”
Just about a year later they returned to Boston, the city, having dropped their role as warm-up band and become international stars, their album becoming the most popular debut album in history.
And indeed, they did not forget that launch dinner, becoming good and steady customers of the restaurant.
Fran Sheehan asked a lot of questions about food and wine, especially wine, and I was happy for him when he invested some of his earnings in a North Shore restaurant. I have forgotten both the name of that restaurant and how long it lasted.
In an unfortunately short time, three years, maybe, I found myself meeting alone with Tom Scholz, discussing terms of Charlie McKenzie’s separation from the band. It was a sad meeting. Tom was totally appreciative of Charlie’s role in promoting the band but couldn’t live with what Tom considered Charlie’s dissolute life style.
In an unfortunately short time after that separation, Charlie backed Dick Wagner, a successful, talented rocker, in his effort to produce a solo album.
Charlie, grasping at straws, spending the last of his money.
The euphoria of Charlie’s rock-star lifestyle coming to an end.
Good morning on this Thursday, January 31
We met Charlie Mackenzie.
We talked about the cold, cold weather.
Sally shared her experience in a Route 1 restaurant.
And we were treated to a tidbit of rock music history.
Time to go.
Che vuoi? Le pocketbook?
See you soon.