Front Street Rebels
Things don’t always work out the way you think. When I was young, someone in their 30’s playing rock and roll was ancient. Even the biggest stars didn’t expect to be playing rock and roll in their golden years. The story of the Doughboys is one of those unlikely rock and roll stories that my 15 year old self would have scoffed at. In the mid-’60s. the Doughboys were local heroes on the Jersey rock scene. They played with a lot of the big names of the time, but they only put out a single 45 before going their different ways. Singer Myke Scavone fronted the band Ram Jam and scored a hit with “Black Betty”. Drummer Richie Heyman worked with Jonathan Richman, Brian Wilson and Link Wray (and has a solo career under his full name Richard X Heyman). Mike Cruso went on to be a session musician. (Guitarist Gar Francis is not an original Doughboy. He came from a Rolling Stones tribute band and work with Billy Idol.) That’s better than most bar bands get for an afterlife.
The Doughboys reformed for Heyman’s birthday in 2000 and have been playing together ever since. Front Street Rebels is their fifth record since the reformation. Front Street was the happening place in Plainfield, NJ back when the band were young rockers. The sound on Front Street Rebels is full of youthful energy and garage spunk. The way back machine is working over time on songs like “Ready or Not”, which sounds more like the Who that Townshend and company do these days. “Queen of Bizarre” has a psych out feel recalling the Zombies. I can’t help but think of classic era Doctor Who when listening to “Atomic Wavelength Transference Device”. I’ve been dropping classic rock names here, but the really important thing to keep in mind is that this doesn’t sound dated. This doesn’t sound like a bunch of old guys reliving their glory days. If I didn’t know better, I’d guess these were some hungry young garage rockers out for blood (or at least beer money).
A quick side note: Myke Scavone is also a member of the current version of the Yardbirds. Long live rock and roll.