Chance Gardner's Western Wave was my first official band in Boston in the late '80's. My manager at the time, Peter
Gold (who later co-founded the Boston Music Awards), gave me my stage name and we sounded like Jason and the Scorchers. I borrowed the rhythm section from The Happy Campers and cut some originals at Syncro Sound on Newberry Street.
Billy Loosigian (the Jackals, The Joneses) on the left, a very serious Chance on the right)
One of the songs got me an audition for Ed McMahon's Star Search but luckily I choked.
We didnt get to stay together very long and my day jobs were making it tough to
So I got back into Blues after going to the 1369 Club in Cambridge and listening to Silas
Hubbard Jr. and "Earring" George Mayweather (I miss him very much). Photo: Sylas playing bass
The Sunday blues jam at the 1369 Club was so popular the line stretched around the corner and up the street.
Photo: BBQ Bob Maglinte looking on. Yes, thats me with the green guitar.
They took me under their wing and eventually I started my own jams in Boston. My favorite jam after the 1369 closed down was Harpers Ferry on Sunday nights with 'The Stovall Brown Band'. It was there one night that I met 'The Gatecrashers'. They were looking for a new singer/guitar player and
asked me to join them after we jammed.
We changed the name to 'Chance and the Crashers' with 'Wild' Billy Dill on Drums, TR on Bass and 'Blazing' Bob Starker on Saxophone and played Bunrattys, (oh, by the way it was all original rock) the Rat, Middle East and older clubs I can't remember the names of right now.
We had a cut on the "Boston Gets Stoned" CD (Boston bands doing Stones songs tribute thing) on Mickey O's label, Fast Track. We did 'Love in Vain'--I know it wasn't a Stones original but it was one of the few covers we did -and so did the Stones- and AJ Wachtell said it kept coming back in from the
stacks of reject songs so Mickey O and Jimmy Miller (ex Rolling Stones producer) decided to put it on the CD
anyway 'cause they liked it. We recorded that at the old Fort Apache studio with house engineer Tim O'Heir.
We cut some songs at InnerCity on "Elvis's old board from Memphis's Sun Studios" that became our first official cassette release -again with co-producer Tim O'Heir at the board.
We won 1st prize at the Somerville Battle of the Bands, played all the clubs humanly possible , Did local cable TV shows and on and on and on. And then came the "initial breakup of the crashers", and no, I don't remember why we broke up and yes, I would play with them again anytime, anywhere.
I hosted the
'Rockin Blues Jam' at Harpers Ferry for 3 years on Tuesday nights. It started
out as an acoustic blues jam (with bass and drums) and quickly we became 'The World's
Loudest Acoustic Band'. We strung our acoustic/electric guitars with light guage strings and
played through Marshall amps with effects pedals and such. It was way cool because we could
go from a rich acoustic sound to full bore metal mania. We did a killer
'Little Wing'. We later evolved into a full on electric blues band (it was inevitable, we were the
only non-traditional blues band at Harpers and I do have to give my thanks to Charlie Abel's
infinite patience. Remember this was before 'House of Blues' and ten times bigger with the likes
of Charlie Musselwhite and Taj Mahal playing there on weekends. Guest appearances included
people like Silas and George and my tres cool mentor Chris 'Stovall' Brown and 'once in a
lifetimes' like Buddy Miles (fresh outta the slammer) and 'Blues Brother' Matt 'Guitar' Murphy.
The jammers were great-too many names to mention but Harpers was cool enough to put all
their names on T-shirts every year (Mickey Jackson, James Brown Jr.... By the way on my
birthday in 1990 at the jam, players from other bands I had been in came by and we all
seemed to remember our sets. Chance & the Crashers went through some personnel changes
after the initial breakup and my other two favorite drummers in Boston were with me: Jim
Sturdevant (Heavy Metal Horns) and Forrest Padgett (many, many cool bands). On bass: Chas
(Charles Frommer) for a while and then Jennifer Allan (Angel of Mercy) stayed a long time. I had 'Dollar Bill'
Mason on lead guitar (the Sky Blues) and Bob Tingle (Angel of Mercy) on rhythm. By the
way, we called him 'Dollar Bill' because when we first started at Harpers, we were making
about 8 dollars a piece and Bill always took it home. I think we got $50 then and we'd raffle
off the extra $2. The rest of us drank more than we got paid (specially Bob & I). More personnel
changes included the great Sax Gordon, Keyboardists Jeff Taylor or Glen Watkins and guitarist Steven Paul Perry (I wrote my favorite song
"I Like Your Guitar, But I Don't Like You"as a tribute to Steven's ego.
We made it to the semi-finals of "The acoustic Underground" contest with Jim Sturdevant on talking drums and snare, Jennifer Allan on bass & vocals, Dollar Bill Mason on lead acoustic & vocals and Chance on lead vocals and open-tuning acoustic guitar ( I gave the audience a lesson in major and minor open tuning and spelled capo for them - it's a musician joke).
This is the night we won our round.
I left Harpers after three years and moved the jam as 'The Chance Gardner Band' to 'Ed
Burkes' Blues club. Oh and also 'The Bog of Allen' in Jamaica Plain. Remember the Bog? It
was Green Street Station before that. On and off I'd played in 'The Allston Bros Band' (AJ
Whachtel, --I can never spell his name right (he's related to Waddy), ask Mickey O--you remember AJ, the prolific
music critic from forever((they all become musicians))et al) and I ended up stealing the band's
name when he retired with his blessings). I'll never forget our first gig together at the Middle East downstairs. He called me up a few days before and asked me to sit in 'cause the other guitar player had left or
was busy or something. Anyway, I learned all the Alman Brothers songs possible (it was a
free-for-all Allman tribute band). No rehearsal of course (I was used to that because with the
Crashers I had learned to write 3 or 2 chord original songs and would spring it on 'em live at
gigs to keep the them on their feet.--they were such great players- I wouldn't do a one chord
song that was too easy). Anyway out comes the first song 'One Way Out' and AJ's in the
wrong key, playing his guts out and it was like playing with Chuck Berry (You Know! different
arrangements, keys, whatever) in a pick-up band. Serves me right for all the tricks I'd played
on the Crashers through the years. So I threw my slide behind my amp and let history take it's
After that I formed 'Wildnight', yes a Van Morrison Tribute band. I had snuck a few Van
songs at the Harpers Ferry jams (cause we had to play more cover songs) and they started liking it.
The lineup was me on vocals (no guitar, I was 'Van', ok some acoustic guitar), Jim Sturdevant on
drums, Jennifer Allan on Bass, Sax Gordon, Dollar Bill Mason on lead (ripper), and Jeff Taylor on keys.
I got a cut on another of Mickey O's tribute CD's, 'Boston Gets a Grip'(1994) when we
were the Allston Bros Band (AJ retired). We did 'Crazy' a la Roy Orbison with Ruby Mason
(Sky Blues) and Glen Watkins (Tavares, Memphis Train) on Hammond B-3 and Bobby Mack
(Sam & Dave) on Bass, Forest Padgett on drums and Frank (I'm going back to Berklee)
O'Brien on guitar with James Owens & Dorothy Clark on backing vocals at Player Recording in Boston.
Someday that CD will be released (it's got waycool cuts from Gary Cherone, The Strangemen, The Merles,
Lori Sargent, Jah Spirit...)
I moved to Maui in 1996.