Saturday, March 19, 2011

More Bad Times & More

Dani, Carrie, Dom, Neno
Once upon a time (well, about 1987), somewhere along that narrow strip of New Hampshire coastline, there were some folks from Ohio who played music and wrote songs, and some creative writing graduate students who also liked to play music and write songs as much as they liked to write short stories. As people do, they decided to form a band—they all sang and wrote songs, and the band incorporated guitar, violin, baritone uke, bongos, rice shaker. If you’ve found your way here, you probably know that this band was Ed’s Redeeming Qualities.

When Ed’s first formed out of Sunday barbecue (and procrastination break) gatherings at the trailer park in the New Hampshire woods, the band members were Dom Leone, Carrie Bradley, Dani Leone, and Neno Perrotta.  Dani and Carrie met at the University of New Hampshire; Dom and Neno moved to New Hampshire from Vermont and Ohio, respectively, drawn by kindred creative forces. The band was the accidental distillation at the creative epicenter. 

The group conjured a name, Ed's Redeeming Qualities, and shyly broached, at the behest of friend and manager-to-be Ray Halliday, an open mic in Boston, forty-five miles south. Thus began a bustling and kind of magical career in the indy rock scene of the musical North Atlantic nineties that spanned two years and many storied venues and special appearances; some DIY recordings; and a popular, perhaps even legendary, cabaret called Ed's Basement, hosted by the band and stage to many landmark and innovative appearances by the heros (and some villains) of the era. Then abruptly, shockingly, and tragically, Dom was diagnosed with cancer.

Dom Leone was a gifted songwriter among gifted songwriters, and he penned an amazing number of amazing songs in a too-short time. He died in November of 1989. He was twenty-nine years old.

What better way to introduce an Ed’s Redeeming Qualities blog than with a video of Dom singing one of his own compositions, backed by the founding members of the band? This was filmed at one of the Ed’s Basement shows at the late lamented Rathskeller (aka "the Rat") in Kenmore Square, Boston, probably in the 1988. Dani, Neno, and Carrie recently played an Ed’s Basement reunion show back at TT the Bear's in Cambridge, another Ed's HQ where so much began, to fete the first-time digital (CD and download) release of the original home-recorded and homemade cassette tapes that comprised their early years, early compositions, and all of the recordings with Dom.

So, what’s to come at this site: lots of Ed’s related posts, including demos, news on any Ed’s related events & whatever may tickle the fancy of EdHeads everywhere.  Thanks to Ray and Carrie for asking me to be a part of this blog (and to Carrie for her help with this post!), and for now: enjoy the music!