Thursday, May 21, 2009


When I was living in Western Massachusetts during the ’80s and ’90s, first as an undergraduate at Hampshire College in Amherst, then as a post-graduate slacker/rock ‘n’ roller/indie label mogul in Northampton, I encountered what I came to know as Massholes (Massholus Erectus), a species unique to the Commonwealth.

Over time, I came to be one myself.

A Masshole is defined as "a person from Massachusetts who is regarded as an asshole, or engages in behavior generally considered to be asshole-like." It can also be used as a term of endearment among Massholes. Recently, I've expanded the definition beyond the borders of the Bay State. I hereby coin the term Masshole to mean a Mass Media figure who is also an insufferable asshole: Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Dennis Leary (a Masshole by both definitions), Octomom, A-Rod, Kobe, and that douchebag from "The Hills" would be prime examples.

Anyway, my old friend Frank Padellaro (King Radio, the Cheetahs, Scud Mountain Boys) tells me that he’s putting together a three-volume compilation of Northampton-area bands from three distinct eras: Sheehan’s (’80s to early ’90s), The Bay State Hotel (early ’90s to early ’00s), and the post-Bay State period (early ’00s to present). Being a horrible archivist, I have only a fraction of the material I released on my old label, Chunk (read “The Chunk Records Story” HERE), and have misplaced most of the live tapes I recorded over the years. I do have in my possession a few of the records I put out on Chunk (had to get some of them on Ebay), and a handful of live recordings of my old bands. Brandon Staiger recently sent me a CD-R of my old band The Mal Thursday Experience (later known as the Cheetahs) playing live on the “Homegrown” show on WRSI in 1991. It’s a bit rough and under-rehearsed, but the sound quality is pretty durn good. Thank you, Brandon.

Anyway, I think Massholes would be a great name for the compilation series. There have been Northampton-based collections in the past (Big Fish in a Little Pond, Chunk’s Hotel Massachusetts, and the Northampton Music Festival samplers), but no one has taken the historical approach. I’ve always loved '60s garage compilations, especially those with a regional angle, and Frank’s comp idea reminds me of those. So I’m stoked, and will rake through the ashes of my collection to find some tasty nuggets for the project. Thanks, Frank.

When it's done, I'll cherry-pick the best cuts for an all-Masshole edition of The Mal Thursday Show.

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