Category Archives: Punk Rock

We Interrupt Boston Rock Week for…

A quick reminder that if you’re going to be in Southern California this weekend, I’ll be at the fabulous West Hollywood Book Fair on Sunday!  I’m on a great memoir panel at 1:30PM and will be available afterward to talk and sign copies of Chanel Bonfire which will also be available for purchase!

Now back to Boston Rock Week for a brief mention  of…
Oedipus (aka Edward Hyson)

He was the world’s first punk rock dj.  He started with a punk show at MIT (WTBS now WMBR) in 1975 — the first in the country.  And then in 1977 convinced WBCN to hire him.  He had pink hair when I met him through Amy (Wachtel aka The Night Nurse) when she was interning at the station and renting a room from my mother and seemed at the time wise and mysterious.  He turned out to be neither but he did change radio airplay in Boston and–probably through the influence of thousands of college students returning to their hometowns all over the states–all over the country.


Go to: for all the info!

Saturday Night Fever: The Punk vs Disco Riot in Kenmore Square

Lucifer the Kenmore Square Disco in the Blizzard of ’78.
The Rat on the opposite side of the street and the opposite side of musical world.

While we were shaving and banging our heads and stomping on the floor in our Doc Marten boots at the Rat, a completely different crew of tough guys and girls in silk shirts, tight bell bottom pants and slinky dresses with spiked heels were John Travolta-ing across Kenmore Square at Lucifer’s Disco re-enacting scenes from “Saturday Night Fever”.

One night (really very early morning) in 1979 in the no man’s land of the traffic island on Commonwealth Avenue, somebody’s Doc Marten’s stepped on somebody else’s heels and a riot broke out.  Punks poured out of the Rat and Tonys and Tinas ran from Lucifers and spent about an hour bashing heads and spilling blood.  It was a literal clash of cultures that was not, because this was Boston in the 70s, broken up by the police but simply exhausted itself once it seemed all the oxygen in the hot night air had been sucked away.  

It was probably more complicated too than musical choice and clothing styles.  It’s not much of a reach to say that the majority of the punks were middle and upper-middle class college kids or college drop-outs exercising the demons of their suburban childhoods while the majority of the disco kids were working class high school grads or first generation college students trying on the chic clothes and sophisticated dancing styles being broadcast from Studio 54 in New York.

I was there the night of riot in my punked out Sheena look with a number of other BU students.  Somebody could have been taking notes for a pretty kick-ass sociology dissertation.  Not me, of course, because as we all know, my mind was very much elsewhere at the time.