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You Are Not Hallucinating

Posted by Jim Botticelli  August 3, 2013 11:40 AM

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hallucinations.jpgPhoto from Paul Shapiro and Pia Francesca                                   
Before J. Geils, The Hallucination(s) and their publicity still

                                                 Blow Your Face Out Dickie!

     The J. Geils Band, most know well, was one of Dirty Old Boston's most widely acclaimed bands. Front man Peter Wolf's vocal gymnastics and the taut musicianship of guitarist Jay Geils, bassist Danny Klein, keyboardist Seth Justman, drummer Stephen Bladd and Magic Dick (Richard Salwitz) on the 'lickin' stick' were a force (Allman Bros. favorite) both onstage and on the radio. The band produced compelling original material and dug as deep into the Soul Music catalog as the Stones. They dug up and recorded The Showstoppers Ain't Nothin' But A House Party, Otis Rush's Homework, The Contours First I Look At The Purse, The Valentinos Looking For A Love, among others.

                                                      Hallucinations Appear

     The formation of the J. Geils band grew out of a band that came together almost by accident. An old rumor is that The Hallucinations formed at a party where some musicians were performing. The singer was imbibing heavily the story goes, and Peter Wolf jumped onstage in his place.
     "The legend is not true," says original guitarist Paul Shapiro, today a painter in Santa Fe. "The Hallucinations did not exist at that party. Steven Bladd, Doug Slade and myself were playing at this party in a very informal way, we had never played together before. Steven had just purchased a set of drums and was very new to drumming. Peter Wolf shows up and pulls out a harmonica and starts playing with us. I suggested that we form a band and a week later Doug recruits Joe Clark on bass and we are off and running. Steven Bladd came up with the name The Hallucinations. A month later Barry Tashian (Barry & The Remains) hears us and exclaims that this is America's answer to the Rolling Stones and gets us his manager and booking agent John Stucas of Music Productions where Don Law was a young employee."

                                                         Hallucinations' Trails

The Hallucinations branched and began taking trips performing around Greater Boston, notably in Lexington where one of the band members had family. Lexington teens had long held dances in the basement of Follen Church featuring various garage rock bands like The Pied Pipers, Mad Hatters and A Warm Puppy. The crowning achievement was scoring The Hallucinations, who arrived with massive underground cred in 1967, to play a well turned out gig. The band itself would go on to perform at Brighton's legendary Crosstown Bus before morphing into the J. Geils Blues Band, eventually dropping the word 'blues' from its name. Sticking with the fast talking vocalist Peter Wolf, also a DJ on the fledgling WBCN,  the J. Geils Band signed to Atlantic Records in 1970.

                                                       Mystical Hallucinations

     It has also been said that the original Hallucinations were the first complete band to be initiated by the Marharishi Makesh Yogi, mostly at the corner of Huntington and S. Huntington Ave. The same Yogi who took The Beatles on in India in 1967 after Sgt. Pepper taught The Hallucinations right here in Dirty Old Boston?
     "Yes, it was 862 Huntington Ave, a block away from South Huntington," confirms Shapiro, then an artist on Mission Hill , and a framer on Newbury Street for the Child's Gallery from 1962 - 65. "Pre Beatles."


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Ciao for Now.....JB
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About the author

Jim Botticelli, a 1976 Northeastern University graduate, is a retired Boston Public Schools teacher. In college, he drove a cab and learned the city's cow paths. An avid collector of More »

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