The Neighborhoods

Let by singer and guitarist David Minehan, the Neighborhoods were a Boston-based rock band whose sound and approach found them residing in several camps at once, fusing the tuneful approach of a power pop group, the rebellious attitude of a punk band, and the big sound and swagger of a traditional hard rock act. The Neighborhoods were formed in 1977, with Minehan joined by Jim Bowman on bass and "Careful" Mike Quaglia on drums, and the band soon made a name for itself playing at local clubs such as Cantone's and The Rat. In 1979, John Hartcorn replaced Bowman on bass and the Neighborhoods got an important break when they won the WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble, a "Battle of the Bands" sponsored by Boston's most influential rock radio station (they came in first over a field of competitors that included local legends Mission of Burma, the Lyres, and Unnatural Axe). In 1980, the Neighborhoods struck a deal with the respected local independent label Ace of Hearts Records, and their debut single, "Prettiest Girl" b/w "No Place Like Home," became a massive local hit, selling over ten thousand copies, a remarkable achievement for a small-label "new wave" single at the time. The Neighborhoods became a potent draw in New England and several important East Coast markets, but in 1981 the band lost valuable momentum when they split for a spell. By 1984, Minehan formed a new Neighborhoods lineup with Quaglia on drums and Lee Harrington on bass, and the group released a 12" EP, Fire Is Coming. In 1986, the Neighborhoods signed with Restless Records, and released their first full-length album, The High Hard One. A second album, Reptile Men, followed in 1987; it was released on Roadrunner Records' new wave imprint Emergo Records. In 1988, the group set out on tour opening for the Ramones, and in 1990 they released Hoodwinked, which was produced by Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford, a longtime fan of the group. A year later, the Neighborhoods were signed to the Atlantic-distributed Third Stone, and their self-titled effort for the label would be their first and only major-label release. Also produced by Whitford, the album debuted a new Neighborhoods lineup: Quaglia left the band, and Carl Coletti took over the drum kit, while a second guitarist, Dan Batel, briefly stepped in. The Atlantic-distributed album was a commercial disappointment, and in the fall of 1992, after a farewell show at The Rat, the Neighborhoods called it a day; Batel was already gone, and in addition to a performance by the Minehan/Harrington/Coletti lineup, Quaglia and Hartcorn sat in for a short set of early Neighborhoods favorites. By this point, Minehan had launched a successful second career as a recording engineer and producer, and he later opened his own studio, Woolly Mammoth Sound Studio, while continuing to perform as a solo act; he also sat in for Whitford on a 1994 Aerosmith tour when a family emergency forced Whitford to head home for a few days. Following the band's breakup, Harrington enrolled in law school and became a successful attorney. In the 21st century, Minehan re-formed the Neighborhoods with Harrington and drummer Johnny "Rock" Lynch, performing periodic shows in New England and the East Coast. The 1992 farewell show was belatedly released in 2011 as a two-CD set, The Last Rat.
Mark Deming, Rovi

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