I was playing that great Real Kids debut just now and found myself wondering about the current whereabouts of the band members. Bassist Alpo Paulino died two years ago, so that one´s easy, but what´s become of drummer Howard Ferguson, guitarist Billy Borgioli and especially frontman John Felice? Are they pumping gas somewhere in Jersey, having a ball in their native Boston or are they down and out somewhere in the Bowery? Are they still playing music even? I hope someone will be able to fill me in, because that selftitled album from early ´78 is a nearly forgotten gem that´s dear to my heart.
Bostonian John Felice was a childhood neighbour and pal of Jonathan Richman, and was in and out of the Modern Lovers several times. You can hear him play guitar on The Mixer (Men & Women Together), a live track recorded sometime around ´71-´72 at Harvard University of all places. Some time later Felice formed his own band the Real Kids, and recorded a sparkling single (All Kindsa Girls b/w Common At Noon), soon followed by that excellent first album. The great cover photo was shot by legendary New York CBGB´s scene photographer Roberta Bailey, who clearly must have been inspired by the Stooges debut.
With Felice´s trademark snotty vocals and his knack for writing infectuous melodies they should have hit the jackpot, but strangely enough the record didn´t sell at all. Maybe due to the tiny Red Star label that released it? Drug problems? Plain bad luck? It did manage to give the band a cult status in France and Italy for some reason, but that wasn´t enough for the original line-up to stay together for long. Felice worked as a roadie for the Ramones for a while, then got back into playing and recording with the Taxi Boys, some new versions of the Real Kids and after a long hiatus with the Lowdowns.
The last couple of years it´s been quiet. I remember reading about an Italian fan and promotor who tried to organise a reunion tour quite recently, but gave up in disgust after Felice´s so-called junkie behaviour thwarted his plans time and time again. You can buy the reissue of The Real Kids on the great Norton label.
The Real Kids - All Kindsa Girls MP3
The Real Kids - Common At Noon MP3
The Real Kids - My Baby´s Book MP3
The Real Kids - Taxi Boys MP3
The Modern Lovers - The Mixer (Men & Women Together) MP3