BOSTON ROCK OPERA PRESENTS; AQUALUNG VS BILLION DOLLAR BABIES.
Two classic rock albums, performed in their entirety.
April 20, 2002 at The Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge MA.
Jethro Tull’s 1971 concept album Aqualung explored themes of class, faith, mistrust, madness and lust through the character of Aqualung, a homeless drifter who may or may not also be a rock star. Alice Cooper’s 1973 Billion Dollar Babies took his proto shock rock over the top with dark musings, outrageous songs, political satire and a stellar band.
About the Performers
Eleanor Ramsay (Event co-producer)
Eleanor is the artistic director of Boston Rock Opera and has been directing and/or producing the company’s shows since its inception. She created the original theatrical adaptations of Preservation, Happiness Stan, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and SF Sorrow. An artist, researcher and web designer, Eleanor is also a long-time supporter of the Boston music scene.
“Aqualung is such a perfect album. The flow of the songs and the intense emotions expressed in the lyrics and music keep you fixated through the very end.”
T Max (Event co-producer)
T’s fanzine, The Noise, has been covering Boston rock and roll for more than twenty years. He’s also been with BRO from the beginning, appearing in Abbey Road, For the Benefit of Mr. Dee, SF Sorrow, Happiness Stan, Another Night@the Opera, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, Preservation Act II and, of course, Jesus Christ Superstar.
“If it wasn’t for Alice Cooper I never would have started wearing make-up or hiding boa constrictors in my trousers.”
Pat McGrath (Event MC)
Pat owns Looney Tunes Records and also fronts the band The Wheelers & Dealers. He’s been a fixture of Boston’s music scene for two decades. Hes performed all of BROs Jesus Christ Superstar productions, played the Narrator in The Rocky Horror Show and also appeared at Night @the Opera and For the Benefit of Mr. Dee.
Billion Dollar Babies Cast
Gary Cherone (vocals)
Gary is currently fronting his new band Tribe of Judah. He was previously the lead singer/songwriter for both Extreme and Van Halen. Gary has been performing with BRO since 1994 in productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, Abbey Road, Night @the Opera, Another Night @the Opera and For the Benefit of Mr. Dee.
“Cooper’s Killer was my first, and Ive been bowing at the altar of Alice ever since.”
Linda Viens (vocals)
Linda has been a singer, performer and organizer in the Boston scene for over 20 years, appearing in many guises and incarnations. Her last band was the legendary funk ensemble Crown Electric Company and she has also appeared in many Boston Rock Opera productions over the years.
“I’m realizing what an innovator Alice Cooper really was, smart, shrewd, funny as hell and, the timeless and ultimate thing is, he rocks!”
John Powhida (vocals)
John recently moved to Boston and currently fronts the band The Rudds. This is his first BRO production.
“When Marilyn Manson, was just a gleam in his daddy’s eye, Alice was wearing a cod piece and getting beheaded! Classic and timeless tunes support the theatric shock rock tactics. Billion Dollar Babies is worthy of a kick ass rendering.”
Bill Bracken (Bandleader /guitar)
Bill has been playing guitar with BRO for three years. He has played in several Boston bands, has been featured in national magazines such as Guitar Player and has also won several guitar competitions.
“My uncle gave me this album when I was eight, I’ve been a huge AC fan since then. For me, it’s right up there with VH 1, AC-DC’s Back in Black or Nirvana’s Nevermind.”
Catherine Capozzi (guitar)
Catherine has been fixture on the Boston rock scene for more than a decade and is the lead guitarist and a founding member of the Boston-based All the Queen’s Men. She recently played guitar for BRO’s productions of Abbey Road and Jesus Christ Superstar and also for Thee Majestic Din Society’s Sgt Pepper.
“This album is the epitome of glittery, rock star opulence. I love the satire and irony.”
Joel Simches (keys)
Joel’s involvement in BRO started in 1994 with Crackpot Notion. Since then he has played keyboards for both of the Mikey Dee benefits, S.F.Sorrow and last year’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar. When not playing music Joel is at Hummelvision Studios in JP recording music. He also just started his own audio production company, Sonic Enhancement Specialists, Ltd.
“Whenever anyone thinks of Alice Cooper and his legendary antics, both onstage and off, the birthplace of those legends is with the lineup that recorded this album. Billion Dollar Babies is Quintessential Alice Cooper!!”
Izzy Maxwell (bass)
Izzy is currently playing bass with The Countess, Cannibal Animal & Me and Cannonade. He grew up in the Boston rock music community and was previously in Max and The Borg. He also performed in the Boston Rock Opera productions of S.F. Sorrow and For the Benefit of Mr. Dee.
“Alice Cooper is a real bad ass, like Marilyn Manson or Rob Zombie.”
Steve Whitcomb (drums)
Steve has been playing drums in the Boston area for more than 10 years with several bands including Contagious, Bill Bracken Band and, recently, Trigger Effect and Fbomb, two hard rock outfits. He played drums for BRO’s presentation of A Quick One While He’s Away during For the Benefit of Mr. Dee.
“I am a huge Alice Cooper fan and am psyched about this performance!”
Wayne Viens (props)
Wayne is an artist and a fixture of the Boston music scene. He’s done it all. Wayne has also worked with BRO behind the scenes off and on since 1993.
John Surette (as Aqualung, vocalist, co-producer)
John started his first band Boys Life while attending Malden High School. He is currently fronting the popular Boston band John Surette and the DeNiros. John originally presented excerpts of Aqualung for BRO’s Another Night @the Opera in 1999 and is looking forward to bringing the entire album to the stage. He also previously appeared in BRO’s productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, Abbey Road, Preservation, S.F. Sorrow and For the Benefit of Mr. Dee.
Mick Maldonado (guitar/vocals)
Mick is a co-founder of Boston Rock Opera and has both music directed and performed for the company. MD credits include Jesus Christ Superstar, Abbey Road, SF Sorrow, Happiness Stan, both Nights @the Opera, For the Benefit of Mr. Dee, Preservation, The Rocky Horror Show and Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Alter-ego Mick Mondo and his band Streaker can still occasionally be seen performing around Boston.
“I’ve been a big Tull fan for many years and am enjoying revisiting my prog-rock fantasies playing Aqualung for an audience.”
Chris Mascara (guitar/vocals)
Chris’s band Mascara is currently recording and will play out again soon. Chris is also known as a solo artist and has played for other Boston bands including Nineteen, Box Car Betty, Make Lisa Rich and Ad Frank Combo. He appeared as Jesus in BRO’s 2000 production of Jesus Christ Superstar and also preformed in Abbey Road, the 1996 production of JCS, and 1995’s Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.
“I’m working on Aqualung cause I love John Surette. I saw him perform excerpts from the album at Another Night@the Opera and thought it was the highlight of the evening.”
Bo Barringer (bass/vocals)
Bo is currently playing bass for The Collisions and Caged Heat. He was formerly with the late Make Lisa Rich. Bo also appeared in BRO’s 2000 production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
“I was never much of a prog-rock fan but I’ve always had a soft spot for the Tull. Their stuff was other worldly and bad ass at the same time! And how could anyone pass up a chance to play Cross-Eyed Mary with a great band?”
Melissa Wells (as The Devil, flute)
Melissa started playing flute in 7th grade. She currently plays bass for John Surette and the DeNiros. She has stage managed or performed for BRO in Preservation, S.F. Sorrow, For the Benefit of Mr. Dee, Jesus Christ Superstar and Another Night@the Opera. Most recently she founded the R&B/Soul band The Electrolytes.
“I joined the school band where there were 22 other flutists. By busting kneecaps and poisoning school lunches I earned my right as First Flutist or in some circles “flutist from hell” but when I discovered Jethro Tull I immediately dropped out of the school band to pursue playing flute in the woods.”
Carol Namkoong (keys)
Carol is currently playing keyboards with the Electrolytes. She recently played with Thee Majestic Din Society for the Noise’s 20th Anniversary Party and for BRO’s Jesus Christ Superstar and Abbey Road.
Danny Cap (drums)
Dan has been playing drums for 28 years. His repertoire includes R&B, rock, jazz and alternative music. He is currently drumming with the band The Electrolytes. This is his first time performing with BRO.
Ivory (as Cross-Eyed Mary, vocals)
Ivory is currently singing with The Electrolytes. She is also a dancer. This is her first BRO production.