The Dogmatics – Thayer St.

The Dogmatics – Thayer St. (Homestead) 1984. A stone cold classic in my opinion, but then again I grew up in an Irish Catholic family with strong ties to Boston. I really couldn’t say whether or not this translates well because this kind of thing is so ingrained in my DNA. When I bought this album back in 1985 at Newbury Comics, I bought it because it had a song on it called “Hardcore Rules”. I was all stoked because I was up in the big city and I was gonna bring back a bunch of hardcore to impress my friends. When I got home I hated it because I wanted to be all tough and shit and these guys had horns and played slow. But at the same time, it was hard for me not to be able to identify with songs about good looking girls, smoking cigarettes and scary nuns and I slowly developed a love for this album. Today, this stands as one of my longest-held albums and I can’t listen to it without getting all misty for the days gone by. The band ended in tragedy when bassist Paul O’Halloran died in a motorcycle accident in 1986. The O’Halloran brothers (Peter and Paul) were really the visual symbol of the band and it was hard to imagine them going on without Paul. So they didn’t. I guess by today’s standards this would be garage punk or something. I always thought of them as Boston’s answer to The Replacements. But really it’s just super-good rock-n-roll music from a bunch of hooligans.

The Dogmatics – Thayer St

Sister Serena
You Say
King Size Cigarette
Gimme The Shakes
Good Looking Girls
Hardcore Rules

A great compilation entitled 1981-86 was released a few years back. All of their recordings are on it. You can download it on Amazon but I would try to find one on eBay or something because the packaging is sweet. The surviving members occasionally reform with one of the younger O’Halloran brothers sitting in on bass duties for Paul.

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21 Responses to The Dogmatics – Thayer St.

  1. MRow says:

    Joe is some great stuff. Never ever heard of em before, now I wanna hear more. Am loving the street hockey in that vid.

  2. Joe says:

    Aint that great!?! I love the mattress for a goal.

  3. OTTO says:

    My God! The street hockey… talk about wave of nostalgia. Good tunes too…

  4. mike says:

    So great to see Dogmatics video! Totally agree with them being Boston’s Replacements — I’ve often said that “Shithouse” is the best Replacements song said band never wrote. And as you also indicated, there’s a strong sense of regionalism in the Dogmatics’ music (and in a lot of Boston-area music, now that I think of it.) Even before I started visiting Boston in the early 90s, Dogmatics songs like “Saturday Night Again”, “Sister Serena”, and of course “Thayer Street” made me feel like I already knew something about the place. Thanks for the great post!

  5. Mark Early says:

    Totally agree on The Replacements thing. It’s funny that even the Replacements were considered a hardcore band at one point. I think it’s in the second Lester Bangs compilation that he writes about listening to a bunch of hardcore and he lists them.

  6. Joe says:

    Wow…I never read that. I would have thought Bangs death pre-dated HC. Its weird to me thinking about him listening to the Replacements. Its like finding out that Jimi Hendrix did a guest lead on a Clash album or something.

    I think there might have been like three songs on “Stink” that could have qualified as HC. Dope Smokin’ Moron comes to mind. That was about it for the HC Replacements.

  7. brushback says:

    Actually, The Replacements were sorta considered a part of the hardcore/punk scene back then, stuff that the kids who read MRR and Flipside would listen to. (MRR even made a point to say “what the hell happened to this band” after The Replacements evolved a bit more, as if MRR wanted them to remain a “punk” band forever.) I know they’re not exactly thrash (which is the point I think you made, Joe), but if you listen to “Sorry Ma” and “Stink” again you’ll see that they were definitely punk, fast, and sloppy. There’s no “college rock” sheen to those records at all, or even much of an indication that the Mats would become CMJ darlings within a few years.

    The Dogmatics suck. Sorry, Joe, but I hated that record then, and I hate it now. One of my friends tried to get me to change my mind last year by e-mailing me the songs from the 81-86 collection, hoping I’d appreciate them more now that I’m older, but I didn’t bite. I never liked any of the other Boston “rock” shit like the Del Fuegos or the Blackjacks, either. Once you ventured outside the truly underground stuff, Boston rock became a real cesspool.

  8. Joe says:

    Brushback – don’t dance around it man. tell me how you really feel!

  9. brushback says:

    I’ll admit the other day I clicked on the “Thayer St.” video that you posted and I didn’t think the guitar riff was all that bad… but after spending most of the 80′s putting up with totally crappy music mags like “The Noise” and “Boston Rock” and all their little favorite bands who were all completely awful, I learned to just turn bands like The Dogmatics out. I guess it’s a cultural thing, from living here in New England. From another part of the country with a fresh set of ears, maybe it would be different.

  10. Joe says:

    I know what you’re saying I feel that way about Head East and Lynrd Skynrd. I gotta say though. Your Del Fuegos comparison was below the belt!

  11. brushback says:

    I guess if it wasn’t along the lines of the F.U.’s or Mission of Burma, then it all kinda sounded like the Del Fuegos to me.

    Seriously, Dogmatics = Dead Milkmen, only with a few more watts and different accents.

  12. Joe says:

    now THAT just doesn’t even make sense

  13. Brushback says:

    Come on, “Hardcore Rules”, “Sister Serena” – that stuff’s got “Bitchin’ Camaro” written all over it.

  14. Ben Low says:

    The street hockey scene looks suspiciously like the back lot of The Rat where bands used to load-in and sneak beers. Also, in case you care, the “Thayer St.” they’re singing about was where a lot of band practice spaces in Boston were located.

  15. jonder says:

    Lester Bangs died 4/30/82. (I had to look it up.) “Sorry Ma” came out in 81, and “Stink” followed in 82, so I guess Bangs really did hear the Mats! It does seem strange (like Joe said). I remember the Dogmatics being called Boston’s answer to the Replacements when this LP came out. I liked “Gimme the Shakes” but didn’t care for the rest of it. I did like the Del Fuegos’ debut (and so did Paul Westerberg).

  16. Chris Oliver says:

    “King Size Cigarette” is a good tune. I remember seeing these guys’ LP in the store back around ’86, but they just looked too fratboyish. I got kind of a Murphy’s Law vibe off of them, but this stuff is definitely better than that. Damning with faint praise, I know…

  17. liz says:

    well, hey, I have this record. those guys sure were ugly.

  18. Dogcuz says:

    They really did live on Thayer St. and had lots of music buds up to jam.-practice would have been too formal a term. They played because they had fun. They had faces with character, not pretty boys. They had no ugliness in them; just pure joy. I still love listening to the old songs, even the bittersweet “it sure don’t feel like Christmas time”. RIP Paul!!!
    PS. They weren’t any fratboys, but would have had a brew or 2 with them, if they weren’t dickheads.

  19. lgreene says:

    Wow, the freight elevator to the loft with the motorcycles in it and the practice space. Del Fuegos and Prime Movers in another loft. Dover stop on the orang line. That was a long long long long time ago…

  20. Gorgo says:

    The lot in the street hockey scene is (was?) the parking lot behind the lofts on Thayer st. (south/west side). The building you can see across the lot was a rehearsal studio.

  21. Dinosaur Face says:

    That first night alone at 8 Thayer Street sure was lonely for a Kingston boy, I’ll tell ya’ but once TK got everone moved up from Manomet, it was on, baby!

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