20TH CENTURY: THE REAL KIDS

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       Rough and rowdy, The Real Kids are amongst the unsung heroes of the 70’s garage rock scene. Straying from the clean cut rock popularized by The Beach Boys and the early Beatles, the band represented the new generation. Suburban delinquents skipping school and cranking out tunes in their parents garages The Kids serve as a time capsule to the youth culture of the 70’s, one energized by revolutionary ideas and hell bent on being heard.

       Seeking refuge from the banality of his suburban Massachusetts town, John Felice turned to the Velvet Underground. Bonding over their love for the jangling proto-punk, Felice’s friend and neighbor Jonathan Richman began playing together in what would ultimately be the first line up of The Modern Lovers. However his affinity for drugs and punk mindset ultimately lead Felice to drop out of the band and pursue his own project.

      Originally named The Kids in 1972, Felice joined forces with Rick Coraccio (bass), Steve Davidson (guitar), and Norman Bloom (drums). Though they neglected recording, the band automatically began to garner a following in the Boston scene. Racing from gig to gig all over town on any given night you could hear the band’s jagged rock streaming out of clubs.

     After four years of  playing whatever they wanted however they wanted, The Kids finally decided to settle down a bit to release their first self-titled album through Red Star. After many shifts in their lineup, Billy Borgioli (guitar), Allen "Alpo" Paulino (bass), and Howie Ferguson (drums) brought the sound from the streets to the studio. Regrettably, the bands sales didn’t quite match the crowd they’d pulled in the city. Disappointed by their lack of success the band decided to take a break, a recurring motif that would ultimately plague them.

     While on break Felice got caught up being a roadie for the Ramones. Following the band and their different city every night schedule, Felice began to realize that he didn’t want to be forever carrying someone’s guitar case, he wanted to be back on stage himself.

    Upon his return to Boston he fronted The Taxi Boys, putting out two EPs and playing a few gigs with that band. His heart however was still with The Real Kids and once again he formulated a new lineup and released Outta Place in 1982 and Hit You Hard in 1983 on the French label New Rose.

      Despite the recent release, ‘83 proved to be the end of The Kid’s. Though they’d get back together for the occasional reunion show, the members went their separate ways proving this break-up to be what none of the other had been, permanent. Band members Alpo Paulino and Billy Borgioli instead formed Primitive Souls, and Felice after a 5 year hiatus released Nothing Pretty with the Lowdowns in 1988.

       Though they never achieved mainstream success, The Real Kids’ legacy is more important than any amount of fame or wealth they would have amassed at the time. Instead they serve as a paragon for modern day rock bands to follow in. True to their name, The Real Kids represent a whole crew of nonconformists youth searching for something beyond their cookie-cutter towns. Uncompromising and rebellious, The Real Kids will linger on for generations.

samantha sullivan