December 23, 2017


What a life! Photo courtesy of Dan Gioioso & Mike Dugo.

The Strangers from Boston confess the tribulations being a teenager in a square world: hassles of parents, school and girls. Not to mention the flack the singer gets for his “long, long, long, long” hair! Lead guitarist Dan Gioiso provided The Strangers history years ago to Mike Dugo's now-defunct 60sGarageBands site, and here it is “reprinted.”

I first got interested in music sitting at my uncle's piano when I was around six-years old. I heard the bass resonate from the piano's foot pedals and I was hooked.

The Strangers was my first band and they were together for three years, from 1964 through 1966. We were school buddies — that's how we got together. The band members were Dan Gioioso, Joe Beddia, Tony (Pires) Baglio and Jimmy Chicos.

I played lead guitar, Joe played drums, Tony played bass (and sang lead vocals) and Jimmy played rhythm guitar. Tony's younger brother was always at our rehearsals. He had to be eight or nine years old. His name is Sal Baglio, and went on to start the band The Stompers. At the same time, Jimmy Chicos dated Nancy Demurio, the drummer for The Pandoras.

We played college mixers for M.I.T. Northeastern and Boston University — once opening for James Brown. I remember one Battle of the Bands with the band The Pilgrims, with Lenny Baker on sax. He's in a lesser known band, Sha Na Na.

My influences were The Ventures, Beach Boys and, eventually, The Beatles. The Strangers sounded like a mixture of each. We played the Ebb Tide with Moulty and The Barbarians, The Novelty Lounge in Boston, and there were others places that I can't remember.

My Godfather, Rip Rapolla, was the manager — and my uncle John helped with connections to Bill Marlow, which led to Johnny Townes. Townes started playing “What A Life” on WORL, and in turn introduced us to Ken Carter. Carter started booking us at the college mixers. We were popular with the high school kids while playing the school dances and such. We even played on the U.S.S. Provincetown on one occasion with hometown celebrity Rex Trailor.

Bands I remember were The Rockin' Ramrods, Teddy and The Pandas and a favorite — The Shadows Four. I even took lessons with Billy Trainor.

We recorded at Oriel Records. I think there was one mic recording vocals and music at the same time. I wrote “Lonely Star’ and Tony and I wrote “What A Life.” “What A Life” took about 20 minutes to write; it was intended to be the B-side. I also have an acetate recording of “I Like It Like That” (Dave Clark Five cover), which was recorded the same day as “What A Life.” [Note: the cover tune was supposed to be the flipside, but at the last minute the band decided that they should have two originals on the record, so they quickly wrote “What A Life” as the b-side.]

The Strangers broke up when Tony went to college. It proved to be a smart move as he is now Production Director for Greater Media/Boston, a five-station group that includes WROR. I met The G-Clefs through a friend and have now been with them for twenty years. We also have a club band with the lead siger called The Ray Gipson Band. The Clefs play five gigs a year but at some pretty nice venues such as Symphony Hall, The Hatch Shell, and all the big oldies shows.

When I think of The Strangers — kids with pure energy and desire — I ask myself, “How good could we have been?” But look at the attention the 45 has gotten nearly 40 years later. Maybe we haven't given ourselves enough credit.

— Dan Gioioso, mid 2000's

Originally published on by Mike Dugo. Used with permission.

Lonely Star / What A Life
October 1965

Lonely Star / I Like It Like That
Petrucci & Atwell
(unreleased 12" demo acetate)
October 1965

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