Dan Boardman (left), yours truly (middle)
and my brother CJ (right) at a Spectors gig at the
Funhouse, Bethelehem, PA 1994 (Photo by Bill Luther)
The Spectors (circa 1992) Chris Knott, Sluggo,
Devin Waterman, Keith Patterson, Dan Boardman
Last week we got the sad news that following a long fight with cancer, Dan Boardman had passed away.
Dan was (when I met him) the lead guitarist (and past drummer) for the mighty Spectors.
Back in he early 90s I was pretty much done with live garage/beat sounds. The New York scene had all but gone in the toilet (with some of the surviving bands morphing into unspeakable awfulness) and there wasn’t much new that I was interested in.
I had taken a step back and started a fairly intense study of jazz which occupied me for about half a decade.
I think I first saw the Spectors around 1992/1993. I knew their bassist Keith Patterson from his time in the Funseekers, and word was that they were tearing shit up, so I ventured out into the night, knowing that if the music didn’t grab me, the beer surely would.
Well, my friends, I’m here to tell you that if “everything” didn’t change that night, a lot certainly did.
The Spectors, having motored all the way east from Minnesota, were a wild breath of fresh air.
Their sound, a mixture of classic UK/Euro beat, garage punk and R&B was potent indeed, their sets a mixture of deadly originals and brilliant covers.
They tore into songs like the Roulettes ‘Bad Time’, the Monks ‘Oh How To Do Now’ and the Undertakers ‘I Fell In Love (For the Very First Time)’ with raw power and a sense of fun and wild abandon that I had missed terribly.
The Spectors took my jaded ass and kicked it, and for a few years made rock’n’roll fun again.
Our crowd always looked forward to their trips east, and their singer Chris became one of my best friends.
It was via Chris last year that I heard that Dan had been stricken with cancer. Having weathered that particular storm with my wife twice in as many years, I contacted Dan, just to let him know that even though treatment could be brutal and unforgiving, that there was always hope, and that we were thinking of him.
Over the course of the year there were updates, and then not too long ago the sad news that Dan had entered hospice care, eventually passing on June 18th.
Though our lives only intersected for a short time those many years ago, it was great to see that in the years since the Spectors, Dan had continued to play in a variety of bands, gone on to have a family and retained a ferocious love of music and life right up until the end.
The songs I’m posting in his memory are some of my favorites by the Spectors, including the aforementioned Undertakers and Monks covers (featuring backing vocal by no less than three of the original Monks!), and one of their best originals, ‘Sow My Wild Oats’.
They are all heavy, filled with energy and excitement, all hallmarks of one of the best bands I ever saw.
So listen to the tunes, and raise a glass in memory of the mighty Dan Boardman.
I hope you dig the sounds, and I’ll see you next week.