(Milford Daily News column from 2005.)
By Mr. Know-It-All
Dear Mr. Know-It-All,
You wrote a few weeks ago about Jimi Hendrix performing in Framingham. Didn't Aerosmith perform in
Metrowest, too? P.R., Milford
Indeed they did, P.R. In fact, Aerosmith's very first concert took place in MetroWest, specifically at Nipmuc
Regional High School in Mendon on November 6, 1970. Carl Olson was a history teacher at Nipmuc at
the time as well as the adviser for the sophomore class, which organized the Aerosmith concert. "It was a
hard battle to actually get them there," Olson recalls. "Most dances back then were record hops. Having
live bands was kind of an unusual thing to do. Still, a group of students convinced me to hire the group.
Joe Perry (Aerosmith's guitarist) is from nearby Hopedale and the kids were friendly with him so we
convinced the principal to allow us to take 50 bucks out of the class treasury in order to pay them for the
The principal at the time was Wilho Frigard. "He wasn't too enthralled with the idea, but we worked on him
long enough to convince him," says Olson, who is now retired and resides in Medway. "He was kind of
hesitant to spend 50 bucks." While $50 may seem like chump change now for one of rock 'n' rolls premier
bands, that money was put to good use by the group, according to Olson. "If you look in their
autobiography, they said that $50 paid the rent for the apartment in Boston where they were staying back
then," he says. The concert was organized as a fund raiser with admission either 50 or 75 cents,
according to Olson. "I'm not sure if we covered all the costs," he says.
In case you're curious, a good seat for an Aerosmith concert today can exceed $100. According to an
Aerosmith Web site -- and there are a lot of them -- the playlist for that first concert included 11 songs:
"Route 66," "Rattlesnake Shake," Happenings Ten Years Time Ago," "Movin' Out," "Somebody," "Think
About It," "Walkin' the Dog," "Live with Me," "Great Balls of Fire," "Good Times Bad Times'" and "Train Kept
A Rollin'." "They didn't play many songs but it was loud," Olson recalls. "And the kids loved it, though the
adults were a little taken back." "They perforned in the gym to a crowd of about 125 people, which was a
good crowd for dances back then. The kids had a good time."
At a class reunion later, Yankee Magazine talked to the students who were there. The kids at the reunion
said how amazing it was and how nice it was to see kids from the area end up doing so well. Who would
have known? "The most amazing thing, though, is not one single picture was taken that night. It would
have been priceless to have now." Any final thoughts? "It was a very interesting evening."
Dick Grady, a history teacher at Miscoe Hill Middle School in Mendon, has compiled information about
Aerosmith, too. For you continuity fans out there, Miscoe is located where Nipmuc used to be before it
moved to Upton. The gymnasium is now named after Frigard. Grady says the Nipmuc concert almost
didn't take place. "The band was drinking Boone's Farm wine before the concert and almost got tossed,"
says the Mendon resident. And there were other shenanigans. "The group changed in the locker room
and Steven Tyler (Aerosmith's lead singer) absconded with a Nipmuc shirt from there and wore it for the
Grady notes that Perry went to Hopedale High School where his mother, Mary, was a physical education
teacher. "Perry had a run-in with the principal at the time, Albert 'Chick' Sayles," he says. "The principal
wanted Perry to cut his hair, but Perry refused and eventually left the school." Apparently Perry didn't hold
grudges. When the band later performed at Boston Garden, he sent a limosine to pick up Sayles and his
mother and drive them to the concert, according to Grady. "Sayles went, too," he says.
For more MetroWest connections, we chat with Dave Meade, who grew up with Perry in Hopedale. "I
taught him his first chords on the guitar and played in bands with him," recalls Meade, who is now a
circulation manager for the Community Newspaper Co., which publishes The Daily News. Meade notes
that, following the Nipmuc gig, he also booked four monthly concerts for Aerosmith at Hopedale Town Hall
in 1970 and 1971. Admission was $1. He booked another concert at the Lakeview Ballroom in Mendon
where more concerts took place afterwards. The venue is now called the Myriad Ballroom.
So what was Perry like in those early years? "He'd just sit in his room and play guitar all the time," says
Meade. "I mean really extensively, and when he wasn't doing that he'd be out looking at other bands."
Want more? Sure you do. Aerosmith performed at Wayland High School, too, and Gail McNeill, a 1971
Wayland graduate, was there. "It was pretty cool," she recalls. "They played on into the night." The
concert is mentioned in the class yearbook of her sister, Robin, who graduated from Wayland in 1974. "I
must have come back from college for the concert," says McNeill, who now resides in Framingham and
runs the McNeill Veterinary Clinic in Sudbury. A yearbook blurb on Student Council activities mentions the
concert: "In November (1973), a spectacular concert by Aerosmith was sponsored with much success."
Why Wayland? Mr K would love to find out. Another Web site on Aerosmith notes that the group's bass
player, Tom Hamilton, resided in Wayland and Weston as a youth. Perhaps that had something to do with
For more concerts, yet another Web site states that Aerosmith performed at the Cricket Lounge in 1972.
The lounge is now the site of a day-care center located near the MBTA station on Plaeasant Street. The
band also performed at Hopedale High School's prom on June 16, 1973, and the Westboro Speedway in
Westboro on Aug. 18, 1974, states another site. Now Mr. K is willing to bet his Aerosmith record collection
that the band performed at other venues in MetroWest. If you know of any, just contact yours truly and keep
dreaming on. Milford Daily News, January 23, 2005
Click here to see a picture of Joe and a couple of his buddies in a pre-Aerosmith band.
Dave Meade's Aerosmith Memories
Dana Francis's Aerosmith Memories HOME
concert was the one above, which ran in the Milford Daily News April 20, 1971. Dave said the Joneses
were the biggest rock band in Worcester County at the time. He hired them to be the opening band, but he
didn’t tell them that. They found out when they got there. "They went into the concert that night as the
Number 1 band in the area. They came out Number 2," said Dave. Attendance that night was 1044.
Thanks to Dave for telling me about the ad. As the one who placed the ad, he was able to tell me all these
years later the exact day that it was in the paper. Here's a bit more from Dave.
"The concert was on a Tuesday night. Why Tuesday? It had become something of a tradition to have a rock
concert on the Tuesday of school vacation week at Lakeview. Bill Greene had started that in the sixties. I
think the Rascals played there in 1966, '67 and '68. The Kingsmen played the April date a couple of times,
also. Then it didn’t happen for a couple of years. I called Bill Greene and arranged the Aerosmith/Joneses
concert for 1971. I packed too many people in and after that Bill took over. Ticket prices went up to $2.50,
$2.75, and eventually to $4.50."
Below you can see a bit of what was surrounding the Aerosmith ad. A couple of movie ads that are out of
view were for Patton and M*A*S*H. Part of a Hopedale Boy Scout Court of Honor article can be seen just
above the Aerosmith ad.
Aerosmith 1972 (or 1974, depending on which newspaper
you believe.) Left to right: Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom
Hamilton, Steven Tyler (front), and Joey Kramer.
Steven Tyler and Joe Perry - 2006. Bottom
two photos from the files of Dick Grady.
Nipmuc shirt. The others are, left to right, Tom Hamilton (bassist),
Joe Perry, Brad Whitford (guitarist) and Joey Kramer (drummer).
Click here to go to a more complete Aerosmith page.
It has what's on this page, plus more,
including a picture of Joe in his patrol boy days.
Click here for the complete page.
Why would someone put a link on Facebook to this version of
the page? Use the link above to get the full page.