THE ATLANTICS 1976-1983
The Atlantics were formed in January 1976 by guitarist Tom Hauck and bass player Bruce Wilkinson, two students at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, just outside Boston. A mutual friend introduced them to drummer Boby Bear and lead guitarist Jeff Lock. To complete the lineup Bruce recruited singer Bobby Marron, a friend from his hometown in New Jersey.
The Atlantics played their first show in the spring of 1976 at The Rat in Kenmore Square. In May of 1976 they scored the opening slot for the Ramones, who were playing two nights at The Club in Central Square. The band made their first trips to New York in the summer of 1976, playing at CBGB and Max's Kansas City. The band quickly became an important and authentic part of the emerging punk/new wave movement.
The following spring Ray Fernandes replaced Boby Bear on drums. In the summer of 1977 the band recorded its first independent 45 on Jukebox Records, “When You're Young” by Bruce Wilkinson, backed with “Where Would I Be Without Your Love,” by Jeff Lock. A thousand copies were pressed but never released, and the single is now considered a collector’s item.
In the spring of 1978 Jeff Lock left the band and was replaced by Fred Pineau. That fall the band was signed to ABC Records, and in December the band recorded their album “Big City Rock” at the Hit Factory in New York. The record dropped in March 1979, but a few weeks before the release ABC Records was sold to MCA Records. Their new label, together with Premier Talent, put the Atlantics on a nationwide tour with Roxy Music, followed by a regional tour throughout New England. The band performed with artists including The Ramones, Cheap Trick, Boston, The Cars, Graham Parker, and many others. The single “One Last Night” by Bruce Wilkinson received regional and international airplay, and the album garnered a glowing review in Rolling Stone.
In the summer of 1979 Paul Caruso joined the group as drummer, and the band came back in 1980 with what was to become one of New England's biggest indy singles, “Lonelyhearts,” written by Tom Hauck. It was the flip side to “Can't Wait Forever,” a Motown-flavored song by Bruce Wilkinson. “Lonelyhearts” rocketed to the top of New England radio and dance charts, and was one of the most-played rock singles in Boston.
During the next two years the Atlantics released several more songs on tape to Boston radio stations, including “Pop Shivers,” “Wrong Number” and “Weekend.” In June 1983 the band played their final show at the Channel in Boston.
“PowerPop” presents a collection of 17 previously unreleased or limited-release tracks recorded between 1978 and 1982. They include both sides of the classic Jukebox Records single “When You’re Young” b/w “Where Would I Be Without Your Love.” Other highlights include tracks recorded at Downtown Studios with producer/engineer Phil Adler; versions of tunes found on the “Big City Rock” LP; and some of the band’s early demos. The tracks were meticulously re-mastered by Jonathan Wyner at M Works, but have been left in their natural state with no overdubs or enhancements. As a result, the audio quality may vary from track to track, but the performances are truly outstanding.
“PowerPop” is the third Atlantics reissue, following the self-titled “Atlantics” and “Atlantics Live.” With Bobby Marron’s unforgettable vocals and classic songs by Bruce Wilkinson, Jeff Lock, and Tom Hauck, the Atlantics CD collection stands as an indispensable part of the punk/pop explosion that swept the music industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and whose descendants can be heard on alternative rock radio today.