, Gloucester, MA


May 23, 2013

Celebrating Willie

Film tonight showcases 'Loco's' 70th birthday bash

On the occasion of the 70th birthday of a local punk rock icon, Governor Deval Patrick issued a citation to acknowledge the Bay State rocker affectionately known as Willie “Loco” Alexander.

But that was just the beginning of a surprise birthday bash that would leave Alexander starry eyed.

The day was Jan. 12, 2013. Anne Rearick, a photographer and his muse, planned for something much grander than just a meal out in Somerville’s Davis Square. At one point a friend showed up and then a local actor offered to show the couple the inside of Jimmy Tingle’s old theater. They went down the dark hallway and stopped.

”Then we opened this door and the lights went on and everybody in the whole world was in there. I was like a deer in the headlights. It was overwhelming,” he said in an interview this week.

”I knew Anne had something up her sleeve but I thought it was like this little dinner,” he said. “But it was like a Kennedy honors for me having all these different bands play my music.”

Dozens of musicians showed up to pay a musical homage to Alexander by playing tunes he has written over the past half a century, including Rockport’s A-Train Orchestra, Moose Savage, Breadman, Jon Hardy and the Bags, Birdsongs of the Mezozoic, Reddy Teddy, Barrence Whitfield, the Nervous Eaters, Rupert Webster (all the way from London), Kenne Highland, Dave Sag, Jon Macey, Asa Brebner, John Powhida, Frank Rowe, Dennis Brennan, Peter Wolf, Mission of Burma, Andrea Gillis, Persistence of Memory, Roger Miller, and Gloucester’s own The Boyfriends.

”All were there to honor a guy who has spent his life pushing the rock and letting it roll down on the hearts of Boston music lovers,” said filmmaker Henry Ferrini. “He has been out there toiling in the fields of rock and roll for half a century. He has gotten a good bit of recognition and he’s still making music. He will never retire.”

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