It is Rockland at the dawn of the 80’s. High school girls are wearing Farrah Fawcett hair and the boys all want to be in a band. There is still a “smoking “room for students in the high school, and a home with a computer in it was only seen on the Jetsons. But the one thing that this time frame has in common with today’s world is people’s love of live music.
The start of that decade, unknown to anyone, a musical journey would begin for a couple regular guys that would span over 30 years. It was in Rockland that a young Paul Talkowski and Dennis Cadorette would launch their first foray into the local rock scene. Dennis was a prodigy of sorts on the drums, having gotten his first drum set at the age of four from his Dad, who in turn had gotten it from a biker. It would be about 10 years before Paul would be hit by the instrument bug, and get a guitar. But being childhood neighbors, there was already a bond. Dennis had moved to California as a child, only to return to Massachusetts a KISS loving animal on the skins. Paul had picked up the guitar by then, and before you knew it, a heavy metal band called “IRON RAGE” ( insert your own Bill and Ted beetley, beetley, beetley, sound here while picturing a junior version of Spinal Tap) was born. They played High school talent shows, local events and even at Memorial Hall.
Fast forward your tape deck to the early 90’s, and the formation of what the guys consider their first real band. Rite Side Up added another longtime Rockland music vet, Matt Moran (now of the popular Blind Ambition) to the lineup. They spent the mid 90’s playing places such as The Ranch House, The Pony Room, and other “Road House” style establishments. Paul ended up, in his own words, jumping ship. The others continued on.
Hit Skip on your CD player, because along comes the 2000s, and the forming of yet another band featuring Paul and Dennis. This time Dennis is holding true to his prodigy thing, and playing Guitar. Along with Dennis’s brother, Jeff, on bass and Paul Francis (now of 3 South) on drums, they are called Uncalled Four. Jeff ends up moving out of state and right there to fill the gap is bass guitar maestro Greg Harrington. The band slips around the south shore playing all the common dives, but something just isn’t there, and they call it quits.
Shuffling your iPod forward to 2006, Dennis is getting restless. A new band in is order. He recruits Paul on guitar and he, himself, returns to the drums. For a bit they try out different bass players, singers, and other guitarists but nothing really clicks. This was basically the beginning of The Bitter End. What they need is that Harrington character back. But he is not interested…at least at first. After much begging and promising of packed houses and endless beer, the hold-out bass impresario finally caves in. The wheels seem to be picking up speed when they add the powerful vocals of Kim Thomas to the fray. And for about a year or so they play from Quincy to Plymouth and many places in between. Then, another shake up as Kim leaves the band. What to do….
Click the….. Crap I ran out of music devices…..anyway it’s the closing months of 2011 and the band is stronger than ever. They chose to remain a 3 piece after Kim’s departure, with each of the guys taking turns singing from song to song. They have great energy and a packed song catalog, playing favorites from the early days such as Mustang Sally, all the way through the generations to the Foo Fighters and Weezer. Their presence all over the south shore has brought a great following of supporters. While talking to the guys in the band for this article, it is noted to me that they have their very own Billy Preston (the fifth Beatle). It is Ann Marie Ewell. The band listed her as their chief choreographer, spiritual leader, promotional liaison and invisible triangle player. Any given time of night, with The Bitter End on stage, you will see a packed dance floor. I have witnessed some outlandish dancing fits spontaneously rip people from their chairs and force them to act like they need a hockey helmet, my wife included on many occasions. It is a truly “good time” atmosphere for the entire night. You know you are in for a night to remember when TBE is around. Along with the random Van De Kamp’s inspired dance moves, you will experience the kind of atmosphere that can only be found in a small venue with a live band playing. People that play out of love for the music and not the money. It took the better part of 30 years to get to this point, but there aren’t many things more enjoyable then The Bitter End.
You can find them on Facebook. Along with info on the band, it lists their schedule with times, places, and dates. Just search The Bitter End band.