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DiRocco’s.

It was August 1989. Having moved to the greater Boston area the year before and still trying to find my path in life, to complicate matters I had just been dumped by my boyfriend. Looking back, he pretty much was a freak as he wasn’t big on having friends, forbad me from having friends and found me to be entirely too “flamey” to be seen in public with. Yeah, he was a keeper, let me tell you. Small wonder my mother hated him. (She’s always been a good judge of character). Anyway, I was newly single and all by myself in a large metropolitan area, somewhat lacking self-esteem and without anyone to lean on. Looking back I guess it wasn’t all that bleak, I had a great job at the then second largest computer company in the world (DEC), my superiors praised my work and I had snuck some friends that I had met through various gay organizations at work into my life (the luncheon and social clubs were festively called BGLAD and DECplus), but I always felt like the smalltown boy from Upstate New York that was trying to make it in the big city. And I didn’t even have a beret to throw up in the air.

Never one for huge crowds, or perhaps lacking the confidence to tackle one of the bars in Boston, I decided to follow the lead of some of my gay friends at work and check out a bar situated between Lowell, Mass. and Nashua, N.H. along Route 3A in Tyngsboro. It was intriguingly called “DiRocco’s Tall Pines Inn”.

To celebrate this adventure and perhaps signify the opening of a new chapter in my life, I had gone to a local old-fashioned barbershop that day and had my hair cut super short. After having rather longish hair (party in the back, business in the front, oy), the short, not-quite-flattop was a definite change of pace in my style (which was subsequently praised by my co-workers the following Monday.) I felt like a new me and it felt good. So I made the 30 minute drive and found this place in the middle of the woods. I’ll never forget the queasiness as I approached the tell-tale signs of the club. I passed by several times before actually driving into the driveway. Back and forth across the Mass.-N.H. line I went, looking for the courage to drive in. I had been to gay bars during my one year of college back in ’86, always with a group of friends, but hadn’t been since because freak boy didn’t like those either. I remember saying to myself, as I closed the door on my smashingly gray 1986 Hyundai Excel, “o.k. John, let’s grow some balls and do it.” And in I went.

I remember being knocked almost breathless as the bass of the music engulfed my senses. There was a neon sign that announced which area was the “Meat Rack”. I remember seeing the lights and the fog and all the sweaty guys dancing on the raised dance floor to “Touch Me” by the 49ers, a fabulous Italian-house track that I love to this day. The bartenders may have been pouring the booze, but the DJ controlled the heartbeat of the party and it was at that moment that I cemented a longing passion I had for spinning in a club – it was something that I *had* to do.

It was that first night at DiRocco’s that I discovered another dance track, “Teardrops” by Womack and Womack. The beat reminded me of Evelyn “Champagne” King’s “Shame”. It had a wicked cool, yet smooth vibe to the tune. The crowd nearly floated to the song as they danced. I reveled in the simplicity of the song. And it was a track that I immediately added to my music crates.

Here’s the video version for your enjoyment. There’s an extra percussion track in this version that somewhat detracts from the simplicity that I enjoy of the piece. Perhaps I’ll spin the original track in the next DJ SuperCub mix.