THE NEW FOURTH REICH (Northbridge, MA)

Achtung! The New Fourth Reich arises, from left: Dean Mathieu (bass), Buzz Tremblay (vocals & lead guitar), Ken Smith (vocals & percussion), Ray Forsythe (drums), Rodney Gallagher (rhythm guitar). Photo courtesy of Buzz Tremblay.
Despite the incongruous "punk" sounding name, this here is a nice jangly folk rocker with crude, raw production. One of the more obscure releases on the Planet label, the New Fourth Reich were not even from Rhode Island; rather they hailed from Northbridge, Mass., about halfway in between Woonsocket, R.I., and Worcester, Mass. With the choice of a recording studio in each city, these high schoolers decided to make the 30-mile trek to Providence to record at Planet studios.

The band consisted of lead guitarist Ernest "Buzz" Tremblay, Jr. (credited as songwriter on both tracks), singer Kenny Smith, bassist Dean Mathieu, rhythm guitarist Rodney Gallagher and drummer Ray Forsythe. All were juniors and seniors at Northbridge High School except for Forsythe, who attended a Catholic high school in Milford, Mass. According to Tremblay, the band's name caused friction within the band during the recording, with some members wanting to change the name for the release and others not budging on the moniker. Planet's Jewish recording engineer Myron Muffs luckily took it in stride, though warned the teens that it would make their 45 a hard sell. As Tremblay recalls, "I knew Myron was right but I'm sure he knew we just thought it was a cool name and five nerds like us weren't Nazis! We argued after we recorded the 45 but the bass player was so stubborn and one of the other guys didn't want to change it either. I wanted to call the band Comin' Generation after the b-side of the Knickerbockers' hit 'Lies.'"

The song "That Girl" was written about Tremblay's future (and current) wife, who was 13 years old at the time! Tremblay noted that some members of the Cowsills were in the studio at the time and remarked how they liked the vocal harmonies. The band was together for one-and-a-half years, breaking up in 1969, and played mostly in high schools around their hometown, although they did play in North Smithfield, R.I. Guitarist Gallagher was from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and when the single was released it actually (very briefly) moved ahead of the Beatles in the Halifax charts. Tremblay continued to perform music through the decades with his wife, and currently has a solo gig in addition to taking on lead vocal and rhythm guitar duties with Upton, Mass.-based classic rock band New Bay Colony.

Seig heil, mofos!



THE NEW FOURTH REICH
That Girl / We Don't Need Them
Planet
(No. 68) 1968


1 comment:

  1. I was at this recording session, mainly because I had a van ! All these guys were good friends and it was a blast. I had a copy of this 45 packed away that I gave to song writer Tremblay in 2013 when he said his was gone. I wanted his children to have it. The remarks about the harmony between Butch and Margie are not exaggerated. The two of them together sounded wonderful.

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