Who Were the Prime Movers?

The other day when I found the copy of Basic Blues Magoos, I neglected to mention that I found another nice little gem, an EP called Matter of Time by a band calling themselves the Prime Movers. Anyone worth their salt will know this couldn’t possibly be a recording by Iggy Pop’s first band of the same name, who as far as I know never committed anything to tape. Nor could this be the Prime Movers who eventually became Dread Zeppelin, arguably the best fucking novelty cover band on the planet. AND, they were not the other Prime Movers, who also existed as a garage band in the late 80s, who put out Sins of the Fourfathers in 1989.

As far as I could make from just looking at the record, they were from the Boston area. That’s about it. Oh, and they were on the Throbbing Lobster label.

So, who, WHO, were these teenage Adonnises (Adonni?), these kings of kings, high priests of the post-Boss-Tone (pre-Mighty Mighty) Sound?!

There’s six songs on the EP, and the label, applied by Fox and Fawn Thrift, explains that this is “Great Garage/Psych from Boston in 1984.”

Doing a little research, the story ends rather abruptly, and is mostly based in the band’s relationship to the Throbbing Lobster label. The label itself was the pet project of Hyped2Death‘s Chuck Warner, from 1984-1988. Throbbing Lobster (which is more fun every time I type it/say it) was about the punk/DIY spirit of the 80’s, and not necessarily strictly dedicated to the idea of ‘psych’ or even the ‘garage sound,’ so much as that ‘garage’ aesthetic. Apparently, the label was short-lived, and all of the TL bands were left to relative obscurity.

As for the Prime Movers themselves, they were represented by Joyce Linehan, who would also manage The Smithereens and the Lemonheads, and were, according to the story posted at “Throb Story,” a great live band that had trouble in the studio. But this long story (I’m sure) cut short is that the OTHER Prime Movers, the ones who eventually became Dread Zeppelin, were signed over in L.A. at the time when Boston’s Movers were coming up. Neither band could afford lawyers, but their management could, resulting in a court battle that neither band were present for or even interested in fighting. So what happened? They both fucking quit, and moved on with their lives.

Boston’s Prime Movers split. Vocalist Cam Ackland became the leader of the Voodoo Dolls, who had a revolving door of drummers but always stuck with a core trio of Cam, Evan Shore on guitar, and David Harrison also on guitar. They split up in 1994. Meanwhile, the rest of the group, Richard Haughey (guitar/back up vox), Jeff Sugarman (bass), Jonathan Sprague (keyboard) and Dennis McCarthy (drums) formed the Slaves, who have also had a quiet existence sticking around Beantown. There was a reunion in the mid-90s that also went no where.

Then, in 2007, they came together for one last go at it, and released their official first album, Back in Line, that consists mostly of the Prime Movers’ back logs of stuff they never had a chance to record — though “Smash the Mirror,” which appears on Matter of Time is re-recorded here. Nowadays, you can find the album (by chance, really) at Boston-based comics/entertainment/nerd gallery Newbery Comics, or by finding it online.

Now, I sit and hope that the band will someday soon come down to NYC, because Matter of Time is one hell of an EP, and I’d like to hear more about the 80s Boston heyday.

For samples of their stuff, check out the Prime Movers on MySpace.

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2 responses to “Who Were the Prime Movers?

  1. Pingback: Another Spin: The Hives’ “Barely Legal.” | Electric Comic Book.

  2. Pingback: Song of the Day (Mar. 9, 2011): Prime Movers – Where We All Come From | Don Anton

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