To quote The Fast’s anthem, Boys Will Be Boys, “some boys just get married, some boys have a baby.” This is where I find Louis Bova, former Fast bass player, in August of 1999, happily married, living in Toronto Canada, with a child quite audible in the background. Lou is a buyer for a large Canadian record chain, and feeds an insatiable music habit this way.
Joe Poliseno, Louis Bova, Miki Zone, and Pual Zone backstage in 1979.
Lou, a man with a good sense of humor, is overflowing with enthusiasm for almost two hours, darting from one musical topic to the next. We both just laugh for a few seconds upon making initial phone contact, and the realization that we are on the same wavelength makes the interview a breeze.
Time and time again, Lou buys books about The Ramones (as well as other chronicles concerning the 70’s NY scene) and sees no mention of The Fast’s ringleaders, the Zone brothers, Miki, Paul, and Armand. Though “people who were there remember,” unfortunately it seems, to Lou, that the history of The Fast is “falling through the cracks. I tell Lou I share his puzzlement over the lack of Fast material in both the modern literary and recorded realms, and hope the site will help change matters.
Though CBGB’s is often considered the prototypical punk club, The Fast were largely a Max’s Kansas City band. Lou reveals a division between the Max’s, and the CBGB’s musical camps. Though Lou calls the division “unspoken,” you “either played Max’s or you played CBGB’s.” Not sure why the division existed, Lou theorizes that it was “kinda turned into a loyalty thing, plus there was the association (with) the whole Max’s history (from Warhol, to Max’s status as a stopping ground for pop stars), you kinda felt you were a part of that.” Whatever the reason, it was clear to Lou that if you played one place, the other didn’t like it.
Louis Bova hangin' out in 1975, sporting an Alice Cooper "Love It To Death" t-shirt! Photo copyright Nancy Cataldi.
Though CBGB’s is remembered “fondly” by the press, according to Lou, the
legend is largely a “myth,” for CBGB’s was a “dump. It was like Hilly
(Kristal) had his dogs there, there was shit on the floor, it was disgusting
(laughter!) Quite honestly, you felt that Max’s was a little bit
more of a professional joint. Clubs like the Coventry (where Joey Ramone’s
early band Sniper played), Club `82, and Mothers, were equal, if not superior
to CBGB’s in the eyes of NY rock clubgoers. Lou praises the work
of Yvonne Sewall, who has maintained Max’s status as the premiere NY rock
club, through a book and a website.
The Fast’s power pop story actually starts years earlier, and Lou transports me back to a magical, yet largely forgotten musical era during the Glitter days, where Lou and his friend Walter would often check the Village Voice for mentions of Glitter Rock for “ventures into the big city.” Dates are foggy to Lou, and he approximates the year to be 1972, and his age to be 15. One venture lead to The Townhouse Theatre, where a band named The Fast (praised by a popular rock critic of the day, Lillian Roxon) were playing. The Townhouse was a “mini-theatre” The Fast rented, most likely used for corporate presentations, that looked more like an apartment complex than a club. Armand Zone was singing at this point, but Paul’s prescence was strongly felt, helping with lights, sound, and as a “foil” for Miki to bounce ideas off of. Lou felt Miki always shared a “mental kinship” with Paul, even before Armand (Mandy to his friends). The “splashy little show,” as Lou refers to it, had an Alice in Wonderland motif, where the boys went as far as having a waitress serving “drink-me tea and eat-me cookies” to the crowd. Lou found the band “fun,” chatted with them after the show, came to subsequent shows, and kept crossing paths with the Zones afterward.
The Fast with Armand Zone as lead singer, blowing the doors off the Townhouse, in 1975.
In the glitter days, one would hang out with the band, and help them unload equipment, but the “roadie” role was different than the “grungy” position it is today. Lou started helping out The Fast, and would be wearing his “jeans to bring all the equipment in, and you’d go in the dressing room with everyone else, and get dressed for the night! That’s what the glitter days were kinda like, where you’d try to outdo the guy next to you, with the “with the weirdest platform shoes, the weirdest pants, the weirdest whatever that you could possibly afford, or have a friend make for you.” Paul would often make his own clothes.
According to Lou, a Todd Rundgren live double LP “where he has multi-colored hair” shows Miki, Paul, and Armand all in the audience!
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