Watch a four-part doc on the closing of Boston’s live music venues — from 1988


Over the weekend, news broke that the Beachcomber in Quincy will reportedly close next month. The South Shore stage will join T.T. The Bear’s Place in Cambridge and Somerville’s Johnny D’s as local venues that have or soon will be, shuttering, causing a lot of discussion in the Boston music scene about what’s happening on the small-club live music circuit.

Of course, this trend is nothing new, to our scene or any other.

Last night Sean McNally of Bay State Tickets uncovered a series of documentary videos from 1988 titled “Where Have All The Good Times Gone?”, a look at the mid-’80s closures of the Inn-Square Men’s Bar (Inman Square), Jack’s (Mass Ave in Cambridge), and Streets (Allston), as well as “the declining Boston music scene.”


It features interviews with members of Aerosmith, ‘Til Tuesday, and the Cars, is narrated by WBCN personality Charles Laquidara, and it all sounds very familiar. Here’s what Laquidara had to say back in Part II:

“Rock and roll clubs have always been essential to bands in order for them to get exposure, and to improve their performances on stage. But most importantly, to get the music heard. In the past few years, Boston’s clubs have been closing at an alarming rate. Since the drinking age was raised in 1985 to 21, fewer young people than ever before can get into clubs to support local music. The skyrocketing cost of real estate has caused lots of clubs to lose their leases. Condos and high rises now stand where some of the best music was created.”

But the doc is quick to note that some of the most important clubs in town are still standing, like the Rat in Kenmore Square, T.T.’s in Cambridge, and Bunratty’s in Allston.


The Rat closed in 1997 and now has its own speciality room in Kenmore Square’s upscale Hotel Commonwealth, T.T.’s closed nine days ago, and Bunratty’s is now Wonderbar.

“If the Rat goes, there goes Boston,” says Willie “Loco” Alexander, one of the last artists to perform at T.T.’s last month, in the documentary.

Watch all four installments below…