The story of the Wicked Hangin Chads is unlike any you have ever heard. It includes suspense, romance, trials, and glory. It took many years of training, practice, and cultivation for the musicians, some more than others, to be ready for this awesome band.
It all started a long time ago in a place not so far away. A strange place this was, filled with hippies, commies, and artists all trying to coexist in a tiny city. This city was called Cambridge, Massachusetts. And like most “alternative” cities in the late Seventies, Cambridge had a thriving music scene with many bars and clubs showcasing the local talent. Here in Cambridge is where the first two members of the Wicked Hangin Chads met.
Let me introduce the first one. His name is Rick. He may have seemed like any other socialite hippy musician with his long hair and carefree lifestyle, but he was not.
Rick started his music career at a young age in the world famous All Saints Choir in Worcester, MA. For 5 years, he, along with his father Chad and brother David, performed all around New England including the 1965 World’s Fair. At 17 years old he was already a self-taught guitar player and member of a 9 piece jug band. Then, while ski bumming and hang gliding in Utah, Rick and his brother David put together an acoustic novelty band, the Oyster Bros., and toured around the west from Salt Lake City and Park City to San Francisco. After playing for a year out there, the band decided to move the group to Boston. After an extensive run playing clubs and even on the streets of Harvard Square and Faneuil Hall, the Oyster Bros. all went their separate ways.
Soon after, while working as a carpenter in Cambridge, Rick got a call from his friend Doug Tanner asking him if he wanted to play in a country swing and bluegrass band. After Rick agreed, Doug asked him to come by and meet a potential band member, Celia.
When Doug, Rick, and Celia met at Doug’s, the musical sparks flew and everyone saw great potential. Unbeknownst to Rick, Celia would end up being his wife and second member of the Wicked Hangin Chads.
Now Celia was as unique a person as she was a musician. Having been raised in Connecticut as one out of eleven kids, she was influenced by many styles of music at a young age. She started out her musical training with guitar lessons at age nine. Celia recalls playing acoustic guitar when her parents refused to buy her an electric one. Continuing her artistic education, she took vocal training in high school and delved into illustration. UConn was her next stop where she majored in music, then it was off to FIT in New York City where she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in illustration.
She then left New York to join her brother Steve and sister Lyn up in Boston. Upon arrival she decided to resume her career as a musician.
Celia put an ad in the Phoenix newspaper as a guitarist/singer looking for other people to play acoustic music with. A couple days later she got a call from an MIT student asking her to come play with him and his friend up in Cambridge. When she got there both of the guys were playing guitar and rather then being a third wheel she picked up an acoustic bass they had sitting around and started playing. She showed enough ability at the bass that the guy who owned it told her she could take it home and practice. So for weeks, Celia lugged the big bass up and down the subway in Boston to and from Cambridge where they would jam. Eventually the trio decided to put an ad out for a fiddle player. The ad was responded to by a local player by the name of Doug Tanner. After the audition, Doug pulled Celia aside and said: ”These guys are amateurs at best. You should really find some people to play with that can help you cultivate and improve your skills. Listen, my friend Rick and I play country and bluegrass music. You should come and play with us.” So she did. Celia got to Doug’s place only to find out that Doug preferred Rick’s rhythm guitar playing over hers. Undaunted, it was then decided that she would take up mandolin.
Now it was time to round out the band with a rhythm section. On drums they got a friend of Rick’s named JP Goss and for bass they auditioned a Berkley kid named Bobby Blum. With a full band, Bijou Link, as they called themselves, started playing shows all over.