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~ Malden Musings ~ Extreme’s Never-Ending Tour

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As Rodney Dangerfield once quipped, “I get no respect!” Believe it or not, in 2024 local rock deities (Malden/Medford’s very own) Extreme are still getting no respect. It started way back in the mid-1980’s when Extreme had to travel to The Living Room in Providence, Rhode Island, to earn local respect. Boston ignoring them – instead heaping praise and hosannas on skinny tie and shoegazing bands favored by the college crowd. Fast forward to 2022; Extreme opening for their idols – Aerosmith – at Fenway Park; completely ignored by print and electronic media leading up to the gig, Extreme take total control of the stage and play as if center field at Fenway was their living room (pun intended), making Steven & Joe up their game in the process. An epic night followed. The year 2023 is no different. In ’23 they released their latest studio album, “6.” I love it! The simplicity in the title belies the aural onslaught that follows! Since the release they’ve set the music world on fire: getting a Grammy mention, touring incessantly and garnering praise from the whole universe – especially in the far corners of the globe where hard rock never went out of style. Oh yeah, Boston ignores them still. It’s a shame but expected. Nuno, Patrick, Gary and now Fig could care less. They never did. They just play – as if every show were their last. Playing harder, with more heart, with more panache than anybody else! They are currently on the “never ending tour” (hello, Bob Dylan) traversing the world right now, selling out large and small venues alike, moving records by the bucketload and (not surprisingly) turning a new generation of pilgrims on to some of the best hard rock ever to come out of Bawston – even if Beantown won’t admit it. Congratulations, gentlemen, you so deserve the recognition the rest of the world now heaps on you. Boston will catch up some day.

  • Really nice to see Frankie Russell’s mom Denise last week when she popped into the Parking Department office for her yearly parking permit. Denise looks great. We talked about her late son and how much we miss him. I miss Frank’s friendship writing this column over the years. His advice was invaluable, always keeping me on my toes, as they say.
  • Alice Juchnevics-Kontos wrote right after reading my “Malden 1972” article: “I’m grinning so much reading this. My parents both grew up on Medford Street and started dating by getting pizza at the Stadium Cafe once a week. It was called the Jack-O-Lantern back in the 1930’s. I watched my brothers’ MC baseball games sitting on the Bandstand at Devir Park. I recall many adults calling that ugly concrete building (“The Beast That Ate Pleasant Street”), “(Walter) Kelleher’s Folly.” I canvassed for Ed Markey that year and saw him work at the State House for two summers when I worked as a legislative intern. My cousin and Edgeworth native, Joe Lawless, had a brilliant political mind and I was fortunate to work with him in the Speaker’s Office. Thanks for the memories, Pete!” Thank you, Alice, for writing.
  • How about Malden Advocate journalist Steve Freker and his tribute to Ernie Ardolino Sr. a couple of weeks back?! Freck hit one way out of the ballyard with his heartfelt first-hand account of Ernie’s colorful life. I ain’t talking about smacking one out of the little lyric bandbox on Lansdowne Street (305 to left?), I’m talking about hitting one out of Dodger Stadium! Frek at his very best! The Malden Advocate at its very best also!! Malden is extremely lucky to have both in our lives.
  • Amy LeBlanc on the passing of local legend, her father-in-law, Ernie LeBlanc: “An absolute beautiful human passed today…I am honored and grateful to have been his daughter-in-law (and amused most of the time as well). You never knew what might be flying in the air (Jello, whip cream, or bean bags), or covering a family member’s face, but you knew that he loved you…really loved you. He loved hard, lol. He adopted me and my children as his own and I will always adore him for that. He was a legend in his time, a firefighter hero (aren’t they all) and I have never met a man yet who loved his family more, especially his grandchildren. His love for animals, great and small, and his unending supply of cookies. His circle of friends is huge, as it should be, and he will be greatly missed. I loved our talks, friendship, and support. He called always…birthdays, special occasions, etc. I will miss you Mr. LeBlanc, always love, Mrs. LeBlanc; catch ya later.”
  • Edgeworth guy who came before me, Tom Trahant, speaks on one of my previous articles: “Another great read Peter! I noticed the article in the old Malden Evening News about recognizing Officer George Hood for heroism during the robbery at the old A&P store. Eddie Callahan was killed and George wounded. My brother Jack happened to be sitting at the counter in the old Elmwood Pharmacy that was on the corner of Pearl Street back in the day. The police occupied that and other area locations keeping everyone who happened to be there in place until safety was certain. Eddie’s brother Billy (Callahan) was a councilman from Ward 2 for years. Eddie’s death was tragic for the family and had a rough impact on the city as a whole.”
  • Speaking of one of the most horrific days in Malden history – the 1963 murder of Eddie Callahan by evil incarnate – whose name I will not write; a short conversation with current Malden Police Commissioner and local bon vivant Sal “Butch” Gennetti reveals that Butchie is the last man standing, so to speak. The last officer on duty that fateful night in ’63 who is still alive today. I love it when I run into Butch. Such an inspiring man whom I have looked up to my entire life. I’ll never forget the first time Butchie called me by first name! I had a (expletive deleted) eating grin on my face the rest of the weekend. I was somebody in Edgeworth!

As Peter Falk’s iconic TV character Columbo would say, “Just one more thing, sir” – “An Empty Bottle, A Broken Heart, & You’re Still on My Mind”…back in the “shake it off” late 1950’s at the University of Miami, Ernie Ardolino Sr. outran some of the biggest, some of the baddest, some of the most vicious linemen playing college football. In the ensuing years, navigating an ever-changing society, Ernie was also able to stay one step ahead and outrun the crazies and their “cancel culture” breathing down his neck (insert smiley face). But he was not able to outsprint the great equalizer nipping at his heels, “Father Time.” Ernie is no longer with us, but we will hold his memory and the thousands of stories – most of which cannot be printed in a family newspaper – near and dear to our hearts. For those who believe, he now resides in the Highland Cafe in the sky. Alongside wife Anna at the Keno machine, mother-in-law Anna (Puleo) on those busy Friday nights taking pizza orders over the phone, father-in-law John (Puleo) preparing the manicotti for the unwashed masses, and cousin-in-law (?) Paul Gennetti trying to keep his sanity as the Highland regulars make their way through those hallowed portals of the place where most of us grew up, the cozy confines of the last of a dying breed, Malden’s “Archie’s Place” – the Highland Cafe. Though no longer amongst us physically, Ernie’s presence ain’t going anywhere, anytime soon. Papa Ardolino – we salute you, my friend, and I am pretty sure you would have loved the sendoff your family threw for you!

Postscript 1: Just for the record, fear not Big Papa, I know for a fact that Ernie’s two boys – Aiden and Andrew – will remember your name and hear all the stories (when they are old enough, of course) that made you famous.
Postscript 2: My father Solomon (aka Zulick) wore his Star of David proudly – right up until the day he departed this mortal coil in 2021. A voracious reader, he had a saying after scanning the “Irish Sports Page,” noticing the passing of yet another landsman, he’d say to nobody in particular, “We lost another friend today.”

Zulick, we lost many friends last year…May their memory be a blessing: Burt Bacharach, Richard Belzer, Chaim Topol, Seymour Stein, Jerry Springer, Alan Arkin, Paul Reubens, Diane Feinstein, Norman Lear, Louise Glick and Malden’s Bernice Neicei Degen.

Postscript 3: Happy 93rd to Zulick aka Jerry who, I hope, had that long-awaited reunion with his father, Harry. Mom, pops and grandpa having eternal lunch at the G&G Deli in the sky. What a wonderful, comforting thought.


—Peter is a long-time Malden resident and a regular contributor to the Malden Advocate he can be reached at PeteL39@aol.com for comments, compliments or criticisms.

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