From the ashes of DMZ, or in this case the bottom of a staircase, rose the band Lyres. In a major band altercation in 1978 in DMZ’s rehearsal space, lead singer Monoman tumbled down two flights of stairs. Mono was reborn Jeff Conolly (aka Jeff Conolloid, Joselito Gomez, Lynn Pokemonojeff) and Lyres was formed.
Lyres (not “The” Lyres as some obscure group from the 50’s once recorded under that name) is Jeff’s band. Songwriter, keyboard player and lead vocalist, Jeff hears the songs in his head and knows exactly how each part is to be played. With Jeff in charge the compelling protopunk sounds of Lyres coalesced into a coherent musical ensemble which has continued to perform and record from 1979 to the present.
I’ve known Jeffrey since he was 19, when he first rehearsed with DMZ in my basement on Beacon Hill. A musician of passionate intensity which translates onstage, he also has an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of garage rock. Along with Jeff, I produced the first Lyres single in 1979: “How Do You Know”/”Don’t Give It Up Now”. The recording session was rapid as my job was to capture the sounds that Jeff wanted as quickly as possible as studios charged by the hour. But Jeff made certain that each note was perfect.
Close to 40 years later with 8 albums and numerous singles and EPs, including such hits as “Buried Alive”, “Help You Ann”, and “Don’t Tell Me Lies”, the lineup of Lyres has changed over time with Jeff and drummer Paul Murphy as constants. (Of note, former guitarist Peter Greenburg left Lyres in 1983 and went on to form Barrence Whitfield and the Savages.) The band made a brief move to Los Angeles in 1989, only to relocate back to Boston the following year. Lyres remain Boston’s own and we can expect a new album in 2016.