Early winter, 2018. A knock on the door and suddenly Harry Booras finds himself face to face with an FBI agent and state police detective investigating the long-ago murder of one Steven DiSarro, a club owner serving as a front for the Boston mob. DiSarro was purportedly, the last manager of a Boston nightclub called The Channel. Booras was the first. Harry Booras opened The Channel in South Boston on Memorial Day weekend 1980, as a Boston live music club.
For more than a decade it brought in acts and audiences spanning all genres of music. All genres. A weekly calendar might look like this: all ages hardcore matinee on Sunday, up-and-coming rock showcase on Tuesday, Afro-pop extravaganza on Wednesday, a head-banging metal show on Thursday, a vintage bluesman on Friday, topped off with 60s rock legend in town on Saturday night. Diversity was the driving force in the success of the Channel.
Like the booking calendar, the venue's audience was all over the place. African dashikis mixed with leather and chains. Punk and folk and prog. Martin acoustics and Marshall stacks — The scene was all scenes. Often mingling between shows on the same night.
Unlike the glossier disco clubs of the day, The Channel had a no-frills approach to decor and amenities, instead pouring most of its resources on the stage. The result was one of the best sounding rooms on the east coast, and a rich selection of local, national and international acts lined up to play the club.
In the early 90s the business fell on hard times. After a streak of misfortunes The Channel fell into the hands of a seedier ownership group. After failing in a six month effort to continue live music shows the club rebranded as Soiree, the nightly acts were now strippers, not singers. The once eclectic and energetic audiences were replaced with gentlemen's club regulars. After a short time, the building shuttered for good.
But before it did there would be threats, car fires, and at least one man would lose his life. This is the story of The Channel.
Story by Harry Booras
Executive producer: David Ginsburg
Associate Producer: Deb Booras
Producer: Chachi Loprete
Host: John Laurenti
Writer: Harry Booras
Contributing Writer: David Ginsburg
Editing: Christopher O'Keeffe
Audio Technician: Tory Lam
Post production: Tony Baglio and Dan Thibeault
Graphic Designer: Lisa St. John Bennett
Special Thanks: David Bieber Archives/Norwood Space Center.
Live Concert Shots: John Boy Franklin
It all started with a knock on my door by the FBI. They assured me I wasn't in trouble but they wanted to talk to me about the Channel, a rock club I owned in the eighties. They were investigating the cold case murder of who, they said was the last manager of the Channel, one Steven DiSarro. An aging mobster "Cadillac Frank" Salemme was going on trial for his murder. What followed was months of drama, while Salemme was on trial for the 1992 disappearance and murder of Steven DiSarro ...