Mike Gioscia grew up in what he calls a “cow town” in Connecticut. For major concerts, he and his friends “would trudge to the New Haven Coliseum for late-’70s early ’80s rock shows like Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne, and Cheap Trick.”
Those experiences led to him entering an amateur radio jock contest in high school in Hartford and eventually to DJing at the now-defunct rock station WFNX in Boston, where he first got on the airwaves in 1992, then several other stations.
“I helped make all the cool production pieces, station IDS, station promos,” Gioscia says of his early FNX days. “We had complete freedom to do whatever we wanted—the crazier, more off-the-wall stuff, like poking fun at WBCN. The culture was to be anti-corporate radio.
“I never watched TV in the ’90s. Radio was it. Rock shows were it. I played in a band, I started DJing. People would talk about Seinfeld, and I would have no idea.”
Having been there for innumerable iconic, massive shows, including Green Day at the Boston hatch shell in ’94—about that one, Gioscia says, “By the time I got down to the Esplanade, the show was almost over because it had hit its riotous conclusion”—he’s been in the biz of bringing people together through music for years, and of “being involved in something that is much bigger than me.”
Gioscia’s latest project is Plymouth Rocks, a startup film and music blowout that is currently slated for Oct 26 and 27. With a fundraiser for the festival coming up this Friday, April 6, at the Memorial Blue Room in Plymouth, we asked the organizer about his team’s vision for this expedition.
What do you see as the dominant music festivals around here right now?
Obviously I think Boston Calling came in and served the whole area for a downtown festival with big acts on multiple days. Out in Western Mass, Wilco’s Solid Sound festival is pretty cool, being off the beaten path and having not just obvious acts. And Levitate, down here in Marshfield, even though I have yet to go to one, I think that’s the motivating thing. I see that happening at the Marshfield Fairgrounds, and I thought, “Why can’t I do this?”
I was just a guy who was very connected to Boston and Boston events who moved to the country, and I was finding these events and wondering why there can’t be something like this on the South Shore.
Plymouth is cool. It’s funky, it’s still blue collar. I thought we should spend more time in our own community. That led me to sit down with a few other locals who also have music connections, including the owner of the record store in Plymouth and the operators of the [now-defunct] independent film festival. … That was mid-2016 when we were talking about it, and most of 2017 was working on getting the paperwork together for a nonprofit.
What’s the ultimate goal with this thing?
We want to share proceeds with local school music programs. We feel that we can do cool things and help out younger artists.
What’s the game plan to get there?
Memorial Hall is pretty big. It fits 1,500, so we can probably do 3,000 people over the weekend. … The plan is to have one night that is film-related, maybe a documentary followed by [an event with] the subjects. On night number two, we’ll do a dirty old rock ’n’ roll show.
For more info on Plymouth Rocks and this Friday’s fundraiser with the David Bieber Archives, visit plymouthrocksevents.org.