The Allens begin 28th year rocking Marlborough area By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer | Community Advocate

Marlborough – It was like old times for The Allens when they presented a fans appreciation concert the evening before Labor Day at Union Common. The Marlborough-based rock band had performed during the holiday weekend many times and revived their tradition last year, noted guitarist and vocalist Billy Claire.

“We approached the mayor’s office to do free shows for a couple years in a row as a way of giving back to the community,” he explained. “It’s a nice wrap-up for us, being the last band to perform there for the summer.”

Early forecasts for Labor Day weekend warned threats of Post-Tropical Cyclone Hermine. The mayor’s office communicated with Claire regarding potential rain dates for the concert.

“Weather forecasting is the best job on the planet because you can be wrong on a regular basis and still get paid,” Claire joked. “The weather couldn’t have been better – no humidity and the temperature was great. It was the best conditions for a live show.”

The Allens at Union Common

Other band members are Frank Hinckley on guitar and vocals, Mark Johnson on drums, and his brother Eric Johnson on bass. Roger “Bear” Caissie handles sound. Former band members are Billy Katsikas and Gary Stucchi on bass, and Billy Claire’s brother Randy Claire on drums.

Before forming The Allens, each musician gained experience working with other bands. They came together when bassist Katsikas invited them to perform a few songs at his wedding reception.

Frank Hinckley

“We figured we’d do about five or six songs,” Claire recalled. “But we actually played about 30 songs at the rehearsal. Then we thought that maybe we should get a gig.”

Among the first gigs they booked was an annual Halloween party. They still appear each year wearing costumes based on a different theme. One year, they dressed as the punk-rock band The Ramones, but Claire admits that each looked more like Howard Stern.

Billy Claire

“Another year we went as ZZ Top with the big, gray beards and sunglasses,” Claire relayed. “We discovered that it was almost impossible to sing through fake beards and they steamed up the sunglasses. We also went once in drag – it was really unfortunate.”

Eric Johnson, Mark Johnson, Billy Claire

They’re still deciding what to wear for this year’s Halloween party, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29 at Speakers Nightclub in Marlborough. Also at Speakers, The Allens celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2013. Now, the band is beginning their 28th year.

Mark Johnson with his grandson

“When we first started, we said, ‘When it stops being fun, it stops,’” Claire shared. “It’s never stopped being fun. We all love to play, and play off of each other in the band.”

Claire also enjoys performing his solo acoustic act. He’ll continue a tradition of his own while performing solo at the post-race activities of the 13th annual Police Chase 5K of the Marlborough Police Patrol Officers Association (MPPOA). It will be held Saturday, Oct. 1, 11 a.m., beginning and ending at the Marlborough Moose Family Center 1129. Family-friendly post-race activities also include a cookout and raffles. Donation is $20 in advance; $25 day of race.

“It’s an all-around fun time,” Claire said. “It’s a well-run road race with a lot of perks for a good cause.”

The fundraiser is held in memory of Sgt. William Kirby and Dispatcher Joshua Duckworth. Race registration can be made online at and click “5K.” Checks made payable to MPPOA can be mailed to MPPOA, Attention: Officer Scott Taylor, 355 Bolton St., Marlborough, MA 01752. For race information, contact Officer Pat Hogan at 508-485-1212 or

For information about The Allens, visit and find their Facebook page. For information about Billy Claire’s solo acoustic act, visit

The Allens

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.