Eric Sherman truly grew up at 242 Main. He started attending shows at age 14 and within two years, he was working at 242 and involved in various art projects there. He would go on to play drums in a half-dozen Burlington bands, racking up over a hundred performances on the 242 stage. (As we all know, good drummers are in high demand in Burlington!) In 1998 Eric moved to Florida, but as he shares below, those 12 years spent attending 242 Main had a big impact on his life. -Martha
Name: Eric Sherman
Hometown: Rochester, VT
Currently lives in: Ocala, FL
Started going to 242 Main: age 14 / 1986
First 242 show: Screaming Broccoli
Played drums in: ColorBlind, 12 Times Over, ISO, Portrait of a Bastard, Dysfunkshun
Most memorable 242 show: Leeway
Was there a certain person who got you into underground music, or someone who brought you to your first show?
My friend Joya was attending the art program set up by the Mayor’s Youth Office, and told me about this great place where bands can play, and people can hang out. The art program was at 242, and I went there to see what it was all about. As I began to hang out more, I met Dana Shepard, Jr., and others. I started listening to a lot more punk, and really got into hardcore music because of Dana and Jr. in 1985 / 1986. Dana and Jr. were like my “punk-rock big brothers,” and took us all under their wings.
What was your favorite thing about 242 Main? What kept you coming back, kept you involved?
The atmosphere was a DIY, creative, and supportive setting that I don’t recall finding in a club since. Kids of all races, ages, and styles were there working together in unison — it was powerful to witness. We ran the club, painted the walls, helped arrange the decorations, and even made the food for sale at the café bar. I kept going for the next 12 years daily, weekly, and monthly because it was a great place to be myself, and to be with like-minded people. I loved the fact we were all involved, and 242 was what we made it. The adult staff would ask our input, and allow us to help with everything. I felt I was a major part of the atmosphere, and culture as a whole. It kept me coming back, again, and again.
Were there any people, or a group of people, who had a particular influence on you?
Jr., Buck,& Dana Shepard, Jim Reynolds, Beano, Jeff Lamoureux, Dave Lamoureux, Dave Fishell, Shawn Thayer, AKA Gandhi, and the Screaming Broccoli crew.
What did your parents and/or other friends think about you hanging out at 242 Main?
They thought it was positive for me, and supported me going to 242.
What was your least favorite thing about 242 Main? Did you run into any problems or issues with the space or community?
The local “rednecks” called it “house of the shaved heads” and gave us problems from time to time. Also, the threats of cutting programs always looming from the city of Burlington, even though it was very important as an outlet for the punk-rock community and kept us out of trouble.
Tell me a bit about your life beyond 242 Main. What do you do for a living? Did your experience at 242 Main affect other areas of your life?
242 helped me grow as a manager, and I work in the print / media field managing print production for medical and pharmaceutical marketing companies. 242 helped me learn to communicate with different kinds of people from different backgrounds, and helped me to understand social issues and free thought.
What else do you want to share about your experience at 242 Main and in the Vermont underground music scene?
I first went to 242 Main in the summer of 1986, when I was 14 years old. I was a young punk-rocker with aspirations of gaining a following for my band which myself, and three of my life-long friends started that same summer under the name Better off Dead. When I first walked in the doors of 242 Main, I was home. 242 Main oozed a creative, united, and free-thinking spirit – we had the right place to be ourselves, while having direction and support from the adult staff. I felt a sense of purpose; felt like I was contributing to something, and looking back I have to say it was very important to my development and who I am today.
All of my friends started hanging out at 242 Main – it was our new home away from home. Kathy Lawrence and Clark Russell had programs for arts and music set up that were a great way for us to keep out of trouble, and to be social – having a safe place for us to hang out during the long summer days and nights. There were local bands that started to play there such as: Miss Bliss, Screaming Broccoli, and Hollywood Indians, to name a few. That winter, or early the next spring my band started to play more often and we started to get a local following as well. It was a great place to have safe music concerts and we always had a blast playing and supporting 242 Main over the years. During the late ’80s and early ’90s, The Champions and my band under our new name ColorBlind played all the time and it was a great time for the scene and for 242 Main as well.
I moved to Florida in 1998, but for the 12 years I visited 242 Main regularly I attended hundreds of shows, and played at least a hundred shows as well in bands which I was the drummer for such as: ColorBlind, 12 Times Over, ISO, Portrait of a Bastard, and Dysfunkshun.
242 Main has had its ups and downs over the years with funding and possible cuts to its operations, but it always has weathered the storm so to speak. I hope it remains open, and if the building itself must be demolished, I hope the City of Burlington and the Mayor’s Youth Office find a new spot to keep this culture alive.