Billy Ruane, local rock impresario in Boston.

Billy Ruane with singer and guitarist Tommy White of the Mighty Ions (left), and Mark Davis, drummer in the Real Kids (right). William J. Ruane, 1957–2020, was an enthusiastic promoter of the Boston rock scene, booking shows for bands across the country he liked the most and paying the groups out of his pocket when the door receipts were not sufficient.

Go to the index page of pictures of rock bands in Boston.

Billy Ruane with Tom White, who sang and played with Unnatural Axe and the Fabulous Billy Billygoons.

Billy Ruane with Tom White, who also sang and played with Unnatural Axe and the Fabulous Billygoons. Born November 10th 1957 to a prosperous Wall Street investment banker and philanthropist, William J. Ruane suffered from bipolar disorder and died of a heart attack at his computer, only 52 years old on October 26th 2010.

Billy Ruane, local rock impresario in Boston

Billy booked promising bands you’d never heard of into local venues, then buy up all the tickets and give them out free to his friends so they would show up.

Billy Ruane, local rock promoter in Boston

Billy Ruane would attend performances and buy all the group’s merchandise, then hand the singles, CDs and T-shirts out to everyone in attendance.

Billy Ruane, local rock promoter in Boston.

Billy was instrumental in transforming the Middle East restaurant in Cambridge in to a rock club, starting in 1987. At first the shows were described as “live & unplugged” though after a few months bands played as loud there as they did they did anywhere else.

Billy Ruane, local rock impresario in Boston.

Billy Ruane’s entrances were never less than dramatic: He lit out of the dark, trench coat flapping, shirt open to the navel, and set about unleashing a round of his trademark wet kisses. —Clint Conley, bassist-singer in Mission of Burma

Billy Ruane, local rock promoter in Boston.

Billy hugging a young woman at the Green Street Grill, John Ward is in the background on the right wearing an Alice Cooper T-shirt.

Billy Ruane, local rock impresario in Boston.

Billy Ruane at the Green Street Grill in Jamaica Plain.

Billy Ruane, with a bottle of Spanish sparkling wine.

Billy getting ready to open a bottle of Cava downstairs at the Middle East in 1988.

Billy Ruane speaking on stage at the Middle East in Cambridge.

Billy Ruane on stage at the Middle East in Central Square on the occasion of a record release party for Vasco da Gama in 1988; that group’s drummer, Nik Gerboth, is on the right, Lou Castaldo is walking behind with their record.

Billy speaking to the crowd at the Middle East in Central Square.

Billy entertaining the audience between bands at the Middle East at Vasco da Gama’s record release party; that group’s violinist, Dan Kellar, is on the left, Lou Cataldo is in the middle.

Billy Ruane on stage with country singer Xanna Don’t, Laurie Geltman and Lou Cataldo of Vasco da Gama at the Middle East in Cambridge.

Billy Ruane on stage at the Middle East; country singer Xanna Don’t is walking towards him while Laurie Geltman and Lou Cataldo of Vasco da Gama are seen in the background.

Billy Ruane with Xanna Don’t on stage at the Middle East in Central Square.

Billy at Vasco da Gama’s record release party at the Middle East in Central Square, singer Xanna Don’t is to the left him.

Billy and Xanna Don’t in front of the stage downstairs at the Middle East with a bottle of Freixenet Cava sparkling wine.

Billy Ruane and Xanna Don’t sitting in front of the stage downstairs at the Middle East after he’d given her a bottle of Freixenet Cava sparkling wine. Bruce Hyatt, bass player for Dig Deep, is in the background.

Xanna Don’t preparing to open a bottle of Freixenet Billy Ruane had just given her.

Xanna Don’t preparing to open a bottle of Freixenet Billy Ruane had just given her. The guy in the lower-left is already dribbling while the young women in the upper-left don’t look very convinced.

Billy Ruane with Mark Kennedy, the singer in Toecutter, previously Vivisect, at the Green Street Grill in Jamaica Plain.

Billy with Mark Kennedy, the singer in Toecutter, previously Vivisect, at the Green Street Grill in Jamaica Plain.