On the Schmooze

Talk to me. And make mine a Jack Daniel's.

I don't know about you, but I had a blast at the South Florida Rock Awards, even staying for seven hours, almost all of them on my feet. That was the thing to do at Max Borges's now-established local-muse shindig. Walk about and talk about.

Pandisc Music marketing coordinator Lydia Ojeda hosted shots of Jack (my choice, thanks Lydia) and insisted that even though she works at an urban-contemptible label, she's at heart a closet metalhead.

After Jacking up, I came close to cracking a Bud bottle (nigh empty, natch) across the back of Paul Deakin's carefully sculpted cranium. He and other members of the Mavericks were attacking New Times crit Todd Anthony, three on one, and I had to defend him. He was designated driver. Deakin's skull was saved from a shard shave by the sudden appearance between me and him of WWF wrestling tag-team champs John Tovar and Frank Callari, who also happen to manage the Mavs. Perhaps some sort of Battle Royale match could be arranged. Long Distance Entertainment could promote it.

I stumbled into LDE's Darlene DeLano and we lamented together her sad fortunes in the letters section of this newspaper. I babbled about how she was right and they were wrong and nobody really understands and then I dissed her about that damn dancing bear. She didn't hear me.

The Itch must have been playing. Theirs was one of a dozen local bands, most excellent, despite the metallic quotient. A late-night acoustic jaunt was supposed to balance, I suppose, the hardness that went before, although a Raul Malo/Debbie Spring acoustic set is not exactly Sunday morning in the pew. The Itch, who I hadn't seen live before, hooked me good, and their Sgt. Pepper cover was as coolly brilliant as the late, great Coral Gables's long-ago excursions into Beatleland. Amboog-a-lard smoked. Cigarettes cost three bucks a pack at the Button South, and I dropped a fresh pack in the toilet. Beers cost even more.

I cornered multi-awardgasmic Marilyn Manson and told her how much I enjoyed recent Spooky Kids action at Washington Square. Then I dissed him for not bothering with verse lyrics in her blissful take on Jim Carroll's "People Who Died." He laughed.

Todd Anthony poured a few more drinks my way, and then I jumped gleefully into a bloody brawl with Louis Lowy of the Wait, much to the disinterest of Wait singer Diane Ward, standing next to us. I'd like to say, on the record and in print, having seen live shows, following them since they were Bootleg, hearing tapes, including the new demo, that the Wait is: (choose a positive, sincere adjective here) _____________. Use "great" or "very good" only in emergencies. I didn't dis the Wait.

Lydia Ojeda got to present two awards, and I had to share the spotlight with Glenn Richards. Saigon Kick, who've won lots of these awards, were out-of-country. I was just out of it by then, sometime, I think, after 1:00 a.m.

Frank "Rat Bastard" Falestra got the piss dissed out of him more than once. I did it first, with good reason. A true giant of the local rock scene who somehow tends to be ignored by Giant Rock Spectacular organizers, Falestra got to present the Best Alternative Band trophy. But before that, Ratzo had to deal with my vicious verbal assaults for shining me on that promised videotape of the Chant live at Churchill's Hideaway (co-starring Miami police and the amazing Volunteers). He made excuses and then cupped-hand screamed to me that this South Florida Rock Awards needed some "violence" or "excitement" -- I cannot testify in a court of law about his choice of words.

Falestra later took the stage and announced the nominees, dutifully pointing to the big-screen video monitor where said nominees' images appeared magically, as if by telecommunication. Then he announced the winner -- Quit! Coincidentally, Quit is a Falestra fave. And they say there's no favoritism at the SFRA! Much celebration followed the announcement. (Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids actually won the Best Alternative Band award, by the way.) Falestra's nifty hoax was immediately exposed by one of the two presenter/

host/emcee women. Dunno which one, but if you really care, call Leonard Pitts, Jr., at the Miami Herald.

Good violence. Violence good.
A few hours later Glenn Richards and I climbed up to honor Best National Release. Richards read all the scripted crap, and I got to open the envelope and name the winner -- Frank "Rat Bastard" Falestra. Ha ha. But don't do it again, Falestra (or anybody else for that matter) or I'll help Tovar and Callari kick your ass.

There were at least three gentlemen in the sizable crowd that night:

* Jeff Lemlich was passing out hype for his book Savage Lost, due out January 22. It's a very good book. Nah, it's great.

* Brian Merrill of Tampa's Factory Black is possibly the most pleasant singer for a rock and roll band I've ever had the pleasure of meeting face to face.

* Rich Ulloa -- now, I would never dis
you, Rich, but despite your success with the Mavs CD and the imminent success of the Mary Karlzen project, you're still a rocket scientist/priest in the shark pond that is the music business, a guy who believes in and cares about the music and the musicians. Man, you're

fucking honest. They'll stomp your chest while wearing golf cleats. What, you been in a coma since the Me Decade? Get greedy, bro.

Say what you will about some of us presenters, but if Jim Hayward of the Palm Beach Post isn't articulate and professional, I'll, I don't know, I'll...play it rough trade in public. I tried to show Hayward, who has a sociologist's interest in these things, that there was a guy who had a gal pinned backwards against the back wall of the Button, holding her arms up in a position vaguely symbolic of crucifixion, mushing her from behind. I should've videotaped it for Hayward's ongoing studies. Or maybe I should've been so bold as to tell the kids to take it outside. The 2 Live Crew was not there to accept their Best Rap nod, maybe because two members are suing Luke Campbell.

I talked to a bunch more very cool scenesters, industry wags, hustlers, and I wish I could put all your names in the newspaper. But I'd probably dis you anyway. So then Todd drove us -- us being me, Irving Azoff, Davey Geffen, and Chris Blackwell -- home. At least that's the way I remember it.

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