Program Notes

Ah, the piney smell of Christmas trees, the lights twinkling and decorations shining, the spirit of the holidays glowing everywhere you go. Makes me want to hurt people. Can't help it, just a feeling. Jack 'em up with a rock sock. Fry days this year, it'll be a buster from here to '93. This Friday, for example, consider the options: Forget the Name offers an all-ages show at Washington Square at 8:00 p.m., then comes back around 11:30 for the older folks, joined by two other excellent rock groups, Love Canal and Dore Soul. Simultaneously, over at Churchill's Hideaway, Scoobee Doos and Pontius Pilot join the quiet-lately Quit on-stage. Or -- also that night, a bunch of bands gather at Squeeze to carol on behalf of the Children's Diagnostic Center of South Florida: members of Basketcase, the Itch, Black Janet, M.O.R.E., Six Silver Spiders, Slang, Wet Flower, and Rooster Head (whose new Xmas song will kill you, or at least hurt someone). Bring a toy to get in and bring a smile to some of the children under care at the Center.

Finally got our ears on that Tanqueray rock contest CD, recorded live at the Ritz in New Yawk and featuring two songs each by five finalists, including Southeast regional winners Mari Serpas & the Instigators (from New Orleans). It costs only $4.99, but there's bad news, too: three dollars of that goes to the T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer, and AIDS Research.

The seven-year-old Groove Thangs are separating after a New Year's Eve farewell bash at Dirty Moe's East in Boca Raton. Before that, you can catch the Groovesters at the Ambassador Club up in Deerfield tonight (Wednesday) or at Cheers in Fort Liquordale on Sunday, or at Stephen Talkhouse on December 23. Lots of good-byes. Expect the band to disappear for six-to-eight months as Jeff heads to South Carolina and DownPat to Charlotte, members pursuing sundry solo projects. The Thangs say they'll regroup for special occasions and that they will be back.

Next year the next thing might be Dance Commission, a project of producer Julio Bague that hits heavy on the new jack thing with hips hopping, too. Songs on the being-shopped demo are "Cover It!" and "Dance Commission." You read it here.

R.E.M. live! Yeah, well, it already happened, and not here. The Athens gods recently tossed a party at the 40 Watt up there, inviting only members of their fan club within a geographic radius. One reason for the event was to record a new version of "Drive" for a Greenpeace project, using a solar-powered recording truck. Yes, solar powered. The band opened with "Drive," then worked through "Monty Got a Raw Deal," "Everybody Hurts," "Man on the Moon," and others, including the set closer, "Finest Worksong." They began the encore with another rendering of "Drive" for the solar-taper, then Mike Mills sang "Love Is All Around." Next was the Stooges' "No Fun." Excitement was building, could it be, could it be, yes, "Radio Free Europe" and the place went berserko. My spy reports being asked by a young attendee what the hell that "Love Is All Around" thing was. Guess ya gotta be pretty ancient to remember the Troggs.

The rest of the world: I hear that Jon Bovi's (whatever) drummer recently called the National Museum of Music History in Washington, D.C., offering to donate his gold-plated drum set. They told him to call Hard Rock Cafe. In February Interview will spotlight music scenes, with bright beams shining on Miami. Look forward to it. And with all that can be said about the year's big hit album, Ice Cube's The Predator, we'll begin with this nifty trivia: The photographs on it were snapped by Pamela Springsteen (Bruce's sister).

Billy Yeager update: The veteran dreamer, compositional mastermind, and all-star player met recently with his mentor Bruce Hornsby, who was in town to pick up an award and speak to students at the University of Miami. Several labels have asked Yeager for material, and, he says, Hornsby promised to sit down with some of these A&R dogs and make sure they give Yeager's stuff a fair listen. Of course, Yeager's already moved on to his next project, working with Ed Mashal (the Eagles, etc.), a teacher at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and a studio wizard. The resulting tape will be completed this month and will begin making the mail rounds in January. And Yeager is also looking to put a band together. He wants two guitarists, keyboards, drums, bass, a multi-instrumentalist, percussionist, and three female backup singers. Send cassette and bio to Yeager at P.O. Box 22-0221, Hollywood, FL 33022.

All you free-lance researchers and "Program Notes" spies -- your help is needed. Again. The search is on for an old live tape of the Front at 27 Birds (about a decade ago). The show was broadcast on WVUM-FM, and a tape must still exist somewhere.

Act One has opened a new music division, headed by Geoffrey Erich, a ten-year biz vet. Erich says his operation can handle everything from artist management and development to concert promotions. Send packages to Act One's music division at 1220 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139, or call Erich at 672-0200.

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