By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Yo, watch out for flying slogans. Sure, come on over, and bring your bud with you. We're heading to Al's Pumphouse, the coolest club in town, located at the north end of Greenville, South Carolina. This place is like Churchill's but bigger A divided by the bar into a pool-shootin' side and a music side, down-to-earth in its ambiance, easy on the budget. In fact on this open-mike Tuesday the pitchers of Busch go for two bucks, as do the margaritas. And even though it's an off night, the joint is packed. We've been driving awhile, so the first order of Pumphouse business is availing ourselves of the facilities. I enter the rest room, and this scruffy dood trails me in. "Hey bro, how y'all doin' tonight?" Knowing that he's either setting me up for a hustle, looking to rip me, or ridiculing a nonregular, I begin menacingly mumbling the graffiti next to the toilet. He says some more yee-haw stuff and then walks out. I'm relieved I didn't have to jack him up, but now one of the pool shooters has walked in, and he starts yapping at me. Homes don't play this shit, man, so I stare him cold and say, "Look, buckwheat, I came here for the music. That's it. Bacdafucup." He smiles and says, "Well all right. Now we got us some real good amateur musicians up here...." It will take me a couple of hours to realize that these cats weren't jerking me at all. They were just trying to be friendly. Low and slow. Bizarre.
So we're scoping some real decent jams A mostly blues, a few too many crowd-pleasers (i.e., covers) A when this brother walks in with guitar case in hand and he looks exactly like a young Hendrix, right down to the ruffled dress shirt under his black leather jacket. We gotta stick around and check this out. During a break we go outside for air and notice the bartender tossing something on the ground. Feeding chickens? No. It's after midnight and the barkeep is outside seeding the lawn. Finally the Jimi guy goes up with his rhythm section and we prepare for the worst A embarrassingly bad Hendrix covers. Someone yells out "Purple Haze" and we get peeved at the perceived putdown, especially since the (95 percent white) crowd has been so supportive of the other acts. The guy launches into an instrumental jam that salves all our concerns. This voodoo child (not-so-slight return) can play some licks now I'm telling you what. More calls for Hendrix A and sho' nuff, that's his shtick. And he's got it down cold A Jimi would be proud.
Another person, a mustached, sweats-and-T-wearing guy who looked a lot like my friend Bay Snow, was weeblin' and wobblin' around the room, and (thanks to those two-dollar pitchers) I found myself in the rest room again, this time with him. I don't talk to lowlife drunks 'cause I am one, but he started in with that "how ya doin' tonight" crap. "I came for the music." I thought that might shut this boozy bum up, but he says back, "Oh, yeah. I have five or six of these guys play at my barbecue. I have a big party for all my employees." Turns out he owns a construction company. Y'all come back real soon.
And bring your bud with you.
You never know who's below the salt. And, I guess, you really shouldn't care. Peoples is peoples. Good and bad.
And musical: The funny and warm folkster Steve Key drops in at Stephen Talkhouse on Saturday. Electric violinist Hugo Martinez is spending Fridays and Saturdays entertaining the eaters at Janjo's, and watch for Peter Betan and Marc Berner to occasionally sit in. Check out some silver flute mastery when Laura Sue Wilansky plays at the May Day for AIDS on Friday. It begins at 6:00 p.m. at the Gallery of Masters, 3440 N. Ocean Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. It's free; money from art sales goes to Center One.
John Tovar and his TCA team have been busy, signing Jack Off Jill, who'll have a six-song tape, Children Five and Up, out soon. Mr. Manson boarded the project. And speaking of Marilyn, don't believe all those wanna-be scoopers blabbing weeks ago about how the band had signed a deal. The deal is now done, as far as inking, but a producer and studio site haven't even been selected. Relax, and get your updates here. Excessive (formerly XSF, but Tovar has always called them "Excessive" anyway) has a nine-song CD coming out at the end of the month, and the band will then hit the road. The Holy Terrors are being courted by a couple of majors, and will showcase their tight, hard sound on June 12 in Atlanta. The Bellefires A and please, scoopers, please put the "the" in their name A showcased for ASCAP in New Yawk. "I have to say thanks to the Miami Rocks team for letting them play acoustic at Rocks," Tovar says. "As a result of that, ASCAP was impressed with their songwriting. Five labels and eight or nine publishers were at the showcase in Soho. As a result of that, we're in the middle of negotiations with a big label and a publisher. They played several shows on the way up, in the Carolinas and North Florida, and at every one the club asked them to come back. Tell the bands that it's hard work, but it's important to get out of Miami and play. You get great response." Hey bands A get out of Miami and play. And bring your bud with you.