Program Notes 9

Clarity is the clarion call of great journalism. Okay, so clarion pretty much means clarity, but there's also the "shrill" part of the definition. It was cool last week that Max Borges, who brought the South Florida Rock Awards to, duh, South Florida, and is a very smart man, calls me up and asks me to translate frikkin "Program Notes." Okay, Max, you got the time: The butthorn to the Band and Diet Coke, see, "take a load off Fanny" in that context is, like --hey, if you don't want to be a fatass loser, take a load off your fanny by drinking Diet Coke (and then you'll be a skinny-ass loser and my bros will make jokes about you going to the drugstore to buy Asitol, since you ain't got no ass at all). And Actress Ana and the god dog in "Pet Corner"? She was playing me for the fool, scaring me to think that one of my best dog friends had met a tragic demise. But Kina hadn't! Is that clear?

But this is. Vinyl. In this space we used to italicize that word, because it had become foreign, no longer a part of America, two percent of the music industry's distribution market. It just isn't done any more, except by cool punk bands and the mighty Jim Johnson and a few others who aren't beyond slipping us a seven-inch single, or the immortal Harry Pussy, who just sent me their new twelve-inch. But vinyl as the configuration-of-choice musta got lost and I always feared I'd be lost without it. Then, a couple of years ago, some of my friends at New Times broke into my house while I was on vacation and installed in my system a Nad CD player. This was a good thing, because almost all I get from the record companies, the stuff I need to do my job, is on CD. After some months, and more months after we'd copped a new turntable, a used Technics, the stylus on it kaputted. So for a few months I satisfied the ten seconds I get to listen to music for personal pleasure with CDs and tapes. But last week my wife located, obtained, and smuggled home a new stylus. Then we bought a pair of primo Yamaha speakers. The drought ended, after some consideration, with a copy of Bruce's second album. When the needle hit the flesh, it all came back to me. Every crisp pluck of the guitar strings, every subtle tonal variance of the bass lines, the blood on the drums' skin, the sound of music as it was meant to be heard.

Then, just to make me feel even older, Funky Frank Tomasino brings me the gift of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, The Message, their original (with nods to Mr. Wonder) and only legitimate LP, released in 1977. (In case you didn't know, Grandmaster Flash pretty much invented rap music, at least the music part.) Oh, brother. I've heard "The Message" track once (I think James T. played it on WEDR a long while ago) since my copy disappeared in the late Seventies. Now I can hear it on vinyl, now I am. That's all I need, that and someone else to write this column for me.

And here it is now. A nice letter from someone signing his or her name "Joaby Knee" that cheered me up: "I just finished reading your column and as much as I hate doing it, I had to write this letter. Concerning your hero John Salton, I was told how great a player he is by some friends of mine and I had the good fortune of seeing him play a few months back at Open Books & Records. Well, needless to say, the man's playing was so pitiful everybody there was in shock, he literally could not play a note, it was sad!! I think maybe when you say he's the 'greatest guitar player' you've ever seen, you actually mean the greatest junkie. I'd agree with that. Your glorification of these old, way-washed-up junkies doesn't surprise me though. Birds of a feather flock together, right? P.S. If you suck his dick a little harder, you just might get some heroin out of it. Good luck."

See it happen. Charlie Pickett are playing Saturday at Churchill's.
Tampa brainrockers Clang is slated to play Stephen Talkhouse tonight (Thursday).

The date for the Slammies has been moved to July 3 (at the Edge) and we have here the list of performers: Tension, Holy Terrors, Jack Off Jill, Load, Raped Ape, Marilyn Manson. Call 697-7699 for updates.

Collapsing Lungs, whose "Crackerjack" vid should debut on MTV's Headbanger's Ball at the end of the month, and who is nominated for "Band of the Year" in the Slammies, plays Squeeze tomorrow (Friday).

Tomorrow (Friday) it's the Woodcrock Festival at Power Studio (in the old Fire and Ice spot at 3701 NE 2nd Ave.); Kreamy 'Lectric Santa, Swizzle Stick, Was, and the Ed Matus' Struggle perform for all ages.

My mobster friend Lenny "The Pro" Pronesti, currently doing time in Indiana, calls to report that on an Indianapolis commercial rock station, called X103, he heard a song by the Goods.

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