Coconut Grove in all its hippie glory

If cheap rent and tranquility were the major draws for Grovites, by the mid-Eighties the one-two punch of real estate development and crack had largely eliminated both. Dean, who by that point was running his punk- and New Wave-oriented Yardbird Records in the area ("I sold the first Sex Pistols record in Miami," he chuckles), relocated to Hallandale. He isn't nostalgic, though.

"Coconut Grove is still beautiful; you just need a lot more money now to enjoy it," Dean says wryly. "Besides, I'm not one to live in the past. I've seen too many scenes come and go. Look at the South Beach art scene before Lincoln Road was built up. Places have their moments." As for Martin's imminent return to Miami: "It'll be interesting to see who comes out of the woodwork for these shows." Dean shakes his head, laughs, and adds, "Some cats might look at me and say, 'Wow! I can't believe that guy's still around!'"

Martin himself also strikes a forward-looking note. "I wasn't tired of Coconut Grove, but I'm glad I left," he says of his 1979 trip to New York, which, though intended merely as a short-term recording jaunt, became permanent. "I should have left three years earlier than I did, but it was ennui; I couldn't get going. All of South Miami had been so built up. I lived a mile away from U.S. 1, and I could still hear traffic at night -- that's how bad it got."

courtesy Evan Chern at Yesterday & Today records

As for current projects, though Martin has been playing of late with many of the usual folk suspects, he was surprised to discover an ardent fan in Thurston Moore, who, as guitarist/singer for Sonic Youth, has become nothing short of altrock's elder statesman. "My buddy introduced us, and I thought Thurston was putting me on," Martin laughs. "But he knew all my music! He starts jumping up and down, getting all excited: You're the Jasmine guy!'" The two since have performed several acoustic sets around New York, supporting Martin's self-assessment: "I've got peer members half my age. I refuse to be a goldie oldie. I'm vintage!"

Vince Martin and Mike Taylor perform at 9:00 p.m. on Friday, June 9, and Saturday, June 10, at the Titanic Brewery, 5813 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Coral Gables. Call 305-667-2537 for information. At 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 11, the duo performs at Lake Worth's Coffee Gallery Café. Call 561-585-5911 for information.

Send your music news, local releases, and general gunk to Brett Sokol at 2800 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33137. Fax to 305-571-7678 or e-mail brett.sokol@miaminewtimes.com

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