Before the road dust had even caked on their vehicle, Coral Gables jazz-rock eccentrics the Jongleurs were forced to cut short their first full-scale tour when their Ford Club Wagon van took a nasty tumble. The quintet was leaving Savannah, Georgia, in the late morning sunlight on July 12 en route to a gig in Atlanta when one of the van's rear tires blew out. Jongleurs keyboardist Michael Stegner was driving, but lost control of the vehicle as it careened toward a shoulder on Interstate 16 near Statesboro, and then totalled on the side of the road.
"I was in the passenger seat," recalls Eric Hastings, drummer for the group. "When the van hit, the roof and the side door caved right in on me. I remember us hearing the back left tire blow out. It didn't help that it was a little heavy back there with all our equipment, and we just started skidding. We were going sideways and then the van stopped and rolled over -- just did a huge flip. By the time we wrecked, three tires had blown out. Luckily, we were wearing seatbelts."
Hastings suffered cuts on his forehead and around his right eye and was taken to a hospital in Statesboro. Stegner, sax player Matt Glassmeyer, and bassist Forrest Giberson suffered minor cuts and bruises. Saxophonist Josh Sclar was roughed up the worst, taking a serious blow to the lungs as well as a broken vertebrae and nerve and tendon damage to his right arm. He was airlifted the day of the wreck to Savannah Memorial Hospital, where he was operated on that evening. Sclar was scheduled to be released early last week and will most likely be in a back brace for up to three months. The injury to his arm isn't expected to affect his sax playing. Hastings, along with Giberson, is currently recuperating at Hastings's mother's home in Atlanta; Stegner and Glassmeyer are resting in Nashville with Stegner's family.
The Jongleurs were four days into a two-month tour in support of their self-titled debut album, issued by the band in June. Hastings says the group will most likely return to Miami in early August and will begin playing again once Sclar has fully recovered. "It's unfortunate," Hastings says of the accident. "The shows were going well and we had good responses. Things looked looked good and we were really looking forward to playing up in New York and Massachusetts. We're bummed out, but we came out pretty good. I think we were lucky."
The Curious Hair is not a band yet, but Jeff Rollason would like it to be. That's why the ex-vocalist/guitarist of the unfortunately named, since-disbanded Mr. Tasty and the Breadhealers has released the appropriately titled cassette The Curious Hair is Not a Band, a collection of five home-taped, one-man-band demos that Rollason likens to an aural casting call for musicians.
Judging from the best stuff on the tape, Rollason doesn't really need much help (beyond a drummer, maybe). A loose and snarling collection of five Rollason originals, Is Not a Band offers a mangy fusion of punky white-boy blues and punky white-boy rock. Since the Breadhealers broke up before I even moved to Miami, I can't compare Rollason's new songs to the work he did with his much-praised former band. However, I can say that "Tired" recalls the smacked-out wail of Royal Trux, and "Can You Feel It?" is a slow-burner featuring layers of churning Neil Young-style guitar. Throughout the set, Rollason tosses out nice one-liners ("I'd lick your wounds but I've got food in my mouth," for instance, from the acidic "Sell Out") offered in a weary, rough-hewn voice that reminds me of a less comfortable, less content Tom Petty. Which means I like it a whole lot.
Anyone who thinks they can make this stuff sound better -- or anyone who just wants to get a copy of Is Not a Band -- can call the Curious Hair Line, (305) 234-6668. Those who favor the post can contact him at The Curious Hair, Box 570763, Miami, FL 33257.
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