For the next six weeks or so, Americans will occasionally and collectively be nice to each other. It happens every year around the time it starts getting dark early -- give, be generous, be kind, care, Thanksgiving, Xmas, all that rot.
Pangaea lead singer Ani Espriella will begin appearing on Star Search this Saturday. I'm not going to blow it for you and tell you whether she wins or loses, but the word "begin" should be a clue. She's also busy recording originals and appearing with her band on Thursdays at the Clevelander.
How do I do it? At least we consistently get one thing in this column wrong every week. Once again, mondo apologies to anyone who drove to Squeeze last Wednesday to see the Goods and I Don't Know. They play tonight (Wednesday, November 17). I should've known because last Wednesday, when I said those two great bands were playing at Squeeze, I Don't Know was, in fact, scheduled to be hanging out with me for the "Music" story elsewhere in today's issue. Duh.
This Friday twenty-year veterans Aztec Two-Step -- which is Rex Fowler and Neal Schulman -- step to it at Stephen Talkhouse.
Tomorrow (Thursday) the Baboons go hardcore at the Reunion Room. They'll monkey around with punk and rap and showcase a new bass player, which means the group now has three bassists. Dr. Shrinkfish shares the bill.
This is nice. This Saturday Nuclear Valdez and Mary Karlzen play full sets at Stephen Talkhouse, and, Fro Sosa says, the concert also serves as a food drive for hungry people. Be generous. I'm not sure how, exactly, because the Talkhouse didn't know what Fro was talking about as of last Friday. Call 'em at 531-7557. And speaking of the Nukes, let's put the chill on all the rumors about the band signing a new major-label deal. They haven't finished recording, much less begun shopping, their new demos.
Treehouse, which has the hottest street buzz in town, plays twice tomorrow (Thursday), first on the University of Miami's patio and that night at Coyote with Tuen.
This is nice. Hard Rock Cafe is selling for $20 the latest in their series of T-shirts illustrated by the artwork of musicians. The new one features John Mellencamp's "The Party Goers," and it's a pretty cool painting. The reason we care has nothing to do with fashion. A portion of proceeds goes to the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Foundation, which helps autistic and handicapped children.
One of my idols, horse-racing writer and underground music expert Art Grace, writes to say that the numbering sequences on certain CDs are "daffy." Please call in with your horror stories and we'll revisit this topic, and I'll run some of Art's letter, in time for the Xmas buying rush.
Through next Monday the Florida Philharmonic, with guest pianist Ivan Davis, will be performing the works of Luddy "The Def Cat" Beethoven at various venues. Call 800-226-1812.
What we need is a benefit concert for the hungry and homeless. Or should we instead just go to the mall and buy things? This fund-raiser is tomorrow (Thursday) at Climax on Sunset Drive and U.S. 1 and features Le Coup, Second Coming, Third Wish, the Rails, Radio Baghdad, Baloney Sandwich, and Loadface. Awesome lineup that. Call Arun Rao at 284-6932 or Jason Gordon at 284-3131.
Show overload: This Friday the mighty Voidville and the brilliant Holy Terrors light it up at the ZipperHead Room/Malone's Sports Bar in Fort Lauderdale. The Niki Taylors are at the Ambassador tomorrow (Thursday) and the Plus 5 on Friday. Second Son spends Friday and Saturday at Rosey Baby in Fort Lauderdale. This Friday Load's up at Reunion. The Third Wish and Itanna show this Sunday at Talkhouse is a benefit for United Way. One of my fave bands, Johnny Tonite, teams with Whig Party at Musicians Exchange tonight (Wednesday).
You have to be careful how you send me what you send me. Got a demo the other day from Blackhead. As I was tossing it in the trash a note fell from the envelope. Turns out Blackhead isn't a bunch of sniveling punk brats bothering me with a bad demo, but rather a teaming of Black Janet's Jim Wurster and members of Rooster Head, working out a couple of real twangy originals you'll never hear either band play. Influenced, as they say, by Poco and John Prine, with a Pure Prairie League lick or two, the songs, "Goodbye Paradise" and "Fallin'," aren't available. However, Wurster says the gang will gather at L-7 again soon, record some more tracks, and, he hopes, and I do too, release something to the public. (By the way, I'm just kidding about the trash part. I don't throw anything away. Not even bad demos by sniveling punk brats.)
This Friday the fine folks behind Prince Gold beer (I've tried it, it ain't bad) throw a party at Tobacco Road.
Tomorrow (Thursday) singer-songwriter Peter Betan opens for Brian Auger and Eric Burdon at the Talkhouse. If anyone out there still hasn't seen Betan live, they oughta.
Collapsing Lungs got picked up for the Smashing Pumpkins's tour dates in Florida. They had to pass on a couple of the shows because of previous commitments, but this is yet another good sign the Lungs are about to break big.
I hope you saw Bob Weinberg's review of Joey Gilmore's latest release, Can't Kill Nothin', which many expect might be the dues-paid homeboy's big breakthrough. I hear the album has gone Top 5 on Chicago radio charts already. What I like about Nothin', besides that it's a damn fine blues album, is that Gilmore and company were smart enough to cover one of my all-time favorite tunes, Johnny G. Watson's "A Real Mother For Ya." Gilmore's is a pretty faithful, if less sassy, version of a song that, then and now, speaks to the heart and soul of the matter of not having enough money to get by. I just hope you have enough money to get out and buy this album.
Big show tonight (Wednesday) at Talkhouse. Veteran Tommy Anthony and his bilingual band Goza will display why they, too, are about to break big.
The music sucks, dumb metal screech, but I love the title of Pariah's new album: To Mock a Killingbird.
Butthorn of the week: Etta James. Great singer but, my spies say, not nice. Maybe or not, but what she did the other Sunday was definitely not nice. After playing Riverwalk on Saturday, she was booked into Stephen Talkhouse the next night. One person told me he drove down from Broward to see the encore she didn't bother to play at Bubier Park. Others, who live down here, skipped her Riverwalk show knowing they could see her closer to home. Everybody's a loser, because Etta canceled the second gig at the last minute. Excuse: She was ill. I remember one time interviewing Albert Collins while he was on the road. He missed our first phone appointment. Excuse: He was changing a flat on his tour bus to get to the next show on time. And he called me as soon as he finished the job. And then there's Kenny Rankin, who played the Talkhouse the night before Etta didn't. "He was sick as a dog," says the 'House's Mia Johnson. "He was 'getting sick' backstage right before he went on." And he played the show the people came to see.
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The media circus, East Coast: Make sure you read Carl Hiaasen's tourist guide to Miami in the December issue of Playboy. Sick, funny, deadly accurate stuff about what makes this place so wonderful, from dolphin rapists to alligators that eat the elderly to street gangs that overpower the U.S. military.
The media circus, West Coast: A newsweekly you've probably never heard of, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, publishes a column by a writer you've never heard of named Chris Norris. Chris is one of those pithy, witty, clever jerks who write sarcastically and irreverently and most of the time you can't figure what the hell they're trying to say. In the column to which I refer, Norris tackles the topic of Counter Culture, the MTV-style marketing of classical music. "Journalists have already delighted themselves with this latest clash between high culture and street talk." Norris's favorite example? "How about Luddy 'The Def Cat' Beethoven, Wolfgang 'The Kid' Mozart, or maybe Johnny 'Rock' Bach. This is the dope bomb, chummy, the real damn deal." Hey! I wrote that. So how come Norris attributes it to "The New Times' Jeff Baker"? I've never heard of Jeff Baker, but then again, Norris has never heard the popular street term "chummy."
Pet corner: So how about some benefit CDs? Many to choose from, including In Defense of Animals, which includes songs by Michael Stipe (a lame one, unfortunately), Skinny Puppy, Pearl Jam, Concrete Blonde, and others. Proceeds go to the In Defense of Animals organization.
The other pet corner: I love PBS, especially the show Nature. But I think public broadcasting needs something to spice it up, like, say, an occasional porno film or two. Or three. Beginning this Monday at 9:00 p.m., Nature delivers just that: The Nature of Sex. The series includes not just regular animal sex, but the kinky stuff, too. Nice.