Welcome to my house full of junk. My wife has completed the biggest project since the building of Hoover Dam or the cutting of the Tamiami Trail, covering every wall and filling every nook in the house with spiffy wood racks on which she's organized and alphabetized the two or three million cassettes and CDs previously boxed or scattered pell-mell. Settled into this shiny new office in the happy new editorial space here at the ivory tower. Waiting for these stupid holidays to finish so I can take a vacation.
So it's the mid-Nineties?
The legendary Peppy Fields is in only her mid-80s, 87 to be exact, "the oldest broad on radio," she boasts. She's been hosting radio shows for 34 years, currently handling the Sunday midnight to 5:00 a.m. house party on WKAT-AM (1360). On Amateurs' Night (Friday), Peppy will appear live at the Newport Pub (reservations: 949-8701) along with her brother Irving Fields, jetting down from New York and bringing his Fabulous Fingers. Celebrities are expected to drop by for dessert and coffee -- you know, a Peppy Fields House Party.
A positive tip homeboy (O'town, the City, born in JMH) rapper called P.O.A. (Prince of Authority) will drop songs such as "Death Valley," "Welcome to Miami," and "What's Going On," the last being a slow rap (sans samples) of the Marvin Gaye song at the Kwanzaa Festival on Friday at the Joseph Caleb Auditorium (636-2350).
One of the many reasons I've long called it Amateurs' Night is 'cause I hate that supercovercharge scam. You pay $80 or $180 for a bottle of middling champagne (sparkling wine if you wanna get technical) and some torn-up paper to toss in the air in addition to standard entertainment and food for which you'd pay, what, three bucks? Like most human rituals it strikes me as weird. If I ever even thought about going outside on the last night of the year, of 1993, it'd be to see Natural Causes at Rose's. Cover: $10.
I never trust anybody's opinion about a horse race except maybe my long-lost friend Rodney McFadden, a horseman that taught me back-stable lessons decades ago, and of course the only opinion about music that matters is mine. Right. And Art Grace. Probably the only T-bred writer I've ever read (Dick Francis is fiction), Art Grace is also one of the few people I consider an expert in underground rock (Bob Slade and Teddy Bear and Rat Bastard also come to mind). Art, who really doesn't have time for this shit, wrote to defend me from a letter-to-the-editor writer. (Personally, I consider every letter-writer a friend who's paying a compliment even if it's to call me an idiotic butthorn who should be fired.) Art quotes the letter -- "Although it can never be Greg Baker's ideal radio station (you won't hear Fugazi followed by NWA's 'FA- Tha Police' followed by Ministry's 'Stigmata' followed by the Violent Femmes' 'Add It Up')" A and then adds, "My only comment is: and more's the pity. Odd that he chose three bands that I have absolutely adored from the moment I first heard them, and one group (NWA) which I merely like a lot." Well, that's not Art's only comment. "What do you suppose [the letter writer] has against the Reverb Motherfuckers? Why aren't they on his list of bands which won't be on WVUM's rotation? Did you like the Black Train Jack -- No Reward -- as much as I did? I doubt it."
Sure, just jump right in. Todd "Sloppy Joe" Anthony wants to send out much thanks to the anonymous person who sent him the bootleg tape of John Hiatt's live show in West Palm Beach.
Tonight (Wednesday) Load locks in at Squeeze, which is where Black Janet spends their New Year's Eve.
With a new bass player enlisted, Cell 63 returns to the wars, appearing tomorrow (Thursday) at Reunion Room with the Holy Terrors and on Friday at Churchill's Hideaway with the immortal Charlie Pickett.
Mr. Twister spends Amateurs' Night (Friday) at the Biker Block Blast at 14670 W. Dixie Hwy. in North Miami (354-8203).
Most of you remember Billy Mann, who tore through this town before heading to England. He's now in New Yawk, having been discovered A that's a stupid phrase, but he used it A by Ric Wake (the producer who's made hits with Mariah, Whitney, Hall and Oates, and so forth). Billy won't talk on the record about most of the big doings, saying only that "the bomb is gonna drop in '94, it's gonna be a mother." Best anecdote: He took the same train one day before that crazy racist shot it up.
Big show tomorrow (Thursday) at Button South with Voidville, Forget the Name, and Love Canal. The Voidsters hit Cactus, along with Whig Party, the following night.
Another old friend, Bill Wharton, who I met years ago and have lauded ever since, both for his solid blues music and his delicious Datil pepper sauce, has a new slab on Virgin France and is negotiating a stateside release. He'll be in town for the New Year's Eve weekend, cooking up hot blues and that famous gumbo, at Tobacco Road.
Itanna plays tonight (Wednesday) and Broken Spectacles and Natural Causes play tomorrow (Thursday) at Musicians Exchange.
Jacob's Ladder mixes jazz, rock, and reggae with Jewish-oriented lyrics to come up with a contemporary sound. They'll open for folkster Moshe Yess at the Lincoln Theater tonight (Wednesday). Call 673-3331.
Brother Grimm hits the Hole in the Wall Cafe, across from the Cameo, tonight (Wednesday).
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A truly great band that's been on hiatus for a while, Electric Mojo, is back, with a tuff two-song demo and plans for live work. They'd like to add a fourth member, "a songwriter/rock guitarist/singer-type dude (or chick)." Call 672-5902. The two new tunes, "I Told Her Goodbye" and "Without You," are rockers, the second more driving than the first, which sounds sort of like CCR to me. "Without You" employs some of the pyscho-delic fury of Mojo's earlier material. Pure rock, nicely done, updates here.
Butthorn of the week: The somewhat manufactured war pitting bands from Broward County against their Dade counterparts was, a few months ago, great fun for the local press and the subject of some banter at music conventions and on the club circuit. A couple of Fridays ago a new skirmish gave one of the feud's progenitors new ammunition. Rat Bastard says he was sharing a bill at Churchill's with Milk Can (the superbad band that includes Joel Schantz, Rene Alvarez, and Derek Murphy) and Zen Dog. Milk Can played a great 35-minute set, Rat says, beginning at midnight. Then Rat was slated to go up and play a fifteen-minute solo set, with Milk Can joining him to close things out. "Zen Dog was scheduled to play at 1:00 a.m.," says the Rat. "Well, it's 12:40 and I start playing my music. This big guy comes on the stage and says right in my ear while I'm playing and singing, 'Hey, aren't you guys going to clear off the stage?' So I kept on playing and the guy is standing there staring at me as if I were nuts. Then this other big guy comes on-stage and grabs my bass so I couldn't play any more and pulls my cord out. So I plug it back in and continue to play. He pulled it out again and was screaming shit like 'this ain't music' and 'get off the stage.' I said let go of my fucking bass and get off the stage so I can finish my set. Next thing I know the guy breaks my bass jack right off and it was hanging out of the bass by one wire so I couldn't play any more. These are Broward musicians that did this. And they did it because they said I wasn't playing music. I rest my case."
The media circus: The New York Times Magazine's December 19 issue includes a piece entitled "The Next Next Seattle." The mag selects seven potential hot spots A San Fran, East Bay, Beaumont (Texas), Columbus (Georgia), Lawrence (Kansas), Jersey City, Tampa. Hmmm -- something missing? I dunno. But the whole thing was dumb-dumb A the Tampa blurb mentions "the all-Satanist band Demonomacy." They aren't a Tampa band. They aren't Satanists. Oh, well. A quote in the East Bay bit hit it on the head: "loads of clueless reporters raving on about the latest hip 'scene' about which they will of course know next to nothing." You'd think the NYT mag would read its own copy and get a clue. You'd think wrong.
Pet corner: Good and bad news. Jen, host of WVUM's local-rock show, had her black-and-white male cat, Paisley, fixed for Xmas. Sarah, or Sara, please call back and finish your story about Maggie. I'm sorry our voice-mail is marginal and that you got cut off. I'm dying to hear the rest of it. And Billy Yeager, sorry about Poops's death. Yeager, whose new six-song demo is a killer, with "Little Puggy" and "The Last Wave" and other great material, and who continues to negotiate with the major labels, says that Poops the rabbit was "the best pet ever." He indeed was a cool bunny A one time when I was at Billy's house the rabbit, who roamed free, came over to me for affection the way a cat or dog does. "I miss him," Yeager says, "and I thought you could use him for your 'Pet Corner.' Let him have a little fame." A little fame it is.