Spring sprung? God, I hope so. My great friend of twenty years, Ben Bank, is in town with his family, and we have plans to watch his alma mater lose the NCAA basketball championship (quick, Chris, call a time-out!) but my car breaks down and this time I can't rig it. That's also gonna make it mighty difficult to get to Criteria Studios in North Miami on Thursday. Whoops, excuse me. While looking for a file the computer must've eaten, I just inadvertently deleted the files containing a feature story I'm writing. The IRS wants what? I don't want to live in God's country any more. I don't even want to compile this ludicrous column any more. Next week's will be the last "Program Notes." The wacko was still whacking Waco as of this writing, probably will be long after. Catholic priests A perverts? Black on German violence A how's that for a buzzphrase? Must be the Nineties. Must be over. I must be over it. I ain't pretending.
But I made it to Criteria, where Natural Causes was cutting its demo for Atlantic Records under the guidance of megaproducer Tom Dowd and ascending engineer Andrew Roshberg. The result: a beautiful thing. One of the four tracks, the first recorded version of "God's Country," is alone reason to live, reason even to write "PN." You have to hear this. Atlantic (or someone) has to sign the Causes and get an album on the market. Before it's too late for this planet. When playing in Tampa recently, a newspaper ad billed the band as Lost Causes. The band members thought that was very funny. I think that after their fifth or sixth album, when some other label offers them $120 million and they take it, their old label will dump an outtakes/greatest hits package and call it Lost Causes. I think that's a joke. After hearing the demo tracks, I know there's hope.
On the rap tip, hard core, you have to check out Onyx's new drop, "Bacdafucup." A buzzphrase for the Nineties.
Oldies man Stu Goldstein will soon be back on the air. His much-missed show debuts on WMBM-AM (1490) on April 25 at 11:00 a.m.
Tomorrow (Thursday) another "Mary Karlzen and Friends" earfeast with the Volunteers, Diane Ward maybe with (very busy) Sturgis Nikides, Nil Lara (acoustic), and Karlzen (with full band) all for four bucks at Stephen Talkhouse. By the way, Karlzen's excellent new CD, Hide, is available everywhere. This Sunday Karlzen and Forget the Name play at Open Books and Records at 3:00 p.m. That night, the Reunion Room has an acoustic fest with, first names only, please: Michael, Nil, Fro, Mary, Miles, Leslie, the Bellefires. Hope you can make it.
Shotgunn Wedding has signed a label deal, with SB Explosion. They hope to have their first release out this summer.
Doin' it: Ditto doubles up at the Eastside Coffeehouse on Saturday. And the big Jazz Bass Conference at Miami-Dade Community College's South Campus begins Friday. Gerald Veasley, Jim Roberts, Michael Manring, Eddie Gomez, Don Coffman, Vince Bredice, Leo Huppert, Matt Bonelli, and Nicky Orta will take part. You can, too. Call 642-7332 or 253-2809. The Goods play live Friday at Reunion Room and the following Thursday (with Clang) at Talkhouse.
The great Steve Radzi is back from Mexico/Guatemala with a whole book of sketches and drawings of ruins. You can see them at the Clean Machine on South Beach beginning tomorrow. The address is 226 12th Street. The reception for the artist is next Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. Take a look.
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Butthorn of the week: The hypers of the play Six Degrees of Separation, running at the Royal Poinciana Playhouse in Palm Beach and (after this Sunday) at Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale. I don't know anything about the play's merits, but if you believe the bubbly advertising on teevy and elsewhere, it has only this to offer: frontal nudity. And Marlo Thomas. What, no chainsaw murders?
The media circus: You like it, you masochists. I'm really so sorry I wasted space in last week's column dissing Ticketmaster and the way it jerks you around. How obnoxious of me. Although I'm glad someone called in with a "bravo" or two for the effort.
On hold with Ticketmaster: Friday, 1:45 p.m. On hold for three minutes and eleven seconds.
Skels lyric of the week: A love song. "Though I'm always crowing how well I know women/I know them as well as the palm of my hand/Who the hell wants more than love and affection/We had it one moment and lost it the next/And like any high it became an obsession/And any romance after that one was hexed" A from "She's the Kind...