They aren't on MTV yet, at least not that I know of, and maybe they never will be, but the mighty Mavericks played for all America on Friday as guests of the Today show, broadcast from the Rusty Pelican on Key Biscayne. Pretty cool, man, even if it was a goofball show, during which the weatherman cross-dressed and Cubans paraded their beliefs with signs and a flotilla in the bay behind the anchors' set. Having wolfed backstage bacon with the hometown heroes, co-host Bryant "The Brain" Gumbel was moved to observe that the Mavs have a lot of hair. Quite an insight; little wonder that Gumbel handles the hardball material for Today. Seriously, but: At least his comment wasn't as bad as Katie Couric's speculation that the Mavericks must dream constantly of being another Miami Sound Machine. Yes, she really said that. On the air! Get me Deborah Norville, quick.
So anyway, the Mavericks appeared at 8:30 for a snippet, and then carried the sign-off just before 9:00 a.m., performing "Hey, Good Lookin'." Now, you know I love the Mavs, and I know the Mavs love Hank Williams, and theirs is a fine version, but really. Raul Malo is only about the finest songwriter working in the countryish genre, and the Kendall Cowpokes have tons of brilliant original material. I suppose it could be worse. MCA and TCA and the Mavs could decide to make "Hey, Good Lookin'" the first single and video from the upcoming major-label debut album.
Have you seen scrape? It's the new 'zine in town, with three issues out and distinctly underground attitude we like a lot. (I'll forgive them for liking Nirvana, whose Nevermind I've listened to a dozen times without yet hearing one redeeming quality.) The twelve-page third issue features tons of reviews, a clever feature about bands that have female members but don't front them out like Blondie or the Primitives. The rag also publishes a "Program Notes" sort of column that's almost as sick; it reports "rumors, hearsay, half-truths, lies, and some truth." There's also a fun and boring (boring being good in underground lingo, I think) quiz game in the back of the book. scrape #4 threatens to offer "more record reviews, still no interviews, still no advertising, still free, still struggling." If you can't find it in your fave record store, ask for it, or write to scrape at 8601 SW 40th St., Suite 132, Miami, FL 33155.
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The always wonderful Cedella "Mother B." Booker is just back from Hawaii, where she lent her remarkable voice to a children's album by Taj Mahal. Plans call for the record to include a version of the first song Mother B.'s son, Bob Marley, ever sang (when he was about seven years old).
Butthorn of the week: Here's a switch - my man Jack Thompson nominating himself for a b.h. Sorry, Jack, but the trouble you instigated for the Miami Film Festival and Homework was just fine by me. You have every right to dis whomever you like, and you were well within your First Amendment freedoms, as usual. Relax dude, you're cool. But Jim Smith, he works for us, we pay his salary, and the way he dangles our money like a carrot in order to exert influence on the film fest is intolerable and unacceptable and the reason he gets this week's 'horning. Actually, one of this week's. Let us also recognize the butthornitude of one Keith Clayborne, another censor. He doesn't want hard-core rap in this world. What makes Clayborne's whining especially repulsive is the fact that he's a newspaper publisher.
The media circus: Everyone is calling Luke Campbell's new album, I Got Shit on My Mind, "his first as a solo act." What about Banned in the U.S.A.? The Crew worked on that one, but it was billed and sold as a Luke solo. C'mon, folks, twenty years from now some dumbass young reporter will be fact checking a Luke story and will get all confused. As if reporters aren't confused to begin with.
Pet corner: I'm so confused. For eighteen years I've been patronizing greyhound racing - I love the athleticism of the dogs, the fever of gambling, the whole scene swirling around me when I visit Flagler or Biscayne or Hollywood. Over the years I've heard some bad things about the dog racing, but I've also heard bad things about every sport. Two unsettling things hit me recently: 1) my beloved wife expressed her feeling that she doesn't want to fund greyhound racing any more (and she usually wins!) and 2) The Animal's Agenda magazine published a balanced, articulate, fascinating cover story about behind-the-scenes affairs, titled, See How They Run...See Why They Run. After fretting over all this, I read Clark Spencer's column in the Miami Herald, and he reports that the locally based American Greyhound Council is providing a hundred grand to the ASPCA in an effort to solve the problem of dogs being destroyed upon retirement from racing. That'll help. You can, too. If it's within your logistical capability, consider adopting one of these fine, handsome, lovable athletes yourself. Call 558-9510 to find out how.