We're getting real close. Thanks to everyone for not leaving me alone. I need your cards and letters and phone calls and internal memos.
I respect Johnny Punk Rock Potash much more than I'd ever (or ever will) respect Kurt Cobain (he's dead), not just for living on but for putting down the words and having the A what? A courage? honesty? common sense? A to slap me around when we disagree, which isn't often. I helped him out at the Miami News, where he took over my job(s) when I left for New Times, which I couldn't have done if he hadn't helped me land this gig. Johnny was as good a rock critic as I've ever read, and he's still a man of golden words.
"Well, whatever...No, I mind" is the headline on the back of the postcard from New Yawk. "Bakerman: I know it's a bitch to cover a story you're less than passionate about, especially unexpectedly on a crash deadline with editors who don't give a shit about good music the other 364 days of the year in your face. So I understand your ire in being pressured to put K.C.'s life in perspective pronto. But others who don't know that pressure must've been wondering what ol' Kurt did to you to deserve the dissing. I mean, you are the Music Editor, it says 'Music' at the top of the page. It's a stretch to equate K.C. with 69 schmoes who killed themselves. No, it's off base. And I doubt any of them would want such a eulogy as you gave Cobain. Give the guy a break. He was fucked up, and not just a little. But from what I read he didn't want to be a hero, and it's unfair, really, to kick him for that, especially when he's as low as you can go. If you despise the kids for worshipping someone, anyone, then go on and despise them. But be fair. And yeah, it's a shame about his kid being fatherless. But in this context the blame smacks of Quayle or Tipper. C'mon, man, be honest -- Cobain was unhappy, not bad. Reconsider."
In order to reconsider, I dug up a letter Johnny wrote me at the beginning of this year. "I'm enclosing a tape of stuff I've been listening to in the hope you'll hear something you like," JPRP wrote then. "Side 1 is rock (I know Nirvana is overdone, and their sound is derivative A sounds like sloppy Playhouse to me)." And by the way, my editors did not ask for a Cobain piece and they do give a shit about music. And Johnny, if you ever mention me and Tipper in the same breath again, I'll be in New Yawk in a Miami minute to slap you around.
Christopher Alvy performs on Tuesday at East 50th in Ft. Lauderdale and June 3 at Churchill's Hideaway.
Last week I was shooting the bull with local managers John Tovar and Rich Ulloa, both of whom have recently signed acts to major labels. We were laughing and gloating about what a shabby little rock scene Miami has A Marilyn Manson, Collapsing Lungs, Mary Karlzen, and others have signed deals and some new bands created from the ashes of defunct groups A Coma, Planet Boom, and others A are already drawing interest, in Coma's case even before their first live show. And we all agreed there's more to come A Natural Causes, Nil Lara, the Goods, and FtN would all be getting big offers soon, we figured. FtN, formerly Forget the Name, is now just formerly, and it's too late for the labels to come a-calling. At the end of last week the four members met and decided to disband. "It just wasn't fun any more," says Jose Tillan. "We're still friends. But the thinking was, Why drag it out?" If you read between the lines, you find an important point: This isn't about major-label deals, it's about fun, which is something rock and roll is supposed to be. FtN leaves behind a profound legacy, and here's betting the members will be heard from again one way or another.
So, about those bands that didn't break up: The first single from the Marilyn Manson album will be out June 9, with "Get Your Gun" and a remix of same, plus an unreleased/non-LP track. Portrait of an American Family hits the racks July 5. You can see the hometown horrors, I mean heroes, June 4 at Plus Five or June 30 when they headline the Slammies at the Edge.
Mary Karlzen has finished recording in L.A., with a release date of August 16 being set. Mary got a little help at the sessions A big fan Jackson Browne sings backup vocals on "The Way I See It" and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos provides backing vox and accordion on "St. James Hotel" and sings some more on "Walk Like You." Heartbreaker Benmont Tench plays organ on six tracks. Kay Hanley, of Letters to Cleo, sings on "Stronger." Rosie Flores sings along on "Anywhere Is Better Than Here." And more. Add in a top session rhythm section and cohort Mark Scandariato, and...well, let's just say expectations are high. Karlzen and her regular band expect the tour to begin in August.
Get the Goods tomorrow (Friday) at Squeeze and/or Sunday at Stephen Talkhouse, where they'll share the bill with two other major acts, I Don't Know and Black Janet, as well as a promising band called Tabasco Cat that features former members of Romeo Cowboy/Coma-Tones. Elvis has lately been spotted sporting those big shades he wore during his fat era. Hope it ain't a drug thing.
More better bands, fewer venues for them to perform at. The Zoo, a sanctuary in Broward for acts that don't want to get caught up in the politics of the club scene up there, and the rest of the Mr. Laff's complex in Davie is shutting down July 17, though spokesfolks say Laff's will reopen at some point. We hear the old location is gonna become a chicken joint, like many old locations these days, at least those that aren't becoming Gaps.
Tonight at Nocturnal Cafe September30 plays an acoustic show.
Tomorrow (Friday) at 9:00 p.m. on cable channel 36, you can see and hear an interview et cetera with Tuen.
Another postcard, a really cool one featuring Hialeah Race Track, from I Don't Know, writing, for some reason, in the third person: "I Don't Know is a piece of shit! The 'Bud Boys' buy a cool postcard in almost every city they travel to. But, because of their Cuban absent-minded nature, they never get around to actually sending it to ya. But they think about ya, in Austin, Tx, Daytona, Tampa, Gainesville, you name it! Anyway, they are back in Hialeah (for the moment) and would like to invite the man with a clue to the I Don't Know Memorial Weekend of Fun A Reunion Room Fri. 5/27 and Talkhouse Sunday 5/29 w/ Goods and Black Janet." I don't who the man with a clue is, but I suspect everyone's welcome.
This Saturday Halo hits Shortstops. The CD is expected out June 11.
Joel has his Milk Can -- on a not-too-long-ago Tuesday at Cafe Bacala, Arlan Feiles, Rat Bastard, and Ben Peeler jammed. Together. Rumors that this is the new lineup of Scraping Teeth have been denied. Also A keep an ear out for Math 2000. Meanwhile, Arlan's band, Natural Causes, joins For Squirrels tomorrow (Friday) at Rose's.
And meanwhile Zac gets represented with a new CD/booklet project aimed at raising money/food/awareness for two organizations (Camillus House and Mazon) that help the hungry and homeless. Further, the package will blend Miami's original-music scene with the homeless-hungry issue to display how people are dealing with the problem. Updates here A like who the hell else writes about local music these days?
Busy trio Shuttle Cock finds time to hit the Zipperhead Room with Drive Choir on Saturday.
They aren't local no more, but there was a time when Gypsy Queen tore up area stages. Twins Pam and Paula moved on to L.A. and became Cell Mates. But the two women have resurrected Gypsy Queen for a series of shows, taking place tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday at Button South. Also, the Button hosts on Sunday a major show A Erotic Exotic, Me and the Sickman, Erecti Coctopus, and Andrea's Juice. Erotic have moved beyond their glammy-dancey image of their Atlantic past and become serious altrockers, Me and the Sickman features Monte Hess of Young Turk fame.
Tomorrow (Friday) the Fabulons launch this year's Friday Night Live series at South Pointe Park. Call 673-7224.
Tips for the music makers: Starbound Entertainment is looking for music videos of all types, call 'em at 862-9115 or 800-539-9992. And ABA Entertainment is looking for more bands to book on the college circuit. Call these nice people at 250-4668.
A fundraiser for WDNA-FM's jazz programming takes place Sunday at MoJazz, with Joe Donato, Miami Latin Jazz Ensemble, and others. Call 662-8889.
On Sunday it's Loppy Bojymi (from Nashville), Tension, Hudson, and Load at Plus Five.
Zen Dog is looking for a new drummer now that Big Mack Preston has departed after two years with the karmic barkers. Dial up 672-8339 if you're interested.
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Scheduled for Saturday at Plus Five are Six Silver Spiders. Haven't they been signed to a major yet?
Butthorn of the week: This really cool postcard, featuring a reproduction of the poster from the movie Eighteen and Anxious on the front, sends a big butthorn to the Plus Five management for dissing Kreamy 'Lectric Santa, one of the coolest bands in the world. "They kicked the band off the stage after two numbers, because they were either too 'weird' or too 'bad.' Didn't pay them, either."
Bonus butthorn: Prince (makers of tennis equipment) and Diadora (sportswear) for pulling out of their endorsement deals with tennis great Jennifer Capriati. Boycott these two companies.
The media circus: Shut up. Please just shut your slime traps. An eighteen-year-old human being partying in a motel room, maybe smoking a little ganja and maybe even doing some real drugs. It happens every day. It's natural. It's no big frikkin deal. Shut up and leave Jenny Capriati alone. That's all she really needs.