I'm pretty sure Kurt Cobain never got to see the Chant live, but Charlie Van Tuggle did. The Chant was my favorite band when they were a South Florida band, when they were a band. This was one of the annual homecoming shows, after the members had moved to Atlanta and would come back down to play Churchill's Hideaway, one of the few rock clubs in America cool enough to be worthy of staging the Chant. I forget what year it was, even what time of year it was. Charlie Van Tuggle read about it in "Program Notes" and dragged himself to the Church to see if I knew any truth. Apart from a brief break on the patio -- "The volume bothers me because I have a metal plate in my head," Charlie said -- he saw and heard the whole show and became a believer.
The other afternoon I went to Hialeah Park with Hood and a couple of beautiful women to play the ponies. I thought of Charlie, he lived in Hialeah and grew up at horse tracks. If he was with us that Sunday, we probably would've won some money -- when Charlie called to talk horses, it was about things like how the inside part of the turf course was too soft, subtle trivialities only true horsemen could begin to comprehend. Charlie was among the few who actually get this column: He sent me postcards and letters and called me on a regular basis, always with something to say, understanding that this is a participatory thing.
I get a lot of mail, spend half my day going through post. I always open the pieces that appear to be from regular people, not record companies and such, first. So the first thing I read this morning was a letter from someone named Carolanne Saenz. This is what it said:
"I'm writing to you in loving memory of my brother Charles Van Tuggle. He passed away on March 17 (St. Patrick's Day no less). I still don't know the cause of his death. The D.C.M.E. office says the report will be final on April 20. Maybe. I found this card in his room, he never got to mail it. Maybe he just forgot about it. ...He loved music to no end. And he loved New Times and 'Program Notes.' He had a lot of respect for you....I was always proud to see his name in your column. I saw my brother two days before he died and the conversation we had was about the story you wrote on the Everglades. We have our own stories of the Glades, but we both, Charlie and I, agreed with you. He said your story was a fine piece of work. I think of him often, especially when I read 'Program Notes.' I feel a little silly writing to you about someone you barely knew. But I did it for him."
The card she refers to has a picture of a dead sea horse on the front, and the stamp is a Patsy Cline. On the back are Charlie's words: "You heard wrong: Zappa reunited the Mothers and his last album is called suzy creamchesse gets revenge; up yours Zappa. I loved his musical stuff & 200 motels. Sorry he's gone. Love, Charlie V. Tuggle."
Third Wish plays this Sunday at Rosebud's.
Those Wide Open Mike Sundays up at Squeeze are going strong -- the Baboons recently jammed with Zac and Doc Wiley, proving once and for all that the truce between Dade and Broward is holding firm. This week's featured artist is ye olde Diane Ward, with Omine skedded to lead the mad parade on May 1.
Tomorrow (Friday) at Reunion Room, the Robbie Gennet Band plays its third live show.
Speaking as I did above of the ever-fab man called Hood, he's pumping his considerable leverage into the biggest thang since Fat Black Pussycat with Cool Whip, late Tuesdays at SoBe (560 Washington Ave.). My friend Carlos Menendez spins.
Big Earth Day festivities this Saturday at Matheson Hammock. Day by the River will be performing, and the Sierra Club, among others, will set up kiosks. Please buy a T-shirt from the Sierra Club. They need many thousands of dollars to stop this sonuvabitch Huizenga from destroying vital wetlands and they need the money now. It's only the planet you'll be fighting for. We are parasites and the planet is our host and we're killing it as parasites tend to do.
Still no details on how well went the concert to raise awareness and money for anti-domestic violence groups. I missed it because I work Friday nights and that Cobain guy kicked and I had to talk to about 100 people (Note to Johnny Punk Rock in New Yawk: That was me who left the message on your machine saying, "Thawses Kur Cobay and man does my head hur." Sorry, dude.) and get interviewed by teevy and all that. Anyway, organizers say the crowd seemed receptive to the message and the music, that it went well, and that some figures on the money will be available shortly.
Matt from the Specs opens acoustically, Jodi and the Rodeo play, then Whistling Tinheads, tonight (Thursday) at Stephen Talkhouse. Beat that.
In case you care, Miami is a confirmed Lollapalooza '94 site. Smashing Pumpkins, George Clinton and the P-Funk Allstars, the Beastie Boys, the Breeders, A Tribe Called Quest, Nick and the Bad Seeds, L7, and the Boredoms are the bands. Or so says Perry Farrell, who is not my friend.
Tomorrow (Friday) Le Coup reggaelutionizes Rose's.
I've been listening to and going to see and writing about bluesman Bill Wharton for many years. Eating his Datil-pepper hot sauce, too. And that gumbo he and the Ingredients cook up A both literally and musically A oh, man. Son! Just back from a European tour (Amsterdam was the highlight), the Sauce Boss and his band have another new album, South of the Blues, which is out now on Virgin Europe. It should be out in this country, on Kingsnake, in a few weeks. Hear the big dog bark this weekend at Tobacco Road. And how about this? The other day I had a leftover chunk of cow meat and not much else in the pantry. (Yeah, like I have a pantry.) So I cut the meat up and simmer it in tomato sauce and hot sauce, spices, an old potato, some other stuff, shred it and cook it some more, and it was delicious. Recalling family get-togethers of years long past, Wharton passes on this similar, less improvised, and more large-scale recipe: Take three pounds of either beef roast or goat meat, three pounds of pork roast, two bottles of Heinz chili sauce, 1/2 cup of white vinegar, and 1/4 cup of Wharton's Datil sauce (avoid corporate imitations). Cover the meat in a large pot of water and simmer for about an hour. Cool, remove fat, and shred. Return the meat to the broth, add the other stuff, and simmer for a couple of hours until the liquid is reduced. Serve on the bread or bun of your choice. Hey, I like this. I think we should have recipes in this column all the time. Send yours in (c'mon vegans, here's your chance!) and I'll print the best when I feel like it.
Marilyn Manson plays a pretour farewell show on Saturday at Squeeze. On May 3 in Dallas the spooky ones join up with Nine Inch Nails, with whom MM will tour. By the by, there's an excellent profile of head Nail Trent Reznor in the April issue of Request magazine.
Tomorrow (Friday) at Churchill's Hideaway members of the Niki Taylors and the Stimulators gather under the name Los Borachos and Saturday Charlie Pickett plays his first concert since obtaining his law degree. Saturday is also St. George's Day, the English equivalent of St. Patrick's Day, so you know it's gonna be a throwdown. St. George was a Christian martyr who died around the year 303. Charlie Pickett is a rock and roll hero who will never die.
This Monday at Cellblock you can join the controversy of Crunch Symphony, who will be showcasing tunes from their new, eponymous CD.
Congrats to Roberto Perera for winning Best Contemporary Latin Jazz Album in the nation from Billboard. We, of course, are not surprised.
That was Cell 63 bopping around the Beach and elsewhere this past Friday, shooting a vid for their "Once Upon a Drunk." Updates on the world's greatest postpunk band to come.
Skeeter Brandon & HWY 61 bring their Hi-Test Blues to Hooligan's Briar Bay tonight (Thursday).
For the first time, Natural Causes plays Squeeze, tomorrow (Friday). It's a Dade-Broward thing, don'tcha know.
This Sunday it's the Big Cypress Spring Fest, a free, all-day affair (take I-75 to Exit 14 and head north or call 800-949-6101). The Seminoles will roll out all sorts of diversion, including music by Johnny and the B.G. Ramblers, James Billie, Cathy Cotton and the Texas West Band, Whisky on Ice, Juni Strongheart & Jungle.
You choose, I can't. This Saturday the mighty Mavericks come home for a show at the Talkhouse. Meanwhile, over at Rose's is For Squirrels and the Goods. If you can time it just right....
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SHOW ME HOW
Butthorn of the week: BullFrog brand sunblock and its manufacturer, Chattem Inc. First of all, if you believe the BullFrog flacks, anyone who goes near the ocean in South Florida from now till next fall will be brutally savaged by sea lice. We're all doomed! (Unless, of course, we slather ourselves with some chemicals.) Why this harsh propaganda against what are actually infant jellyfish? Why use BullFrog? Save the whales? Think globally, act locally. You have to start somewhere, and I say let's start with sea lice. Save the sea lice! Research indicates sea lice are more intelligent than dolphins. Er, I mean more intelligent than humans. Dolphins don't destroy their own planet. Neither do sea lice.
The media circus: The Holocaust never happened. I was very surprised to learn this, which I did by reading an ad in the University of Miami student newspaper, the Hurricane. I know about the genocide of indigenous "Americans" by European invaders and how Christians and Jews and even blacks teamed to force Africans into slavery, but I'd never really heard much about this supposed gassing of ethnic minorities, primarily Jews, by German authorities around the time of World War II. Glad to find out it didn't really happen. What a relief. I told you sea lice are smarter....
Happy pet corner: Laugh at me, will you, you swine! You think it's half lie and half joke A this column and/or life. But there's validation, occasionally, stupidly, any way I can get it. This whole thing of running animal photos I think began when Ana and them told me they'd named their new puppy Kina Baker, in my honor. I published a very cute photo of the very cute Kina doggy, whom I visit regularly, or, I should say, visits me, like during b-ball season at the YMCA when Kina sometimes comes to our games and cheers us on. So anyway, this photo I so goofingly published just won first place in Pro-Plan's canine photo contest. Way to go, Kinababy! "She got, like, a hundred pounds of food, a collar, leash, snacks," says Ana. "She won so many toys she can't choose which one to play with."
Sad pet corner: My pal Shari's best friend of seventeen years, Thor, disappeared. "My husband used to kick Thor off the bed," Shari says. "I meant to say my ex-husband." The other day Thor left and didn't return A a cat that old likely went off to die, but there's always hope. Shari probably just wants to know, some closure and all that. If you saw Thor recently, call me or send me a postcard.