My wife is a genius, but I never mention her because she likes anonymity. (You would too if you were married to me.) She does all kinds of things, including she reads like 30 or 40 hardcovers a day, occasionally turning me on to -- well, for example, how this novelist Mark Richards wrote something about "chimney red and pumpkin orange." That's important. In his classic tale of a blind, skin-diseased Chihuahua, "Frank's Wild Years," Tom Waits had long ago described a burning house as "all Halloween orange and chimney red." Okay, so it's not so important maybe, but it is to me. My wife says writers are walking egos with word processors. Actually, that's my line. However, I must admit most of the good lines in this column (if there ever are any) are hers, uncredited. I might as well write novels. $
One of my wife's good lines this week: "I think the irony isn't that Dylan sold the rights to one of his songs to some big accounting firm. The ironic thing's that the song he sold was 'The Times They Are A-Changin'.'"
The ASCAP showcase orchestrated by powerbrokers John Tovar and Michael Eiseman provided an amazing night of music and a sort of Washington Square reunion. The event took place at the Dark Room, which I haven't really been to since it was Washington Square. (The pizza is actually damn good, New Yawk style, not that goat cheese and avocado crap you'd expect on Poseur Row.) After enduring Aerosmith, Kevin Cornish showed up, mentioning something to Jeff about setting us up with some tequila shots, and suddenly all those sodden nights at the Square flashed back. At one point I saw this shave-head Latin-looking guy smash into ASCAP's Jonathan Love. I grabbed my beer bottle by the top and stood up, but by then the guy had turned around and was shaking hands with Love. Meester Lara. "I've known Jonathan for years," Lara explained. Nil says he's getting lots of exposure on Latin MTV and that he'll play Stephen Talkhouse tomorrow (Friday).
The night started ugly when John Camacho tried to pick a fight with me over my disinterest in the new Bruce song, "Streets of Philadelphia." The Goods took the stage, and John announced that they were dedicating their first song to "Mr. Greg Baker, the non-Springsteen believer." The Goods (who crossed out the word "showcase" on their flyer and inserted "audition") performed a mix of new tunes and 5 Steps to Getting Signed nuggets. Being a professional music critic and all, I should review the show here, but I don't want to. Suffice to say at least two of the newer songs are radio-ready monster hits, if radio was ready to play any good music. And that the Goods, though different now, remain one of the best live bands to ever walk the Earth.
The Valerie Archon band also impressed, though the set took a while to take off. I'm not familiar with Val's current work (Tovar keeps promising me a tape), which probably explains why the first few songs didn't hit me at all. The playing was great, the jams surpassed the verse-chorus parts, and the last three songs in the set totally kicked ass.
I Don't Know played third. I don't have much else to say about these guys -- you either know or don't. Ferny called a couple of days later to say that the band did not perform at Stephen Talkhouse after the Taj Mahal concert as scheduled. "Taj ran real late," Ferny says. "The club told us it was too late for us to play, so we couldn't play. We want to extend our apologies to anyone who went over to check us out." I Don't Know plays Reunion Room tomorrow (Friday).
Also showcasing for ASCAP was Broken Spectacles, who are now a four-piece (plus a sax guest on the first song of the set). No video or big stage presentation this time, just that all-powerful three-frontmen-and-drummer lineup laying out Aftermath tunes as if the lives of everyone in the room depended on it. I drove home after the Specs's set, and I got that same tripped-out feeling I got when I first heard the advance cassette (the Aftermath CD is still in the works; the band wants high-quality packaging). The Specs songs I heard that night are still ringing.
None of those four bands is signed to a major label yet, but guess who is? Easy, right? It's official, Mary Karlzen will be signing with Atlantic Records. The deal is done, she and manager Rich Ulloa need only to jet up to New Yawk and ink the papers. My hope -- beyond that her first Atlantic album sells 20 million copies out of the box -- is that other bands will greet this news not with envy but with pride. In case you still haven't realized this, it's all about faith. Stick with it and the world will come around.
Open-mike master John Soler (late of Cactina) begins jams at Rose's next Wednesday.
Speaking of Miami bands with big label deals, Marilyn Manson has not been dropped by Interscope/Nothing. Manager John Tovar swears the label did not dump the band two months before their album was set to be released, no matter how many rumors are flying around. "They got a new guitarist," Tovar says. "They didn't want to run a photo of the old guy in the CD, so the photos had to be reshot. That means the release has to be pushed back."
You can catch Mrs. Scabtree (featuring members of Marilyn Manson, Jack Off Jill, Killing Silence, and others) at Plus Five this Saturday. On Sunday the club hosts a benefit for the Diabetes Foundation, with 25 bands.
The Chili Pepper turns Sunday nights over to local music, beginning this week with one of the hottest acts in town, Raw B. Jae. The following Sundays will feature Natural Causes (February 20) and Nuclear Valdez (February 27).
I hope you've all been caught in the Fog -- a cool band, a resurrection of the spirit of Miami rock circa the mid-Sixties, a viable project. The band, profiled last week in "Music" ("Savage Found"), has more shows this week (tonight [Thursday] at Musicians Exchange, Friday and Saturday at Zipperhead) and an appearance on Evan Chern's show (Saturday from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. on WDNA-FM [88.9]). By the way, if you have trouble picking up DNA's signal, try pushing the "mono" button on your stereo.
Next Wednesday the Holy Terrors hit Squeeze.
I hear the Mavericks were glowingly profiled in a huge New York Times piece I haven't seen (Tovar keeps promising to fax it to me). US, People, Spin, and Entertainment Weekly are also jumping on the wagon with coverage of the Miami heroes.
Toni Bishop performs all weekend at Sal's La Fortuna in Fort Lauderdale (522-2202).
I've hung out over there, and lemme tell you, watching Doug Burris teach music to high school students is both inspiring and entertaining. These kids can play. Tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday the Miami Beach Senior High School Rock Ensemble will perform Queen's A Night at the Opera in the school's auditorium at 7:30 p.m. The venue is at 2231 Prairie Ave., the tickets are $4 and $10, the music is guaranteed.
Crash Basket plays this Sunday at Reunion Room.
You'll want to check out Satan and Adam this weekend at Tobacco Road. Adam was a graduate student at Columbia nearly eight years ago when he was walking down 125th Street in Harlem one day. An older guy was performing on the street as a rudimentary one-man band. Adam went and got his harmonica and some small amps and asked to sit in. Their latest album is Mother Mojo. Way back in 1987 they appeared in U2's Rattle and Hum as street musicians (what a stretch) for 38 seconds. "Today Satan is the greatest one-man band in the world," Adam says from New Yawk. "His real name is Sterling Magee, from southeast Mississippi, and he was a U.S. paratrooper in Germany. He's worked with King Curtis, Etta James, Marvin Gaye, but this is our first trip to Miami." The duo has jammed at festivals such as the Chicago Blues Fest, New Orleans's Jazz and Heritage, Newport Jazz, and Philadelphia Folk. "Satan sits in a high-chair type thing with his guitar. Strapped to a board in front of him are cymbals, tambourine, and such. I call him Robert Johnson reborn as Parliament-Funkadelic. He's a strong guitar-groove guy. Since Albert Collins is gone, there's really only Buddy Guy and Satan if he ever gets the exposure."
The Everglades Bluegrass Convention takes place all weekend (take the Ives Dairy exit off I-95 west to NE 15th Avenue and turn right). The Osborne Brothers, Bass Mountain Boys, Chubby Wise, the Cox Family, South Ocean String Band, and Redwing will perform. Call 983-8164.
Shotgunn Wedding and Itanna perform tonight (Thursday) at Zipperhead, where Itanna teams with Mr. Tasty and the Bread Healers next Tuesday.
Mega congratulations to Mr. Randy Rush (Velvascurge, etcetera) upon the announcement of his marriage.
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Butthorn of the week: New Times for its disgustingly sexist "Best of Miami" promotion. Why not show a chick with the logo on her tit? Oh -- that's next year's promotion.
The media circus: WCIX-TV aired the same episode of Family Feud two nights in a row last week. Don't ask me how I know this.
Pet corner: Those of you who, like Sarah, have been burned by greedhead vets, should avail yourselves of Dr. Joseph Sarmiento (message him at 996-8486). "I've heard stories like Sarah's before," the veteran veterinarian says. "All I do is low-cost spaying and neutering for Planned Pethood of America." The prices are $35 for male dogs, $40 for females and $20 for male cats, $25 for females. That includes everything: anesthetic, surgery, antibiotics, and the four-in-one vaccination. And if your animal pulls out the suture, like Sarah's Maggie did, Dr. Sarmiento is on call for emergency service. The cost for that, should it occur, is not $250. It's less. It's free. The man stands behind his work. Heck, he only performed about 17,000 surgeries last year. He stands behind the animals as well. I think he's a genius.