"Gwen, when you don't remember something it is very strange. It's the same as if it never happened...."
...The Jesus freaks who talked about the end of the world were looking better every day....
..."There's only one thing we'd like to know. We're your friends. We've been friends for years. Just one thing. Why do you drink so much?"
"Hell, I don't know. I guess, mostly, I just get bored."
The above excerpts are from an old short story called Some Hangover by Charles Bukowski (you can find it in his book Hot Water Music). It's kinda sad. A little scary. Too real.
Luther Campbell (whose new album is In the Nude) is trying to convince the U.S. Supreme Court that a sense of humor should be legal in this late, great nation. Sued for parodying "Oh, Pretty Woman," Campbell is appealing for common sense. His old nemesis Broward County desperately needs some common sense and/or a sense of humor. At least in Davie. At least in the case of one police officer.
Jack Off Jill was performing on a Saturday night at the Zoo in Davie A until a cop shut the show down and came close to locking up the band's frontwoman, Jessicka, who tells the story this way: "I got a little out of hand. It was a normal show, I smashed a couple of beer bottles and tore up a baby carriage and hit a gentleman in the eye with a piece of it. He was bleeding, and he left. Mr. Manson sang with us that night, and at one point he pulled his pants down and tried to sodomize our bass player. There was a lot of craziness, crazy shit, destroying things." Typical rock and roll. "This Davie police officer, obviously a fan of Jack Off Jill, was there. Apparently there were some parking problems, and he was giving people trouble about parking. He wandered into the club to hear our excellent music. He stayed the whole set, but he seemed unhappy." Typical critic. "The officer said get that one down off stage, meaning me. I said, 'Why?' He invited me off stage and asked me if I'd like to go to jail. I didn't really want to. He told me there's an obscenity ordinance in Florida and that we'd destroyed it. I didn't know that. I said, 'This is a 21-and-over club, right?' He said it was, but 'everything you've done is out of bounds. Don't go back on stage. You're close to getting arrested.' My mouth is bigger than my brain sometimes. But I wasn't going out of my way to be an asshole. The cop was a complete pig. I think he really got mad when I threw a rubber dick at someone in the crowd. He must have thought I was the ringleader of the anarchy. I asked him if he wanted a copy of our tape."
You want a tape, or CD, of Steam Records' Naked Rhythm. Steam is a new Atlanta-based label, formed by Harvey Schwartz and Larry Mills. Their second release (currently being recorded) will be by Steve Ellis and the Line. Their first release is a compilation of thirteen bands from all over the place that, while not actually signed to the label, do represent the musical direction the company is headed in. It is an incredible piece of work. Ellis is included, with his song "Maybe," which is one of the most compelling and infectious tunes you'll hear this year. To give you a perfect idea of the type of pure rock and roll delivered throughout we need note only that track four is "Satisfy You" by Natural Causes. Proceeds from sales of Naked Rhythm go to the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta.
Tonight (Wednesday) Squeeze presents the Bellefires and the Beat Poets.
Cl-cl-classic rock is one thing A and oldies are another. I don't want to get into this, but I swear I recently turned on ZETA three times and each and every time the song airing was "Free Bird." Truth. So I switched to SHE to hear that new band Fleetwood Mac. Sad. But the Fifties vintage stuff, if you'll open up to it, you'll hear still rocks even now. Fully legit and way cool. Don't believe me, find out for yourself when the Cleftones, Don & Juan, Joey Villa, Eddie Pardocchi, Joe "Cookie" Lorello, Joe Mirrione, and the Five Boroughs do the wop at the Miami Shores Performing Arts Center (945-5828) at 7:00 p.m. Saturday. It's the first time most of these artists have played here in 25 or 30 years.
A very nice hotshot from Columbia Records I was chatting with after Soul Asylum's set at Bayfront Park Amphitheater asked me about the venue's max cap. "There must be six or seven thousand people here," she said, a bit awed and very happy. Checked it out. The attendance for the show (Screaming Trees, Spin Doctors, and Asylum) was 12,000 (just short of the 12,500 capacity for gated shows). Wow.
It's very encouraging to me at this point to know that at least one person reads this column, that at least one person (not counting Charlie Van Tuggle, whom I consider a correspondent more than a reader) actually responds to the gibberish herein. From Carol Spicer: "Dear Greg, I'm the person who approached Frank Falestra and asked that fateful question. I was at Cactus Cantina. Someone said, 'Greg Baker is here [tonight].' I asked, 'Where?' My friend pointed toward the wall and said, 'There.' When I looked in that direction I saw only one person (Frank) and assumed that's who my friend meant. Later that night I was at the Square and saw that person again and I thought, He's been so nice about printing information about Second Son in his column, I'm going to introduce myself and thank him. You can imagine the response I got. I decided not to stick around and find out who the person was that I seemed to have deeply insulted. I wish I had...we could have had a lively and spirited conversation. That's my sad tale. Unfortunately, I still have not met you, but I have met the legendary Frank Falestra. Next time I run into him maybe I'll ask him if he's Todd Anthony."
Barring the tragedies so typical in my life, Carol, we'll have a chance to chat (and ridicule that jerk Falestra) on Saturday when Second Son, along with the Bellefires and Natural Causes, plays Cactus.
Meanwhile Rat Falestra and Ruben Pagan got a new thang A Twang, beginning tonight (Wednesday) at Mac's Club Deuce. It's music and concept, with this credo: "Pluck your magik twanger froggy." Guess you'll just have to go check it out.
There's no jazz around here? There's mo' jazz than you might know. E.g., the MoJazz Cafe on 71st in Miami Beach, where the house band (Tony Prentice on piano, Lew Berryman on bass, Bill Peeples on drums, and Mo Morgen on sax) will be joined by the legendary Ira Sullivan this Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, Ira teams with masterful acoustic guitarist Ary Piassorolo. In addition, the club features a midnight jam every night. There's never a cover charge, and you can munch on Cuban-American cuisine while you're treating your ears.
There's no folk around here? There's mo' folk than you might know. On the Fourth of July nearly twenty top players will perform one after another at Greynolds Park in North Miami Beach. Mary Karlzen headlines, and while we don't like to not cite each artist, we must mention Yarko Antonevytch, an amazing bandura player we've seen and liked very much. His set's at 3:00 p.m., but the whole day should be awesome, from 11:00 a.m. on. Call 857-6875.
I'm sure you've got a busy Independence Day planned, but for once we can recommend you consider tripping up to Rosebud's. Black Janet, the Bellefires, Natural Causes, Colour Junkies, and Surreal are all slotted to play on the Fourth, beginning at 7:00 p.m.
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The Jesus freaks who talked about the end of the world were looking better every day. Rumor has it that Matt Kramer has left Saigon Kick. And Lollapalooza, as you probably know, is not coming to Miami. My pals at Cellar Door say the scheduled stop was canceled due to scheduling difficulties (I know that sounds very strange, but that's what they say). The July 28 show in Orlando will be the only Florida date. Tickets went on sale this past Saturday.
Butthorn of the week: The Grenadines, British West Indies. The U.S. Postal Service recently issued a series of "Rock 'n' Legends" stamps. Attempting to cut into the philatelic market, the tiny chain of islands issued its own series of music-star stamps. Clever, huh? Except on one of theirs, they misspelled Barbra Streisand's name. Whoops. The Grenadine Streisand stamp is already worth $12 (you get the whole set). Babs herself tells me this is why she drinks so much.
The media circus: There's this late-night teevy show called Forever Knight about a vampire-cop and on one episode an undead character wistfully said, "Before television and the movies, people went to clubs."
More media circus: I noticed in a recent Miami Herald a concert listing that included Butthole Surfers. So what, you say? So seven or eight years ago, thanks to my petulant whining and the raw courage of features editor Daisy Harris, the Miami News consented to allow me to use the band's actual name in an article. Before that it was unheard of for a daily to print the word "butthole," even if as a proper noun. This is progress, folks. And very strange.