This is it, folks. I ain't pretending. Next week's is definitely the last "Program Notes." Cleaning out my office, I just came across an old note from band manager Mike Eiseman. "About the new religion based on Rooster Head music," Eiseman wrote, "I think you need a little vacation, or maybe switch to decaf." Nothing changes. Everything is change. We can break these chains.
The new CD from Allan Harris A Setting the Standard A gets released and feted Friday and Saturday at Lauderdale's Cafe and on Sunday at BANG. You should be hearing prime cuts on the radio (try Love-94) any minute.
Amboog-a-lard will be back soon with a CD, A New Hope. Word is it'll be less thrashy, more moody, and will include other changes in the popular band's sound. Once it's out, they'll be back in the clubs. I guess we all come back some time.
Get yerself a copy of the Volunteers' new tape. The first track, "Chains of Steel," is immortal. Music like this can break them. Believe.
Show it or blow it: Naked Rhythm finds a groove at Squeeze tonight (Wednesday). Weekly jams are now happenin' Tuesday nights at Blackjack's (on Main in the Grove), which is now twice as big as it was thanks to renovation, with full-liquor bar, too. Guille Garcia, Charley Mursiano, Kathi Gibson, and Chris Limardo host, with complete set-up for all you jammers. Begins at 10:00 p.m. And the University of Miami has a promising Earth Day celebration this Friday at 11:00 a.m. There'll be plenty of stuff on hand for your earthy edification, and while I won't try to convince you this is a planet worth saving, I will note the amazing line-up of live talent on hand: Second Coming, Cell 63, Loadface, Day By the River, Natural Causes, an Earth Day all-star band, and, tentatively skedded at press time, Forget the Name and Elysian. It's on the UM's patio.
The Box seems to be chunking out a lot of MTV's territory, getting better and bigger with its own thing. Latest cool move: the vid channel has added Farrcry's "Loving You." Dial it up on #418.
Just a reminder: Stu Goldstein's oldies show is back on the air beginning this Sunday at 11:00 a.m. on WMBM-AM (1490). Fans of the program will be happy to know it hasn't changed.
Butthorn of the week: Ticketmaster for listing 7 Year Bitch as "7 Year Bi**h." Blockbuster for not renting adult-theme movies. And on and on and on. As Uncle Neil might say, growdafucup.
Bonus butthorn: Cye Mandel, John Sisto, and even their attorney, Sanford Bohrer. Mandel and Sisto were running the Miccosukee Indians' bingo hall. The tribe dismissed them, now fighting in court to get rid of the management team for good. They allege ties to organized crime. But I don't care about that. No, it's much simpler. This land A all and any of it A rightfully belongs to the people we call Indians. Bohrer and his clients might have a contract, but a contract between whites and Indians means nothing. Check your history, buckwheat. The Res, especially, is theirs. They can do anything they want, including kicking these white butthorns out. Take it to court all you want. And I'll butthorn you. Because if the Miccosukees tell you to go jump in a lake, you better be wet in seconds. And if they tell you to get off their land and out of their business, you should do it. Get the hell out. Get out.
On hold with Ticketmaster: Thursday, 1:20 p.m. On hold for four minutes and 23 seconds. Four minutes and 23 seconds.
The media circus: I've made a point of not singling out specific acts performing during Thon at Washington Square. It wouldn't be fair to the other 289. But I changed my mind. Too much confusion. Todd "Sloppy Joe" Anthony (yes, our very own) has assembled an all-star band, which he'll front on April 26. No need to plug Mr. T. A he says the Herald takes care of him, listing long-ago acoustic nights at Churchill's Hideaway as highlight events, for example. "I was honored to be in the same agate box as Andrew Lloyd Webber," Anthony recalls. However, the Herald's recent "Nightlife" item for Stephen Talkhouse incorrectly had Todd there. It was actually Tommy Anthony, who's actually Tom Maestu, whose middle name is Anthony, and who got tired of people mispronouncing his last name. Okay. On May 1, Villy's Void plays Thon. Diane Ward and her band Voidville have nothing to do with Villy's Void. And vice-versa. And one more thing, a cool typo in the Square's ad for Thon: Whistling Pinheads.
And a gross error on my part, for which guitar-star Sturgis Nikides beat me senseless the other night. The place was Talkhouse, the night special, almost enough to make me want to stay right here, or there, forever. It was boys' night out A me and Pat "Choirboy" Flood doing the South Beach Sogmunch before I hooked with my yardie Todd and his friend Victor for some serious musicking. The future it was wide open. Then trouble started. These butthorns at the Talkhouse A what a bunch of jerks. The staff at the club absolutely refused to allow me to purchase a damn beer. All night. First, it was Jim at the door, handing me a bottle of Bud. Then it was the bartender, Paul, waving off my Hamilton like I was insulting him. Then it was the soundman, Drew. Then it was.... The only person at the Talkhouse who didn't buy me a drink was co-owner Peter Honerkamp, and he tried, but I already had one going. Geez.
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Sturge and Diane Ward were on-stage, blitzing and blazing, their acoustic guitars spitting fire, the timing perfect and powerful, as if the duo were connected at the hip, or the brain. I know there's no villy void of praise for Ward's voice, but I have to say it again: Wow. You have to hear it. So I'm guzzlin' on the 'House and groovin' to this mighty music, and it ends, and Sturgis gets all over me about last week's plug of the show. I'd written that he might be on hand, the caveat due to his hyperbusy sked these days. "Listen, punk, when Diane plays, I play," Nikides growled. Okay, so I'm paraphrasing. Point made nonetheless.
Then it was time for a little mellow-rock outfit called Natural Causes. Frightening. I had brought along a reggae CD for drummer Jim Wall, but I couldn't find him. Neither could manager Keith Schantz. Neither could anyone. The whole band is on-stage, ready to rock, it's one minute till showtime, and no drummer. No sign of him. Tragedy. Tension. Trouble. One, two, three A and there's Wall, walking up and sitting down A four. Another great moment, and while I might be overdocumenting, it's my job A the band's first set on this night turns out to be one of the best rock and roll shows I've ever seen, anywhere. Seen Bruce plenty, including a classic pre-Xmas show in Tally. Seen Elvis plenty, including that set at Sunrise when he opened with "Lipstick Vogue." Seen plenty. And I'm tellin' ya, objectively and sincerely, this is it. And it scares me, because I'm pretty callous, jaded really, about seeing the Causes in a club. Old hat.
And I fight it, fight it hard. But it still happens. The set arcs and bends and weaves, a summer soul sensation that almost made it onto Bomb in the Shelter A "Crazy Mixed Up World" A spins as beautiful as true love, and you want to scream out to the world "get this," and the opening notes of "God's Country" ring, and I'm really fighting it, but the sweat comes anyway, the chills, the tears, the shakes. And it can't go any further, but it does, and even a couple of hours later, after some serious breakdown jams that would have the Grateful Dead jaw dropped in admiration, the second set ends with a clear, crisp rendering of "I Ain't Pretending," a monster hit if I've ever heard one, and the cycle is complete. The chains are broken. This is it.