Remember Charlie Pickett? Ah, too easy. Remember the Flamin' Groovies? Charlie always seemed to, and Melbourne's magnificent Screaming Iguanas of Love certainly do. Formed in San Francisco in 1965, the Groovies went against the granola by ignoring the Brit Invasion and the mushrooming of psychedelia to instead perform nifty little songs that took the ordinary and made it seem revelatory - "You got to mow the lawn/You got to mow the lawn/If you wanna get along with me." After a couple of name changes and plenty of local grinding, the Grooves put out their own album (sound familiar, kids?) called Sneakers. It sold some 2000 copies, and then Epic picked it up, launching what would become an extremely marginal commercial career. What they lacked in sales, the band more than made up for in influence. After their watershed 1971 LP Teenage Head came out, co-founder and guitarist Tim Lynch was arrested for fighting the fascist regime - that is, for drug crimes and draft evasion. Fellow core member, chief songsmith, and front man Roy Loney quit the group, which would go on for years with various personnel. Loney eventually formed the Phantom Movers, releasing a half-dozen albums since. In his spare time, Loney tours the nation with various backing groups, including Young Fresh Fellows. And now Loney brings his unique talent to the Southeast with the Screaming Iguanas - who readily acknowledge their debt to the Groovies and Movers - as his backing band. They play Washington Square on Saturday. Remember.
Look for a new South Beach rock spot - called the Cradle - to open in July.
Band manager John Tovar is a music-biz tough guy, stoic and about as sentimental as a hit man. So it's strange to hear him talking up the third Blayne's Place Benefit, which takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Plus Five in Davie. Like so many, Tovar lost a friend to AIDS, and while he's always a good pitchman, this time the sincerity is palpable. Tovar doesn't seem to care that these events, staged to raise money for an organization dedicated to helping children with AIDS and its precursor, are organized by the band Dragonfly and the other members of Rockers for Awareness. Competition and the petty concerns of the music business have no place here. You do. On Saturday, beginning at 8:00 p.m., 100 Proof, Yosimite Slam, Idol Threat, Amboog-a-lard, Alligator Alley, Quikslam, Dragonfly, Squadron, Violent Playground, and Headway will play live. On Sunday, it's the New Reign, Bellefires, Crossblades, Factory Black, Psychodrama, Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids, Lyrics for Lunch, the Way, XSF, and Basket Case. These are all-ages shows, and further info is available at 566-2087. Yes, rock and roll matters. Yes, it can change things.
I screwed up when I wrote about how I screwed up in a recent story about band newsletters. The Dillengers were briefly a four-piece, as reported, but now they're back to three. They'll be in town in July and we'll straighten it all out then.
Remember the Voice in Fashion, those local hitmakers with the heavy dance beats? They scored major national successes with "Only in the Night" and "Give Me Your Love," worked with Lewis Martinee and signed to Atlantic and EMI, and toured all over before the deal went sour and Ony Rodriguez left the group. Well, brothers Sal and David Hanono are back as the Voice in Fashion, avoiding the hassles by releasing "You Will Smile Again" on their own label. The new effort leans toward the melodic, softer and less tech-happy than previous efforts. They plan a visit to Brazil real soon for live shows.
Hard rockers: The Slammies, hyped heavily here, and taking place June 25 at Button South, will star those busy boys from Cynic, who should have a CD out this summer on RoadRacer; Malevolent Creation, whose second album for R/C, Retribution, recorded with Scott Burns at Criteria, will be released at the show; and Amboog-a-lard, Meatlocker, Raped Ape, and Load. Even before that big day for rock (and roll), Livestock, the lollapalooza of thrash-death-core-whatever, takes place on Saturday somewhere up there - take I-95 all the way to Forest Hill Boulevard (West Palm Beach), then take that to 441, make a left and go one mile (407-547-1468). Beginning at 1:30 p.m. you'll find there Quit, Milky Filth, Postface, Freaks with Beaks, Load, Chihuahuas, Matthew Craig, Groovy Coochies, food and beer, arts and crafts. There'll be a 24-foot by 48-foot covered stage, so the music plays on come rain or shine. Last year the event reportedly drew about a thousand people without advertising or much publicity. Double that's expected this time. Have fun while you still can.
Ask and you shall be deceived. Last week we mentioned Rock and Roll Confidential's tenth anniversary and, in a separate and (we thought) unrelated item, we begged you to boycott CDs for one day so the record companies might be reminded that you own them. What should arrive in the mail the next day but the June ish of RRC, which includes an item based on a report in the Los Angeles Times about the overpricing of CDs. According to the breakdowns, a cassette costs a total of $4.75. A CD, when you add up everything from the actual manufacturing to royalties to shipping to marketing to the shrink wrap, comes to $5.90 ($5.40 without longbox packaging). You can figure it out from there, dear consumer.
This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Monterey Pop Festival, the landmark blast that brought acts such as Jimi Hendrix, the Who, and Janis Joplin to the American consciousness and provided last, best shots for the Mamas and the Papas (their string of hits ended), Otis Redding (he died six weeks after he smoked the predominantly white crowd), and David Crosby (his last show with the Byrds). Monterey was the show where Hendrix genuflected before his flaming (literally) guitar. And these brief anecdotes make up only a small part of what was the Monterey Pop Festival. I recommend an excellent new book by Joel Selvin, with photos by Jim Marshall, called Monterey Pop, for anyone who cares to remember.
I wage a constant battle to keep this space free of naughty words that might shock your fragile sensibilities and cause the New Times corporate superstructure to crumble like so much re-pressed cocaine tapped with a hammer. And so it is that in a recent column I chose to call some of you askiniffers, instead of the more precise but messy "butt sniffers." A couple of my brothers, the twins, Chuck and Roger, to whom the etymology of "askiniffers" can be traced, took great exception to my use of the word. Believe me, of all the people in the world you do not want to offend, Chuck and Rog rank at the tip top. Either one can easily crush a human skull with two fingers, although they'd argue they could do it with just one digit. My bros insist the word should be spelled "ass-kiniffer." The origin rests in an experience a few years ago when two older, somewhat marble-mouthed men were working. One bent down to do something, the other leaned over from behind him. The first guy looked back over his shoulder and said, "Damn, I didn'ts knows youz was an ass-kiniffer." So take that, William Safire.
Show me your hits: Wet Flower, the Itch, and XSF enlouden the Button South on Thursday. Naked Rhythm bares all at the Reunion Room on Friday. On Saturday, try some Picasso Trigger with Purple Mustard at Uncle Sam's.
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Butthorn of the week: The FCC. America's best TV/radio reporter, the Sun-Sentinel's Tom Jicha, writes that WLUP-AM in Chicago is standing up to the feds and fighting fines levied for naughty jokes about - how should we put this? - penis size. Local stations such as WIOD-AM have answered similar FCC charges by dutifully paying the fines, but Jicha says the folks at WLUP aren't pushovers. They're taking the big boys to the wall, and we wish them luck.
The media circus: Jim DeFede's recent cover story about ICTV was wonderful, or at least ABC News thought so. The network sent a crew to the D.C. Hotel last week for two days of shooting, and should air a segment on World News Tonight soon. You know how the damn news media is - ABC couldn't say exactly when they planned to show the piece. This week a crew from Telemundo is visiting Ol' Graybar for another shoot about ICTV, which will change DeFede's story from national to international. Now if HBO would begin airing Public Defender Live and Inmate Evening News....
Greg Brown lyric of the week: From 1992's "So Hard" on Dream Cafe: "Why is it so hard/Why is it so hard/Why is it so hard/Why is it so hard/To love, love, really love somebody?