The lessons they are hard. In the March 10 installment of this alleged column, I claimed there is no God, other, perhaps, than Greg Brown. Yeah, I guess you could say I was fairly fired up for Brown's skedded visit to Stephen Talkhouse that weekend. It was something to live for, I suggested, not intending, at the least, to fall victim to understatement. God clearly reads "Program Notes", She/He/It might be the only one Who does, and God said, "No go, buckwheat." The Storm of the Century (so far anyway) pinned down Mr. Brown in Asheville, North Carolina, forcing cancelation of his Miami show. Promoter Michael Stock says the make-up date won't happen until September. Hey, God -- I won't say anything smart alecky about You. So please, I pray, no Category 5 hurricane when Brown returns. Please.
The great Roach Thompson Blues Band is breaking up. The Roach wants to travel and tour, other members have too many commitments to pick up and cruise. They'll continue with a new frontman. Updates here.
I met Bruce Berman at one of those music-biz-schmooze thangs, and he introduced himself by telling me I would not like his style of music. Geez, Bruce, mind if I hear it first? In fact I do like the silky pop of his No End project, and I really love what he's done with a one-off tune called "Somehow We Will Survive." With big help from Donna Stone and Video Concepts, Criteria, American Express, and MagneTech, Berman turned the song into a video with a Red Cross 1-800 number superimposed. It aired on vid shows across the nation. The response was, um, surprising. From a letter the Red Cross wrote to Berman: "Your video has generated at least $88,614.73 for the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. ...The figure is conservative." Good work, Bruce. I know some people down south who appreciate it.
And on the topic of good works, a few words on behalf of Artist Support, one of those altruistic efforts that typically go nowhere fast. This one's actually working A doing it, man A raising funds/awareness for various causes. Come out tonight (Wednesday) and see for yourself, when Artist Support releases a recording chocked with local stars and a postcard pack with art by other local stars. The place is Washington Square. Call 274-6428.
And on the topic of good works, if you care about ending the AIDS crisis or you like good music (or, preferably, both), start saving up for Steam's Naked Rhythm. Steam is a new and cool Atlanta-based independent label, and Naked Rhythm (not to be confused with the band of the same name) is their first release, a compilation of acts from around the nation, including Miami's Natural Causes. Updates here.
Caught another Natural Causes show just before they hit the studio with Tom Dowd. Caught up with Arlan Feiles, who was so infuriated by our silly "deepest, darkest secret" contest he slashed my face with a jagged piece of beer bottle. Actually the understated singer-songwriter contained his anger to a mumbled, "Ya pullin' my leg, aren't ya?" You think this is some joke, son? You know I know and you know I'm gonna tell. Besides, we have a winner. Actually, two winners. Divulging the correct answer first was a very nice gentleman named Fredric Freeman, who had the distinct advantage of being a member of an early incarnation of Causes (you can see him with his new band, Tunnel Feelers, along with the Bellefires, at Cactus Cantina this Saturday). Then Hilary Kimble dialed in to take a guess informed by last installment's clue. "The headline gave it away," Kimble said. "Did I win the new car?" When I broke the bad news, she asked if the winner was a guy named Fredric. How'd ya know? "He's my boyfriend. But I figured it out on my own. He didn't tell me." So here it is: When Feiles was seventeen and attending an art high school in California, Star Search came to campus and held an audition. Feiles went on the teevy show and, on piano, played and sang a song he wrote. Manager Keith Schantz says, "He won a shitload of money, bought new equipment and a car, and paid his rent for a year. He still has some of the equipment and the car. He defended it one time, and just doesn't like to talk about it. He was playing music to get by, to get to the next step. That's it."
The Folk Club has a biggie this Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Society (7701 SW 76th Ave. in South Miami, at 8:00 p.m.). Vermont's very groovy Rachel Bissex plays along with opener Kath Bloom. Call 279-8100.
Mondays at the Cantina won't be the same for some time. Jam host Richard Vinton, who's played keyboards for the Mavericks and toured with Magnum Band, is off to Majorca for a hiatus.
Time to move into Washington Square, set up a cot, and stay. Beginning tomorrow (Thursday), Thon '93 will fill the club with live music by some 290 yes, 290 Florida bands. Be Square, be there.
Another big show, not quite that big takes place at Talkhouse tonight (Wednesday). Mary Karlzen and Forget the Name will play full-band, electric shows. Re-emerging superstar Nil Lara, guitar ace Mark Scandariato, and the impossibly sweet Carla Hall will add acoustic sets. Plus others,I won't tell you who, but I assure you that you know them. All that for six bucks.
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Quickies that sticky: Tuff Luck's up in New Jersey, New Yawk, and Tampa, recording and touring. They'll be back April 12 to play Rosebud's. Deloris Telescope played a recent Monday night jam at the Square and, despite a dull crowd, delivered some incredible acoustic covers, reports one of my spies. Second Son and Lyrics for Lunch are organizing a benefit, and if you'd like to help out, call 974-0846.
Ronald Kaplan is shooting a film called Peace Town in, of all places, Miami/Fort Lauderdale. He's looking for a band or singer-songwriter to pen the title track and perform it. Send your qualifications, demos included if you want, to Peace Town, PO Box 172641, Miami FL 33017-2641. Kaplan says he would like someone who has or is about to get a recording contract.
This Saturday afternoon is Best Buddies Day at Bayfront Park. The Best Buddies program pairs up college students and people with mental disabilities, to the benefit of both. Great music: Mary Karlzen, Forget the Name, Secret Oktober, and Gerald Dimitri will perform live.
Butthorn of the week and the media circus: Don Shoemaker. This 197-year-old (okay, some say he's only 195) columnist for Knight-Ridder recently took on the always tricky topic of rock and roll via an op-ed page column in the Miami Herald, where Shoemaker worked from 1823 to 1867. Here are some of the more pungent excerpts: "Rock is noise, not music," "...this awful conglomeration...deteriorated into johnny one notes (and words) repeated and repeated...until the brain of any music-minded person began to fry," "musical abomination...hellish din." He went on to blame rock music for "the cultivation of illiteracy and vulgarity." (On the subject of cultivating wrongness, Shoemaker also took time to side with the truly dangerous American Family Association and its calls for censorship of the arts.) And on the subject of cultivating illiteracy, we could take Mr. Shoemaker to task for this: "...a building to cost between $80 million and $100 million and be located in Cleveland." Got to read up on correlative expressions and be prepositioning, Donny. You badly needed a "to" before the "be located." That's picayune, though. Everybody knows newspapers such as the Herald do more damage to the language of the land than any troubadour with an electric geetar ever could. No, the big goof in Shoemaker's ramblin' pan was the "johnny one note" gibberish. At the bottom of this column appears "one note" that Bruce Springsteen used in his undeniably rock-and-roll song "Born to Run." And here's the one word he repeated and repeated to that one note: "Beyond the Palace hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard/Girls comb their hair in rearview mirrors and the boys try to look so hard/The amusement park rises bold and stark as kids are huddled on the beach in a mist/I wanna die with you Wendy on the streets tonight in an everlasting kiss." And not only that, but he guards dreams and visions, too. You should hear it.