Program Notes 41

The Talkhouse is closing. No it's not. The Talkhouse is closing. No it's not. After months of rumors and rumor-quashing, the owners of the Stephen Talkhouse have announced that the beloved Beach venue will go the way of Washington Square, Cactus Cantina, and countless other clubs. The Talkhouse, which opened in the summer of 1992 and has brought a remarkably eclectic and interesting parade of musicmakers to this town, will stay open long enough to present the Greg Brown concert on April 1, so be thankful for that much. The owners say the last day likely will be April 16 (that's Easter, but forget the resurrection notions). The building, owned by the club, still hasn't been sold, but is being marketed both for sale and for lease. Co-owner Peter Honerkamp continues to work at the original Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett, New York. Partner Loren Gallo says he'll stay in Miami ("I live here") and possibly promote live concerts. Promotions specialist and nice person Mia Johnson is going to Long Island for the summer, then will interview for jobs in Manhattan or Tampa. A big farewell blowout involving the numerous local bands that found a stage at the 'House, a possible appearance by the Radiators, and a final Nil Lara max-out are being planned for Easter weekend.

Every rocker's favorite record store, Yesterday & Today, has divided itself into two stores. Founder Rich Ulloa continues with the Today side of things, offering mostly new releases. His new partner, Evan Chern, now runs Yesterday at 8336 Bird Rd. Just opening, Chern's outlet features obscure underground material and "stuff no one else offers," he says. Plenty of vinyl, including items from Chern's extensive personal collection. Chern continues hosting the Notes from the Underground show, Saturday at 3:00 p.m. on WDNA-FM (88.9).

Tomorrow (Friday) Naked Rhythm celebrates the release of their fatbox CD on the German label Massacre. The place is Squeeze, the time is midnight, and the giveaways include CDs and T-shirts.

Former Natural Causes siren Karen Friedman (now Feldner) has put together a new band called me. Her hubby, singer-guitarist George, bassist Mike Lazarus, and drummer Rob Citron (of SoBe Blue fame) round out the new collective.

On Saturday the Gallery of the Unknown Artists celebrates its third anniversary with a free party starring Mr. Tasty and the Bread Healers and several other bands.

We broke the news some time ago that Bruce Springsteen was working on a new album, but his tight-lipped publicists wouldn't provide details. Now they will: It's a greatest-hits package due February 28. The eleven hits represent the Worst of Bruce ("Hungry Heart," "Dancing in the Dark," "Human Touch," "Streets of Philadelphia"). What makes the project interesting is that Springsteen realized what we've been saying all along: Shedding the E Street Band for his tenth and eleventh albums (Human Touch and Lucky Town) and for the tour in support of them was the biggest musical mistake he's ever made. Well, he's re-enlisted Mighty Max, the Big Man, and even Little Steven to record two new studio versions of previously unreleased tracks ("Secret Garden" and "This Hard Land"). What the publicists didn't tell us: "This Hard Land" -- a long-time favorite of bootleg collectors -- stands as one of the best tunes Bruce ever has penned, a haunting, metaphor-driven tale of a guy and his sister traveling America to find a place where "The sun could break through the clouds/And fall like a circle/-- circle of fire on this hard land" and where the protagonist hears "a tape deck blasting 'Home on the Range.'" Springsteen perfectly captures a sense of rootlessness, with his characters like seeds blown by the winds of fate and circumstance. And the keyboard coda alone is almost enough to justify purchasing the dreck that makes up the bulk of the album.