Program Notes

"'Are you Greg Baker?' Geez. What the fuck's wrong with people?" Finally a bit of vinegar outta Frank Falestra, someone got a reaction, as it were. Sorry somebody mistook you for that butthorn at New Times, Ratman, but you should say what I say when someone asks me that: "No. Who the heck is Greg Baker?" Just an idea.

That little case of mistaken nonidentity took place at Washington Square so late on a Saturday night it was Sunday morning. Much earlier Rat had stumbled into Cactus Cantina, where Rooster Head played a set so get-on-top it gave me a cramp in my jaw from my mouth hanging open in awe. Spotting Falestra, Michael Kennedy paused between songs to call the boy out. "We're one of those Broward bands," the singer mock-enthused, making light of made-up controversy concerning supposed animosity between the two counties. Falestra hauled ass to the back of the room, where he ran into me. "Don't look at me, bitch, I'm with the Broward boys." All the top brass from Sony/Columbia was in town a day or two later (to party at the Road and convene and count their money and stuff). Too bad they missed Rooster Head's beyond-belief set at Cactina. You, on the other hand, can catch the Head tonight (Wednesday) at Charcoals II in Miami Lakes. Next Tuesday they're at Toonz.

Speaking of Cactina, that reminds me of a brilliant idea I just had. The Cactina accepts only American Express (um, and cash). Why doesn't the credit card giant shoot one of those locale commercials at the Mex club? "If you want macho nachos and a cold Pacifico along with great live music in Miami, you go to Cactus Cantina. They don't accept Visa! American Express -- it's welcome everywhere...."

And speaking of Washington Square, the club will present benefits for A.J. Mazzetti, the drummer with an endless list of local credits who was recently burned severely. Next Monday and Tuesday a few decent bands will play on A.J.'s behalf. Those bands include Voidville, Amazing Grace, Natural Causes, Nuclear Valdez, Second Son, Young Turk A you get the idea, the best of the best.

And speaking of Churchill's Hideaway, the pub/club will also make the effort to help A.J. with a benefit on July 2, organized by the Girls. Bands that would like to perform should call Dave at 757-1807.

The excuses, social distortionists everywhere, political contortionists, Woody says this land is your land but there's no cheese in Thailand. Bruce Springsteen is getting desperate since the disappointing sales of his last album, Parking Free. Evidence: he's playing two benefit concerts this week in New Yawk. I'm joking kids. I happen to know for a true fact that Bruce has been cutting checks to food banks on the QT for years and years. And the second show is for the Kristen Ann Carr Fund, named for the 21-year-old daughter of Springsteen co-manager Barbara Carr. Kristen, whose stepfather from the age of three was Bruce biographer/critic/music activist Dave Marsh, died earlier this year of sarcoma, a rare type of cancer. The address for the fund is T.J. Martell Foundation, 6 West 57th St., New Yawk, NY 10019.

Hey, man, why don't you Jack Off Jill tonight at Squeeze.
Maybe I have a suspicious mind, but I have a feeling the bulk of those thousands of fans at Bayfront last week were there to see and hear the Spin Doctors. Al and others tell me the sound for Spin Doctors sucked so bad as to be unlistenable. I wouldn't know. I walked in as Soul Asylum was playing their second or third song and I bolted the minute they finished their extremely brief (about 45 minutes) set. The Soulsters ripped through their new album and the crowd was way into it. At one point singer Dave Pirner tried a mike grab but fumbled, then turned it into something that looked intentional with a shocking shaking of his body that made him look exactly like he was being electrocuted as he continued the song. Dan Murphy pulled out some Jeff Beck fretboard hammers and had the good sense to spend at least a few seconds at the side of the stage playing to those with an obstructed view. The boys covered part of "Suspicious Minds" and it actually sounded pretty good even though I think they were joking (they stopped mid-song and Pirner announced "that's all we know"). Despite the fact the set was nearly perfect and the crowd was groovin' throughout, after the last song the band was thanked with dead silence. Not one person clapped. Encore? Not even close. Weird.

Get the Goods tonight (Wednesday) at Talkhouse.
Maggie Council, the supersinger from Tampa, and her guitarist, George Harris, appear at Cactina tomorrow (Thursday) and the Talkhouse on Friday (with Mary Karlzen).

James Dowdall and Rose Noone are A&R scouts for Island Records. They came up with a great idea A since the beginning of the year they've been driving around the nation scoping bands. Their car's their office. They'll arrive here July 10 for three days, so, bands, start lining up the cush venues for live shows on those dates.

And speaking of Musicians Exchange, the Thursday local thang continues, this week featuring Holy Terrors and Six Silver Spiders.

New Miami hip-hop swing-beat label Cherry Groove welcomes inquiries from artists and their handlers regarding their production facilities. Call 757-8009.

And speaking of Tobacco Road, cool Haitian rara groovesters Lavalas (Roots of the Next Generation is a killer album) play there tomorrow (Thursday) and bluesicians the Telephone Kings check in for the weekend.

Butthorn of the week: John "Mr. Americana" Detrick, wild man and owner of a bookshop in the City Anal, for two offenses, one of which I love, the other of which pisses me off. He hitchhiked to the Paul McCartney concert in Charlotte, North Carolina, got within 32 feet of the stage, and began chucking all-beef hot dogs at (vegetarian) Linda. "About the sixth one actually hit her in the side of the head," Johnny says. "But she was concentrating so hard on playing that note of hers that it didn't do anything except make her play a little better." Cool. But then Detrick irked me by stealing my line, my main line: "I just found Pepsi in my hypodermic." I thought of that one before anybody, Johnny. I got witnesses. Video, even.

The media circus: I guess the recent Supreme Court ruling concerning Santeria means more dead chickens on the streets of my neighborhood. God bless the freedom of religion and God help the health department.

Another media circus: This correction appeared in the local section of last Thursday's Miami Herald: "Due to an editing error, a story on the constitutional protections for religious groups said that peyote was a kind of caterpillar. It is a hallucinatory drug derived from a cactus."

Pet corner: A big shout out to the newcomer, Wiley, not named after Doc, so maybe it's spelled Wile E. (He's our cat, we'll spell it how we wanna.) And a hearty welcome to Lilly's on South Beach. Lilly's (455 Espanola Way, 532-6157) is a nonprofit juice bar and (soon) a cruelty-free market and deli. All profits from the juice bar go to fight animal testing and abuse, with one goal being to make people aware of animal suffering and death, not to mention the relevant health concerns. Plenty of powerful reading material and truly organic consumables are available there. Great idea.