Program Notes

So I call up the source:
Me: "Sir, is it true that you embezzled thousands of dollars from tax coffers?"

Him: "I categorically deny those allegations. But listen, while I got ya, do you have any idea how I might be able to get tickets to the Smashing Pumpkins/Chainsaw Kittens show at Washington Square?"

That's how it went all week. Everywhere I turned there was someone pleading with me to get them into the Pumpkins concert -- at any price. The show sold out early, and folks were shocked when they went to purchase ducats, only to be turned away. Now, I get paid big money, thousands of dollars, to write this column, but I wasn't about to dive into the hell-hole I expected the show to be, and to be honest, I couldn't get tickets anyway. That's why I have spies. My man Frankly Frank reports: "It was a hell-hole. By the end of the first song I had my shirt off. Everyone was soaked and you couldn't move. The bartenders were throwing buckets of water on the crowd to cool them off. Oh, the band was great."

Outta money? Tomorrow (Thursday) the Brickell Tavern caters to the penniless and musically inclined with a jam session and free lasagna, cooked up by Diane Berlin. It begins at 9:00 p.m. and you're invited.

Add to your list of powerful American singer-songwriter doods the name of Doc Lawrence. His eponymous new album for Chameleon, produced by no less than Chucky Plotkin (B. Springsteen's right-hand man), is a bit spotty but mighty gritty, solid-sincere stuff with whiskey-soaked substance, definitely my cup of spiked tea. The highlight (fittingly enough for today's theme) is "She Does It for the Money," a full-scale suite of the sort Bruce used to create, a passionately sung short story about a streetwalker and her truck-driver boyfriend that's rich with telling detail. Plenty to like on the rest of the album, too. Buy it. Steal it.

Paying up: Quit, Load, and Melbourne, Florida's the Scooby Doos on Friday at the Square. Marianne Flemming back from a tour of the Northeast to play the Island Club on Saturday. Dana Paul and His Nantucket Sound at Holiday Park on Friday (free).

Zeta-4 watch: One blues fan writes, "Let's see if Zeta really does play more blues -- especially local stuff -- during `regular' hours." And from another: "[Station PD] Peter Bolger is pulling some shit that will never, ever go. I'll compare memories with Bolger on `used to's' any time. I wouldn't listen to his personal collection two records into it I bet." Wow. And by the way, that rumor Zeta DJ Mike Lyons is spreading about me opening for U2 at Joe Robbie and reading the Coral Gables phone book is absolutely true.

WVUM-FM is sponsoring a benefit for Camillus House on August 27 at the Button South. The line-up is beyond belief: F.O.C., the Shrugs, Falling Corpses, Amboog-a-lard, Factory Black, Mary Karlzen, Dan Whitley, Snatch the Pebble, the Goods. The hype doesn't end with this item, but mark those calendars.

Happy ten-year anniversary (August 13) at Tobacco Road to Iko-ko.
Butthorn of the week: The City of Hallandale, home of the aged and surprisingly silly. The commission has banned slam-dancing in Hallandale clubs. No, really, I swear. Somebody call the ACLU, quick. The waltz might be next.

The media circus: Yes, I agree, those "world premiere" videos on NBC's Olympics programming really sucked. Almost as bad as the rip-off gymnastics judging that screwed Shannon Miller, and the ridiculous boxing "scoring" that makes me think the sport should be dropped from the next five-ring circus.

Greg Brown lyric of the week: On January 22 Broward attorney Rob Worman sent me a letter referencing Greg Brown. He was shocked that I'd called Brown "the best songwriter in America," but mostly he was grateful that I did, especially after hearing Brown on record and seeing his show at the First Presbyterian Church. Worman has caught the fever, so put Aretha on. (That's an inside joke for Brown devotees only.) The point is, Worman has initiated a campaign to bring Brown back, and I want to second that emotion. I've seen probably 35 million concerts in my long life, seen B. Springsteen a bunch of times, the whole bit, and I assure you that nothing comes close to Brown live. Nothing musical, anyway. Two weeks ago Worman wrote an erudite and moving letter to Brown's people, and you might consider doing the same. If you know Brown's work, you know why, if you don't, here's a chance to find out. Send missives to Fleming, Tamulevich and Associates, 733 North Main St., Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104. One caveat: Brown, a family man, has toured endlessly for years, and last time we spoke he told me he was really trying to cut down. No one has a right to impose on that, and South Florida's a long way from the Midwest. On the other hand, having an opportunity to experience this guy's live show is worth any cost. "I'd love to see you/Happy in the mountains/Who's that knocking/On the door now/How many pennies/In that stack you're counting?