Program Notes

Sex sells but it's illegal to sell sex. Go figure. Did you see that big blue and red ad in last week's ish, the one with the blonde humping the Harley? The point is her point was covered with a red "censored" bar, where the nipple would be. New Times, says way-cool publisher Julie Felden, has a policy to not publish bare breasts in ads. The client, Wings of Steel on behalf of a charity street party (mentioned here), decided to apply the "censored" tag in lieu of something even more silly. Sort of a tit-for-tat bit of petulance, which I heartily commend. Ready for the punch line? I obtained the original artwork, and guess what? The woman has no nipple! A breast, yes, but tipped by a white sort of thing there, like it'd been sandblasted or something. (This item seems like fodder for an Ian Dury song, no?)

Deborah Harry is performing live on Friday, not at the Arena like last time, but at Paragon. I don't know. But at least she has nipples.

Early this morning (7:00 a.m., Wednesday) Jeff Lemlich appeared (or will appear, depending on when you read this) on Evan Chern's Notes from the Underground on WDNA-FM (88.9). The Savage Lost author - you have read Savage Lost, haven't you? - played/will play lots of the music from Sixties local garage bands, plus old air checks and such.

Compact discs are a blight, not just because they helped the industry eliminate vinyl, but because they're overpriced. I doubt it's retailers' fault - I believe them when they tell me the wholesale on CDs is outrageous compared to cost of production. Blues mogul Mark Weiser and I tried to figure out a way for consumers to fight back, and he thinks the only thing the industry understands is mass protest. Send the bums a message. So on behalf of (hard) working people everywhere, I beseech you, beg you, implore you to not purchase a single CD on Monday, June 1 (which happens to be the anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's birth). Boycott CDs for that one day. Buy all you want on Sunday or Tuesday. But not Monday. That'll get 'em to thinking about who's really in charge.

It was pretty strange to receive a Mavericks package from national distributors Uni. Inside was the band's excellent MCA debut, and a lengthy press release telling me everything I need to know about the band. Way down in that press release appears some background about the group's formation: "Malo...was interested in stepping out front with a rhythm guitar, so Reynolds switched to bass and, with Deakin and a guitarist, they started playing around town." A guitarist?

Ben Peeler, a guitarist, bids farewell to So-soFlo this Friday at Island Club. Peeler and the Whistling Tin Heads will play their final show together. The band has found a replacement for the always awesome and now departing plucker. (That replacement is not David Lee Holt.) We could say that Peeler will be missed, because he will, but we'd rather just thank him for so much great music over the past couple of years.

So it's Saturday night and Sonnie Roebuck, a tour-boat worker who plays drums and loves to rock hard, is wishing he had tickets to the sold-out Eric Clapton concert. Roebuck doesn't own a teevy set, but he's listening to WSHE-FM for about six hours, and he's the twentieth caller, and he gets Clapton tickets, fourth row on the floor. Early Monday morning, he's late for work, and he's wondering about the drawing for an autographed-by-Clapton Fender Strat being given away. (Clapton-signed gitfiddles have gone for as much as $20,000 at auction.) Roebuck calls DJ Paul Castronovo, who tells him the drawing's at 8:00 a.m. It's five till, and Roebuck is running late, but he waits, and hears nothing. He shuts off the radio, grabs his gear, opens the door, and the phone rings. It's Castronovo. "I won!" blurts Roebuck. "No you didn't," Castronovo says. Pause. "Now you did!" Roebuck, who has an old Les Paul copy hanging on his wall and took axe lessons decades ago (he's 42), was to be presented the guitar at the concert this past Monday night.

As easy as 1, 2, 3: Tonight the Itch hits Squeeze. Thursday Black Janet brightens the Ambassador Club up in Deerfield. And on Friday Picasso Trigger checks in at Uncle Sam's.

Celebrated Tampa recording studio Morrisound, the world capital of death metal, recently hosted sessions for metal studs Warrant. The studio has garnered deserved respect for its work with Bay-area bands and, of corpse, international acts such as Sepultura. If the Morrisound gang can make Warrant sound good, they'll really prove something.

What the heck is wrong with you lame-o askiniffers? Can't you find something, anything, vaguely resembling a life? I reported recently that R.E.M. was cutting their next platinum slab at Criteria and hanging out around this so-so city, being people. I wasn't even sure if it was true, but I thought it was pretty cool, true or not. You - maybe not you - started bothering the nice people over at that major studio, acting like a bunch of damn fifteen-year-old groupies. (You have to be at least eighteen to even read this column.) I remember ten years ago or so, seeing the Athens gods play a show in Gainesville, and losing my religion a bit when Michael Stipe's bodyguards went berserk on a very beautiful woman who was committing the crime of taking a snapshot of the vocalist/egomaniac. It's always been clear to me that R.E.M. has no interest in idol - or worse, idle - worship. They've finished up at Criteria, by the way, so leave 'em the hell alone. Criteria that is. I could care less about R.E.M., and so should you.

Butthorn of the week: America. People are dying out here, man. We done raped the planet already, one of the largest cities on the continent just burned to the ground, the options available to voters for the next leader of the free world come down to Moe, Larry, or Curly. We're fucked, folks, fucked. But at least Murphy Brown gets good ratings.

The media circus: A week ago, on Wednesday, I rented a vid-movie called Livin' Large, which was sort of about black people and white people, but mostly about how weird teevy news is, how it places high ratings above everything. After it ended, I switched on Channel 6's late news to catch a report about the Mavericks. The juxtaposition was kinda weird. For the last three-and-a-half minutes - an eternity in teevy newsland - anchor John Hambrick completely lost it, Howard Bealed-out right on the air. Near tears, spewing prose that fell somewhere between Churchill and gibberish, Hambrick ripped his heart out and spilled his guts, raving about how he wanted to be a cowboy, how country music is the godhead. He interviewed the Mavs and let them jam a bit, and he mentioned their achievements. But mostly he bared his soul in a wild essay-cum-rant. Some viewers probably think he made a fool of himself. I thought it was brilliant.

Pet corner: The Animals' Agenda reports that a hunter fired his gun into a badger hole in southern Texas. The hole contained a "killer bee" hive. The hunter was stung 400 to 500 times.

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?