Nightclub Jitters

Local singer-songwriter Diane Ward doesn't usually leave her guitar amplifier in her car overnight between gigs, but she did so a few weeks ago in a bout of self-described laziness. The lapse may have saved her life. While driving onto the Palmetto Expressway, Ward lost control of her Toyota Tercel and found herself swerving toward one of those towering aluminum light poles. After smashing into the pole, Ward's car landed on an embankment. "I hear this big crash behind me," she recounts, "and I duck, and the light pole had basically followed me down and slammed right on top of the car, on the back windshield on the driver's side."

Luckily her amp was in the back seat and acted as a brace, preventing the pole from completely crushing the car and its occupant. The only two things that escaped the accident relatively intact were Ward, who walked away with merely a bump on the noggin, and the amp, which, despite a few nicks, was used two nights later at Ward's release party for her new CD, Mirror, at the Hard Rock Cafe. Vows Ward, "I'm never going to get rid of that amp as long as I live." (Jim Murphy)

Turn the Beat Around
NPR producer Elisabeth Perez Luna spent over two years researching and recording To the Beat of the Subtropics: Music of Miami, a thirteen-part half-hour series to be broadcast on more than 100 U.S. radio stations (it airs Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on WLRN-FM [91.3]). The programs go beyond the "Miami Sound" of the Seventies to document the city's varied musical genres: a drumming tour through Miami's diverse ethnic neighborhoods, American jazz, Latin jazz, Cuban old-timers and new arrivals, big band musicians from the Beach's golden years, the club scene, Overtown soul and gospel, Haitian music, and profiles of the New World Symphony and the UM School of Music. "I wanted to show a complete image of music in Miami," says Perez Luna. "There are stories that hadn't been told -- r hadn't been told enough." (Judy Cantor)

Appetite for Self-Destruction
They split with their lead vocalist (Matt Kramer). They split (a charitable verb) with their major label (Atlantic/Third Stone). And yet Saigon Kick persists. Long-time fans and those with a high tolerance for turgid metal-blooz-pop riffs will be pleased to learn that the band's first indie release -- and fourth album overall -- Devil in the Details (on something called CMC International Records, with offices in North Carolina and Switzerland), will arrive in stores on October 17. Everyone else can return to playing their old Dan Reed Network albums. (Michael Yockel)

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Michael Yockel