Program Notes 27

Forgot all about this nonsense, didn'tcha? In between the $250 brake job (first estimate: six bills) at Meineke (where you pay less or they screw you) and the home fuel-pump replacement (thanks for the assist, Carlos), my wife and I sought brief respite in Naples, and no I don't mean Italy. In fact, we drove a good piece of U.S. 41 (a.k.a. Eighth Street, or Calle Ocho), from the bowels of the East Little Havana drug slum to the litterless beaches of Sanibel Island and Ft. Myers Beach on the Gulf Coast. We hung out with, like, ten porpoises near the Naples pier and canoed and, yes, tossed a few baits for bass.

I'd say it's great to be back but I'm not a liar. Thousands of people marched down El Ocho while I was gone, which made me wonder, as a taxpayer and all, whether I could've driven my old T-bird through and over the crowd without getting a ticket. Do they write you a ticket for genocide? They don't mind taking my street away from me for a while. You folks are nuts. And in another part of Little Havana, to the west, near Red Road, what do I see flying over the Texaco but a gigantic American flag. Some sort of reclamation effort or just an anachronism? This town is nuts. In fact, we should probably change the name of this damn column to "Program Nuts."

Maybe not. Anyway, my good friend Lenny was celebrating a birthday last week so we boys-night-outted ourselves up to Einsteins in North Miami. From local musicians I'd heard wildly varying opinions about Einsteins -- "the coolest rock club in town" to "it really sucks, the bartenders are assholes." My reality fell somewhere in the middle -- the bartenders seemed okay, the woman who served us at our table was absolutely great, even saving our seats while we ran to the ATM to get some more green (heavy tippers, you know?). The place is brightly lighted for a pool hall, much less a club, but being half nightblind (or just bleary), I didn't mind that. The crowd was a mixed batch of (what I assume are) regulars and scenesters, all of them cool -- I don't mind that. I Don't Know and Natural Causes played -- you know I sure didn't mind that. Thumbs up to Einsteins with this caveat: The sound system and acoustics are hardly the best. That could change.

The Marilyn Manson gang has been in L.A. the past three weeks finishing up Portrait of an American Family. The album was recorded at Criteria, but Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails fame) wanted to remix and re-record some of it out there. At this point it looks like the widely anticipated release won't be until early February. "Don't despair," offers TCA's John "I Thought the Goods CD Was Funny and Great Even Though They Made Fun of Me" Tovar. "They're playing three big shows in the meantime."

Yup: October 30 at the Cameo with Genitorturers (there's a genocidal bill), October 31 in Orlando, and November 1 at Rosebud's. After the album release MM will tour nationwide. In other TCA news, Valerie Archon has put her new band together and will debut live tonight (Wednesday) at Rosebud's. Part of the group will play acoustic at Stephen Talkhouse this Sunday, and studio work begins in November with a CD release planned for early next year.

And speaking of the Goods, who had such good sport with Tovar on 5 Steps to Getting Signed, they've also signed to TCA. Strange? Well, the Goods are one of the best rock bands on the planet and have always deserved worldwide recognition, and, as John Camacho points out, Tovar and TCA have done got the job did for the Mavericks and Marilyn Manson. The next Goods show is October 29 at the Reunion Room with Tampa's Clang.

One of my favorite cool cats, Bobby Radical, has come up with a T-shirt for our times: a map of Florida in the shape of a pistol. "The whole idea is supposed to be humorous, not to scare people away from Florida," Radical says, as if any explanation were necessary. "Everyone with a sense of humor loves it, and those without a sense of humor hate it." I love it. You can get one for $15 (on a Lee 100 percent cotton shirt) at Animal Farm on Collins Avenue or at Reality Check on Lincoln Road.

Plenty of choices this week, clubbers. This guy Rich Kurschner plays at 9:00 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday) at Stephen Talkhouse (before the My Only Problem record-release fest). The guy writes killer tunes and is in total control of them, at least on tape. A New Yorker who's been singing and writing and playing since he was a kid, Kurschner has been compared to everybody from Michael Stipe to Sonic Youth to Tom Waits, but he reminds me of Darius, for whatever that's worth. I'm just trying to recommend the guy. Magda Hiller opens.

And others: Zen Dog barks at Button South tomorrow (Thursday) and at McFly's on Friday. Halo, With Of, Swayambu, Drive Choir, and One -- yeah, all them -- play a benefit for Nova University's radio station at the Plus Five tomorrow. On Friday Psychostasia opens for reigndance at Rosebud's. That night Load returns from their tour and joins Beeyotch and Gus for a beery blast at Churchill's Hideaway. (Why do all the great shows happen on the same days?)

And Johnny Tonite: This is a champeen band folks, featuring veterans Randy Ruffner and Pete Moss ripping out rockers with heart and soul and brains. They play tomorrow (Thursday) at Coyote (in the Cactus Cantina space). Can't wait to see the new members who are joining Moss and Ruffner.

This whole weekend at Rose's Bar and Music Lounge is gonna burn, with the Soul Messengers. Delmar Brown, the veteran keyboardist et cetera joining Arthur Barron. Brown has toured with everyone from Miles to Bruce to Jaco. I heard his tape -- hot. Wear your best asbestos suit.

Where did it all begin? I don't know, but I remember a hundred years ago seeing a lot of a band called Live Bait, because they were really cool. They're not only still around, they're still kicking it. Just back from performing in Athens, Georgia, the band's leader, Newell Bate, says tonight's concert at Musicians Exchange will cover Live Bait's lengthy and productive career.

Mary Karlzen's "I'd Be Lying," which has been playing on CMT, recently premiered on TNN and has been added to CMT in Europe.

Bob Bonnen is turning Wednesdays at Hooligan's Briar Bay into a mostly acoustic jam and party with the emphasis on supporting the performers whether they're Rich Kurschners and Delmar Browns or rank amateurs struggling to stay on key. Goes from 8:00 p.m. to midnight.

Butthorn of the week: Everyone who's dumping their problems on Beavis and Butt-Head. As sad as it is that a small child was killed in a trailer fire apparently set by her five year old brother, the mother of the victim, who blames her son's pyro tendencies on the fact he was a Beav fan, is way off base. Hey lady, what in the hell are you doing allowing your five year old to watch such a show in the first damn place? And why were you permitting your little boy to repeatedly play with fire? Forget MTV -- somebody call HRS.

The media circus: Butthorn Frank Gifford who, while announcing Monday Night Football, commented about a crowd shot during which people were goofing around, "What people won't do when that little red [camera] light goes on." This from a man who appears in a TV commercial with his head shaved!

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Greg Baker