Program Notes

I'm pretty sure Kurt Cobain never got to see the Chant live, but Charlie Van Tuggle did. The Chant was my favorite band when they were a South Florida band, when they were a band. This was one of the annual homecoming shows, after the members had moved to Atlanta and would come back down to play Churchill's Hideaway, one of the few rock clubs in America cool enough to be worthy of staging the Chant. I forget what year it was, even what time of year it was. Charlie Van Tuggle read about it in "Program Notes" and dragged himself to the Church to see if I knew any truth. Apart from a brief break on the patio -- "The volume bothers me because I have a metal plate in my head," Charlie said -- he saw and heard the whole show and became a believer.

The other afternoon I went to Hialeah Park with Hood and a couple of beautiful women to play the ponies. I thought of Charlie, he lived in Hialeah and grew up at horse tracks. If he was with us that Sunday, we probably would've won some money -- when Charlie called to talk horses, it was about things like how the inside part of the turf course was too soft, subtle trivialities only true horsemen could begin to comprehend. Charlie was among the few who actually get this column: He sent me postcards and letters and called me on a regular basis, always with something to say, understanding that this is a participatory thing.

I get a lot of mail, spend half my day going through post. I always open the pieces that appear to be from regular people, not record companies and such, first. So the first thing I read this morning was a letter from someone named Carolanne Saenz. This is what it said:

"I'm writing to you in loving memory of my brother Charles Van Tuggle. He passed away on March 17 (St. Patrick's Day no less). I still don't know the cause of his death. The D.C.M.E. office says the report will be final on April 20. Maybe. I found this card in his room, he never got to mail it. Maybe he just forgot about it. ...He loved music to no end. And he loved New Times and 'Program Notes.' He had a lot of respect for you....I was always proud to see his name in your column. I saw my brother two days before he died and the conversation we had was about the story you wrote on the Everglades. We have our own stories of the Glades, but we both, Charlie and I, agreed with you. He said your story was a fine piece of work. I think of him often, especially when I read 'Program Notes.' I feel a little silly writing to you about someone you barely knew. But I did it for him."

The card she refers to has a picture of a dead sea horse on the front, and the stamp is a Patsy Cline. On the back are Charlie's words: "You heard wrong: Zappa reunited the Mothers and his last album is called suzy creamchesse gets revenge; up yours Zappa. I loved his musical stuff & 200 motels. Sorry he's gone. Love, Charlie V. Tuggle."

Third Wish plays this Sunday at Rosebud's.
Those Wide Open Mike Sundays up at Squeeze are going strong -- the Baboons recently jammed with Zac and Doc Wiley, proving once and for all that the truce between Dade and Broward is holding firm. This week's featured artist is ye olde Diane Ward, with Omine skedded to lead the mad parade on May 1.

Tomorrow (Friday) at Reunion Room, the Robbie Gennet Band plays its third live show.

Speaking as I did above of the ever-fab man called Hood, he's pumping his considerable leverage into the biggest thang since Fat Black Pussycat with Cool Whip, late Tuesdays at SoBe (560 Washington Ave.). My friend Carlos Menendez spins.

Big Earth Day festivities this Saturday at Matheson Hammock. Day by the River will be performing, and the Sierra Club, among others, will set up kiosks. Please buy a T-shirt from the Sierra Club. They need many thousands of dollars to stop this sonuvabitch Huizenga from destroying vital wetlands and they need the money now. It's only the planet you'll be fighting for. We are parasites and the planet is our host and we're killing it as parasites tend to do.

Still no details on how well went the concert to raise awareness and money for anti-domestic violence groups. I missed it because I work Friday nights and that Cobain guy kicked and I had to talk to about 100 people (Note to Johnny Punk Rock in New Yawk: That was me who left the message on your machine saying, "Thawses Kur Cobay and man does my head hur." Sorry, dude.) and get interviewed by teevy and all that. Anyway, organizers say the crowd seemed receptive to the message and the music, that it went well, and that some figures on the money will be available shortly.

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Greg Baker