Program Notes

I went with venom. Came back with a smile. A rock does that for me. The Game is like rock and roll A you have to know it to love it, you have to love it to know it, you have to live it to be it. I once asked Natural Causes manager Keith Schantz (who weeks ago predicted the Bulls in six over the Suns) which meant more to him A music or basketball? He had to think about it. For a long time.

So the other afternoon I went over to Flagler Street in the heart of downtown for the grand opening of Nikeshop. The City of Miami A I spotted a number of Downtown Development Authority faces in the crowd as well A shut down the area for this event. Miami Heat mascot Burnie was fartin' around, at one point confiscating a bicycle and running down pedestrians. Hooty the Owl showed up to prove itself the most bizarre mascot in all sports. Eric Reid, the voice of the Heat on teevy, was witty at the mike, and Mayor Xavier Suarez unfurled a proclamation and then vehemently demanded that we "keep the Heat in Miami." Ya got that right Mr. Mayor. But what really brought a smile was watching Harold "Major" Miner toss the rock at some temporary hoops set up so people could pay to take shots for charity. Then the Heat superstar-if-they'd-give-him-the-minutes took on Suarez in a little one-on-one. The mayor was dressed in mayor's clothes, Miner was in shorts and T and a pair of kicks I greatly suspect were Nikes. First out, Suarez drove to right baseline and lofted a baby hook A nothing but net. Swa-eeet. That night my own team, cleverly dubbed New Times, had a game in a YMCA league. We were missing our point guard, Frankie Franchise, a victim of appendicitis (get better homefry). We won by a point against a tough team. During warm-ups I adjusted my shot A an aftereffect of watching Baby Jordan all day A and couldn't hit a thing. My first shot during the game was a three A nothing but net. Swa-eeet. That's the way b-ball is. You expect one thing and get another.

I've always wondered what it might have been like to have been alive in the late Thirties, when Hitler was bringing hell to Earth. Would I have gone over there and shot the SOB between the eyes? Enlisted? Ignored it altogether? Is there anyway to really know? But today, in the mid-Nineties, there is something far too similar going on in the Balkans. I've never been much for military intervention under any circumstances. There's no specific Hitler figure, and I've never shot anyone between the eyes anyway. What can you do? For starters, ride your Chinese bike to the Atomic Shelter benefit at the Cameo Theatre on Monday. I've heard enough bad rock from Eastern Europe to permanently turn me off, but I gave these guys a listen and was way surprised. They're pretty awesome no matter where they're from. Net proceeds are said to be going to the children whose lives have been destroyed by the Balkan insanity.

Chris "Johnny Punk Rock" Potash listened patiently to hurricane tales and drank lots of over-taxed beer, reporting that A apart from Cheetah Chrome acoustic shows and a concert by his neighbor Iggy Pop A the New Yawk music scene's dead. Move back down here, Johnny, and bring your buds with you.

Speaking of buds, Rooster Head is about ready with yet another album. Catch 'em live with Itanna and Co. Jones on Saturday at Cactus Cantina.

Getting a good look at the rim: Tomorrow (Thursday) the Bellefires and Black Janet play at Musicians Exchange. Smoke Dog is at Button South on June 17, possibly with Human Oddities after a change in the bill A Jack Off Jill pulled out because they have too many gigs booked. Must be nice. Whistling Tinheads fire it up at Stephen Talkhouse at 9:00 p.m tomorrow (Thursday). Next Tuesday network TV will be on hand for Texas Crude's set at the Talkhouse. That one's free with one-dollar drafts. Kilmo and the Killers A now a five-piece with Jimmy Fiano and James Kidwell on guitars, John Yarling on drums, and Bobby Groszer on keys, plus Kilmo of course A rocks their originals on Sunday at Rock Solid in Pompano Beach, with Natural Causes. When Second Son plays July 3 at Cactus, there'll be an art show. Struggling artists A no big shots, please A should call 974-0846 if they want to display.

If you wanna hear some real rock A real old, but real real A get yourself some Dells. Maybe I shoulda noted this twenty or thirty years ago, when they were laying down pure magic for Chess A so I'm a loser. Try to find the MCA reissue called There Is for starters. Guaranteed.

During acoustic night at Washington Square Paul Rodgers showed up unannounced, semi-incognito, and asked Zac if he could play a set A "just don't introduce me by name."

Butthorn of the week: City of Miami, DDA, Nike et al. for shutting down Flagler Street A the first time that's been done during daylight hours A so Nike could hype itself. Sure, I had a good time. And yes, those petitions to keep the Heat in Miami might help. But what about all those poor suckers in their cars?

The media circus: Someone gave me A of all people A a copy of a quarterly that shills for the beer industry. Heads Up represents Beer Drinkers of America and spends much of its space fighting increases in taxes on brew. To find out more, call them at 1-800-441-2337. Hurry, before they raise prices on suds and I end up tapped out.

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Greg Baker