And thanks to that dastardly rat bastard Falestra and the rest of the Official BP Awards Oversight Committee for honoring me with one of the famed crushed-gold-beer-can trophies. The BP Awards have been around forever -- I remember them way back at the old Flynn's as one of the most obnoxious nights I ever endured. Now at the Church, the awards -- the BP stands for whatever you want it to -- have evolved into a warm gathering of local players and shakers and a moving evening of music. To give you an idea, when I mentioned to Frank Falestra that author Jeff Lemlich was in the small crowd and should win an award, Falestra told me to get on-stage and give him one. So I did. The Grammys'll never catch up.
I saw (actually heard) the future of rock and roll, too, and I'm not just referring to Rooster Head's impossibly tight set, showcasing new guitarist John Tillman. (Pete Moss is out again, this time for sure, I think, but he had his moments in the sun at the BPs with Boise and Moss, funny and confrontational as ever, even insulting a member of the audience who took exception to their anti-entertainment entertainment.) Even though front man Michael Kennedy promised two more songs then bolted from the stage after only one (something about his girlfriend having the flu, I think), the Head proved again they are among the best bands on the planet. Felt so good, felt so right. And then, at about two in the morning, Falestra forced me to sit on the edge of the stage in the almost empty club and listen to a live tape by some guy I know only as Eitzel. Holy maholy. Falestra loaned me the cassette, but I know nothing about Eitzel beyond what's there in my tape player. Nothing beyond the fact that Eitzel is God.
Last week I mentioned an old friend of mine -- and Miami's -- Billy Mann. Like karma from heaven, or the good work of a wishing well, what should arrive in the transatlantic mail this week but a note and a new, eight-song tape (unreleased demo stuff) from the Mann himself. "I must begin again more human/More ready to sing what shoulda been sung" -- Mann sings this like the life of the planet depended on it, like few else could, on a new song called "Tossing Pennies in a Well." If Eitzel supplants Bruce Springsteen, Mann does the same to every soul/pop singer from Michael Jackson down. Working with members of Rod Stewart's band and Jimi Hendrix's former percussionist on the first four tunes (including the already classic "Beaten by the Rich Boy," a highlight of his amazing live shows at Washington Square), Mann has put together a tape a thousand times more compelling and satisfying -- and musical -- than anything that's hit the charts this year. The Brits are picking up on this already -- an RPM critic caught Mann live, noting in his review that Mann is "an impressive U.S. newcomer." Mann also sent along a photocopy of Madonna hitchhiking naked -- "like, too much dude, ha ha," is how Mann captioned the thing -- and drew an arrow to what he claims is Vanilla Ice's Jeep in the background of the pic. Even when things are going great and you're feeling good, a sense of humor is still vital.
Pop the cork for jazz saxophonist Gerald Dimitri, who won the PACE showcase competition. Certainly you'll be hearing more.
Hits and pieces: Miami Rocks is busily narrowing that field, the hype will continue here. The producers of a locally made movie called Only the Strong are looking for music to use in the film; send recordings and bios to Stuart Shapiro, Only the Strong, Box 415050, Miami Beach, FL 33141-5050. Big concert this Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Church (7701 SW 76 Ave. in South Miami) with Grits & Gravy, Piano Bob and the Snowman, and Magda Hiller (a/k/a Em Aitch) at 8:00 p.m.
Butthorn of the week: Joe Robber Stadium and the Miami Dolphins, says a reader who paid $30 -- that's American money, pal -- to see the Fish play the Houston Oilers. "I was in the last row around the ten yard line, so high up birds were flying under us. That costs $30?" Yes.
The media circus: Don't wanna bring anybody down at this point, but I promised to keep it open, so (I hope) we can close the Ron Wood-Evangeline "controversy" with this: Flack Woody Graber once again took exception, noting that in last week's item I mounted a soapbox and took a cheap shot by emphasizing that readers, just people, mean more to me than powerbrokers and high rollers. Woodman thought I was acting like a politician and attempting to win your votes. Maybe. But unlike things political, it also was the plain truth. And Piano Bob, who attended the show in question, says, "I wanted to disagree with whoever said Ron Wood's band forced themselves on-stage. That one guy who went on the tables [singer Bernard Fowler] was obnoxious, but otherwise the others were fine and Evangeline did invite them up." Is everybody happy now?