Program Notes

Do you believe in magic? Then make the Skels appear. No, you haven't heard of the Skels, few outside the urban Northeast have, and I've been dogging them for years, trying to track down the mysterious Mystery Fez Productions mentioned on the sleeve of their tape Be with That. Had to, considering the Skels are the best band in the land, a judgment based on that tape alone. Finally got ahold to 'em, cajoled and begged and pleaded for a live show down here, and was told that it can't happen until at least fall. A compilation of tunes from the band's three albums will suffice momentarily A you haven't heard rock and roll until you've heard "Romp Romp Romp" A but be on the lookout for anything recorded by them. Enough sales might encourage a road trip south.

So one time I was miserable about something or another and Rooster Head's Michael Kennedy sent me a dub tape of old and new songs by various artists, some of which I was familiar with, some not, and it made me feel a whole lot better. A couple of weeks ago I tried to return the favor, providing Kennedy a tape of some of my favorite songs. The first cut was Cheap Trick's "Surrender." Now for the magic: When Rooster Head performed at the Jammy Awards in Orlando the other day, they were joined on-stage for a few songs by Rick Nielsen, legendary pick-tossing guitarist for Cheap Trick.

Do what you will with Miami Rocks, but be aware that tomorrow (Thursday) Boise & Moss are threatening to make their farewell performance at Churchill's Hideaway, where they'll be joined by Wet Flower, After the Funeral, and others.

Miami Rocks begins now, with a free show featuring Quit, Pontius Pilot, Scoobee Doos, and Six Silver Spiders tonight at Washington Square. Tomorrow the panels and seminars begin, with the showcases taking place Friday and Saturday at Club Nu. Highlights, as far as I'm concerned anyway, are the A&R panel (Saturday at 11:30 a.m.), the Towne Meeting (Thursday at 4:00 p.m., with star panelist Mr. T. Anthony), and the press panel (Friday at noon) because they've chosen a psychotic loser as moderator and chaos is virtually ensured. All the biz forums take place at the Miami Beach Ocean Resort (3025 Collins Ave.). Call 531-9113. Of course the real highlight is the live music, which will be scattered around South Beach tomorrow (Thursday) and at Nu on Friday and Saturday.

Back in bluesland, Roach Thompson's posse came back from the Jammy fest with four more trophies, counting the one for Tony Lucien, the F.O.C. blower who appeared on their album. Their own Piggy Teague won in the other horn category, and the group won for best blues band. RTBB has also re-signed a Stoli sponsorship, which means money for the band and excellent drink specials at some of their shows. "No other requirements," notes the band's harp man, Jack Bluni. Catch 'em live tonight at Hooligan's Briar Bay, which has risen phoenix style from the hurricane wreckage, doubling in size and looking great. Tomorrow (Thursday) the boys play Cheers up in Fort Lauderdale, Friday and Saturday they settle in at Croc's in Boca Raton.

Not long ago we commended Cali St. John's hurricane-relief song Nature's Turn to Play. A monster tune. Now we've obtained a final remix A bringing the gospel chorus up, for one thing A and we continue to be amazed that fairly smarmy and simple lyrics and a standard musical structure can turn into something so powerful and moving, thanks to brilliant production and arrangement. Guitars roar like the winds of Andrew, that gospel thing explodes, the vocals are as strong as a concrete-block house. Bryan Norcross's contribution sounds like something off a Pink Floyd album. A real achievement. There must be a rock station somewhere willing to play it between commercials.

Join the clubs: Route 66 in Boca goes local-rock this Sunday with Natural Causes and Rooster Head, followed in coming weeks by F.O.C., Forget the Name, and Love Canal. Wow. Cannibal Corpse and other mortifiers check in Sunday at the Square. Livid Kittens play Boom tomorrow (Thursday). Slang makes a rare Miami appearance, tomorrow at Stephen Talkhouse with Men from Earth and Forget the Name. You can also catch the very worthwhile Men from Earth (actually from Tampa) on Friday at the Edge. Folk around Saturday at Cactus Cantina with Jay Mankita, Grant Livingstone, and David Bricker.

Butthorn of the week: FEMA and South Dade Free Ride Transportation. First, for not being able to explain what the hell they're doing. Second, for what they appear to be doing. FEMA contracted SDFRT to dispatch jitneys around town. The jits provide free transportation, sometimes like a taxi (picking the person up at his or her house) and sometimes along regular bus routes. The rides are free. Wonderful, huh? Except: What incentive does that jitney driver have to pick you up? They make the same money for driving around empty (as I've seen them do). So why bother picking up passengers? And what the hell's really going on here?

The media circus: I swear to God I heard one of those teevy preachers introduce a guest evangelist the other night by saying, "Nobody can pull in the net better than Dwight Thompson." Talk about truth in advertising. Hope you aren't a fish.

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Greg Baker