Program Notes

Sometimes I think the only way out is out. No whining here; think about it: I've got a cool job, a beautiful wife, a beautiful house, and I feel sometimes like I'm living in a Talking Heads song. I certainly should be the happiest dog in the pound. And then it sucks. Not your problem.

I mean, why is everybody else getting to see my favorite bands live? Maybe because I spend 400 days a year in Miami? Maybe.

My former friend, Hal "Boise" Spector, via VoiceMail: "Hi, Greg. This is Hal. I just got back from Atlanta, and I saw the Chant play and you didn't. Ha ha ha. And they were great. Jim Johnson played with the band still. They're going to do more shows together. They did two sets, did all their greatest hits, and they were mega. I thought I would give you that information, because you're the biggest Chant fan I know. So, eat more chicken. Goodbye."

The other night I'm sitting comfortably in the Island Club sipping a Rolling Rock and rocking to the roll of Whistling Tinheads (the first song was perhaps the best, but I didn't like it much; the next three originals absolutely killed; the VU cover was brilliant...) when Natural Causes guitarist Joel Schantz strolls up and begins regaling me with his review of Bruce Springsteen's current tour's stop in Jersey. "I saw two shows at the Meadowlands. Rock and roll. The first night he played `For You' and `Growin' Up' [both from his first album, neither of which he's played live in decades] acoustic in the first set. He did `Trapped' -- what a showstopper! [As it was on the second night of his Orange Bowl shows many years ago.] It was an experience, man, an electrifying kind of thing, you know? [Uh, no, Joel, I don't.] He's played `Thunder Road' acoustic every night he's played. `Because the Night,' `Prove it All Night' -- the guitar-driven Darkness vibe. The second show I saw he did `All the Way Home' [from Southside Johnny's Better Days] and Southside Johnny came out. He did the `Glory Days'-`Darlington County' thing on the last night with Steve [Little Steven] on-stage. All that Born in the U.S.A. stuff turned into some real grungy rock. He did `Sandy' [!] and Rosey, of course. Yeah, all the new stuff from Lucky Town and four or five cuts from Human Touch. I'll tell you, Baker, I know what he put us through. I know what you've been saying. But he's back. He's core again."

Oh well, at least I've had a dream you've never heard. I'll have a chance to see at least one of my favorite bands when Rooster Head clucks up Cactus Cantina this Saturday, along with supersinger Diane Ward.

The travel of benefits: A big pro-choice show at Washington Square on September 18. The Camillus House jam at Button South tomorrow (Thursday), details of which are in "The Calendar." And, this Sunday, it's "Moe-lapalooza" ("It's goofy, but who cares," notes promoter Frank Craig), a major blowout on behalf of Habilitation Center, a Boca Raton vocational training center for people with handicaps (wow, all of a sudden, thinking about this, the wrenching pain in my back that blurs my vision and forces me to cop 'dans on the street because doctors can't see back pain doesn't hurt so much). The place is Dirty Moe's East (395 NE Spanish River Blvd. in Boca) and the acts include Tribal Dogs, One, Lyrics for Lunch, Matthew Craig, Basic Humans, Eyes of Pandora, Groovy Coochies, Chihuahuas, In House, Velvet and Nails, and Drive Choir.

The benefits of travel: The third annual Marco Island Blues Festival takes place September 25-27 at the Radisson over there. Dr. John, Valerie Wellington, Derek Trucks, Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials (who have an excellent new album out), Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin, and the Kerry-Michaels Band jam on the sand (and the ballroom stage). Dial 813-394-4100 or 800-333-3333. On September 13, it's up to West Palm Beach for the Record and CD Convention at the Ramada. For that one, call 407-467-1535. Then we head further north, to Gainesville, on September 19, for the Harvest Festival at the Downtown Community Plaza where Jahcendance, Tone Unknown, and Johari Window perform, joined by speakers (including Libertarian presidential candidate Andre Marrou) who will address such topics as the JFK assassination and hemp legalization.

I've gotta get outta here, I've gotta gotta gotta get outta here: Nil Lara has the right idea -- he's heading to Argentina for a while to play a series of shows down there. Next Thursday, September 2, will be a final Havana Night at Island Club. The next night Lara throws a party at Stephen Talkhouse. "It'll be a performance," he says, "and a see-listen-talk session about the Talkhouse. It's a cool venue." Yup.

They're not leaving town, but hard rocking Amboog-a-lard has said "so long" to managers TCA. The band issued a straightforward statement, without adding any dirt, in a brief phone chat. TCA's John Tovar says, "As good as they are, we couldn't get them signed. If we're not able to do a good job for them, it's better for them to be on their own." The band plays the Plus 5 on September 11.

September is Women in Music month, so set up a cot at the Cactina, and take a gander at the "Concert Calendar."

Shows here and there: Naked Rhythm shakes up an all-ages gig on Saturday at the legendary Treehouse. Picasso Trigger checks in at Uncle Sam's on Friday and the Good Food Sports Pub in Lake Worth on Saturday. Load and Pontius Pilot appear at Uncle Sam's tomorrow (Thursday).

This week begins the recording of the second Live at the Square CD/cassette. That's 40 local bands over five days, at Washington Square, of course.

Last week we touched on the Bushwick Bill single "Ever So Clear" and the video, which we noted would appear on MTV real soon. (Sarcasm 101, kids.) The hype says that MTV did, of course, reject the video, demanding that the scene of the eyeball floating in a glass of Everclear be chopped out, sort of like the way Bushwick's eyeball was shot out in real life. "Being that MTV was founded by a guy with one eye," Bill says, "why should they not want people to see this? I think that's messed up."

Butthorn of the week: There's an incredible photo exhibit of Bob Marley touring the nation. (The Songs of Freedom 78-cut box set and Time Will Tell home video are both due out in late September; Marley has never been so alive.) The butthorn, as of late last week, is Miami. Miami, where I spend 400 days a year, has not one gallery or exhibitor prepared to display this showcase, so it ain't coming here, unless somebody wises up. This is why Webster's publishes a special regional dictionary for South Florida, one that does not contain the word "culture."

The media circus: Still more national teevy exposure for the Dade County Jail's ICTV Network, this time in prime time. America's Most Wanted will air a feature profile of the internal operation this Friday at 8:00 p.m. on WSVN-Channel 7. (There's a joke in here somewhere, but I don't have time to find it.)

The media circus, sports dept.: Larry "Lumbar" Legend made this past his last year so his famous jersey could be ret ired in the Garden, rather than the new venue the Celtics move into next season. That's about the best insight on the fallen Bird story I've heard. To guys like lifelong Celts devotee and New Times star center Pat "Choirboy" Flood, who expect a wisecrack here: No thanks. Even as a forever Lakers fan turned Heat cheerer, I have nuttin' but respect for ol' 33.

Pet corner: This past Saturday was Homeless Pet Day. To Liz Martinez, who found it (in a parking lot), and Patrick Hardy, who kept it: Thanks for saving the life of one cat. He'll pay you back a thousand times, he'll teach you the deepest secrets of life.

Greg Brown lyric of the week: "One cool remove -- put me, put me/One cool remove -- put me there/And forever let me stay/One cool remove away.

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Greg Baker