Program Notes

I don't actually talk to these people, you know, but the buzz back in November was that Bruce Springsteen's handlers were extremely bemused by that little Parking Free hoax me and Ben Greenman pulled. (In fact, Greenman, allegedly the target of New Jersey hit men, is currently in hiding somewhere in Europe.) Sources told me that B.S. and company would never speak to me again, never service me their product, never forgive me my wanton disregard for reality in my effort to make a point. I don't give up so easy. And this item is absolutely true: Someone I know and trust has heard three tracks from Bruce's two soon-to-be-released albums. The insider says one tune "harks back to his Born to Run days" and the other two sound a lot like Tunnel of Love material. "It sounded okay, and the band was good. Of course, I don't know what the rest of it will sound like," the person says.

Leonerist Johnson of local fun rappers Young & Restless received one year of probation for firing a gun inside his record label's headquarters. He also was sentenced to 200 hours of community service. (The preceding info is a follow-up to a feature article we recently published. If you missed that story, never mind.)

Mo' music, mo' music, mo' music: The Nightstalkers bring their red-hot blues to Tropics on Thursday and Tobacco Road on Friday and Saturday. The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band, Rooster Head, is slated for the Ambassador on Thursday. The Rainbow Brite Gathering on Valentine's Day at Churchill's Hideaway has scheduled Kreamy Lectric Santa, Human Oddities, Stun Guns, and Methadone Actors (bring your own dolls, please). Saturday the Whistling Tin Heads, featuring Ben Peeler, debut their rock sound at the Island Club.

Rumor control department: Forget the Name is not working with any manager or management company. The band says so.

When they write the book about Miami's contributions to the world of music, the late Jaco Pastorius should get plenty of pages. He was only one of the most influential electric bassists of all time. He was also a troubled man. He left behind a loving and devoted family, some of the great music of our time, and not much else. This Sunday, Cheers will raffle a custom Jaco bass worth at least $2000 in an effort to raise some money for the Cheers Musicians Relief Fund and Jaco's Childrens Trust Fund. An all-star jam and the No Regrets Band live come with the package. Call 771-6337.

'Bout damn time they started making more use of the wonderful Bayfront Park Amphitheatre. The "Only in Miami Music Festival" brings the Venetian Brass Quintet to town this Friday, with future shows to include Jaime Bronszstein, the Civic Chorale of Greater Miami, Koleksyon Kazak, Ira Sullivan, and the Roach Thompson Blues Band. Support it or it'll go away. Call 358-7550.

I didn't write about Billy Mann's live performance in my living room, even though it was a magical musical experience. But I do have a couple of words re: last Thursday's full-blown Mann-icness at Washington Square: The Mann revealed himself to be an extraordinary guitarist as well as one of the best singers anywhere right now. And these young cats with him - congas, sax and flute, electric guitar - made a perfect backing configuration. (Doc Wiley had his work cut out, mixing sound without standard drums to work from, but I thought he did a fine job.) Most of the show seemed improvised on the spot, and that lent it all the more power. Critic Todd Anthony was as awed as I was, but adds that he thinks Mann should mid-range a bit more. Those shattering highs and bottom-out lows are just too devastating in heavy doses. The audience was ultracool - Mann actually got an encore, almost unheard of in that setting. Catch Mann tomorrow (Thursday) at the Square. Thank me later.

Butthorn of the week: I guess that would be me, for missing Miami Rocks, Too! Sorry, sports fans, but I have to work for a living just like everyone else. And sometimes that means working all weekend.

The media circus: I don't watch cable, and I try not to waste too much of my life watching regular teevy. But the other night PBS had a Bill Moyers thing about skinheads. A mix of trial footage and round-table discussion, the show dealt with an important First Amendment issue: how much weight should quotes in the newspaper carry in jurisprudence. Because this racist punk told a reporter he was pro-violence, does that mean he really is? Interesting. But I mention this mostly to offer kudos to Moyers, PBS, and WPBT-TV for airing the whole story - including language so profane you wouldn't expect to hear it even on cable. If they would have bleeped the bad words, the show would have lost its credibility. So viewers were treated to two First Amendment lessons. Maybe teevy isn't so bad after all. (Did you see The Grudge Match this week?)

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Greg Baker