Program Notes

I totally screwed up - so what else is new? - a Screaming Iguanas of Love feature I'd hoped to publish in this issue of this newspaper. Somewhere in Melbourne (Florida) is a befuddled man, scratching his head and wondering what the hell was meant by the phone message on his answering machine: "Yeah, this is Baker in Miami. I'm really sorry guys, but I have to postpone the interview because of a deadline of death I'm on...." Wrong number, apparently. Hell, we'd only made tentative plans for this phoner a couple of months ago, concrete plans a month in advance, and still it didn't happen. All my fault. Butthorn accepted. But that doesn't mean you should miss this supremo band live on Friday at Washington Square.

What makes me think so, apart from the band's glorious history, is the trio's new CD, Wild, Wild, Wild, which is the Best Rock Album of 1991. Greg Reinel is one of those guys who might never get a Puccini role, but who can sing - on-key, melodically, more nice than rough - in the rock-and-roll style, where emotiveness and understated attitude supersede technical precision, even when it's present. He has both, but he never stretches or shows off at the expense of the songs. Same goes for the rhythm section of J.T. Burley (bass) and David Burley (drums). All three, under the expert guidance of producer Bob Greenlee, who proves he can do with rock what he's mastered in the blues genre, make everything - even sound effects and guitar caterwauls - seem as natural as rain. You know you're onto something when a band doesn't ever need to force a riff or hook, contrive a harmony, soup up a song for the sake of souping it up. Yes, it all goes back to solid songwriting, and these guys got that down cold.

Besides, it will be the Best Concert of 1991. Along with the Iguanas, you get the punch-drunk freaky-deeks called Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids and those crazed cats from Delray, One, whose Black Is Black is the Best Rock Album of 1991.

Southside Johnny's new LP, Better Days, is by far the Best Rock Album of 1991.

XSF, Best Hard Edge Ritual Band of 1991, jams at Button South tomorrow (Thursday). Black Janet, the Best New Band of 1991, plays Saturday at the Square. Toni Bishop, winner of Best Sexy Pose with a Conga in 1991, brings her sultry sounds to that new joint, Carrino's, on Friday and Saturday.

John Tovar, the Best Band Manager of 1991, and a guy who takes all that b.s. guff and just keeps on getting the job done, was involved in a car crash recently. He says a Canadian tourist - there's a shocker! - hit the brakes for no reason and - bang. Boom crash opera. Tovar's car suffered the most damage; he got bruised up is all. Could have been worse. But he wears a seat belt. Always. This has been a public service announcement courtesy of TCA and New Times.

Frank "Rat Bastard" Falestra, the Best Provider of a Chant Live at Churchill's Video to Me in 1991, continues to re-invent the music business by opening a record store in the 940 Lincoln Road complex that also houses Synch Studios and Espresso Bongo. It is, um, a different sort of record store. Open only from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m., the retail will feature no albums from major labels or distributors. In fact, you won't see bins of records there at all, really, except for Falestra's personal collection. Instead, you get the world's best supply of 'zines and catalogues from indie music companies. Find what you want, and the Bastard will obtain it for you. His own immense collection will be coded to catalogues so you can hear before buying. The shop caters to those who, like Falestra himself, want only music that no one else even knows exists. All rock and roll.

Butthorn of the week: W. Axl Rose, the Biggest Butthorn of 1991. The W stands for wuss and the Axl is short for asshole. And Mr. Rose, baby, if you should happen to see this before your New Year's Eve riot at JRS, I accept your recorded challenge. Let's duke it, buckwheat. Me and you, one on one, or bring your boys and I'll bring mine. Name the time and place. C'mon, big mouth, quit breaking bad and back it up. Call me at 372-0004. Wuss.

The media circus: John B. "MC Jack the Worm" Thompson is the Best Music Critic of 1991. If you don't believe me - and who does these days? - pick up the January issue of Spin, the one with Nirvana on the cover. Spin is a lame rag, but Thompson's take on the new albums by 2 Live Crew and Professor Griff is nicely done, employing the image of the raised fist (Griff) and the raised phallus (Crew) once used by Malcolm Muggeridge, who was writing about something else altogether. Thompson and I disagree on the merits of 2 Live's Sports Weekend, but he does justice to Griff's masterful Kao's II Wix*7*Dome. In fact, Thompson's review is probably too good for Spin.

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Greg Baker