Z-Trippin'

Fair's fair. A few pages ago, I dissed Rolling Stone for breaking out the Jimi Hendrix comparisons in a recent review of the new Chemical Brothers (no, really). But on the flip side, I have to commend the pop-music mag of record for recognizing home-grown Valley hip-hop DJ Z-Trip in the same review section (April 3 issue, Brad Pitt on the cover).

In RS' write-up of the recent DJ compilation Return of the DJ, Vol. II, writer Josh Kun showers Phoenix's Z-Trip with singular praise. Concluding paragraph excerpt: "Every DJ battle must have its winner, and on Return of the DJ, it's Z-Trip." Kun was smitten with Z-Trip beat-mixing Public Enemy and Run-D.M.C. with AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Van Halen on the track "Rockstar," which, he writes ". . . hands rock its head on a vinyl platter." Return of the DJ is out now on Bomb Hip-Hop Records. You can catch Z-Trip performing live at the second annual New Times Music Awards Showcase next Sunday, April 20. Z-Trip spins at Club 411 in the 5 to 6 p.m. slot.

In other local hip-hop news, Phoenix rappers Know Qwestion just finished a four-city tour of Colorado, where they opened for De La Soul in Boulder, Vail, Aspen and Steamboat (Know Qwestion is also scheduled to perform at the Music Awards; Gibson's at 8 p.m.). Hip-hop's great white hope DJ Shadow took over support duties for De La's recent performance at the Electric Ballroom, which was rumored to be that venue's final foray into the mine field of hosting hip-hop shows, because of safety concerns. Rumor not true, according to promoter Ty Carter of TMC Presents, who brought De La Soul to the Valley. (Carter also manages Know Qwestion. Hmmmm . . . coincidence?) The day of the De La Soul show, Carter said he was ironing out some new terms with the Ballroom's owners.

"We'll be back in there real soon," he said.
Still on the hip-hop tip: Last month's piece about Death Row Records don Suge Knight and his lawyer David Kenner skipping out on a $1.5 million American Express bill--forcing the credit-card company to file a massive lawsuit--prompted a note from the lawyers representing the L.A.-based CLS Transportation, Inc. (the article ran in the March 27 issue as a sidebar to a piece about Death Row's new CEO). It was reported here that, on September 12 and 13, the Death Row posse ran up a bill of $160,000 with CLS--an arguably impossible feat even with the company's rate of $95 per hour for each limo.

According to Joseph Mannis, a partner in the L.A. law firm Mannis & Phillips, the charges were not incurred on those two dates: "The referred-to American Express charges of September 12 and 13 simply refer to the dates when the customer charged its American Express account for payment of accrued limousine rentals," he writes in a letter dated March 5. "That is, the charge for $160,000 does not represent rentals on September 12 and 13 but is for limousine rentals over a considerable period of time." Which is about how long it's gonna be before Suge rides in a limo again.

Now to get serious. The national electronic-music scene recently suffered a tragic loss that could have repercussions in the Valley club scene. Well-known promoter Aaron Britt, who owned club Utopia in Las Vegas, died in a car accident March 30 while in Miami for the Winter Music Conference. Britt had contracted with local Valley promoters to open a second club Utopia in Scottsdale, which opened February 7. Promoter Tommy Hough of Euphoric Entertainment said last week that he and his partners had yet to meet with the owners of Club Tribeca (which houses the Friday-night club spot) and representatives of Britt's estate to determine the future of Utopia in Phoenix. Hough said Utopia will continue as planned through April, but that it's likely his company will pay to use the Utopia name, hire the Vegas outfit's multimedia crew and move the club night to a new (presumably less expensive) location.

In the meantime, local DJs can still apply for opening slots and the once-a-month "local appreciation night." Send demos to Euphoric at 717 South Mill, Suite 89, Tempe, AZ 85281.

Last lap: Providing a nice counterpoint to the crop of Friends and Melrose Place nights scattered among some of the Valley's more yupped-out watering holes, modest cowboy bar turned Valley alt.rock nerve center Nita's Hideaway recently launched X-Files night. It's every Sunday (duh). Here's the sked: The current week's show goes on the big screen with sound patched through the PA at 8 p.m. A taped episode goes on at 9:30, and then the new show is repeated at 11. "We decided to do the late show because a lot of our clientele has dinner with their parents on Sunday nights," says Nita's manager Charles Levy.

Another worthy Nita's theme night is Barry Strange's "In the Raw." That one's every Thursday--six bands for three bucks, mostly new talent using the same backline, so set changes are quick and painless.

--David Holthouse

David Holthouse is now wired.
The Web site is Mothership. The address is www.phoenixnewtimes.com/extra/holt/index.html. The options are myriad (multigenre criticism, archives, rave data, freak links).

 
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