Go Ask Alice

On the eve of Alice Cooper's boxed-set release party, several local musicians are cursing the bar that bears his name

"I thought, 'Alice Cooper's a really cool guy, he can't possibly be screwing people,'" Grossman says. "I don't think he knows what's going on, but it's starting to make him look pretty bad in the music community."

Here's to the Winners: The ballot results are in from the fourth annual New Times Music Awards Showcase, and the winners are as follows: Blues, Sistah Blue; Country/Americana, The Revenants; Funked-Up, Fred Green; Hip-Hop, Cousins of the Wize; Industrial/Goth, Radio Free America; Jazz, Dave Cook; Latin, Barrio Latino; Hard Rock/Metal, Windigo; Modern Rock, Haggis; Punk, Hillbilly Devilspeak; Reggae/Ska, Walt Richardson Band; Club DJ, Radar; Swing, Heavenly 7; Most Likely to Make It Big, Sistah Blue.

This year's vote featured some of the closest races ever, including two--Hard Rock/Metal and Industrial/Goth--in which the runners-up were within three votes of the victors. Awards were scheduled to be presented at Arizona Roadhouse in Tempe on Tuesday, April 27.

Miller's Crossing: KZON DJ Leah Miller celebrates the release of the station's new 17-song compilation CD, Leah's Local Zone, with a release party on Friday, April 30, at Bash on Ash in Tempe. The release show features three bands included on the disc: Peacemakers, Pharoahs 2000 and The Pistoleros. The CD--which features live, on-the-air performances by many of the Valley's best bands--will be available only the night of the show.

Rocky Mountain Low: Reluctant as I am to add to the media overkill directed at the murder spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, it's hard not to be aggravated by the way certain self-appointed social critics are exploiting the situation to target pop music for supposedly stimulating violent behavior in America.

What always annoys me about these arguments--also raised years ago when both Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest were blamed for provoking teen suicides--is that they work on the assumption that all pop music is mindless swill (granted, much of it is) and, more insulting, that pop-music listeners are so stupid and impressionable that they can't even hear the word "death" in a song without losing control of their mental faculties.

Nearly two decades ago, in a span of four months, both John Lennon and Ronald Reagan were shot by men who had been avidly reading J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye (in fact, Lennon's killer, Mark David Chapman, was reading a copy of the book when police arrived at the murder scene). Yet no one suggested--as many have in the last week with Marilyn Manson and KMFDM--that Salinger's book was responsible for fueling murder in this country. Similarly, has anyone seriously argued that Wagner's music was evil because Hitler used it as inspiration for the Third Reich's policies of aggression and Jewish persecution?

Of course not, because Wagner, like Salinger, was respected as a creator of art, while pop musicians are widely looked upon as purveyors of cultural junk food. But is the music creating alienation, or is it merely speaking to it? Shouldn't the pipe bomb your son is making in the basement be a bigger cause for concern than the industrial album he's got in his CD player? It's time that people who demand easy solutions to our most complex problems stop mistaking the symptom for the cause.

--Gilbert Garcia

Contact Gilbert Garcia at his online address: ggarcia@newtimes.com

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