Not Dead, Just Hot

Highly regarded rockers make a much-anticipated return

With the extended hiatus behind them and the injection of some much needed "new blood," Dead Hot Workshop is sounding as strong as it has since its halcyon days in the early '90s.

The mix of new players has also opened up Babb's eyes to the diverse creative possibilities. "It's kind of weird not knowing what the other guys are going to play. With Steve [Larson] and Brian [Scott], I kind of knew what they were going to do because I knew their style," says Babb. "With these guys it's kind of cool because it's totally unpredictable in a way. I think it's going to make everything that much better."

Although the band has been rehearsing since Scott's departure in June, members' commitments limited them to only a couple of practices a week early on. Despite that, Grippe says the group will have 16 songs ready for its Green Room debut. Included in that number will be four new compositions ("Different Same," "Waiting for Lefty" and a pair of as-yet-untitled cuts).

Rising up from decline: Dead Hot Workshop's new look. From left, Steve Flores, Chris Whitehouse, Brent Babb and Curtis Grippe.
photos by Paolo Vescia
Rising up from decline: Dead Hot Workshop's new look. From left, Steve Flores, Chris Whitehouse, Brent Babb and Curtis Grippe.
The kids are all right: Dead Hot, still makin' noise.
The kids are all right: Dead Hot, still makin' noise.

Dead Hot also plans to unearth some rarely performed nuggets from its vast back catalogue as well as material from Pancho's Pilot -- a short-lived side project that featured Babb, Grippe, Gloritone bassist Nick Scropos, guitarist Charles Bond and piano songstress Emily Curtis.

The group will take six weeks off after the October 16 show to continue rehearsing with an eye toward resuming a semiregular performing schedule by late November.

"By that point, we'll have a whole slew of new tunes. Ideally, we'd like to come out and start playing all new songs," says Grippe.

Grippe says the prospect of recording a new album is the ultimate objective behind the group's renewal.

"That's what we are about. We've got to make another record," says a determined Grippe. "If we can't do anything else, we can still make good records. So we have to keep doing that."

The band is less certain where, when or how it will begin efforts on a new album. "When we pay off the last four records, we'll go back into the studio again," jokes Babb.

The career momentum that Grippe hopes to create and build on is based on nothing if not the undiminished brilliance of Babb's songcraft.

"I think the material is amazing. It's always been amazing," says Grippe. "I think this last time around we played too much and it was taken for granted. But we're going to take another shot at it. I'm confident because I know we still have something to offer."

Dead Hot Workshop is scheduled to perform on Saturday, October 16, at the Green Room in Tempe, with Ghetto Cowgirl, and Red Shifter. Showtime is 9 p.m.

Peacemaker Boo-Boos: A correction and a clarification in regard to last week's feature on Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. The "by-the-book rendering of Steve Earle's 1986 hit 'Guitar Town'" was in fact a by-the-book rendering of the title track to Earle's 1996 album, I Feel Alright.

The article also stated that the band's Web site had received "550,000 hits in September." However, that figure represents the number of individual page downloads. The actual number of visitors to the site last month was closer to 100,000, according to the site's administrators Doug and Kathleen Kramer. -- Bob Mehr

Contact Bob Mehr at his online address: bmehr@newtimes.com

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