Flashes 12.16.99

The Republic has never seen a conflict of interest it wouldn't embrace.

This Burst of Light is betting that Campbell will not write a sequel for AJR about L'Affaire Steve, or about how his spouse's boss is choking on her own duplicitous words.

Surfin' Murph

After 16 years at the Republic and now-defunct Phoenix Gazette, Mike Murphy has handed in his press card -- by choice.

Murphy has for the past year written a column for the Republic's northwest community section, but he's best known for his years covering politics, both in the state and in Washington, D.C.

The Flash has it on good authority that Murphy was the man behind "The Insider" -- the Republic's weekly political gossip column -- until he left for the northwest Valley. "The Insider," and the paper's political coverage in general, have suffered in his absence.

The Flash got the Murphenheimer on the phone, but couldn't understand a word, given his penchant for muttering. Word has it that Murphy was sick of the three-column-a-week grind and has found an Internet-related job.

Jesus Just Left Chicago

The Flash is no mosh-pitter. The Flash remembers where the Flash was when President Kennedy was shot, and it was not on the planet Korzak, queued and waiting to be assigned to occupy a temporal vessel of flesh.

So, yes, the Flash has an appreciation for music of the '70s, and hied on over to America West Arena last Friday to see ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The Flash sustained permanent damage to the right ear while occupying a spot in front of the speaker stack at a ZZ Top show in 1975. This time, the Flash took some tissue paper to preserve what auditory powers survive.

The Flash's six-pack abs notwithstanding, this crowd was generally as flabby as Meat Loaf. Lots of leather. But there was a clear affinity for Southern blues rock, and that's always good company. In a nod to posterity, the Flash dragged along a teen acquaintance who's an aspiring gee-tar slinger.

What is it about guitarists from Texas? Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, T-Bone Walker, Anson Funderburgh, Albert Collins, Freddie King.

Billy Gibbons is right there with his Lone Star compatriots. He's one of the distinctive guitarists of his generation.

The Rasputinesque axman -- clad in "my favorite African hat" (a ribbed skullcap, actually) and probably not-so-cheap sunglasses -- tweaked and ground his instrument, evoking gooseflesh on such classics as "Waitin' for the Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago," "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Tube Snake Boogie."

With their trademark beards cascading like polluted waterfalls, Gibbons and bassist Dusty Hill retained the simple, gimmicky choreography that solidifies a sense of carefree humility about their work. They love to play.

The Topsterz trotted out "Fearless Boogie," from their recent album XXX. The Flash is down with XXX, despite a couple of rap-ish lines and a most bodacious rendition of "Teddy Bear."

The "Lil' Ol' Band From Texas" wrapped up with the predictably adrenal "La Grange" and "Tush."

The adolescent in tow pronounced them "cool."

Lynyrd Skynyrd -- one of the greatest roadhouse guitar bands ever -- is now a pretty good cover band.

Feed the Flash: voice, 602-229-8486; fax, 602-340-8806; online, flash@newtimes.com

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