Valley rig-rockers Flathead face an uncertain future

The new disc, like Play the Good One, is being produced by Clarke Rigsby at his East Valley Tempest Studios. Unlike Flathead's first two albums -- both of which were essentially recorded live -- Swanholm wants to draw out the process this time around.

"It's kind of like making a record now, as opposed to going in there and just banging 'em off -- which is a great thing to do. But we've done that twice. On this one we're going to do it another way."

Swanholm predicts the bulk of recording will be completed by October, with the album release likely to happen early next year.

Twangs for the memories: Kevin Daly (center) bids adieu to Flathead, while Greg Swanholm (left) and Vince Ramirez carry on.
Paolo Vescia
Twangs for the memories: Kevin Daly (center) bids adieu to Flathead, while Greg Swanholm (left) and Vince Ramirez carry on.

As for the acute tendinitis, which forced the band's recent interlude, Swanholm thinks a continued break will prove to be a good thing for both his condition and the group's music. "This way I can work on constructing songs without having to worry about playing a bunch of gigs."

But without Daly, and with no permanent replacement being considered, does this mean the end of Flathead as a live outfit? Ramirez, for one, is uncertain. "I don't know. Technically we're a band, but we won't be playing out. What that means for us, I can't say."

While he's adamant that Flathead will soldier on as a working unit, Swanholm is less certain of when the group might return to the stage. "I think there will be something going on," he notes. "We're going to have to follow up the record with some kind of live performance."

If timed with the album's release, that could mean nearly a year would pass between gigs, the kind of protracted absence that could threaten even the most stable outfit.

"I hope that Flathead's not really going to come to an end," says Ramirez with a sigh. "I still want to play with it and keep on developing it. I hope that it will continue. I'm pretty confident it will."

Grave Danger is scheduled to perform on Thursday, June 29, at Long Wong's in Tempe, with Über Alice. Showtime is 9 p.m. The group will also perform on Friday, June 30, at Hollywood Alley in Mesa, with Über Alice, and the Impossible Ones. Showtime is 9 p.m. DJ Relief: A bit of sad news this week as Modified is hosting a July 4 benefit concert for Len Sobeck, better known to Valley dance aficionados as DJ Len. Sobeck has been fighting a lengthy battle with cancer. A former Stinkweeds employee, Sobeck left Phoenix several years ago for Los Angeles, where he became a well-respected figure in the local electronic community. Though the lineup is still coming together, a number of high-profile Phoenix and West Coast DJs are expected to perform. The event will also include an auction, with several turntablists donating their prized vinyl to the cause. Items from retailers including Swell, Liquid Clothing, Stinkweeds and L.A.'s Vinyl Fetish will also be up for bid, with all proceeds going to help with Sobeck's medical expenses.

The Len Sobeck Benefit Concert and Auction is scheduled for Tuesday, July 4, at Modified. Showtime is 7 p.m. On the Roadhouse: Look for the Arizona Roadhouse to fill part of the void left by the closure of the Balboa Café. The Tempe brewery took over Balboa shows from Deke Dickerson and Jack Ingram last month. Now the venue confirms it will host a July 14 set from ex-Green on Red rocker Chuck Prophet, as well as a rare dual bill of Mekons Sally Timms and Jon Langford on August 2. Roadhouse owner Sean Kelley adds that the club will increase its national bookings, with other possible performances from former Plimsoul turned folkie Peter Case as well as alt-country icons Alejandro Escovedo and Richard Buckner. Open Up: This week's concert schedule features a quartet of shows boasting opening acts to rival their headliners. Friday's Delta 72 bow (see the story on page 90) at Nita's Hideaway will probably challenge for Valley show of the year with a bill that not only includes the Philly organ grinders, but also local boys Les Payne Product and Canadian surf/country/garagers the Sadies. The Toronto-based Sadies released their sophomore album, Pure Diamond Gold, on Chicago insurgent country label Bloodshot last year. The always nattily dressed combo also backed legendary Detroit rhythm and blues merchant Andre Williams on 1999's Red Dirt.

Nita's Saturday, July 1, set, headlined by Tucson experimentalists COiN, features an early slot from Atlanta's amazing Forty Fives. Another Vox 'n' roll outfit, the band makes its third pass through town in less than a year. This time the Forty Fives will actually be flogging copies of their long-delayed debut, Get It Together (Ng/Artemis), a record we still love despite the fact that it boasts a cover sticker endorsement from the Arizona Republic.

On Monday, Beantown power-poppers the Push Stars (who recently placed a cover of Steely Dan's "Bad Sneakers" on the soundtrack to the Jim Carrey flick Me, Myself & Irene) will play in advance of Big Fish Pub headliners the Samples.

The Sadies are scheduled to open for Delta 72 on Friday, June 30, at Nita's Hideaway in Tempe. Showtime is 9 p.m. The Forty Fives are scheduled to open for COiN on Saturday, July 1, also at Nita's Hideaway. The show begins at 9 p.m. The Push Stars are scheduled to perform on Monday, July 3, at Big Fish Pub in Tempe, with the Samples. Showtime is 9:30 p.m. Taylor Made: Here's a sure entry for the "Strangest Concert Bills of All Time." This week, the Fort McDowell Casino hosts The Thunderous Third, a pre-Fourth of July celebration being held on Monday. The event will include special musical performances by the Lettermen, Bobby Vee and Taylor Dayne.Taylor Dayne?

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