Y2 Chaos

Looking back at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of local music in 2000

DiFolco survived the Norman imbroglio unscathed, and since then, the comely Canadian corespondent has, for better or worse, become a ubiquitous (and in some ways integral) part of the Valley music establishment -- as well as a local press darling. What more can you say about the TV tart? We say "Blame Canada."

1. Ain't Nuthin' but a G Thang, Baby: Stephen Ashbrook Goes Gangsta

Our chart topper is a frightening case of life imitating art. In February, we wrote up a fictional scenario in which local übercrooner Stephen Ashbroook was portrayed as a tough-talking gangsta who didn't take no shit offa nobody, lest they wanted him to pop a cap in their ass. But of course, that was pure fantasy, a twist on Ashbrook's real reputation as a charismatic if somewhat white-bread tunesmith of the pop variety.

Clockwise from top left: Jimmy Eat World's Adkins has a Big coming out; Fine China praises the Lord and the three-minute pop song; Bird is the word as Ghetto Cowgirl's Norman offers DiFolco a single-finger salute; Grave Danger -- are grown men supposed to be acting this way?
Clockwise from top left: Jimmy Eat World's Adkins has a Big coming out; Fine China praises the Lord and the three-minute pop song; Bird is the word as Ghetto Cowgirl's Norman offers DiFolco a single-finger salute; Grave Danger -- are grown men supposed to be acting this way?

Well, dammit if he didn't turn out to be a "Real G" after all.

The incident in question occurred during an October Nita's Hideaway reunion of Ashbrook's band, Satellite, in which the singer literally went upside some poor bastard's head.

The problem began when Satellite's set ran past the usual 1 a.m. closing time. By 1:15, the band was still playing, much to the chagrin of the engineer working the soundboard. After repeated attempts to get them to stop went unheeded, the soundman did the logical thing and shut off the PA.

Realizing he'd been cut off in mid-falsetto, a furious Ashbrook leaped from the stage wide-eyed and bloodthirsty, ran through the crowd, bum rushed the sound booth and looked to all as though he were going to start pummeling the person responsible for this effrontery.

As to exactly what happened next, there's been much conjecture and speculation. However, there is no truth to the story that Ashbrook began pistol-whipping the helpless man while demanding, "What's my name, bitch? What's my name?" Similarly false was the report that he had taken his trademark blue-tinted specs and rammed them into the man's throat, walking away from his bleeding body with the ominous aside: "Nobody messes with my set, motherfucker."

Despite the varying accounts, the facts are somewhat more tame. Although his immediate explosion of temper was quite genuine, the singer regained his better senses after a few seconds and only gave the technician a light shove and an earful of guff. Wisely, Ashbrook realized that if he'd struck the guy, he'd have spent the rest of his career working with legions of soundmen eager to press the "suck" button and gain revenge for one of their brethren.

Still, this is the first we've ever heard of a performer trying to jump ugly with a sound tech, making it a notable moment by anyone's standards. And as a public service, we offer a word of warning to those who may dare to cross old Stevie in the upcoming year. Remember: You can take the Ashbrook out of the 'hood, but you can't take the 'hood out of the Ashbrook.

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